Get ready to feel old, nineties kids. She’s All That, the teen movie classic that’s a riff on George Bernard Shaw play Pygmalion, just turned 20. The movie starred Rachael Leigh Cook as ugly-duckling-turned-swan Laney Boggs. Freddie Prinze Jr. played Zack Siler, the popular guy whose best friend challenges him to transform her into the prom queen.
Since its release in 1999, She’s All That has earned a spot in the teen movie hall of fame alongside films like Pretty in Pink, Clueless, and Mean Girls. And it’s a microcosm of late-‘90s pop culture, with appearances by Usher (as the school’s DJ), Li’l Kim, and Gabrielle Union, a cameo from Buffy‘s Sarah Michelle Gellar, a choreographed dance sequence set to Fatboy Slim’s “The Rockafeller Skank,” and a romantic final-scene kiss that turned the Sixpence None the Richer song “Kiss Me” into a major hit.
For lead actress Cook, the movie is probably the one she’s still most associated with today. But since She’s All That, she’s gone on to appear in many other films and TV shows.
Rachael Leigh Cook’s first movie roles
Before landing the role of Boggs, Cook had been a child model. Her first role as an actress was in the 1995 movie The Baby-Sitters Club, where she played bookish Mary Anne Spier. The same year she was in Tom and Huck with Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Brad Renfro. She played Becky Thatcher.
In 1997, she played the part of young Jackie-O in The House of Yes. In 1998, she appeared in All I Wanna Do with Kirsten Dunst and Gaby Hoffman as a group of students at an all-girls prep school who oppose a planned merger with an all-male school. Her work in those two movies caught the eye of producers, Cook told the Huffington Post, which led to her being cast in She’s All That.
Cook also appeared in the TV movie Country Justice and starred in a memorable anti-drug PSA before She’s All That.
Her career after She’s All That
After She’s All That, Cook was in The Bumblebee Flies Anyway with Elijah Wood. Her next major starring role was as Josie in the 2001 film Josie and the Pussycats. That movie was a failure at the box office. Other movies from the early 2000s failed to make much of an impression, including Antitrust, Blow Dry, and Texas Rangers.
Cook continued to act in movies throughout the 2000s, but she seemed to find more success on TV. From 2006 to 2018 she provided the voice of various characters on Robot Chicken. She’s also had recurring roles on the shows Psych and Las Vegas. From 2012 to 2015, she starred as Kate Moretti on the TNT show Perception. She’s also appeared in a number of movies for Hallmark and Lifetime, including the upcoming Valentine in the Vineyard, which will air on the Hallmark Channel on February 2.
She’s also a mom of two
In 2004, Cook married actor Daniel Gillies. (He’s best known for his role as Elijah Mikaelson on The Vampire Diaries.) The couple has two children, a son and a daughter. She’s talked about the challenges of being a working mom in Hollywood, noting that it doesn’t always make sense to take on smaller roles.
“Well my husband works full time on a show, I know the hardest part is the sheer number of people I have to inconvenience when I want to go to work,” Cook told She Knows in 2016. “Logistically it’s just plain complicated. Also, deciding if a project makes sense not only as a career, but financial sense, now plays a role. A lot of the fun, smaller movies will cost us money to do by the time we pay for additional care.”