It all began in 1995 with 10 alluring beauties on a three-page foldout cover.
The idea embedded in the title was that these were fresh careers, and they were only going up, up, up by 2000.
APRIL 1995: “HOLLYWOOD HIGHEST—THE CLASS OF 2000”
In order of famous/relevant to least famous/relevant in April 1995:
Jennifer Jason Leigh, 33, -- the crouching focus puller, was already quite famous. Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Single White Female and Shortcuts were behind her (amongst many others)
Uma Thurman had been enjoying the spoils of fame since she was 18 when she had pulled off her nightgown in Dangerous Liaisons and stood naked like Venus on a shell in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. When this cover image was released she was 25 and full of fame adrenaline from that needle plunge in Pulp Fiction which had just brought her her one and only Oscar nomination.
Nicole Kidman was 28 and most famous for being "Mrs. Tom Cruise" though she had already made Dead Calm and Flirting (pluses in the 'take me seriously as an actress' column) and a few dumber Hollywood pictures. To Die For, the career changer, was just months away
Patricia Arquette was 27 in 1995 and had won her first significant group of fans through her violent prostitute role in True Romance (1993) and this same year became Mrs. Nicolas Cage.
Linda Fiorentino just turning 37 was the oldest covergirl but she had just made a big splash in The Last Seduction.
Gwyneth Paltrow was 22 when this cover debuted. Aside from her familial connections (daughter of Hollywood players) and strong reviews for her memorable supporting work in Flesh and Bone (1993) she was not well known. 1995 would change all that. She had just begun dating Brad Pitt (they met filming Se7en, which would debut in September that year).
Sarah Jessica Parker at 30 had been famous for as long as Jennifer Jason Leigh. Four years prior to this cover she had improbably reinvented herself as a sexy sassy supporting movie player in L.A. Story (1991) saving her blah television career from its slow death. Well reviewed turns in Honeymoon in Vegas (1993) Ed Wood (1994) and Miami Rhapsody (1995) kept her star rising.
Julianne Moore at 34 was about to break. She had won a daytime Emmy in 1988, but her rise through the movie ranks was slow: as a star she's been a tortoise rather than a hare. [safe] 's release was a few months away.
Angela Bassett on her way to 37 had a huge breakthrough with What's Love Got To Do With It (1993) and her star was shining brightly.
Sandra Bullock was fresh off the smash success of Speed (1994), about to turn 31 and prove her own Keanu free bankability in While You Were Sleeping (1995).
ONTD, how do you think 1995's first cover compares to subsequent covers? More hits than misses? Why was Gwyneth the only one wearing a gown?