Breakout Blondes

Once ripe for punchlines, a new crop of smart, talented, and young blondes is dominating the entertainment world, from Taylor Swift to Dakota Fanning. Alison Prato on the peroxide comeback. Plus, VIEW OUR GALLERY.

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Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images

Blake Lively

She was first seen in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants in 2005 alongside future breakout stars America Ferrera (of Ugly Betty) and Amber Tamblyn ( The Unusuals). After landing the coveted role of Serena van der Woodsen in Gossip Girl, however, this blonde can’t walk on the Upper East Side—or anywhere else, for that matter—without her every wardrobe choice coming under scrutiny.

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Kristin Cavallari

Kristin Cavallari debuted to television audiences during her high-school years which were, like once-and-future enemy Lauren Conrad’s, chronicled on MTV’s Laguna Beach. Last week it was announced that Cavallari will join the cast of The Hills next season. Might her feud with L.C. rise again?

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Alison Lohman

With performances in White Oleander, Big Fish, and the failed Fox series Pasadena under her belt, Alison Lohman was always on the cusp of breaking out. The time is now—she double-crosses a gypsy and debuts her horror chops in Drag Me to Hell, Sam Raimi’s latest film. The film, opening Friday, already has stellar reviews.

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Evan Rachel Wood

Starring in Running With Scissors and dating Marilyn Manson was kid’s work for 21-year-old Evan Rachel Wood. She stretched her dramatic range in The Wrestler and will next star in Woody Allen’s Whatever Works as Larry David’s new roommate. Not bad company to keep.

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Hayden Panettiere

In Heroes, Hayden Panettiere was the cheerleader whose survival was supposed to save the world. The 19-year-old is similarly significant in her July film I Love You, Beth Cooper in which she plays, naturally, the hottest girl in school and titular love interest.

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Amanda Seyfried

Doe-eyed ingénue Amanda Seyfried appears much smarter than her Mean Girls alter ego. After playing house with Bill Paxton on HBO’s Big Love, Seyfried did the song-and-dance routine in the unexpected box-office hit Mamma Mia! and next stars with breakout brunette Megan Fox in Jennifer’s Body, a comedy thriller penned by Diablo Cody.

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Amy Spanger

Broadway is known for introducing undiscovered talent to the world. Amy Spanger, one of the leads in the 1980s-era musical Rock of Ages, is getting her moment in the sun this summer. She belts out “Don’t Stop Believin’” and “I Want to Know What Love Is” alongside American Idol’s scraggly haired rocker Constantine Maroulis.

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AnnaLynne McCord

Playing a teenage seducer on Nip/Tuck and destroying the life of plastic surgeon Sean McNamara helped AnnaLynne McCord score the lead role on The CW’s revival of 90210. Luckily the show was renewed for season two—and off its success, the network is remaking Melrose Place.

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Lady Gaga

Everyone’s favorite bubble-dress-wearing singer was an unknown only a year ago. After Lady Gaga’s singles “Just Dance” and “Poker Face” became club staples, the critical and popular favorite has made waves in both the music scene and the fashion world.

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Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest creation was even hotter to handle than Borat—his upcoming mockumentary was initially rated NC-17. This July the flamboyant, platinum-haired supermodel is unleashed upon America. Are you ready?