For the first generation that never knew a world without an easily accessible internet, their childhood in the early days of the new millennium was one where more content was available than ever before. When you’d develop a crush on a particular young woman, it was never easier to follow their career but we’re betting they’ve likely lost track of them, in the intervening years.
The fifteen young ladies we’ve chosen to spotlight here found their greatest fame in between 2000 and 2009 before having their star fade in the intervening years. Angelina Jolie, an actress who was just coming into her own after some well-known nineties work, didn’t fit our criteria for instance as she still garners headlines regularly.
15 Vida Guerra
A Cuban-American glamour model, best known for her ample backside, Vida first came to fame after an appearance in the men’s magazine, FHM. After her first shoot for the mag was published they were reportedly inundated with requests for more, which they were happy to provide. Chosen to be their model of the year in 2004, she took full advantage of her new-found prominence by appearing in many photo shoots, “acting” in movies and on television. Vida also posed as a cover girl for Playboy.
After a failed attempt at a music career, she continues to make sporadic appearances in low budget acting projects and occasionally hosts public parties as well. If you aren’t making the scene, you can still find the photoshoots that are her chief source of income to this day, including a naked but covered PETA shoot after announcing she was a vegetarian.
14 Alexis Bledel
Gilmore Girls, a drama series starring Alexis, about a mother-daughter duo that has more of a sisterly relationship, was beloved by very loyal fans over its seven-season run. Taking the acclaim her role gave her and using it to get a leading role in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movies and Tuck Everlasting, she seemed poised to make a huge impact. After a supporting role in Sin City that saw the actress take on a far darker role than she had before, her film and television roles became less and less impactful.
Taking on the leading role in a TV series that got cancelled before a single episode had aired as well as appearing in a movie that premiered on YouTube, Alexis’ career seemed to be hitting the skids. After a short but memorable three-episode run on Mad Men, however, her career has recently gotten a huge boost with the planned revival of Gilmore Girls.
13 Charisma Carpenter
A member of the core group of friends known as the Scooby Gang on the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charisma was cast as the gorgeous popular girl type. After transitioning to the spin-off series Angel, where she appeared for the first several years of the decade, she appeared several times on both Charmed and Veronica Mars.
Cast as Jason Statham’s girlfriend in the first two Expendables movies, she has appeared in just three other movies since 2010 but she has found some success on the small screen. Cast in a recurring role on the cancelled series The Lying Game, she currently hosts a series called Surviving Evil, where she recounted an attack she suffered in the early nineties.
12 Rachel Bilson
Rachel Bilson's star-making part was that of Summer Roberts, a stuck up popular girl on the surface that soon reveals she has a heart of gold on the inside. Failing to appear in a hit film after her attempt at a blockbuster, Jumper, and a more dramatic role in The Last Kiss, which both failed, she once again found television’s warm embrace.
Starring for more than three years on the show Hart of Dixie, while also appearing on How I Met Your Mother as a tiny but memorable character, she currently finds herself without a regular gig. A renowned fashion junkie, she has tried her hand at design a few times but right now seems to be focusing on taking care of her young daughter, born in 2014.
11 Shiri Appleby
Most famous for her leading role in the sci-fi teen drama Roswell where her character created a believable and enthralling romance with an alien, she earned a rabid fanbase overnight. After taking on important roles in the movies Swimfan and Havoc, before long her roles in major projects became less prominent, like in Charlie Wilson’s War where she was credited simply as Jailbait.
Still acting to this day, Shiri appeared in a memorable role on the show Girls, where she played the new girl in the life of the show’s male lead. Currently starring on the Lifetime network show, Unreal, the series was picked up for a second season that at the time of publication has yet to debut. The victim of a photo leak, the actress remained mum about the incident.
10 Elisha Cuthbert
Appearing on the immensely popular action drama 24 from 2001 until 2010, Elisha became a sex symbol overnight. Playing an adult star in the film The Girls Next Door, only served to remind everyone how seductive she was and she has consistently appeared on lists celebrating the sexiest celebrities ever since.
Furthermore, gifted with actual acting skill, she began to make audiences laugh regularly, once she took on a lead role in the cult classic comedy, Happy Endings. Currently set to appear in Goon: Last of the Enforcers, a hockey comedy sequel and in the Netflix Original comedy series The Ranch, she seems to have found a niche that has given her career a new life.
9 Thandie Newton
An undeniably beautiful and poised actress who took the early 2000s acting scene by storm, her appearances in films alongside stars like Tom Cruise and Vin Diesel took her to the next level. The films Mission: Impossible II, Crash, The Chronicles of Riddick, The Pursuit of Happyness and Run Fatboy Run are just some of the major movies that took full advantage of her immense skills and charm.
After giving a TED talk in 2011, where she spoke about embracing what makes you different, she starred with Tyler Perry in his film Good Deeds. Taking on a lead role in the series Rogue, she left during its third season, but moved on to a mini-series called The Slap and an HBO series called Westworld in the year 2015.
8 Sophia Bush
One of the lead actors in the teen drama, One Tree Hill, her role as a cheerleader started out like the trope of the jerky popular girl. As time went on, however, her role expanded into one of the series most beloved and relatable. Branching out into films like The Hitcher and John Tucker Must Die, her film career didn’t take off as she’d hoped.
A mainstay of supporting roles on TV these days, her days as a staple of lists of the most beautiful women alive seem to be over but her looks are as amazing as ever. An ardent supporter of several charities, she seems like a genuinely kind person who deserves whatever success comes her way, like her lead role in Chicago P.D. that she has appeared on since 2014.
7 Isla Fisher
After a role in Wedding Crashers, as a woman who was meant to be a one-night stand but manages to comically sink her claws in, Isla’s allure and comedy chops shone through. Taking on lead roles in films like Hot Rod, Definitely Maybe, Confessions of a Shopaholic and Rango, none of her follow-up projects hit the way the actress and her fans would have liked.
Appearing in the long-awaited fourth season of Arrested Development in a memorable role and in The Great Gatsby and Now You See Me, all in 2013, it was a banner year for her. Unable to star in Now You See Me’s sequel since she was taking on the most important role, as a real-life mother, she has three projects set to be released soon. Set to appear alongside her husband Sacha Baron Cohen as well as Jake Gyllenhaal, Amy Adams, Zach Galifianakis and others soon, she could easily become bigger than ever before.
6 Nicole Scherzinger
A singer who fully embraced her sultry looks and sexy voice, Nicole took on the lead role in the pop group The Pussycat Dolls, which quickly made her a star. Releasing one sex-drenched song after another, tracks like Don’t’ Cha, Beep and most of all Buttons, combined a pop sound with titillating music videos, the group and Nicole seemed all too sensual.
After becoming a solo act, her album’s sales figures went downhill, but she was able to transition her public persona perfectly. Now known best for her time on reality TV shows, she was the winner of the tenth season of Dancing with the Stars and a judge on The Sing-Off and The X-Factor. There is little question that this woman is a survivor.
5 Katherine Heigl
Starring alongside Shiri Appleby in sixty episodes of the series Roswell, Katherine’s old school, grace and elegance soon earned her another popular series, Grey’s Anatomy. Managing to star on television and in film simultaneously, her roles in Knocked Up, 27 Dresses and The Ugly Truth made it seem like she could be the latest rom-com queen.
After a series of outspoken interviews where she criticized the types of roles that are available for women in Hollywood, a very legitimate problem, she started to become known as a headache. She and Grey’s Anatomy showrunner agreed to severe ties and her movies began to tank at the box office, which devastated her career. Her best shot at fame rejuvenation appears to be her upcoming CBS series, Doubt.
4 Hayden Panettiere
Another actress who we first became aware of when she played a cheerleader on television, Hayden’s character in Heroes was not your typical high schooler right from the start. Blessed with a healing factor, she regularly worked in episodes that put her in front of many people who became instantly infatuated.
After a role in Scream 4 in 2011, Hayden landed the most acclaimed role of her life, on the show Nashville. Acting on the show since 2012, as a teenage country music star who is attempting to transition into more grown-up music, the role likely speaks to her real-life struggle.
3 Eva Mendes
After a relatively minuscule role as Denzel Washington’s girl in Training Day, she seemed to catch the eyes of the public and casting directors. A very sexy woman, who has proven she is happy to show off her body, she got cast in the films 2 Fast 2 Furious, Hitch and Ghost Rider to name just three.
Recently employed as a spokesperson and model more than an actress, she routinely takes part in awe-inspiring photoshoots. The other Guys and The Place Beyond the Pines were also blessed by her inclusion and she is rumoured to be heading back to the Fast and Furious franchise, in its soon to be shot eighth installment.
2 Rachael Leigh Cook
A Hollywood it girl, for a very short period of time in the early 2000s, Rachael’s role in the 1999 film She’s All That, as an artist who becomes a real babe, won the hearts and minds of many young people. She was cast in Josie and the Pussycats during that time, a film that was meant to make her an even bigger star but instead was the last time she headlined a major motion picture.
Continuing to appear in direct to DVD or VOD films, as recently as 2014, she will likely never be forgotten by the people who came of age during her short-lived time on top. Looking every bit as pretty as pretty as she ever did, she is known to make an occasional red carpet appearance but it seems like her time in the limelight has mostly gone extinct.
1 Shannon Elizabeth
When her character in American Pie, entered into a young man’s bedroom and began to undress, the actress’ incredible body made her famous overnight, especially to those who were just coming of age. Appearing in Playboy in 1999, the same year American Pie came out, she qualified for our list because the main time period where she was lusted after, took place in the early 2000s
Roles in films that depended on her appearance over her acting ensured she remains employed off and on ever since. Unfortunately, though, the likelihood that you’ve heard of any of her films that were released after 2003, is pretty slim. Most recently she was known for appearing in the World Series of Poker, where she advanced to the semi-finals and competing on Dancing with the Stars. These days her main focus seems to be sticking up for animals as a vegan and animal activist.