Then + Now: The Cast of ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’
Released in 1999, ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’ followed Minnesota teen beauty queens as they vied for the title of American Teen Princess. The hilarious fake documentary starred Kirsten Dunst and Denise Richards as rival contestants in this charming satire of small towns, pageants, and overbearing mothers.
Now, 14 years later, we take a look back at the cast of the film and see what they’re up to these days.
Kirsten Dunst (Amber Atkins)
Then: Melissa Joan Hart of ‘Sabrina, the Teenage Witch’ fame auditioned for the lead role of Amber Atkins, but it went to Kirsten Dunst, a former child star who appeared in ‘Interview with the Vampire.’
Now: Dunst has definitely grown up — she’s recently had roles in films like ‘Melancholia’ and ‘Bachelorette,’ and her cameo appearance in ‘The Bling Ring’ reunited her with her ‘Virgin Suicides’ and ‘Marie Antoinette’ director Sofia Coppola.
Ellen Barkin (Annette Atkins)
Then: Ellen Barkin played Annette, Amber’s foul-mouthed, trailer park trashy mom and hairdresser.
Now: Barkin recently starred on the short-lived sitcom ‘The New Normal,’ and her Twitter account is the stuff of legend.
Denise Richards (Rebecca Ann Leeman)
Then: The ‘Wild Things’ star played Rebecca Ann Leeman, Amber’s fiercest rival and a beauty queen who loves her guns.
Now: Richards had a very high profile relationship and split from Charlie Sheen, but since then, she’s become friendly with her ex. Not only has she appeared on his TV show ‘Anger Management,’ she’s taking care of his twin boys (that aren’t even hers). Richards also currently stars on the TV series ‘Twisted.’
Kirstie Alley (Gladys Leeman)
Then: The former ‘Cheers’ star played Gladys Leeman, Rebecca’s overbearing and psychotic pageant mom.
Now: Alley (a devout Scientologist) starred in the ‘Look Who’s Talking’ movie franchise, appeared on seasons 12 and 15 of ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ helmed reality shows like ‘Kirstie’s Big Life,’ and will star on the TV Land series ‘Kirstie’s New Show’ this fall.
Amy Adams (Leslie Miller)
Then: Amy Adams made her big screen debut as Leslie Miller, the spunky and over-sexualized cheerleader.
Now: A three-time Oscar nominee for ‘Junebug,’ ‘Doubt’ and ‘The Fighter,’ Adams has also starred in ‘The Muppets’ and can currently be seen in theaters as Lois Lane in ‘Man of Steel.’
Alexandra Holden (Mary Johanson)
Then: Alexandra Holden played Mary Johanson, a former American Teen Princess winner who has been hospitalized for an eating disorder.
Now: Holden stars in the upcoming indie comedy ‘In a World,’ and has appeared on ‘Friends,’ ‘Bones,’ and ‘NCIS.’
Shannon Nelson (Tess Weinhaus)
Then: Shannon Nelson played Tess Weinhaus, a fellow beauty pageant contestant who was a bit … quirky and sheltered, shall we say.
Now: Nelson continues to act, appearing on TV shows like ‘Gold’ and ‘Pairings.’ She also recently completed production on the indie flick ‘Alice and the Monster.’
Laurie Sinclair (Michelle Johnson)
Then: A Minnesota native herself, Laurie Sinclair played Michelle Johnson, the beauty pageant contestant and drama club kid obsessed with becoming an actress.
Now: Johnson didn’t act in anything after ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’ until 2008, when she appeared in an episode of ‘Californication.’ She recently wrote and performed a song for the soap opera ‘The Young and the Restless,’ and her music has also been featured on ‘Vampire Diaries’ and ‘Ghost Whisperer.’
Sarah Stewart (Jenelle Betz)
Then: Sarah Stewart played Jenelle Betz, a pageant contestant obsessed with sign language, who gets way too excited when her sister gives birth to a deaf baby.
Now: Stewart hasn’t acted much since making her debut in ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous.’ She appeared on an episode of the short-lived series ‘Los Dos Bros’ in 2001 and appeared in the 2008 short film ‘Cruel and Usual.’ That said, she still performs in theater, and does voice over work for commercials. (And yes, she really knows sign language.)