A pair of filmmakers found the real thing when they spotted 15-year-old Rosario Dawson laughing hysterically on a Lower East Side stoop, where she squatted in an abandoned building with her family. They quickly cast Dawson in their gritty New York indie, Kids.
The disturbingly real drama scared the hell out of parents and sexually active teens everywhere, opening doors for Dawson, who went on to work with directors Spike Lee and Oliver Stone and actors Denzel Washington and Will Smith. The eco-friendly star, who previously dated Sex and the City's Jason Lewis, returned to her Lower East Side roots as Mimi in 2005's film adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Rent. She's also become a comic book-loving sex symbol with turns in Sin City and Grindhouse.