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The Most Famous Actresses of the Early 2000s, Then And Now

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As we look back on the early 2000s, it’s hard not to think about the actresses who were dominating the screens at the time. Some of these talented women seemed to be on our screens nonstop, leaving us to wonder how they even had time to rest.

But while some of them were constantly in the public eye, others have not been seen as frequently. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and remember the actresses who left a lasting impression on us and played a significant role in shaping the early 2000s into what they were.

Mischa Barton

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Mischa Barton rose to fame overnight for her performance as Marissa Cooper in the hit TV show “The O.C.” She received several Teen Choice Awards and was crowned the “Next Big Thing” by Glamour magazine. Entertainment Weekly even hailed her as the “It Girl” of 2003. However, Mischa eventually left the show after the third season finale in May 2006.

Since then, she has made public gossip about her legal issues and impulsive actions. Despite her departure from “The O.C.,” Mischa Barton will always be remembered as one of the quintessential actresses of the 00s. She played a significant role in shaping the television landscape and captivating audiences with her talent.

Eva Mendes

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Eva Mendes made her breakthrough in the 2001 thriller “Training Day,” which was a motivation for her to continue pursuing acting. Following her debut, she gained more exposure to the public after playing a role in “2 Fast 2 Furious,” alongside Paul Walker and Tyrese Gibson.

Eva Mendes has appeared in several romantic comedies, including “Hitch” and “Ghost Rider.” There’s something about her that captivates audiences and makes her different.

Jessica Simpson

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Jessica Simpson was a prominent figure in the entertainment industry during the early 2000s. She achieved success both as a singer and an actress, with roles in popular TV shows and films such as “The Dukes of Hazzard,” “Employee of the Month,” and “Newlyweds.” However, Simpson was criticized for being portrayed as a “dumb blonde,” which led to her taking a hiatus from the public eye for several years.

In 2017, Jessica Simpson revealed her struggles with substance abuse and financial troubles. Her lifestyle brand, The Jessica Simpson Collection, accumulated over $60 million in debt and had to file for bankruptcy. Despite these setbacks, Simpson remains a significant figure of the 00s and her influence on pop culture during that time will always be remembered.


Evan Rachel Wood

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Evan Rachel Wood is a well-known actress in independent cinema, having acted since childhood. Her role as Tracy Freeland in the 2003 film “Thirteen” earned her critical acclaim, and she demonstrated her singing abilities in the 2007 Beatles-inspired musical “Across the Universe.”

Wood gained attention in recent years for her portrayal of Dolores Abernathy, a sentient robot, in the popular HBO series “Westworld.” She is also an advocate for various causes, including mental health awareness and LGBTQ+ rights. She has been open about her own struggles with mental health and is an active supporter of the #MeToo movement.

Lucy Liu

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Lucy Liu rose to leading lady status by playing Alex Munday in the “Charlie’s Angels” reboots from 2000 and 2003. She first broke out in her role as Ling Woo in the popular 90s sitcom “Ally McBeal.” The steely starlet was known as the all-rounder Angel and was an expert in electronics and martial arts and a master tactician.

After her success with “Charlie’s Angels,” Liu went on to land even more major acting gigs. In 2002, she starred in the musical “Chicago” and in 2003, she appeared in Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill.” Lucy Liu has proven herself to be a versatile and talented actress, and her impact on the entertainment industry during the 00s will not be forgotten.

Hilary Duff

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Hilary Duff, who rose to fame as Lizzie McGuire on the Disney Channel, has come a long way since her childhood acting days. She made a small fortune playing Lizzie and then continued to land roles in TV movies. If you watched a 2000s romantic comedy, chances are she was in it! Some of the most notable ones include “A Cinderella Story,” “The Perfect Man,” and “Raise Your Voice.”

Despite her early success, Duff faced criticism for her portrayal of a stereotypical “good girl” in her acting roles. However, she has since become an advocate for body positivity and has used her platform to promote self-love. Overall, Hilary Duff’s impact on pop culture during the 2000s will always be remembered.


Julia Stiles

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Julia Stiles was considered a different type of “It Girl” after her breakout role as the rebellious Kat in the 1999 hit film “10 Things I Hate About You.” She continued to climb the A-list celebrity ladder with her role in “Save the Last Dance” two years later. However, her career took a downturn after appearing in a few films that were commercial failures, except for a supporting role in the “Bourne” film saga.

Like many other actresses of the 2000s, Julia Stiles seemed to have disappeared from the spotlight. Despite this, Stiles remains a notable figure of the early 2000s and her memorable performances in popular films will always be remembered by fans.

Zoe Saldana

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Zoe Saldana is an American actress of Dominican and Puerto Rican descent, who began her film career in the 2000 dance drama “Center Stage.” After that, she quickly rose to fame in the early 2000s with roles in major films such as “Crossroads” with Britney Spears, “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” and of course, “Avatar” in 2009.

Fortunately, Saldana’s career has only continued to flourish since then, with starring roles in blockbuster hits such as “Star Trek,” “Guardians of the Galaxy,” and “Avengers: Endgame.” She has proven herself to be a versatile and talented actress.

Alyson Hannigan

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Alyson Hannigan started her acting career early, appearing in commercials for Oreos when she was just four years old. Her breakthrough role came in 1997 when she began her role on the hit show “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” She went on to gain even more recognition for her roles in the mega-popular “American Pie” and “How I Met Your Mother.”

While Hannigan rose to fame during the early 00s, she has since become an established star. Overall, Hannigan’s early start in the entertainment industry and her memorable performances in popular TV shows and films helped solidify her status as a prominent figure of the 00s. Despite her success during that time, she has continued to work on various projects and remains an influential actress today.


Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez is a multi-talented artist who had a successful acting career in the early 2000s. She starred in popular movies such as “The Wedding Planner,” “Jersey Girl,” and “Monster-In-Law,” which were widely watched and appreciated by audiences.

Her acting contributions helped cement her as one of the true symbols of the early aughts. Fortunately, Jennifer Lopez is still an active actress to this day. In addition to her acting career, she has continued to pursue her music career and other ventures.

Jessica Alba

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Jessica Alba was a major Hollywood celebrity in the 00s and was seen pretty much everywhere. Her breakthrough role was in the action show “Dark Angel” as the genetically modified soldier for good, Max. Her depiction of modern female empowerment was loved by all and contributed to her popularity.

After “Dark Angel,” Alba went on to appear in several popular films such as “Honey,” “Sin City,” and “Fantastic Four.” Die-hard fans will also remember her from her roles in “Good Luck Chuck” and “Rise of the Silver Surfer.”

Maggie Gyllenhaal

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Maggie Gyllenhaal’s first acting roles were in films directed by her father, in which she co-starred with her famous brother, Jake Gyllenhaal. Her big break came in the cult classic “Donnie Darko” in 2001, followed by a notable role in “Secretary” in 2002.

From there, Gyllenhaal went on to star in a variety of films, including “Sherrybaby,” “Mona Lisa Smile,” “Away We Go,” and “Stranger Than Fiction.” In recent years, she has expanded her creative endeavors to include directing her own movies.

Debra Messing

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Debra Messing co-starred in the Fox hit comedy “Ned & Stacy,” which ran from 1995 to 2017, and was also featured in 00s films such as “The Women,” “The Mothman Prophecies,” and “Along Came Polly.” However, it was her role as Grace Adler in “Will and Grace” that made her a renowned comedic actress.


In 2002, she was even named one of the most beautiful women in the world. Messing’s portrayal of Grace Adler helped solidify her status as a prominent figure of the 00s. Her comedic talent and on-screen chemistry with the rest of the cast made “Will and Grace” a hit show, and it remains a beloved classic to this day.

Rebecca Romijn

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Model Rebecca Romijn first gained attention as Victoria’s Secret contract model in 1994. She later appeared on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 1999.

Romijn then transitioned to acting, with notable roles such as playing Mystique in the original X-Men trilogy, as well as in movies like “Rollerball” and “The Punisher.” She has also made appearances on television, with roles in “Ugly Betty” and “Star Trek: Discovery.”

Alexis Bledel

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Alexis Bledel is best known for her role as Rory Gilmore in the early 2000s hit series “Gilmore Girls” and her lead role in “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.” The 00s were a fruitful decade for her, as she also starred in movies such as “Sin City” and “Tuck Everlasting.”

Nowadays, fans can see her in the critically-acclaimed series “The Handmaid’s Tale,” but for many, it’s still hard to watch her on-screen without seeing Rory. Despite her early success, Alexis has kept a relatively low profile over the years. She’s known for being private about her personal life and avoiding the Hollywood spotlight.

Kate Winslet

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Kate Winslet was slowly making a name for herself in the ’90s with roles in films such as “Sense and Sensibility” and “Heavenly Creatures”, but her starring performance in the 1997 blockbuster “Titanic” set her in stone as a megastar of the decade to come.

After “Titanic,” the British beauty appeared in acclaimed movies such as “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and “Steve Jobs”. Kate has gone on to act in many movies, but we still have a soft spot for the ones she made in the 00s when her star was just starting to rise.


Brittany Snow


Brittany Snow got her start on the CBS soap opera “Guiding Light” before transitioning to the NBC series “American Dreams,” where she won three Teen Choice Awards for her role. In addition to acting, she is also a singer and an advocate for a number of causes, including ending bullying in schools.

Snow has been open about her struggles with eating disorders and even co-founded the “Love is Louder Movement.” Her talents were in high demand during the 00s, with casting directors regularly casting her in teen movies such as “Hairspray” and “John Tucker Must Die.”

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen

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Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen began their acting careers at a very young age. Their early filmography was packed with stunt casting as twins, identical strangers, and sisters, and their star power grew. The two started their own production company, releasing movies all through the 00s. Some of their most popular titles include “Passport to Paris,” “Switching Goals,” and “New York Minute,” among others.

The Olsens also had two TV shows, “It Takes Two,” and “So Little Time.” However, just as the 00s came to an end, so did the twins’ movie career. Today, Mary-Kate and Ashley have dedicated their time to their fashion empire.

Shannen Doherty

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Shannen Doherty had a busy time in the 00s, paving her way into Hollywood after playing Brenda in the original “Beverly Hills 90210” and impressing everyone as Prue Halliwell in “Charmed.”

However, her bad reputation followed her throughout her career, and offers began to dry up. Despite continuing with sporadic television appearances and the occasional TV movie, unfortunately, Shannen was never able to bounce back.

Olivia Wilde

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Before becoming a successful actress, Olivia Wilde briefly modeled for Abercrombie & Fitch. She then started her acting career on television with a role on “Skins,” where she used the name Jewel Goldman. She eventually changed her name to Olivia Wilde after her favorite writer, Oscar Wilde.


After her breakout role in “The O.C.,” Wilde continued to act in both television and film. Some of her notable film appearances include “The Change-Up” and “In Time.” However, she has recently transitioned into directing, with her directorial debut, “Booksmart,” released in 2019.

Neve Campbell

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Neve Campbell was a beloved actress in the ’90s and early 2000s, known for her roles in “The Craft” (1995) and “Scream” (1996). While she continued to act in the 2000s with movies such as “Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical,” “Last Call,” and “Closing the Ring,” her recent roles have been few and far between.

Despite her absence from the screen, Campbell has not given up acting entirely. She now lives in the UK with her two children, where she continues to pursue her craft. Fans of the talented actress can only hope that she will return to the big screen soon.

Blake Lively

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Born in 1987, Blake Lively was considered one of the golden girls of the 00s. She gained popularity for her role as Bridget Vreeland in the 2005 film “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” and its sequel in 2008.

However, it was her portrayal of Serena van der Woodsen in the hit teen show “Gossip Girl” that made her a household name. Lively’s relatable personality and effortless charm made her stand out from other actresses of her time.

Evangeline Lilly

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Evangeline Lilly rose to fame in the early 2000s with guest-starring roles in TV shows like “Tru Calling” and “Smallville.” However, it was her role as Kate Austen in the hit TV series “Lost” that made her a household name.

As one of the hottest TV stars of the decade, she was able to work consistently after the show’s end. Although she has mostly stayed out of the spotlight since then, she has made appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Wasp.


Katie Holmes

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Katie Holmes started her career in modeling at the young age of 16, competing in her first contest and going on to have a successful amateur teen career. She then transitioned to acting, gaining her moment in the spotlight with her role as Joey in the hit TV show “Dawson’s Creek.” She fully immersed herself in Hollywood when she got together with Tom Cruise, and even landed a role in the 2005 box-office hit “Batman Begins.”

After that, Holmes shifted her focus to family life, and her appearances on the big and small screens became increasingly rare. It seems that her fans are eager to see her return to the spotlight, but for now, Holmes seems content to focus on her personal life and raising her daughter.

Rachel Bilson

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Rachel Bilson was a standout cast member in the popular teen show “The O.C.” Known for her portrayal of the original mean girl Summer Roberts, Bilson’s character arc was one of the most beloved of the series. Originally intended to be a minor character, Bilson’s performance was so popular that she was added to the main cast for all four seasons of the show.

In real life, Bilson dated her on-screen partner Adam Brody, and was later romantically linked to comedian Bill Hader. Despite her success on “The O.C.” and in other acting roles, Bilson has recently taken a step back from acting.

Marcia Cross


Marcia Cross is an American actress who first gained recognition for her role in the popular television series “Melrose Place.” However, her breakthrough role came in 2004 when she was cast as Bree Van de Kamp in the hit ABC show “Desperate Housewives.” The show ran for eight seasons, earning Cross several nominations for Golden Globe and Emmy awards.

During the 00s, Cross solidified her status as a prominent figure in the entertainment industry thanks to her impeccable acting skills and captivating performances.


Kirsten Dunst

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Despite starting her career at a young age, Kirsten Dunst proved herself as a versatile and talented actress with roles in popular films such as the Spiderman series, “Mona Lisa Smile,” and “Melancholia.” Dunst’s girl-next-door charm and acting abilities made her a standout star of the era.

Although she rose to fame as a 2000s teen star, Dunst has established herself as more than just a passing trend. She has continued to act in a variety of roles and has earned critical acclaim for her performances.

Liv Tyler

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Daughter of famous musician Steven Tyler and model Bebe Buell, Liv Tyler began her acting career in the early 90s, with small but significant roles in films such as “That Thing You Do” and “Empire Records.” However, it was in the early 2000s that Tyler gained widespread recognition for her roles in big-budget movies such as “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy and “Armageddon.”

Despite her continued success in the entertainment industry, Tyler’s iconic status during the 00s remains unparalleled. Her natural talent and effortless charm on-screen made her a standout star of the era.

Natalie Portman

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Natalie Portman made her feature film debut in 1994 with “Leon: The Professional” and quickly established herself as one of the most talented actresses in Hollywood. Her performances in films such as “Black Swan,” “Garden State,” and “Closer” were widely praised and cemented her status as an A-list star.

Despite her early success, Portman continued to challenge herself with diverse and impressive projects beyond the 00s. In 2017, she received an Oscar nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for her outstanding performance in the title role of “Jackie.”

Michelle Yeoh

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Michelle Yeoh, a Malaysian-born actress, had major success in Asia before landing a role in the 1997 James Bond film “Tomorrow Never Dies.” She starred in some of China’s biggest hit movies at the time, and her kick-ass style in martial arts action films caught Hollywood’s attention.


Following her Bond girl role, Yeoh landed the lead role in the 2000 Academy Award-winning film “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.” Despite her star seeming to fade after the 00s, she has made a comeback in recent years with movies like “Crazy Rich Asians” and “Everything, Everywhere All At Once.”

Alicia Silverstone

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Alicia Silverstone gained fame as a teen idol at the age of 16 when she appeared in Aerosmith’s “Cryin'” music video. Three years later, she became one of the most famous and popular 19-year-olds in Hollywood after her breakout role in the hit 1995 film “Clueless.”

In the late 90s and early 00s, Silverstone continued to work consistently, becoming a voice of a generation before taking a break from acting. Overall, Silverstone’s impact on pop culture during the 00s cannot be denied.

Lacey Chabert

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Lacey Chabert is most well-known for her role as Gretchen Wieners in the iconic 2005 film “Mean Girls.” However, her acting career actually began in the 90s when she played one of Erica Kane’s daughters in the popular soap opera “All My Children.” After that, she went on to star in the hit TV show “Party of Five.”

Despite her early success, Chabert has mostly worked on Hallmark movies in recent years, with a total of fourteen films under her belt. She currently lives with her husband David Nehdar and their daughter, who was born in 2016.

Melinda Clarke

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Melinda Clarke, the actress known for her roles in hit TV shows like “The O.C.”, “Entourage”, and “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”, actually surprised many of her fans with her natural hair color. She was born with dark brown hair, but her portrayal of iconic redhead characters made many believe that her red hair was natural.

While Clarke hasn’t been an active actress since 2018, her memorable performances in popular TV shows of the 2000s have solidified her status as a prominent figure of the era.


Julianne Moore

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Daughter of a U.S. Army Paratrooper and born at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Julianne Moore is a true military brat. Growing up, she attended nine different schools as her father was relocated, which might explain how she is able to fit into any role.

Moore has been a part of many iconic movies, including “Boogie Nights” and “The Big Lebowski”. In 2015, she received an Oscar for Best Actress for her role in “Still Alice.” In 2021, she participated in the film version of the musical “Dear Evan Hansen.” She is a natural redhead but has admitted that she goes to the hairdresser to make her hair color look bolder and better.

Jennifer Love Hewitt

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Jennifer Love Hewitt was a prominent actress during the early 2000s, earning a lot of money as a teen queen. She continued to act and landed another hit TV show when she was cast as the lead on “Ghost Whisperer.” In addition to acting, Jennifer has also released four albums, with the last one being in 2002, and wrote a book of dating advice titled “The Day I Shot Cupid.”

During the 00s, it was hard to turn your head and not see Jennifer somewhere on your screen. Today, she has since taken a break from acting and is now a mother of three children and married to Brian Hallisay.

Jennie Garth

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Jennie Garth began her acting career in the early 90s with a notable appearance on the super hit television show “Growing Pains.” She then landed the role of Kelly Taylor in “Beverly Hills, 90210,” which gave her the opportunity to win the hearts of people worldwide.

During the 2000s, Garth’s career continued to thrive with TV shows like “What I Like About You” and the revival of “90210,” as well as a variety of TV movies.

Amy Adams


Amy Adams is a talented redhead actress who has received Oscar nominations for her roles in “Junebug” (2005), “The Fighter” (2010), and “Doubt” (2008). She was incredibly busy in the late 00s, appearing in ten movies between 2007-2009. During this time, she solidified her status as one of the most sought-after actresses in Hollywood.


Despite the early success in the 00s, Amy Adams’ career continued to flourish. She has continued to act in a variety of roles and has received critical acclaim for her performances. Most recently, she appeared in the 2022 film “Disenchanted,” proving that her star power has not faded over time.

Megan Fox

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Megan Fox’s career took off after she became a regular on the TV sitcom “Hope & Faith” and landed a role in the 2004 teen comedy “Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen.” However, it was her breakout performance in the 2007 hit action film “Transformers” that made her a household name. She also appeared in the sequel “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.”

Despite taking a break from acting for a few years to focus on her family, Megan Fox has recently made a comeback and has been busy with various projects.

Emma Roberts

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Emma Roberts was born into the Hollywood elite, with Julia Roberts as her aunt and Eric Roberts as her father. Although she has already become a mainstream star, in the 00s, she was just starting out. During that decade, she starred in several notable projects, including “Unfabulous,” “Nancy Drew,” and “Wild Child.”

Despite her privileged upbringing, Roberts worked hard to establish herself as a talented actress. She has since gone on to star in several successful films and TV shows, earning critical acclaim and a loyal fanbase.

Salma Hayek

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Salma Hayek will always be remembered for her titular role in the 2002 movie “Frida,” where she played Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Her stunning portrayal of the artist made her a household name and earned her widespread acclaim from audiences and critics alike.

During the 00s, Hayek also appeared in other movies such as “Once Upon a Time in Mexico,” “Spy Kids 3,” and “Lonely Hearts.”


Lindsay Lohan

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Lindsay Lohan was introduced to the entertainment industry at a young age, appearing in ads for various brands before earning her breakout role in the Disney film “The Parent Trap” at the age of 11. As she got older, Lohan continued to act in popular 00s teen movies like “Get a Clue” and “Freaky Friday.” She also pursued a music career and recorded several songs for Disney.

During the peak of her career, Lohan took on more serious roles in films such as “Mean Girls” and “Bobby.” However, her career was eventually hindered by substance abuse issues.

Hilary Swank


Hilary Swank dropped out of high school at 16 to pursue acting. At 18, she got her first acting debut as Kimberly in the 1992 film “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” By the year 2000, she had become a household name and went on to win her first Oscar in 2005 for her incredible performance in “Million Dollar Baby.”

After her Oscar win, Swank continued to take on challenging roles, including in the 2007 film “Freedom Writers.” By the end of the decade, she portrayed Amelia Earhart in the 2009 film “Amelia.”

Scarlett Johansson

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Known for her role as Black Widow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Scarlett Johansson got her start in the entertainment industry in the 00s. She began acting at the young age of 10 and quickly rose to fame with her performances in films such as “Lost in Translation” and “Girl with a Pearl Earring.”

Since then, Johansson has become one of the most sought-after actresses in Hollywood, earning critical acclaim for her performances and becoming the highest-paid actress of 2018. Despite her status as a Hollywood sex symbol, Johansson remains an all-American sweetheart to her fans.

Jayma Mays

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Jayma Mays grew up in Tennessee and kicked off her television career with a role on the Friends spinoff “Joey” in 2004. In 2007, she starred in her first film, “Epic Movie,” where she met her future husband, fellow actor Adam Campbell.


From 2009 to 2015, Jayma became a household name for her role as Emma Pillsbury in the popular musical TV show “Glee.” She also gained attention for her performance in the 2006 NBC series “Heroes.”

Cynthia Nixon

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Cynthia Nixon, who played Miranda in HBO’s “Sex and the City,” was an essential part of the iconic show that reminds us of the turn of the millennium. In 2021, a new season of the show titled “And Just Like That…” was released, and Nixon reprised her role as Miranda.

While still active in the entertainment industry, Nixon has also branched out into politics and even ran for governor in New York in 2018. With the return of “Sex and the City,” fans are excited to see their beloved characters back on screen.

Kristen Bell

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Kristen Bell is a well-known actress today, thanks to her roles in “The Good Place” and the “Frozen” films. However, her career in the 2000s was just as impressive. She first gained recognition for her lead role in the television series “Veronica Mars,” which premiered in 2004.

After that, Bell appeared in a variety of projects, including the films “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “Couples Retreat” in 2008 and 2009, respectively. Despite her success during the 2000s, Bell is still an active actress and continues to work on various projects.

Michelle Williams


Michelle Williams began her acting career at the age of 9, and her first big break came when she was cast in the 1994 classic film “Lassie.” Like many child actors, Williams faced bullying when she returned to school.

In 9th grade, she convinced her parents to let her homeschool, and in 1998, she landed a role in the American hit show “Dawson’s Creek.” After her breakout role, Williams went on to star in a number of 00s box-office hits, including “Brokeback Mountain” and “I’m Not There.”

Reese Witherspoon

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Reese Witherspoon starred in some of the era’s most iconic films, including the “Legally Blonde” franchise, “Walk the Line,” and “Wild.” Witherspoon’s talent and charm on-screen helped her earn two Golden Globe awards, a BAFTA, an Emmy, and an Oscar.


Although she got her start in the 2000s, Witherspoon’s career continued to thrive in the following years, with notable roles in TV shows such as “Big Little Lies” and “The Morning Show.” She ended her marriage with Ryan Phillipe in 2007 and is now happily married to producer Jim Toth. With three beautiful children, Witherspoon remains a beloved figure in Hollywood.

Jennifer Aniston

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Jennifer Aniston was undoubtedly one of the most prominent actresses of the 00s. While she had already established herself as a household name through her role in the hit TV show “Friends,” it was during this decade that she truly became America’s Sweetheart.

Despite the end of “Friends” in 2004, Aniston continued to take on a wide range of projects throughout the decade. Some of her notable films during this time include “Along Came Polly,” “Rumor Has It…,” and “Marley and Me.” Her popularity during the 00s was unrivaled, and she was widely regarded as the It Girl of the era.

Kat Dennings

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Kat Dennings is not only a talented actress but also a unique beauty in the industry, with her curvaceous figure and dark hair. She made her acting debut in 2000 on HBO’s “Sex and the City,” playing an obnoxious 13-year-old who hires Samantha to handle PR for her Bat Mitzvah.

Since then, Dennings has received four acting award nominations between 2008 and 2014. She is currently engaged to rock star Andrew W.K., as of May 2021.

Emma Watson

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The world was first introduced to the incredible Emma Watson after her portrayal of Hermione Granger. It was, of course in the highly successful “Harry Potter” film series, which ran from 2000-2011, making Emma the quintessential 00s kid-to-teen star.

She has since appeared in various popular films, such as “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” and 2017’s live-action remake of “Beauty and the Beast”. The actress is an avid women’s rights advocate and travels the world to speak on the topic.


Tara Reid

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In the late ’90s and early 2000s, Reid was on her way up. We fell in love with her thanks to her role in “American Pie” and her appearance in “The Big Lebowski,” but we got to know the real her thanks to her time on “Wild On!”. It was later renamed “Taradise.”

Sadly, ever since the 00s, her once-promising career has turned into a classic case of too many jägerbombs. She’s been appearing in a lot of small projects, but the small parts don’t get a lot of press. She’s still working, and it looks like she’s cleaned things up, but she’s unlikely to get back to her fleeting stardom.

Renée Zellweger

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What’s more 00s than Renée Zellweger in “Bridget Jones’s Diary”? Nothing is. Not to mention 2002’s “Chicago.” Zellweger was also one of the highest-paid actresses in 2008, but sadly, right after that, it seemed that her career momentum slowed down and she was starring in flop after flop.

Before we ruffle any feathers, there’s no doubt that Renée Zellweger is an amazing actress. Still, her box office bombs, combined with some questionable plastic surgery that left her looking completely different, have resulted in her kind of disappearing from the public eye.

Laura Prepon

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Laura was born in Watchung, New Jersey in 1980. She’s the daughter of a high school teacher mother and a surgeon father. As a teen, she did some modeling and had several small acting roles. Her most notable role was in “That 70s Show,” which started in 1998 and ended in 2006. The show made Laura into a 00s star.

Her career didn’t end there, in fact, it only grew bigger and better with her role in “Orange Is the New Black.” She also had a recurring role on “How I Met Your Mother” as Ted’s two-timing college girlfriend.

Amber Heard

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Amber Heard recently made it to the news with her highly-publicized divorce from actor Johnny Depp. However, it would be wrong to forget her acting chops because of it. You might have seen her in “Never Back Down,” “Drive Angry,” “3 Days To Kill,” “Pineapple Express,” and “Friday Night Lights.”


All of these titles were major 2000s hits! There is no doubt that she will appear in more projects in the future.

Lauren Ambrose


Born in New Haven, Connecticut, Lauren has amassed a serious following due to her films and TV shows. Ambrose started off in theater in New York before getting supporting roles on the long-running TV series “Law & Order.”

The actress starred in the 1998 teen classic “Can’t Hardly Wait.” From 2001 to 2005, she starred in the hit HBO series “Six Feet Under” playing the role of Claire Fisher. She also has twangy music talent and is part of a dixie jazz band called “Lauren Ambrose and the Leisure Class.”

Judy Greer


This redhead is both a talented actress and an author. Born in Detroit in 1975 as Judith Therese Evans, she started off her career in small roles in big films like the 2000s “What Women Want.”

She’s one of these actresses who are mostly cast to play quirky characters. She’s been cast as a supporting actor in countless projects through the decade and we suspect there’s a chance she was one of the busiest actresses of that time.

Sarah Michelle Gellar


While starring in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” Sarah Michelle Gellar really became a pop culture icon of the 90s and 2000s. She was a blonde babe with a fierce attitude, and so she went on to land big gigs in “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” “Cruel Intentions,” and “Scream 2.”

They were all favorite cult classics but then, Gellar seemed to disappear from the Hollywood map. Luckily for us, she has since made a return to acting.

Mila Kunis

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Every girl in the late 90s and early 2000s wanted to be Mila Kunis. She was somehow super cute and totally beautiful at the same time, and she repeatedly got to kiss Ashton Kutcher on screen. Well, not much has changed! She’s still gorgeous, and now she’s married to Ashton Kutcher, and the pair has two kids with some very lucky genes.

Mila is still gracing our screens today – and if you can’t see her, you can likely still hear her. She’s been voicing Meg on the animated series “Family Guy” for over 20 years. The more you know!


Angelina Jolie

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Do we even need to introduce Angelina Jolie? Of course not! She’s one of the biggest stars of Hollywood, but back in the 90s and 00s, she was still an upcoming talent. She first rose to fame when she got a starring role in 1999’s “Girl, Interrupted.”

She then went on to star in movies like “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” and 2005’s s “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” where she of course met her now ex-husband, Brad Pitt.

Zooey Deschanel

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Known for her “adorkable” portrayal of Jess Day on “New Girl” from 2011-2018, Zooey Deschanel is what we would call a “manic pixie dream girl.” But, before she became mainstream she appeared in many 00s indie movies.

Everyone remembers 2009’s “500 Days of Summer” where Zooey starred alongside Joseph Gordon-Levitt. One year earlier she acted with Jim Carrey in 2008’s “Yes Man.” Sadly, she hasn’t done much since “New Girl.” We hope we’ll get to see more of her in the upcoming decades.

Raven Symoné

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Raven Symoné was only two when she began her modeling career. At age four, she auditioned for a role on “The Cosby Show.” Although she was young for the original part, Cosby created the role of little Olivia for her. In 2001, the young star auditioned to play a role in an upcoming Disney Channel series. Instead, the producers offered her a lead character and changed the show’s name to “That’s So Raven” (2003).

Later, she appeared in numerous Disney titles, including “Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century” (1999), “The Proud Family” (2001), “Cory in the House” (2007), and “Princess Diaries 2” (2004). She was definitely one of the more prominent 00s stars!

Isla Fisher

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This Irish-Australian actress kicked off her Hollywood career playing Mary Jane in the 2002 movie “Scooby-Doo.” She has really risen to fame since then.


She starred in a number of notable movies, including “Wedding Crashers” and “The Great Gatsby.” Isla married comedian Sacha Baron Cohen in 2010 and is now a mother of three. Her family life is as strong as her career. One of her most notable roles was that of Rebecca Bloom in the 2009 hit movie “Confessions of a Shopaholic.”

Jada Pinkett Smith

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Some of you might only know Jada as Will Smith’s wife, but she’s a lot more than that. Anyone who was around during the turn of the millennium would know that she was part of the second and third installations of the legendary “Matrix” Series. Ever since then, it seems like she is less interested in acting, and finds producing more fulfilling.

Today she is also widely known for “Red Table Talk” — a show in which she has tough conversations on camera with her daughter Willow and her mother Adrienne, as well as with a variety of celebrity guests.

Amanda Bynes


The adorable and talented Amanda won all our hearts in Nickelodeon’s “All That” and “The Amanda Show”, and when she grew up a little, in “What I Like About You” on the WB channel.

She was one of the hottest teen stars of the 00s. At that time, Amanda Bynes’s career was on fire. Sadly as she got older she had trouble in her personal life, which resulted in no acting projects since 2010.

Carmen Electra


No 00s list is complete without the jaw-droppingly gorgeous Carmen Electra. Tara Leigh Patrick, AKA Carmen Electra, began her career after an incidental encounter with famous music artist Prince, who ended up producing her first album as an aspiring singer. Today, she is more commonly known for her time modeling for Playboy, and as Lani Mckenzie on the 1997’s TV series “Baywatch”. After her late 90s breakthrough, she was everywhere during the early 00s.

Electra has appeared in a number of popular films over the years, including ‘”Starsky & Hutch”, “Cheaper by the Dozen 2” and the “Scary Movie” franchise parodies. She has also hosted MTV’s “Singled Out.”


Julia Roberts

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Julia Roberts stole our hearts as Vivian in the 90s classic, “Pretty Woman.” Apart from being obsessed with every single one of her outfits in the movies, her attitude was sassy and adorable. Roberts went on to star in several semi-famous movies of the 90s, such as “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” “The Pelican Brief,” “Runaway Bride,” and the unforgettable “Notting Hill.”

But, her career did not slow down in the 00s, she landed many big roles and worked consistently through the decade. One of her most notable films of that era was “Ocean’s Twelve.”

Leighton Meester

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Most people recognize Leighton Meester as Blair Waldorf from 2007’s “Gossip Girl,” but before taking on this role, she was a model. She appeared in ads for Jimmy Choo, Herbal Essences, Vera Wang, Ralph Lauren, and Limited Too.

Before her breakout role, Meester made guest appearances in “Law & Order,” “Veronica Mars,” “Entourage,” and more. You wouldn’t expect this gossip girl to sweep you off your feet with her lovely ‘Jewel-esque’ voice, but that’s exactly what happened with her cover of Dreams by Fleetwood Mac which she performed with friend Dana Williams. She also made an appearance on Cobra Starship’s 2009 “Good Girls Go Bad.”

Cameron Diaz

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This oos A-list actor decided to completely abandon Hollywood. Maybe we didn’t notice that she hasn’t been in a new movie in years because we find ourselves re-watching the 90s and 00s classics “There’s Something About Mary,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “In Her Shoes,” and of course, arguably the best romantic comedy, “The Holiday.”

It seems that Cameron Diaz simply grew tired of her years of hard work and has since settled down with now-husband Good Charlotte’s Benji Madden. In fact, she has been out of our screens since 2014, rendering her celebrity status invalid.