90’s Actresses That You Had a Crush On
Crushes are, at best, a diversion from a generally hapless existence. When you’re young, crushes are what you spend your waking hours thinking about and your sleeping hours dreaming about. Whether it’s the girl next door, the boy from the wrong side of the tracks or, in this case, celebrities, crushes more than live up to their namesake once we realize the world is unfair and the objects of our desire will never even know of our existence.
This is especially true in regards to celebrity crushes. We all have them. Some of us even have a “pass” from our significant other, if the opportunity ever came about to hook up with Kate Upton or Josh Groban. Celebrity crushes are nothing new, but there was something about the 90’s that gave way to some of the most beautiful actresses the world has ever seen. Maybe it’s nostalgia. Maybe it’s the fondness we hold for the shows and movies of which these women were a part. No matter the reason, the 90’s provided a wealth of daydream material. We want to explore those dreams as we discuss, in no particular order, 10 90’s Actresses That You Had a Crush On.
Danielle Fishel (Topanga, Boy Meets World)
The classic duck into a swan story. Except for Danielle Fishel (or, Topanga, as she has been and will heretofore be called) was never ugly. In the first season of Boy Meets World, Topanga was portrayed as the nerdy, awkward, kinda-weird girl next door. It didn’t take Corey Matthews too long to fall in love with her though, and fans of the show were treated to a classic will they/won’t then long before Friends made it a thing. Danielle Fishel captured the hearts of prepubescent boys for 7 years. She is still gorgeous, but we’ll always remember Fishel as the girl next door to the boy meets world.
Danica McKellar (Winnie Cooper, The Wonder Years)
Speaking of girls next door, Winnie Cooper is the girl we always wished we lived next to. Danica McKellar played Winnie Cooper in The Wonder Years for 5 years, and in those 5 years, she made us fall in love with her, she broke our hearts and she won us back. Kevin Arnold never really deserved Winnie Cooper, so we were glad to hear that eventually in the show’s timeline, she met and fell in love with somebody else. We’ve spent the past 20 years wishing it was us.
Marley Shelton (Wendy Peffercorn, The Sandlot)
“She knows what she’s doing. She knows exactly what she’s doing.” Yikes. Okay, so. What Squints did to Wendy Peffercorn was not cool. In the #metoo age, that sh*t never would have flown. But the 90’s were a simpler time, and faking drowning to make out with the hot lifeguard was more ‘cute’ than ‘creepy.’ And honestly, could we blame him? It’s Wendy Peffercorn! She is the only girl that makes even the ever-cool Benny ‘The Jet’ Rodriguez stammer. Wendy Peffercorn drifted in and out of our dreams for years since the release of 1993’s The Sandlot. She was the embodiment of every girl we’ve ever wanted but could never have. We’ve spent our lives chasing Wendy (metaphorically, not literally. We’re not Squints) but we will never get her. We’ll never get anything ever again.
Beverly Mitchell (Lucy Camden, 7th Heaven)
There are girls next door and then there is Lucy Camden, the middle daughter in the family dramedy 7th Heaven. Lucy Camden was less wild than her big sister but she had a certain attitude, even in her younger years, that made us desperate to hold her hand. Awful haircuts aside, Lucy Camden was beautiful. She was also strong, independent, funny, intelligent and had faith in God. Lucy was the girl you hoped to bring home to mom and dad. You never did, because she’s out of your league. She has remained out of your league for the past 20 years. But she will forever remain our favorite Camden girl, a little slice of heaven itself.
Kirsten Storms (Zenon, Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century)
Okay so, we feel the need to mention that we don’t have crushes on these girls anymore. Like, re-watching Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century as a 30-something feels kind of awkward since we’re in our 30’s. But back in 1999, we were just young, hapless, prepubescent boys and Zenon was out of this world. Heh. She was the prototypical spunky blonde that we just knew would love us because of our personalities. She would look past the braces and the acne to see how funny we were, and we loved her for that. Zenon, or Kirsten Storms if you want to shatter the image, was a staple of Disney Original Movies back in the late-90’s and early-00’s. We loved her so much that we would still punch Johnny Tsunami in the face if we ever saw him.
Hillary Duff (Lizzie McGuire, uh…Lizzie McGuire)
Okay, technically Lizzie McGuire aired from 2001-2004, but we can’t compile a list of nostalgic crushes and not mention Hillary Duff. She was the OG Disney series star, and she has always looked like a modern-day princess. Starring in A Cinderella Story certainly didn’t do anything to dissuade that image. Even more than how cute she was, Hillary Duff won us over with how nice she seemed. While her sister was a total dick to Napolean Dynamite, Hillary has always struck us as, like, the nicest person ever.
Katie Holmes (Joey Potter, Dawson’s Creek)
As we got older and began to enter our teen years, we moved on from Winnie Cooper and fell in love with her predecessor, Joey Potter. As the girl from the other side of the creek, Joey won us over the moment she leapt onto the screen during the first episode of Dawson’s Creek. We got to literally grow up with Joey and we saw her grow from a self-conscious, mousy tomboy into a self-assured, confident, beautiful young woman. Dawson was right for always loving her, but he never really deserved her. Yes, that’s right. If we couldn’t have Joey Potter ourselves, we were #teampacey all the way. Katie Holmes has had a pretty active career since her days on the creek, but she will always be remembered as Joey Potter and she will always be one of our biggest crushes.
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
It’s not always looks that determine a crush. Don’t get us wrong, Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a knockout, but it was her toughness that left a lasting impression on our hearts and minds. Sarah Michelle Gellar portrayed Buffy Summers from 1997-2003 and every week she found ways to surprise us, to make us laugh, to make us cry or to make us really, really lonely. We trace our attraction to strong-willed women back to Buffy. We also trace our affinity for leather pants and flowy shirts, because, in the 90’s, we were dressing like vampires way before Twilight was a thing, simply to attract a girl like Buffy. That never happened. And our senior pictures were awkward.
Emmy Rossum (Claire Addison, Genius)
The Disney Channel is responsible for the majority of our celebrity crushes, as well as our completely unreasonable expectations. Never was this more evident than in the Disney Channel Original Movie, Genius. Genius was about this arrogant D-Bag kid with a stupid face who fell in love with Emmy Rossum and made an ice skating rink melt. At least, that’s how we remember it. The plot of the movie is irrelevant, but it was our first introduction to Emmy Rossum, and we were instantly smitten.
You didn’t have to be a genius to see that this girl had a bright future (see what we did there?) and Rossum has had a flourishing career over the years. She portrayed Christine in the film version of The Phantom of the Opera, and she has spent 9 years playing Fiona Gallagher on the hit series Shameless. Remembering the purity that Rossum represented in Genius and The Phantom made seeing her in a more…vulnerable…light in a Shameless sort of awkward, but we’re happy she’s had such a great career.