The ’90s was a time of bright colors, heartwarming comedies, gritty, powerful vocals and snap bracelets. Like every decade, the ’90s had its own sense of style. Big hair was still in, mushroom haircuts and frosted tips were the norm. With a greater emphasis on relatable, realistic television shows and earnest lyrics, the ’90s had stars that people felt could be their friend in real life. These celebrities walked the fine line between fame and familiarity in both their careers and their appearances. The hottest stars of the ’90s came from nearly all angles of the entertainment industry. Our ’90s hotties came in the form of kick-ass vampire killing girls, folk-like singer-songwriters, high school sweethearts, rocker uncles and boy band members. Whether it was the height of their career or the launch pad for a lifelong entertainment career, each of these 15 celebrities will always be known for their time in the ’90s spotlight. Take a look at our list to see who has changed and who looks just as good as their days in the ’90s.
15. Karyn Parsons
Known for her role as the beautiful but bossy Hillary Banks on the popular ’90s show Fresh Prince of Bel Air, actress Karyn Parsons has always had an in charge and stunning look about her. While her acting roles have been modest since Fresh Prince, the roles that Parsons has taken have been well received by critics and fans alike. Parsons has not changed much since her time on the hit show which is a great thing, at 48 years old, her natural look is doing wonders for her!
14. Neve Campbell
Dark haired, with a bright smile and killer curves, Neve Campbell was one of the hottest stars of the ’90s. Thanks to her mysterious yet inviting look, Campbell was hard to miss. Her acting career blew up in 1994 thanks to her television role on the popular show Party of Five and in the films Scream and Wild Things. While her film and television roles aren’t always as explosive as her younger years, Campbell continues to act, appearing in shows like Mad Men. Over the years, Campbell has grown up quite a bit. Her youthful look has been replaced by an air of confidence while still maintaining a great body and her signature dark hair. Whether she’s trying new styles with a cropped pixie or keeping to her classic longer locks, Campbell continues to be a bombshell.
13. Ryan Phillippe
This heartthrob was one of the most popular actors of the late ’90s. With his then-wife Reese Whitherspoon, Ryan Phillippe made up half of an awesome (blonde haired!) power couple. Known for his roles in films like Cruel Intentions, I Know What You Did Last Summer and 54, Ryan Phillippe held the attention of women everywhere. With his signature curls, confident but reserved smirk and his lean figure, Phillippe was everywhere. His career hasn’t slowed down since his younger years either. This dad of two has had several notable film roles in recent years.
These days, we may see Ryan with a more edgy look when his beard is grown in, but his iconic hair still holds its curl and whether he likes it or not, he still has that innocent looking face. Phillippe now seems content to quietly go about his career without as much attention focused on him as he once had.
Jewel came onto the music scene with a refreshing sense of confidence and simplicity. While it was clear from the beginning that Jewel was uninterested in following the current style trends of the ’90s, she always had a striking presence about her. Her heartfelt lyrics and intoxicating guitar playing were like a melancholy lullaby. It didn’t come as much of a surprise when Jewel quietly let herself come out of the blaring spotlight she had been in for half of the 1990s. While Jewel is still recording music, she is set to release a memoir later this year. Her humble appreciation for her craft and her hauntingly honest style of music seem to have helped Jewel keep her youthfulness about her.
11. Carmen Electra
From an MTV host bombshell to a Baywatch babe, Carmen Electra was a queen of ’90s hotness. Always laughing and ready to joke around, it was easy to see that Carmen loves to have fun. After her days as a regular host on MTV, Carmen went on to act in a variety of films, especially spoof comedies. While her personal life had some ups and downs, including a short-lived marriage to Dennis Rodman and a later (seemingly better matched) marriage to Dave Navarro, Carmen has maintained her true, fun loving charm. Her look has evolved to a slightly more edgy look. Changing up her hair color frequently, Carmen isn’t afraid to fit her style to what she’s currently feeling works best. Continuing her work in film and television roles, Carmen is keeping this hot ’90s star active and busy.
10. Jennifer Love Hewitt
In many ways, Jennifer Love Hewitt was like the beloved prom queen of hot ’90s celebrities. She had a girl-next-door appeal paired with an angelic sort of beauty. Getting her start on the ’90s show Party of Five helped launch Hewitt into the public eye. On the toes of her television role came a venture into film acting with her roles in the I Know What You Did Last Summer film franchise. Today, Hewitt seems to prefer working in television acting roles with popular titles such as Ghost Whisperer and several appearances on the comedy Hot in Cleveland. Despite much of Jennifer’s signature look remaining similar to her younger days with her long brunette locks and her petite frame, Hewitt has recently been sporting a new look — pregnancy. Glowing and happy about her baby bump, Hewitt seems to have retained her sweet, bubbly personality that everyone fell in love with back in the ’90s. We have no doubt that she will look even more beautiful as she continues her pregnancy and after the baby arrives.
9. John Stamos
John Stamos got his break playing the funny, rock loving gorgeous character Uncle Jesse on Full House. While Stamos was considered gorgeous back in the day, his appearance today proves that some things just get better with age. He has ditched the longer hair that was so popular in the ’90s for a more polished yet still playful look while keeping that bad boy edge. While Stamos has continued to act and work in various roles within the film and television industry since his days on Full House, he was widely noticed for his Dannon Greek yogurt endorsement (that was sadly terminated earlier this year). Still, it seems as though that charming smile and handsome look will always be around for John.
8. Keri Russell
During the late ’90s Keri Russell had a breakthrough role as the lead on the hit show Felicity, and she seemed to go through as much of a journey of self exploration as her character Felicity did. What made Keri’s performance great was her sense of transparency and her unique look. Russell’s piercing eyes and curly hair were impossible to miss. Since her days on Felicity, Russell has continued to work in both film and television roles, spreading her wings from drama to sci-fi action films. Today, Russell sports the same petite figure and still has that engaging look to her, though her hair is typically kept a more natural brunette shade. While her natural curls likely still exist, Russell seems to prefer a more subtle wavy look to her hair. Blonde or brunette, wavy or curly Russell is still a knockout.
7. James Van Der Beek
Best known for his lead role on the ’90s hit show Dawson’s Creek, James Van Der Beek was the dreamer next door that everyone loved. Van Der Beek’s youthful, almost too innocent look blended well with his character Dawson and his dreamer personality. In his more recent roles, Van Der Beek has traded in his youthful ’90s cut for a more tight and edgy hairstyle and more natural dark blonde coloring. While his overall figure hasn’t changed much since his days on Dawson’s Creek, his confidence and almost smug smile tell us that Van Der Beek is a bit more grounded and confident than the character who launched him to stardom.
6. AJ McLean
The ’90s was an epic time for boy bands. From the Backstreet Boys, Boyz II Men, N’Sync, 98 Degrees and others, boy bands seemed to rule the pop world at the time. One of the greatest bad boy hotties from the ’90s boy band era was AJ McLean from the Backstreet Boys. With his dark hair, chiseled abs, colorful hair and soulful vocals, there wasn’t much about AJ that ’90s girls didn’t like. While McLean has seen his share of hard times, including facing the reality of his alcohol addiction, he has regained his footing in the music world. Preforming in more intimate venues and making modest appearances on television shows over the years, McLean has a more filled out and healthy look. His signature tattoos and rocker style look remain, but the colorful hair is gone. McLean may not be as wild as he was in his Backstreet Boys days, but he certainly looks more comfortable in his own skin.
5. Jonathan Taylor Thomas
The object of most all preteen girl’s dreams in the ’90s, Jonathan Taylor Thomas (JTT) was on the cover of endless teen magazines. He gained even more recognition for his roles as Randy on the show Home Improvement and the voice of Simba in Disney’s smash hit The Lion King. It seemed that JTT would be a staple in young heartthrob territory for years to come. While Thomas went on to do a few more made for TV film roles, his career quieted down considerably during the ’00s compared to his ’90s days. Today, Thomas looks a bit more hip in his role on ABC’s Last Man Standing. While he traded his blond streaks for a more natural looking brunette tone, his face still has a hint of that adorable kid from the ’90s. While JTT may not be the raging star he was growing up, he looks pretty comfortable in his current acting life.
4. Fiona Apple
The hit song “Criminal” from Fiona Apple seemed to permeate everyone’s ears when they heard it. There was something old, raw and relatable in the way the then teenage Fiona Apple sang. The song “Criminal” went on to win Apple a Grammy, though she never seemed to let the fame change how she looked. Apple’s beauty always had a seemingly effortless appeal to it. Over the years, she has continued to produce albums under her record label, though her pace has slowed down a bit. Apple hasn’t been as present in the public eye in the past couple of years, but her more recent performances show her looking unlike herself. While her same intensity is still present when she preforms, Apple appears more slender and less rejuvenated in her most current performances. Hopefully the next time we see Apple preform, she will be back to her edgy but vibrant, confident self.
3. Devon Sawa
Canadian actor Devon Sawa became well known for his role as Casper in the film of the same name. Girls fell hard for his blonde hair, light eyes and baby face. His role in the ’90s film Now and Then kept Sawa’s clean cut, boy-next-door persona alive and well. Sawa went on to show a more edgy side of his acting in Final Destination. Today, Sawa tends to take on more television acting roles. He completely shed his sweet ’90s persona for a more rugged, dangerous yet striking look. Hints of his blonde hair still remain, but Sawa’s more athletic build, shorter haircut and tough-guy persona have elevated him from a sweet boy to a hot, take action kind of man.
2. Sarah Michelle Gellar
From a kick ass vampire slayer on Buffy the Vampire Slayer to the upfront and take charge Kathryn in Cruel Intentions, Sarah Michelle Gellar was among the top ’90s actresses with a killer attitude and gorgeous looks. Gellar has gone on to work in popular thriller films such as the Grudge films and others. While Gellar still has the blonde hair, fit body and melt worthy smile, she now has an air of confidence that only comes with age. Yes, some of Gellar’s classic features are still present, but today she’s more sultry and confident than ever. Balancing a girl-next-door charm with an independent attitude gives Sarah Michelle Gellar a winning look that will never age.
1. Tiffani Thiessen
Most 90s kids remember Tiffani as the bubbly brunette bombshell Kelly Kapowski on the hit show Saved by the Bell. Tiffani seemed to have it all, a sweet personality, a successful career and a beautiful yet relatable look. Her role on Beverly Hills 90210 would solidify Tiffani as a major ’90s star. Tiffani has continued her acting career over the years, and currently plays a character named Elizabeth Burke on the show White Collar. While her style of TV show characters has changed, she is still recognizable from her ’90s star days. She typically has her iconic long dark brown hair, wears a sweet smile and has kept her body in great shape.
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