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Early 2000s It Girls: Where Are They Now?

Paris Hilton

Paris Hilton

If you don’t know who Paris Hilton is, yes you do. Everyone knows the hotel heiress to the global hospitality giant that is Hilton brands. Back in the early 2000’s Paris was THE “It” girl. She was at every party, and if she wasn’t, it wasn’t worth going anyway. She even had her own show with bff Nicole Richie. 

Paris took a pretty large break from the public eye, especially after the antics of the paparazzi in the early 2000s got to be too toxic to handle. In 2020, Paris released her documentary This is Paris. The documentary touched on several true-to-life struggles that Paris went through during her fame. Nowadays you can catch her DJing at music festivals!

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Nicole Richie

Nicole Richie

Nicole Richie rose to fame alongside her very best friend, Paris Hilton, during their hit reality show’s run from 2003 to 2007. Nicole and Paris’ show, The Simple Life, became an overnight international sensation, launching both of these party girls into stardom for nothing other than just being themselves. 

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Nicole has always kept current with fashion. In fact, she founded her own lifestyle and fashion brand, House of Harlow, in 2008 right after The Simple Life came to an end. Nicole spent a lot of time on TV with her personal show, Candidly Nicole, and now she is a judge on a fashion competition show called Making the Cut.

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Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian was a nobody that just happened to be in the right place at the right time...with the right person! After a salacious “tape” with rapper Ray J was released to the public, Kim became famous literally overnight. Kim started out as Paris Hilton’s assistant and rode the wave from Britney Spears’ breakdown to launch her own stardom. 

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Kim and her family have been on our TVs for over a decade now. Kim’s fame encouraged her family’s own little show called Keeping Up With the Kardashians. The show followed the family literally every day of their lives so we could get a glimpse of how the other half lives. She now owns several beauty and lifestyle brands. 

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Lindsay Lohan

Lindsay Lohan

Oh, Lindsay Lohan… where do we start? Lindsay Lohan was a budding childhood actor who got her start with Disney’s 1998 remake of The Parent Trap. But it didn’t stop there. She went on to star alongside Jamie Lee Curtis in 2003 for Freaky Friday, which remains her highest grossing film. 

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She’s probably best known for her star role in Mean Girls which went on to become a cult classic and pop culture phenomena. We STILL wear pink on Wednesdays. Lindsay was also part of the 2000’s brat pack alongside Paris, Kim, and Nicole. After a “break” from acting, she now owns her own night club in Mykonos called Lohan’s Beach House.

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Christina Aguilera

Christina Aguilera

Alongside the likes of Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake, hit-singer Christina Aguilera got her start in the New Mickey Mouse Club with Disney. She released her first album titled just Christina Aguilera. The album featured her iconic song “Genie in a Bottle” which went on to hit number one for three whole years. 

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Christina was a pop culture powerhouse in the early 2000s. Her look, style, and vibe was the envy of every girl in America. Now she is performing at her own Vegas residency at the Zappos Theater. In March 2020, Christina released a promotional single “Loyal Brave True” for Disney’s remake of Mulan

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Jessica Simpson

Jessica Simpson

Jessica Simpson started singing in her church choir at only 17 years old, and then she signed with Columbia Records in 1997 and released her first album in 1999. Sweet Kisses became a major success and was all over the radio. Her next album, Irresistible, landed her on the Billboard Hot 100. 

After her career as a pop star, Jessica Simpson launched her very popular fashion line, The Jessica Simpson Collection, in 2005. She also had her own TV show with her ex-husband Nick Lachey on MTV. Now, Jessica has settled down as a mom of 3 kiddos, along with her husband, Eric Johnson. 

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Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie

We can’t talk about the early 2000s without talking about Angelina Jolie. Every few years or so, a new starlet steps on the scene and becomes an international sex symbol. They’re in every action movie and poster on every teenage boy’s wall. Angelina got her start in acting early on, but her big role came in 2001 as Lara Croft in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

Jolie has been cited as one of the most powerful people in American entertainment, and it’s for good reason. Formerly married to Hollywood heartthrob Brad Pitt, their ongoing divorce has been the talk of tabloids for nearly a decade. The two have six kids together, so now she spends lots of time being a mom!

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Britney Spears

Britney Spears

A lot of girls on this list seem to be famous only for being famous… that’s not the case for miss Britney Spears. Britney found her star power in 1998 when she stepped onto the music scene at only 16 years old. She quickly became one of the most famous people in the entire world and revolutionized pop music and culture forever!

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Britney hasn’t released an album since her 2016 album drop Glory. She’s long overdue for more music, but as we’ve come to find out, she may or may not be detained against her will in her own home! The #freebritney movement has captured national attention and raises serious questions about the pop star's career and wellbeing. We stand with you Britney!

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Amanda Bynes

Amanda Bynes

Amanda Bynes was another childhood star that found her fame in the late nineties. She started out on a comedy sketch show called All That that ran from 1996 to 2000. She later got her own breakout show with a similar format called The Amanda Show that ran from 1999 to 2002. 

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As just a teen, she won several awards and lots of attention for her show. She even broke into several mainstream movie roles, but after a very publicized bout with substance abuse, Amanda got dropped like a bad habit. She took a permanent break from acting and fame in 2010 to focus on herself but came out as interested in TV acting in 2018.

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Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore

If you didn’t know, Drew Barrymore started her walk in fame as a little kid in 1982. She achieved stardom for her role in E.T. the Extra Terrestrial at only seven years old! After a very public and scrutinized childhood involving substance abuse, she gave the world a glimpse into the life of a child actress through her autobiography Little Girl Lost

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Drew went on to star in numerous commercial successes and cult classics like Donnie Darko, and the Charlie’s Angels franchise. Recently she starred in a Netflix series called The Santa Clarita Diet, and she now has her own talk show called The Drew Barrymore Show. She’s not going anywhere anytime soon, so we’re excited to see what’s next. 

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Lucy Liu

Lucy Liu

Native New Yorker Lucy Liu was born December 2nd, 1968. She was a naturally gifted actress and was discovered at the age of 19 on a subway train! In 1999, she was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress for her role as Pearl, a high-class BDSM prostitute who was familiar with the Chinese Mafia, in Payback.

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She carried that same energy into her next role as Alex Munday in Charlie’s Angels in 2000. She totally embodied the girl-power and stunning beauty necessary to be an Angel. As a single parent by choice, Lucy Liu has been an advocate and spokesperson for multidimensional familial structures showing what family is all about. 

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Cameron Diaz

Cameron Diaz

Cameron Diaz made her debut at only 21 years old alongside Jim Carry for The Mask, released in 1994. The iconic number where she rocked that short glittery dressed set the tone for the rest of her career in Hollywood. Her good looks and flashy smile earned her even more attention as a model!

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Cameron is now retired after a very successful career starring as the quirky hot girl in countless comedies. Cameron has been on the record with Goop saying that leaving movie stardom left her "at peace.” Now she’s focusing on her recent marriage to Benji Madden and being a mother. She did release a “clean wine” brand called Avaline since retiring. Give it a try!

 

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Hilary Duff

Hilary Duff

You may know Hilary Duff better as Lizzie McGuire. Hilary scored the star role of her own TV show in 2001 called Lizzie McGuire. The sensational show caught the attention of teens everywhere, and she quickly earned the title of new teen idol. After the show's ending in 2004, the Disney star continued acting in several movies for Disney. 

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Besides acting, she also released several studio albums that were pretty successful. Her early fame gave her lots of confidence, and she took that confidence into the business world! In 2019, Hilary took her experience and earned the title of Chief Brand Officer for Naturalena Brands' "Happy Little Camper" and "Veeda" product lines. 

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Kirsten Dunst

Kirsten Dunst

We all probably know Kirsten Dunst best from her rah-rah cheerleading starring role in cult classic Bring it On, but you may be interested to know that she actually started out as Claudia in Interview With the Vampire in 1994. As a child, she won a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Claudia. 

After Bring it On, she also caught worldwide attention as Mary Jane Watson, the love interest of Spiderman in Spiderman, Spiderman 2, and Spiderman 3. Kirsten is still acting in Hollywood, and she just received her third Golden Globe nomination in 2019 for her role in the series Becoming a God in Central Florida.

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Gwen Stefani

Gwen Stefani

Ska princess Gwen Stefani was the lead singer of the band No Doubt from 1995 to 2004. Her unique style garnered worldwide attention in fashion. She, along with just a few other 2000s "It" Girls, sculpted 2000s fashion trends with every music video and red carpet appearance. She is the 2000s queen!

Gwen has won three Grammy awards and is the 54th most successful artist of all time! In 2020 Gwen released her new single “Let Me Reintroduce Myself" as a warmup for her new studio album. In between all that, she also announced her engagement to celebrity country singer, Blake Shelton.

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Chloë Sevigny

Chloë Sevigny

Chloë Sevigny is an actress best-known for her work in independent films, and more particularly, controversial ones. Her rise to prominence came at the end of 199 with the film Boys Don’t Cry, which was the true story of a trans man who was raped and murdered in Nebraska. She continued to do experimental films after that point. In 2000, she starred in the cult classic American Psycho, also starring Christian Bale.

And despite being offered mainstream roles, including a role in Legally Blonde – a role she turned down – she has continued to find success in independent films. Her most recent performance can be seen in the Hulu miniseries The Girl from Plainville, which also stars Elle Fanning. A new film with Sevigny, Bones & All, is currently in production.

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Sophia Bush

Sophia Bush

Sophia Bush became a household name in the early 2000s with her hit television series One Tree Hill which premiered in 2003. And before that, she had appeared in the 2002 film National Lampoon’s Van Wilder starring Ryan Reynolds. In 2006, she appeared in the film John Tucker Must Die.

Sophia Bush has continued to appear in film but much of her success has been through television. She appeared in the television series Chicago Fire and its spin-off series Chicago P.D. Most recently, she could be seen in a leading role in the series Good Sam but the show was canceled after just one season.

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Jennifer Love Hewitt

Jennifer Love Hewitt

Jennifer Love Hewitt first made a splash in the ‘90s with her series Party of Five, the horror film I Know What You Did Last Summer – as well as its sequel – and Can’t Hardly Wait. And that success continued into the early 2000s with films like Heartbreakers and The Tuxedo. She also starred in the live-action Garfield movie which made her career take a dark turn.

In 2005, she had her own series The Ghost Whisperer, and then another series, The Client List. As if 2018, she has a leading role in the procedural drama 9-1-1 in which she plays Maddie Buckley Kendall, a trained nurse who becomes a 911 operator. The show airs on Fox, while reruns can be found on the USA Network.

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Mischa Barton

Mischa Barton

Mischa Barton had small roles in major films like The Sixth Sense and Notting Hill but her first major role in the early 2000s was in the Fox television series The O.C., a series that was a hit with teens and even earned her two Teen Choice Awards. In 2003, she was officially named an “It Girl” by Entertainment Weekly.

Mischa Barton has continued to act in both television and film roles but mostly in film. In 2020, she appeared in Spree – a comedy horror film starring Joe Keery from Netflix’s Stranger Things. Her most recent film is Invitation to a Murder, which has not yet been released.

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Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon

With her girl-next-door vibes Reese Witherspoon had already found success in the late ‘90s with films like Cruel Intentions and Election, but in 2001, she gained wide recognition for her role as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde. Additionally, she starred in the romantic comedy film Sweet Home Alabama, and the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line.

For Walk the Line she earned an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role as June Carter. As a victim of the Oscar curse, however, the film roles did not keep coming after that. Nevertheless, she did find success on television in the hit HBO series Big Little Lies and the Apple TV+ series The Morning Show.

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Halle Berry

Halle Berry

In the early 2000s, Halle Berry was one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood. Her role in the film Monster’s Ball earned her the Academy Award for Best Actress – an award never before won by an African American actress. On top of that, she was a Bond girl, Catwoman, and Storm in the X-Men franchise, among other things.

After the early 2000s, however, her career started to simmer down. She would appear in more X-Men films and other films like Cloud Atlas and Kingsman: The Golden Circle. More recently, she was seen in the sequel film John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum and Moonfall in 2022. She is currently married to singer-songwriter Van Hunt.

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Keira Knightley

Keira Knightley

Keira Knightley rose to prominence in the early 2000s with her role in the 2002 film Bend It Like Beckham as well as for her role as Elizabeth Swann in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Additionally, she appeared in the modern Christmas classic Love, Actually. For the 2005 film Pride and Prejudice, she became the third-youngest nominee for the Best Actress Academy Award.

After appearing in three Pirates of the Caribbean films, Knightly moved away from big-budget affairs to star in period films like Atonement, The Duchess, and Anna Karenina.Since 2013, she’s been married to British musician James Righton. Currently, in post-production, Knightley will appear in a film called Boston Strangler based on the real-life killer, although a release date is not yet set.

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Renée Zellwegger

Renée Zellwegger

Renée Zellwegger certainly had some success in the ‘90s with the film Jerry Maguire but let’s face it: that was Tom Cruise’s show. The 2000s are when she really shined with films like Nurse Betty and Bridget Jones’s Diary. She earned two consecutive nominations for Chicago and Cold Mountain, earning an Academy Award for the latter film.

Renée Zellwegger recently earned an Academy Award for her film Judy, a movie about famous Hollywood actress Judy Garland. She took home the Best Actress award for the titular role in 2020. Now she can be seen in The Thing About Pam – a limited series about the 2011 murder of Betsy Faria.

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Beyonce´

Beyonce´

Beyonce´ rose to fame in the late ‘90s with her band Destiny's Child but with the group’s hiatus, she found her footing with a solo career. Her debut album dropped in 2003, Dangerously in Love, which was a commercial success with two number one singles: “Crazy in Love” and “Baby Boy.” rose to fame in the late ‘90s with her band Destiny's Child but with the group’s hiatus, she found her footing with a solo career. Her debut album dropped in 2003, Dangerously in Love, which was a commercial success with two number one singles: “Crazy in Love” and “Baby Boy.”

Since then, Beyonce´ has become one of the best-selling recording artists in the world. She’s had six albums debut at number one on the Billboard 200. She’s also acquired a huge number of accolades including 28 Grammy Awards and 26 MTV Video Music Awards. In 2020, she was named among Time's 100 women who defined the last century.

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Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez dropped her debut album at the end of the ‘90s, establishing herself as a triple threat. She continued to perform as a music artist and an actress in films such as The Cell and Maid in Manhattan. In 2001, she became the first woman to have a number one album and film in the same week because of her second studio album J.Lo and the film The Wedding Planner.

Jennifer Lopez has released eight studio albums so far and appeared in over 50 films. Additionally, she has found herself on reality television series like American Idol and World of Dance. In 2022, she will have appeared in four films: Marry Me, Shotgun Wedding, The Mother and the Netflix documentary Jennifer Lopez: Halftime.

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Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson

In 2002, Kelly Clarkson became an It girl almost overnight after she won the first season of American Idol. She got a deal with RCA and dropped her debut single "A Moment Like This," which topped the US Billboard Hot 100. After moving away from American Idol management, she came out with her second studio album, appropriately titled Breakaway – an album with four top-ten singles.

For future albums, Clarkson has had more creative control than ever before. She has sold over 25 million albums and 45 million singles worldwide. She’s had 11 top-ten singles in the United States alone and nine in the UK. Her most recent studio album was When Christmas Comes Around... - the ninth album in her discography.

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Michelle Branch

Michelle Branch

Michelle Branch was a singer-songwriter who really peaked in the early 2000s. Her most popular singles included Santana’s “The Game of Love,” as well as “"Everywhere" and "All You Wanted." Her second studio album, The Spirit Room, has been certified Platinum twice Recording Industry Association of America, having sold two million copies.

Thus far Michelle Branch has released four studio albums. Her last album came out in 2017 called Hopeless Romantic. In 2021, she released a re-recording of her album The Spirit Room to celebrate the album’s 20th anniversary. Since 2019, she has been married to Patrick Carney, the drummer of the Black Keys.

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Shakira

Shakira

Shakira has already made it big in Hispanic countries but it was her fifth album Laundry Service that made her an even bigger success in English-speaking countries. The album, released in 2001, has sold 13 million copies worldwide. The biggest hits from the album were "Whenever, Wherever" and "Underneath Your Clothes."

Shakira’s collection of songs includes over 145. She has sold over 80 million records, which makes her among the best-selling music artists of all time. In December 2021, she was named by Kiss FM as among the most influential female artists of the 21st century. Her last album, El Dorado, came out in 2017 and she last went on tour in 2018. In 2022, she can be seen in the documentary film Jennifer Lopez: Halftime.

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Avril Lavigne

Avril Lavigne

Avril Lavigne’s debut studio album Let Go became the best-selling album of the 21st century by a Canadian artist. Her hit singles “Complicated” and “Sk8er Boi” cemented her in early 2000s pop culture. Her second studio album Under My Skin was her first album to reach the top of the Billboard 200 charts.

Avril Lavigne has released seven studio albums with her most recent being Love Sux which was released in 2022. In 2006 she made her acting debut in the film Fast Food Nation and she’ll be acting again in Good Mourning – a romantic stoner comedy film, also starring Dove Cameron.

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Penelope Cruz

Penelope Cruz

Penelope Cruz had acted before the 2000s but gained international recognition from her roles in films like All the Pretty Horses (2000), Vanilla Sky (2001), Captain Corelli's Mandolin (2001), Blow (2001), and Gothika (2003). From the sheer number of roles, she was getting at the time, it was almost impossible not to know her name.

And she’s still fairly popular today, having earned four Academy Award nominations with a win for Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Since 2010, she has been married to fellow actor Javier Bardem, who is also an Academy Award winner. In addition to acting, she’s kept bust as a PETA activist and has helped raise awareness of AIDS.

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