1. Kirsten Dunst (Amber Atkins)
Our hero Amber was obviously the most talented contestant, but her tap dancing skills meant little in an unjust system.
Kirsten Dunst continued her teen star success with Bring It On and Get Over It. Her next major role was as Mary Jane Watson in the Spider-Man trilogy. Since then, she’s taken on more serious roles, as in Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia.
3. Denise Richards (Rebecca Ann Leeman)
Rebecca had the unfair advantage of being the rich girl in town and the daughter of pageant coordinator Gladys Leeman. Nepotism earned her a crown.
Denise Richards became a Bond Girl in The World Is Not Enough, but most of her post-Drop Dead Gorgeous work has been in television. She also made tabloid headlines throughout her tumultuous marriage to Charlie Sheen. She currently stars on the ABC Family series Twisted.
5. Ellen Barkin (Annette Atkins)
Amber’s mother Annette pushed her to follow her dreams and stay in the pageant, even when Annette nearly died in an explosion targeting Amber.
Famous from her earlier roles, Ellen Barkin continued to do guest spots and indie film roles after Drop Dead Gorgeous. In 2011, she won a Tony for her debut Broadway performance in The Normal Heart. She now stars as caustic bigot Jane Forrest (AKA Nana) on NBC’s The New Normal.
7. Allison Janney (Loretta)
Annette’s best friend Loretta took over as Amber’s adult supervision while Annette was stuck in the hospital.
Allison Janney is best known for her work on The West Wing, which premiered the same year Drop Dead Gorgeous came out. She’s also done plenty of film work, appearing in American Beauty, Juno, and The Help, among others. In 2011, she starred on the short-lived ABC sitcom Mr. Sunshine.
9. Kirstie Alley (Gladys Leeman)
Gladys was the corrupt pageant coordinator and ultimate stage mom, not above killing in order to get her daughter Becky the crown.
Kirstie Alley took bit roles after her series Veronica’s Closet ended in 2000. She struggled with drug abuse and weight problems, the latter of which she eventually turned into a sitcom Fat Actress. She has appeared on Dancing With the Stars twice.
11. Mindy Sterling (Iris)
Iris never seemed quite as evil as Gladys, but she was incompetent enough to let the pageant get hijacked by the Leeman family.
Still best known for her role as Frau Farbissina in the Austin Powers series, Mindy Sterling has taken on a slew of comedic films and TV shows. She has also done a lot of voice acting, including in Nickelodeon’s The Legend of Korra.
13. Amy Adams (Leslie Miller)
Leslie was the most sexually active of all the pageant contestants — and a little bit pregnant, but don’t tell her boyfriend.
Drop Dead Gorgeous was Amy Adams’ screen debut, but she didn’t blow up until 2005’s indie hit Junebug. Since then, she has become a major star, starring in the films Enchanted, Julie & Julia, and Doubt. She has been nominated for four Academy Awards, and is playing Lois Lane in the upcoming Man of Steel.
15. Brittany Murphy (Lisa Swenson)
Lisa wasn’t typical pageant material, but then, her parents only had her because her brother needed a new kidney.
Brittany Murphy died in 2009 from complications of pneumonia, anemia, and the combination of several drugs in her system. Prior to that, she received acclaim for her roles in films like Girl, Interrupted and 8 Mile. She was also beginning a career as a romantic comedy lead.
17. Shannon Nelson (Tess Weinhaus)
Poor Tess was incredibly accident prone and not very good at anything, though she did at least appreciate a giant ball of twine.
Shannon Nelson has appeared in several indie productions, some of which she has also produced. Her latest project is Alice and the Monster — she plays the title role. (That would be Alice, not the monster.)
19. Laurie Sinclair (Michelle Johnson)
Tortured actress Michelle picked a dramatic monologue from Soylent Green as her talent at the pageant.
Laurie Sinclair has mostly stopped acting, although she did have a guest spot on Californication. Her focus now is singing, and her music can be heard on TV series like The Vampire Diaries and The Ghost Whisperer.
21. Sarah Stewart (Jenelle Betz)
Jenelle suffered a terrible blow to the head that took her out of the competition, but at least she was able to finally put her deaf advocacy to work as a newly deaf person.
Sarah Stewart has also mostly steered clear of acting. Her IMDb credits include one short film and one TV episode.
23. Alexandra Holden (Mary Johanson)
Past pageant winner Mary was barely able to make it onstage to hand over her crown due to her severe anorexia.
Alexandra Holden is well remembered for her stint as Ross’ student girlfriend on the sixth season of Friends, but she’s kept busy with film and television work. Most recently, she was in this year’s Sundance film In a World.
NOTE: Brooke Elise Bushman (Tammy Curry) and Tara Redepenning (Molly Howard) seem to have disappeared from the internet. We can only assume they were taken out by the competition.
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