She Shoulda Been A Contender, Part I


You know the situation: You're watching some random movie or TV-show and suddenly a hot girl shows up on the screen. You say to yourself: I know this girl! She's super cool! Why doesn't she work more? What happened to her? She shoulda been a contender...!

This is the first in a series of blogs to celebrate hot actresses who should have had bigger careers.


Piper Perabo

Piper burst onto the scene with the Jerry Bruckheimer produced Coyote Ugly (2000), playing a small time gal, who is trying to make it big in the music biz. She didn't actually sing, but she jumped on the bar and danced her little butt off. After that Piper took the indie route with the lesbian drama Lost and Delirious (2001) (yes, thank you), and then... Nothing. Middle of the road movies that went nowhere, and B-action movies. There was Imagine Me & You (2005), it was cute, but not cute enough. Forgettable bit parts in high profile projects like The Prestige (2006) or Because I Said So (2007) did nothing to further her career. Where are all the sweet romantic comedies? Or - continuing the course charted by Lost and Delirious - the edgy indie films?

High point: Lost and Delirious. Raw. Brutal. Heartbreaking. Perfection.
Low point: Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008). Haven't seen it. Don't need to. It's all in the title.
Should have been in: More lesbian movies.

Jennifer Sky

Don't knock a meager beginning in TV. Jennifer first made her mark on the tubes in shows like Xena: Warrior Princess (1995) and Cleopatra 2525 (2000), in the latter she even took the title role.

A significant contribution to the low-budget Big Brother-esq thriller My Little Eye (2002) earned her some nerd cred, but it was guest appearances on Fastlane (2002) and CSI Miami (2002) that made her HOT. In both cases she caused TVs to explode or melt all over the world, and on both shows she was brought back for encore appearances some episodes later. And then.... Nothing. A few scattered TV appearances, films no one heard of that were barely released, and holes in her CV several years wide!

You don't have to look much further than her FHM photoshoot to learn why this girl should have been a star, but her sweet and heartfelt performance in the pilot for Fastlane was a surprising addition to the action oriented show.

High point: Fastlane.
Low point: The Helix... Loaded (2005).
Should have been in: Something cool like The Matrix, or perhaps Lost.

Joey Lauren Adams

Were it not for her roles in two Kevin Smith films, we probably would never have heard about Joey.

Mallrats (1995) put her on the map (topless appearances for the win), but Smith's more serious followup Chasing Amy (1997) should have propelled her to the A-list. It secured her a Golden Globe nomination, for best lead actress, and the film proved, beyond any doubt that she was massively talented. Unfortunately this beautiful girl has been completely and utterly incapable of finding a film project that showcases any of her talents. In all fairness she also turned in a solid performance in In the Shadows (2001), but that's pretty much the extent of her watchable work.

High point: Chasing Amy.
Low point: Dr. Dolittle 2 (2001) apparently she voices a squirrel.
Should have been in: Something where she talks a lot. And gets into screaming fights, maybe something like West Wing?

Bridget Fonda

1992 was the big year for Bridget. She starred in the thriller Single White Female and indie darling Singles. Then came a string of bland movies, like the Nikita remake Point of No Return (1993), nothing that really captured her delicate features and girl-next-door natural spark. Tarantino cast her in Jackie Brown (1997) as a skanky ho, and Sam Raimi cast her as a conniving bitch in A Simple Plan (1998) - That got her some attention. In Kiss of the Dragon (2001) she played opposite Jet Li, a perfect example of what she could bring to an underwritten role. And then… Nothing.

The TV movie Snow Queen (2002) became her last appearance - at the moment anyway.

High point: Kiss of the Dragon. You can't beat "hooker with a heart of gold".
Low point: Monkeybone (2001). It's pure evil, captured on film.
Should have been in: Ally McBeal. Would have made it halfway watchable.

Sabrina Lloyd

This one REALLY pisses me off! Sabrina has paid her dues on TV. She starred in Sliders (1995) for several seasons, then she hit the big league in Aaron Sorkin's Sports Night (1998), a series that perfectly presented her winning combination of irresistible feistiness and heartbreaking tenderness. One would think such a performance would make her a household name, but no. She showed up in the high-profile series Numb3rs (2005), only to disappear after the first season. In terms of feature films she did the Sundance favorite Dopamine (2003), and that's pretty much it.

Is it really possible that we live in a world where a cute, talented girl like Sabrina can't find work? If that's the case we might as well give up and push the button, but I refuse to believe it. Sabrina can do so much! Somebody hire her! She's is a diamond! Make her sparkle!

High point: Sports Night.
Low point: Sports Night being cancelled.
Should have been in: Any number of indie films, romcoms with an edge, or fast-paced TV shows with lots of dialogue.

Sean Young

Of course we all remember Sean from Blade Runner (1982). She was also in the curious turkey Dune (1984), and she played opposite Kevin Costner in the brilliant No Way Out (1987). In Wall Street (1987) she appeared to be legitimately drunk, or perhaps high, during all her scenes. (That was a bit odd.) I remember liking her in Cousins (1989), but in Fire Birds (1990) she was just miscast, actually everybody was. The last remotely respectable film she did was A Kiss Before Dying (1991).

After a particular nasty breakup with James Woods she got a reputation for being certifiably insane. Other eccentric behavior didn't help her, and soon she was poison in Hollywood. She has tried to claw her way back since then, but nothing really solid has emerged. And now it's probably too late.

High point: Blade Runner. Classic. Epic. Unbeatable.
Low point: Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994). Her character is really a man.
Should have been in: Batman Returns. Michelle Pfeiffer was great, but imagine what Sean could have done with the part.



When actresses like these disappear, despite being capable of delivering a captivating performance - some in more limited fields than others - it's hard not to speculate. Did they just pick the wrong scripts? Were they unlucky? Perhaps they were unbearable to work with? Whatever the reason is we can do little more than mourn.

It sounds really mean to say this, but these actresses should also be aware that they come with an expiration date, more so than their male counterparts. If you're a woman in Hollywood your career decelerates drastically when you look 30 (I stress the "look"-part). It grinds to a halt when you look 40. Luckily modern science can extend this period a good 10 years, if not more, but once you hit "that zone" you'll only get parts where you play "mother". There are exceptions of course, but they are few and far between. Like Helen Mirren, she's still foxy at 65.

Add your suggestions below, and stay tuned for the upcoming Part II.


  1. I agree about Sabrina Lloyd but although I loved Lost & Delirious, Piper Perabo also stars in the new series Covert Affairs which is just plain awful.

    A couple of my suggestions, off the top of my head, would be Katherine Isabelle from Ginger Snaps or Dominique Swain from Face/Off.

  2. @GaGa The Movies
    I'll check out Covert Affairs soon. Mostly because of her.

    Katherine Isabelle and Dominique Swain are great ideas!

  3. Piper Perabo is BACK in Covert Affairs.

  4. @Simon Amby
    But that's on TV.... We want da movies!

  5. Oh! Piper Perabo...cero charisma, cero spark. She´s not even a good actress to compensate that.

    Sean Young, Bridgitte Fonda....I agree. Especially Sean who can play a wide variety of characters. I´m a fan of sheer talent above all things but she also has a strong presence.

    1. Perabo is so good in Lost and Delirious. Give her a chance! And Sean Young, boy oh boy, lots of stuff went wrong there. She deserves a comeback though.