Then and Now: 10 Female Icons Who’ve Landed Badass TV Roles

Some of them are known for playing America’s sweethearts, best friends, and mothers. Some of them have been playing badasses from the start. These days, though, all of these female icons have landed awards, money, and fame by playing incredibly strong characters on the big screen. See where these actresses got their start, and then follow them through their careers to where they are now.

Then: Keri Russell

These days, we know JJ Abrams as a top sci-fi producer. Back in the ’90s, however, he was making sappy TV dramas. He worked as executive producer on the famous college drama Felicity, where he cast Keri Russell as the show’s namesake character, Felicity Porter. The show was a hit – so much so, in fact, that Time Magazine named it one of the top 100 TV Shows of All Time. The show was so successful during its four-year run that Time Magazine named it one of the 100 Best TV Shows of All Time. Felicity was an iconic character, but most of her life was spent chasing boys and dealing with college drama.

Now: Keri Russell

Since Felicity, Keri Russell has completely switched gears. She can now be found playing an international Cold War-era spy on The Americans. Her character, Elizabeth Jennings, is a KGB spy living in the Virginia suburbs in an arranged marriage with her fellow KGB spy. She’s tasked with collecting intelligence while posing as an American. Her performance was so good, it won Russell her first Emmy and Critics’ Choice nominations.


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