We remember the ’90s for many things – the invention of fruit roll-ups, the growing up of the gang from Saved by the Bell, and of course, countless ’90s TV stars who were smoking hot – whether we realized it at the time or not. From Kelly Packard to Elizabeth Berkley, the small screen was graced with more than a fair share of attractive women (and, more commonly perhaps, girls). Below we’ve compiled a list of 20 of our favorites that are still easy on the eyes and equally light on the acting chops.
1. Amanda Bynes Amanda Bynes was a Nickelodeon staple in the ’90s, and she was cute…real cute. But her hotness came into true fruition after her five-year stint on “All That”. Her delightful spazziness landed her on shows and films like The Amanda Show, What a Girl Wants, She’s The Man and Sydney White. She’s not winning any Oscars, but she’s still the hot girl next door. 2. Amy Jo Johnson Amy Jo Johnson stole hearts as Kimberly Hart on that belovedly cheesy show, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Sure, Trini, the Yellow Power Ranger was also hot. But the Pink Power Ranger stole our hearts. Critics never did take the show seriously, but that didn’t matter. The villain-fighting hotness of Amy Jo saved the day for us non-child viewers. She was sweet, had a rocking body and kicked some serious mutant ass. Then she showed up on Felicity. Nowadays she’s keeping that body fit with stints on shows like The Division and Wildfire. 3. Carmen Electra Tara Leigh Patrick was hot to begin with. Then Prince (then The Artist Formerly Known As…) gave her an even hotter name: Carmen Electra. That’s right. Prince names adults. Since then, this Baywatch and Singled Out diva has wedged her less-than-talented foot into the doors of the music, film, television and modeling industries. And you know what? She hasn’t done too badly for herself. What’s she up to these days? Good question. Total Gym infomercials? Organic chemistry research? Who cares? She’s still attractive… albeit in a plastic, aged sorta way. 4. Christine Lakin Chrisitine Lakin got her start acting in commercials, then got cast on the family sitcom, Step By Step. Everyone loves the hot tomboy, and Lakin as Al Lambert was no exception. Sure, she didn’t quite know her lines. Sure, she often looked confused. But man, did she look good trying to dribble a basketball. Nowadays she rolls with Paris Hilton, starring alongside her in 2008’s The Hottie and the Nottie. 5. Elizabeth Berkley
Ah, Elizabeth Berkley. She’s like a finely aged wine. So many facets: the naughty Showgirls side, the smart-hot Saved by the Bell side…what else has she done? Men prefer the former, while women prefer to watch her act like an overachieving speed freak on SBTB. 6. Holly Marie Combs pg Holly Marie Combs was known for her role of Kimberly in television’s Picket Fences. The show won some critical acclaim, but it certainly wasn’t for Holly’s acting prowess. Still, she went on to play Piper Halliwell on Charmed, and in its fifth season she began to lend a hand in production. Girl, you should be in front of the camera, not squinting all day at footage and lounging by craft services. She’s still producing pilots today. 7. Jennie Garth Jennie Garth got beat out by Tiffani Amber Thiessen for the role of Kelly Kapowski in Saved By the Bell, but casting directors gave her the opportunity to shine in the legendary 1990s drama, Beverly Hills 90210. She played a stuck-up rich type who liked to wear tight designer outfits, and she looked great doing it for 10 years. Lately, she’s been on the spin-off train, playing Kelly Taylor in the new version of the show.
8. Jennifer Love Hewitt Jennifer Love Hewitt is the girlfriend we all wanted. As Sarah Reeves Marin, Hewitt played Bailey’s girlfriend on Party Of Five. She wasn’t winning any Oscars, but she had a great, er, smile. Three cheers for J-Love, who made watching this show with our girlfriends a whole lot more tolerable. She moved on to a reasonably successful film career, with roles in awful-but-successful movies like I Know What You Did Last Summer and Can’t Hardly Wait.
9. Kelly Packard
Kelly Packard, a latter-day Baywatch babe, really knew how to wear that red. She rivaled Pamela Anderson in both acting chops and hotness, and certainly made for a steamy half-hour TV sesh. Packard was the only female cast member to cross over from season eight to nine — also known as the Baywatch Bloodbath — and we’re damned glad she did. Today, you can see Packard hosting the late segment on GSN Live.
10. Lucy Lawless
Who doesn’t remember badass Lucy Lawless on Xena: Warrior Princess? The dark hair, the dominatrix outfits, the evil gods and demi-gods…It didn’t matter that her New Zealand accent accidentally popped out in dramatic scenes. In fact, that made her even sexier. And if that wasn’t enough, she went on to arouse us in Battlestar Galactica. It’s like a nerd sub’s dream. Not only did Lawless kick some serious mythological ass from 1995 to 2001, she even did her own stunts. She is now trying to make it as a singer, and released a live album and concert DVD in 2007.
11. Meredith Monroe
Ah, sweet Meredith. How we miss your Dawson’s Creek love affair with Pacey. It gave us so much hope. A 32-year-old hottie playing a teenager, Monroe was a true inspiration to her cougar contemporaries. She has recently appeared in episodes of House, Cold Case and Californication.
12. Monica Keena
Okay, Monica, there’s room for you on this list, too. Why? Because you’re just as terrible at line readings and just as smokin’ as Meredith. Keena’s sexiness was in top form on the first two seasons of Dawson’s Creek, but then her character died. But don’t worry, Monica is busy with other projects today. TV shows and films are in the works, including a remake of Night Of The Demons, due out later this year.
13. Pamela Anderson
Maybe it’s cliché to include Pam, but whatever. She’s smoking. And the best part (or maybe the third-best part): she can’t act herself out of a paper bag. So of course she belongs on this list. The quintessential Baywatch babe, her 111 Episodes defined her career, to say the least. Afterward, she modeled, acted, sang and even became a published author. We also hear she’s really into boats. And she was actually pretty damn good in Borat.
14. Tatyana Ali
Tatyana Ali was the baby of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, but we always knew she’d grow into a fine young woman. A budding music career paralleled her fame on the sitcom and though it seemed she was bound for pop stardom, her acting and singing was lackluster, at best. It’s a good thing she’s so damned cute, even still at age 31!
15. Yasmine Bleeth
Yasmine Bleeth was the one for those who got bored of the bleached blondes on Baywatch. Wait, did anyone get bored of the blondes on Baywatch? Either way, Yasmine was a breath of fresh air: sexy, exotic, and a fittingly horrible actress who still managed to give the blondes a run for their money. Bleeth was then in and out of television, with stints on shows like Titans and Nash Bridges.
16. Tiffani-Amber Thiessen
Tiffani-Amber Thiessen was the girl next door and Ms. Popular all wrapped into one hot bundle on Saved By the Bell. She didn’t do much of anything with conviction in front of the camera, but that doesn’t really matter. She had a great smile, great hair and a great body. You can still catch her “acting” on White Collar on the USA Network.
17. Jessica Biel
No doubt about it, Jessica Biel’s tomboy character made 7th Heaven almost watchable. Girls liked it for the sappy plot or something like that, but we watched for Mary Camden and her sweats. Biel leads a promising acting career nowadays, but really isn’t known for her talent so much as for her damned good looks. Her film credits include the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Illusionist and Valentine’s Day.
18. Danielle Fishel
Ah, Topanga. The girl with the weird name. You came to us in an episode of Boy Meets World”, and we dreamed you’d be ours. This spunky little lady was a welcome treat on a not-so-great sitcom. And it was fun to watch her “develop” from middle school to high school, to say the least. Today, Topanga (we’ll just keep calling her that) is a host on Dish and a correspondent on The Tyra Banks Show, where her lack of talent is, shall we say, upstaged.
19. Larisa Oleynik
Larisa Oleynik, you wore lots of crazy hats, then turned into goo after a radioactive accident. But we still turn to goo when we watch you. You have a cute way of always looking concerned, and your male best friend on The Secret World Of Alex Mack never intimidated us. Seriously, though, this Nickelodeon staple was only popular because of Larisa. She moved on to films like The Baby-Sitters Club and 10 Things I Hate About You, then sort of slowly fell off the face of the earth.
20. Tia and Tamera Mowry
Tia and Tamera Mowry — two tigers for the price of one. They wore lots of matching outfits on the ABC show, Sister Sister, which somehow lasted four years. Tia was the bookworm, while Tamera was the sexy wild child. And man, did she love her some Coolio. The Mowrys kept their acting up after their breakout show folded, making appearances — though not in tandem — on TV shows like Strong Medicine, Roommates and The Game.
21. Update: Below you’ll find our bonus entry, due to popular demand, the Olsen twins.
Mary-Kate and Ashley made a name for themselves on the classic sitcom “Full House” and then went onto star in a bunch of terrible (and by terrible, I mean terribly cute!) made for TV movies. They now have their own clothing line, a gajillion dollars, and the hearts and minds of many old dudes around the world.