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The L Word cast - where are they now? 20th-anniversary edition

'The L Word' cast - where are they now? 20th-anniversary edition

'The L Word' cast - where are they now? 20th-anniversary edition
Shutterstock; Courtesy of Showtime

Can you believe it's been 20 years since The L Word premiered? Here's what the cast has been up to!

The L Word premiered on Showtime on January 18, 2004 — has it really been 20 years?! — and for the subsequent six seasons, we tuned in every Sunday night to the drama, scandal, and sexcapades of Los Angeles’ titillating lesbians.

The impact of showrunner Ilene Chaiken’s characters is undeniable. Bette, Tina, Jenny, Alice, Kit, Helena, Dana, Max, Jodi, Tasha, Carmen, Lara, Marina, Phyllis, Joyce, Papi, Molly, and the unforgettable Shane all helped change TV’s LGBTQ+ landscape forever.
Now, two decades years later, we see out queer characters on primetime TV (Grey’s Anatomy, 9-1-1 Lone Star, Riverdale) and streaming services (Heartstopper, Sex Education, Good Omens) regularly.

The writers and actresses of The L Wordwere pioneers in conveying the everyday lives of everyday gay women. In their world, partnerships failed, the joys and sorrows of parenting (or trying to conceive) were real, the fight for equality in the workplace and the armed forces was authentic, the confusing coming out process was genuine, and no one can forget the sex

So, in celebration of the show that started it all, we wanted to track down all of the beloved actresses we tuned in religiously to watch.

Jennifer Beals (Bette Porter)

DFree/Shutterstock; Courtesy of Showtime

Widely recognized for her role as Alex in the '80s classic Flashdance, Jennifer Beals was the matriarch and the core of the show. Viewers all over the globe tuned in to watch Bette, and all of her friends and lovers navigate through gay LA. It was her world, they were all just living in it.

Since 2009 whenThe L Wordended, Beals has done a multi-episode arc on Lie to Me, played a tough-talking police chief on Fox's short-lived The Chicago Code, andstarred alongside Troian Bellisario (Pretty Little Liars) in the heavy-hitting web series Lauren. Beals went on to release a "photographic journal" of photos she took behind-the-scenes of the show entitled, The L Word Book and received the Human Rights Campaign’s Ally for Equality Award.

Most recently she starred in The Book of Boba Fett, Law & Order: Organized Crime, and reprised her role as Bette Porter in The L Word: Generation Q.

Laurel Holloman (Tine Kennard)

@laurelholloman/Instagram; Everette Collection

Bette’s first and last love on the show, originally landed on the radar of lesbians everywhere for her turn as Randy Dean in The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls in Love. Since playing Tina, this mother of two had an 18 episode stint on Teen Nick's Gigantic, which co-starred Meryl Streep's daughter Grace Gummer.

Since the show ended, Holloman has devoted her time to her time to painting, and in 2016 she had her first solo show in the Netherlands at the Museum Jan Van der Tog. Most recently, she stepped back into the shows of Tina Kennard for The L Word: Generation Q.

Mia Kirshner (Jenny Schecter)

@miakirshner/Instagram; Courtesy of Showtime

Kirshner started out on the show as the new kid on the block, but by the end of the run, her character departed under very tragic circumstances. These days, she’s keeping busy with indie films and a few TV projects. In 2011 she made the thriller 388 Arleta Avenue with Devon Sawa and Nick Stahl. She's also appeared on several episodes of the CW's hit The Vampire Diaries. She co-starred on post apocalyptic thriller Defiance, in which her character had a relationship with a woman, had a three episode arc on the SyFy channel’s favorite show about a bisexual succubus, Lost Girl, and most recently she's starred on Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.

Leisha Hailey (Alice Pieszecki)

DFree/; Courtesy of Showtime

Hailey, as Alice, was a perennial favorite throughout her L Word run, keeping tabs on everyone in LA with her infamous chart. She still pops up on TV when she’s not on tour with her band Uh Huh Her. She’s appeared on primetime hits American Dad!, CSI, Drop Dead Diva andThe New Normal and more recently on episodes of Bosch, Silicon Valley and playing Alice again on The L Word: Generation Q.

Katherine Moennig (Shane McCutcheon)

Featureflash Photo Agency/Shutterstock; Courtesy of Showtime

LA’s resident player has been keeping busy! She starred in the short-lived Three Rivers, appeared on an episode of Dexter during which she flirted with Dexter's sister Deb (Jennifer Carpenter), and appeared in the star-studded Everybody’s Fine (Robert De Niro, Drew Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale), The Lincoln Lawyer (Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei) andGone with Amanda Seyfried. Currently, Moennig is starring as Lena, an out press agent, opposite Liev Schreiber and Jon Voight in the Showtime hit Ray Donovan.

Marlee Matlin (Jodi Lerner)

Lev Radin/Shutterstock; Courtesy of Showtime

This Oscar winner joined the cast in season 4, playing Jodi, a fiery artist and Bette’s post-Tina girlfriend. Since the show, Matlin has appeared on CSI and Switched at Birth. In 2009, Matlin released her autobiography, I'll Scream Later, about her history of drug abuse and her journey to get clean. Recently she starred in the award-winning movie CODA, as well as episodes of Family Guy and New Amsterdam.

Pam Grier (Kit Porter)

DFree/Shutterstock; Courtesy of Showtime

Grier has been gracing the silver screen since she started starring in Blaxploitation movies in the '70s, but since playing Bette's loving older sister, she's acted in movies like Larry Crown, The Man with the Iron Fists and Pet Sematary: Bloodlines and hit shows like This Is Us and Bless This Mess.

Rachel Shelley (Helena Peabody)

@rachelshelley/Instagram; Courtesy of Showtime

Bette’s rival-turned friend, welcomed a daughter in 2009, and since then Shelley has appeared on Showtime’s Episodes playing a California girl who hooks up with star Matt Le Blanc, and in two episodes of the ABC fantasy Once Upon a Time. Shelley, who starred in the 2001 Oscar-nominated Bollywood film Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India, also had a five-episode arc in Thandie Newton’s cop thriller Rogue. But lately she's been starring in the shows Different for Girls, Deep State and Kohrra.

Erin Daniels (Dana Fairbanks)

@ercdu/Instagram; Courtesy of Showtime

Daniels auditioned for the roles of Bette and Alice before landing the role of Dana, a pro tennis player starting the coming out process. Sadly, her character was killed off from breast cancer during the show’s third season. After popping up on TVs Swingtown and CSI, and in Tom Ford’s directorial debut, A Single Man, Daniels also appeared on Rizzoli and Isles. She also costarred in the Jonah Hill comedy The Sitter and with Emma Watson in Sofia Coppola’s critically acclaimed The Bling Ring. Most recently, the mother of two has been in episodes of Perception,Stalker, and The Bold Type as well as one episode of The L Word: Generation Q.

Daniel Sea (Max Sweeney)

@danielsea_/Instagram; Courtesy of Showtime

We first met Max in season three when Jenny meets and hooks up with him (then Moira) in a bar. Sea’s memorable performance took the viewers through Moira’s transition to Max. Since then, Sea keeps busy with his acting, activism, and music. Sea starred in director Steve Balderson's drama, The Casserole Club, which focused on a group of mod 1960's era suburban housewives and the sci-fi venture The Pyrex Glitch, written and directed by the Go-Go's Jane Wiedlin. In 2021, Sea opened up about his gender, coming out as trans, non-binary, gender expansive, and queer and has been candid on social media about the experience of transitioning, even sharing shirtless photos post-top surgery.

Rose Rollins (Tasha Williams)

Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock/ Courtesy of Showtime

Rollins played Alice’s girlfriend, the sexy Military police officer who refused to serve in silence. Since the L Word, this model-turned-actress co-starred in NBC's Chase alongside The Good Wife and SVU’s Kelli Giddish, but sadly, after 16 episodes the series was cancelled. Recently she's starred in Bosch, The Catch, and Condor and reprised her role as Tasha in The L Word:Generation Q.

Sarah Shahi (Carmen de La Pica Morales)

Courtesy of Showtime, DFree/Shutterstock

Shahi has been working steadily following her turn as Shane’s DJ girlfriend on The L Word. This stunner has had multi-episode arcs hits like Psych, Chicago Fire and Person of Interest. And on the big screen, Shahi starred opposite Sarah Jessica Parker in I Don’t Know How She Does It, opposite Sylvester Stallone in the actioner Bullet to the Head, and she voiced Michelle, in the animated sci-fi flick, Le Congres. Recently, she's starred in the super hero movie Black Adam, the TV show Sex/Life and last year's hit gay rom-com Red, White and Royal Blue.

Lauren Lee Smith (Lara Perkins)

@leelaurensmith/Instagram; Courtesy of Showtime

Smith played Lara “the soup” chef that stole Dana’s heart in the inaugural season. Fans of the show were sad to see her go, but since her departure she’s been in multiple episodes of CSI, Good Dog, and The Listener. She also made an appearance opposite Anna Paquin in the Halloween cult favorite Trick r Treat and appeared alongside Jennifer Beals in Cinemanovels. And in recent years, she's starred in the TV shows the Frankie Drake Mysteries and Departure.

Karina Lombard (Marina Ferrer)

A model turned actress, Lombard played Marina, the scorcher neighbor who seduces and eventually engages in a torrid affair with newcomer Jenny. On the show for only 16 episodes, Lombard went on to costar with Dennis Leary in Rescue Me, and one episode roles on CSI: NY and NCIS. Most recently she's played characters in the Billy Zane movie The Oath and the TV movie Le Family Show.

Cybill Shepard (Phyllis Kroll)

Award-winning film and TV legend Shepherd played Bette’s boss, who comes out late in life. Since The L Word, Shepherd has appeared on Eastwick, No Ordinary Family, Psych and she played Jennifer Love Hewitt’s mom on The Client List. This year she will star opposite Juliette Lewis in the suburbia drama Kelly & Cal. Her career is still going strong, appearing in the TV movie How to Murder Your Husband last year.

Jane Lynch (Joyce Wishing)

Who doesn’t know what Lynch has been up to? Lynch starred on the L Wordat first as Tina’s shark-like lawyer during the divorce from Bette. She became the eventual love interest for Phyllis. Lynch has enjoyed the most success since the show’s run with TV hits including Glee, Party Down, Two and a Half Men, and Hollywood Game Night. You can also find her in big budget films including Julie & Julia, Ice Age, Rio, and Wreck-It Ralph to name only a few. The funny lady is still making us laugh as a prolific voice actor and for her turn as Steve Martin's character's body double in the hit comedy Only Murders in the Building.

Janina Gavankar (Papi)

Gavankar played Shane’s rival Papi, who according to Alice’s chart, slept with the most women in LA. She had flings with several of the show’s regulars including Alice and Helena. Since the show ended she’s been seen on Vampire Diaries, The League, HBO’s True Blood, and, most recently, The Morning Show and Never Have I Ever. Gavankar has also found success as a voice actor for cartoons like The Mighty Ones and Ghee Happy.

Clementine Ford (Molly Kroll)

Celementine Ford joined the cast in its fifth season as Phyllis’ daughter, Molly, the formerly straight girl who falls for Shane. Since the L Word, Ford has kept busy landing a role on daytime TV’s the Young and the Restless. She also costarred in POWER UP’s Girltrash: All Night Long and a slew of short films.

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Leslie Dobbins

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Ariel Messman-Rucker

Ariel Messman-Rucker is an Oakland-born journalist who now calls the Pacific Northwest her home. When she’s not writing about politics and queer pop culture, she can be found reading, hiking, or talking about horror movies with the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network.

Ariel Messman-Rucker is an Oakland-born journalist who now calls the Pacific Northwest her home. When she’s not writing about politics and queer pop culture, she can be found reading, hiking, or talking about horror movies with the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network.