Alyssa Jayne Milano (b. December 19, 1972 in New York City, New York) is an American actress, model and former pop star.
Born in Brooklyn, New York to Italian-American parents, Alyssa started acting at a young age when she was dragged to an audition for Annie to support a friend. Through a familiar trope, Alyssa was the one chosen as the lead at only seven years old. She achieved national fame when she starred as Samantha Micelli on the sitcom Who's the Boss? at the age of eleven.
As is expected with many child actresses, once she reached adulthood, she sought to distance herself from her squeaky clean image and went after a Hotter and Sexier persona — including a sex tape scandal. She managed to avoid becoming a Former Child Star when she landed a role in Melrose Place, but it was her next project that would solidify her fame.
A drama show on the WB about three sisters who discover they are witches was being produced by Aaron Spelling. One of the potential lead actresses, Lori Rom, dropped out at the last minute and Alyssa, with whom Spelling had worked on Melrose Place, was given the call. The show was Charmed and it was a worldwide success, lasting for eight seasons and becoming the longest running female-led network show — until Desperate Housewives surpassed it. The early days of Charmed were not without some controversy — a well-publicised feud between Alyssa and the show's lead Shannen Doherty escalated in the third season, resulting in Shannen's departure. Alyssa became a producer of the show from the fifth season onward.
After Charmed ended in 2006, she has had notable roles in My Name Is Earl and Mistresses. In 2013, she settled comfortably into a role as the host of Project Runway: All Stars. Way back in the 80s, she also had a pop music career in Japan. She was also who none other than Princess Ariel was modeled after — something she did not realize until Disney asked her to host the 'Making Of' feature.
Alyssa's Notable Roles:
- Who's the Boss? (1984-1992) as Samantha Micelli
- Commando (1985) as Jenny Matrix
- Double Dragon (1994) as Marian Delario
- Embrace of the Vampire (1994) as Charlotte
- Fear (1996) as Margo Masse
- Melrose Place (1997-1998) as Jennifer Mancini
- Poison Ivy II: Lily (1998) as Lily Leonetti.
- Charmed (1998-2006) as Phoebe Halliwell
- Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure (2001) as Angel
- Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star (2003) as Cyndi
- My Name Is Earl (2007-2008) as Billie Cunningham
- New Year's Eve (2011) as Nurse Mindy
- Mistresses (2013-2014) as Savannah Davis
- Scarlett Rosetti in Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil
- Poison Ivy on Young Justice
- April on The Adventures of Kid Danger
- Netflix's Insatiable as Coralee Armstrong
Tropes associated with her work.
- Contractual Purity: Desperate not to be seen as a child star forever, she took grittier roles such as a teen prostitute in Where The Day Takes You and Amy Fishernote in a docudrama. She also appeared nude in the films Embrace of the Vampire, Deadly Sins and Poison Ivy II.
- Creator Backlash: Has gone on record to say that she disliked some of Phoebe's more overt Fanservice outfits, which got a bit of Lampshade Hanging.
- Dye Hard: She's naturally brunette but has changed her hair many times. Within Charmed's fourth season alone, she had six different hair changes.
- Former Child Star: She looked to be a straight example in the early 90s, but Melrose Place and Charmed proved to be a Career Resurrection for her.
- Germans Love David Hasselhoff: She gained a huge Japanese fanbase in her child star days, enough for her to be signed to a six record deal over there.
- I Am Not Spock: She was glad when Who's The Boss ended so she could break out of this, not wanting to be seen as Samantha Micelli. This has been averted thanks to Charmed, Melrose Place and Mistresses.
- Irony as She Is Cast: A famous mermaid princess was modeled after her. Alyssa is terrified of water, which proved interesting when a Charmed episode required her to be turned into a mermaid.
- Ms. Fanservice: She's had no shortage of roles showing off her beauty.
- Old Shame: Multiple:
- Poison Ivy II was something she did to distance herself from her child star days, before Melrose Place helped her out. Years later when interviewed about it, she replied, "I hope my Poison Ivy days are behind me."
- She doesn't look too highly on her music career, feeling her albums weren't that good, despite selling platinum. She has focused exclusively on acting since.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: She left during Season 2 of Mistresses due to a scheduling conflict.
- She Also Did: That's her in the Blink 182 video for "Josie".
- Those Two Actors: She starred alongside Brian Bloom in the TV movies Crash Course and Dance til Dawn, and cameo'd in his film The Webbers.