We talk A LOT about how much more women deserve. The concept of equality is definitely justified. However, let’s take a look back at the many women who came out on top, even ahead of their male co-stars. Each of these women got their start in television on insanely hit shows, paving their way to respected icons and movie stars. While on TV, they played very memorable characters that most people will forever identify them with. These women could have retired after their series wrapped, and still be considered successful actresses who had a great go in Hollywood. Instead, they kept going and never looked back.
Jennifer Aniston is our best example, having been the only F.R.I.E.N.D.S cast member to heighten her career when she could have easily baked in the sitcom’s finance and fame for the rest of her life. In fact, the three girlies (Courtney Cox and Lisa Kudrow too) kept up their stamina much better than the guys did. The men just sort of disappeared once the show was off the air, only reemerging for smaller, only decent projects, or to play Robert Kardashian (in David Schwimmer’s case). Jen will always be a legend for playing our friend Rachel Green, but her movie star status is undeniable. While incredibly active in the comedy/rom-com genre, she successfully experimented in drama as well.
Michelle Williams played Jen Lindley on Dawson’s Creek, our favorite teen drama. She was quite the stand out, undoubtedly improving her acting skills with each episode. She’s a household name now, even more so than the guy who played Dawson himself, James Van Der Beek, who was hardly heard from again. Michelle is now associated with major projects, being a 4-time Oscar nominated actress to prove it. Oh, and she also played Marilyn Monroe – no big deal.
Sophia Bush starred as the sexy and sassy cheerleader on One Tree Hill, our other favorite teen drama. In the beginning, it was clear her character was primarily the party girl that every guy wanted. Over the years, she became the brave and beautiful face of the show, even before Chad Michael Murray left. She made her mark in the blockbusters (John Tucker Must Die anyone?), and eventually went back to TV, where she played her dream role of a super badass cop. Sophia certainly earned her place in Hollywood. When she’s not leading the brigade for equality, she only chooses projects that make her happy.
To speed things along, Mila Kunis went from baby-faced Jackie on That 70s Show to becoming a comedy queen. Besides Ashton Kutcher, she was the only other cast member to keep her career going. Honestly, Mila was cast on the show way too young. The intimacy with her older male cast members was borderline illegal. Despite her risky start, she climbed her ladders and created her own image in Hollywood.
Claire Danes was once known for her role on My So Called Life, where she played the typically emo and angsty teenage girl. Her first major movie role was beside Leo DiCaprio in Romeo + Juliet. Leo is a star, but Claire received great merit and catapulted to the top shortly after. Not only was she deemed A-list, but a fashion icon on the carpets during the 90s.
Before 13 Going On 30 made her a movie star, Jennifer Garner was known for her role as an FBI agent on Alias. From a small town in TX she came, never really slowing down. Most people hardly remember who else was on that show, but they never forgot Jennifer’s face. Ben Affleck did not maker her relevant by any means.
Evangeline Lilly is mostly known for playing Kate on LOST, which was her first acting gig. She did take a small break afterward, besides being part of the phenomenon that was The Hobbit, but just recently joined the Marvel world. Ever see her Jack (Matthew Fox) around? Me neither. Anyway, her powerful presence made her Wasp Woman.
Even if – sadly – these women were – at the time – cast because of their good looks, and their characters were very much used to sell sex on the show, they still prevailed in the end. Even during their time on TV, many of them were responsible for the growth and transformation of their non-damsel in distress characters. I know females need more, but let’s not forget what we’ve already done. These days, these women don’t have to do anything they don’t want to do. They don’t need to lower their standards for a role because the industry will create roles for them.
Notice the trend? Each of these women made it out alive, more powerful than ever. I’ve been inspired by each of them for their outspokenness and honesty over the years, even before feminism and female leaders were the trending topics. You could say these gals were ahead of the game.