Born September 5, 1973. Known early in her career for such movies as ''TheDoomGeneration'' and ''Film/{{Scream 1996}}'', she's had a resurgence in popularity with the TV show ''Series/{{Charmed}}'', as the fourth sister brought in when Prue died, and her ''dual'' roles in ''Film/{{Grindhouse}}''.

!!!'''This actress contains examples of:'''

* ActingForTwo: Played two different characters in ''Film/{{Grindhouse}}'', Pam (the blond party girl) in ''Death Proof'' and Cherry Darling (the go-go dancer) in ''Planet Terror''. Notable in that three other actors from Planet Terror played the same characters briefly in ''Death Proof'', as well as two other actors playing different characters like her.
* ActorAllusion: Her one scene in the film ''Nowhere'' was with her ''Series/{{Charmed}}'' sister Shannen Doherty, whom she never had any scenes with on the show.
** A retroactive example in the ''Series/{{Charmed}}'' episode "The Jung and the Restless" where she wonders why she can't dream about "someone cool, like a Quentin Tarantino. A Tarantino film would end up being her first post-''Charmed'' role.
* BlondeBrunetteRedhead: Has been all three colors but notable on ''Series/{{Charmed}}'' that she cycled through all four in her first few seasons. Was black in season 4, red in 5, blonde in 6 and brown in 7 and 8.
* ButNotTooForeign: Is actually Italian-American but looks very pale, largely due to also being half Irish. Interestingly, her on-screen sister Alyssa Milano is also Italian-American.
* ButNotTooWhite: Averted. She's well known for her pale complexion and it suits her wonderfully.
* DeadpanSnarker
* DyeingForYourArt: Dyed her hair blonde for ''Film/{{Scream 1996}}''. Averted for ''Death Proof'' as she simply wore a wig.
* DyeHard: Naturally brunette but she does often change things up.
* FakeAmerican: She was born and raised in Italy, but has spent most of her life in America. She can still speak the language though.
* GuestHost: [=McGowan=] cohosted ''The Essentials'' on Creator/TurnerClassicMovies in 2008.
* HeroesWantRedheads: A large amount of her fans prefer her with the red hair.
* MsFanservice: More so early in her career.
* MyGirlIsNotASlut: Felt this way with how Paige was written in ''Series/{{Charmed}}'' season 5. Paige would be seen with a different guy each episode. She claimed that after her only scene with one love interest was a raunchy moment on the couch, she went to the writers and said "Paige isn't a ho".
* OohMeAccentsSlipping: Her Belfast accent in ''FiftyDeadMenWalking'' is awful. Ironic considering she is half-Irish.
* OlderThanTheyLook: Would ''you'' say she was close to 40?
* ParentalAbandonment: Got herself emancipated at 14 years old.
* PerkyGoth: Somewhat subverted. Definitely unflappable.
* RavenHairIvorySkin: Definitely in season 4 of ''Series/{{Charmed}}''. It's no coincidence she played a vampire in that season.
* RomanceOnTheSet: With Creator/RobertRodriguez on ''Film/{{Grindhouse}}''.
* {{Stripperiffic}}: Some of her more outrageous ''Series/{{Charmed}}'' outfits, such as the Valkyrie and wood nymph. Justified in ''Planet Terror'', as she plays go-go dancer Cherry Darling.
* TypeCasting: She's always the deadpan snarker. Really, because that's who she is in real life.
** PlayingAgainstType: Cherry Darling was more of a ditzy ActionGirl.