11 '90s Celebs Who Paved The Way For Your Favorite Modern Stars

If common wisdom (and Justin Timberlake) are to be believed, when it comes to matters of karmic justice, what goes around comes around. ("All the way back around," to be precise.) When it comes to cultural acceptance, however, what goes around may or may not come back into the zeitgeist, depending on who's there to revive it. Sometimes, we the American public veto things we aren't ready for (Bravo's NYC Prep, RIP) that only years years later do we realize we're ready for (Gossip Girl). After all, would Family Guy have been allowed anywhere near network television had The Simpsons not broken through first? It seems like the '90s paved the way for the stars of today, honestly.

It's not just limited to tv, either. What would the state of big butts look like today if J. Lo wasn't there to bring it? Would Louis C.K. be making Louis today if Chris Rock hadn't stepped in and saved the day? (Furthermore, would we have their 2001 masterpiece Pootie Tang?) Perhaps most importantly, if Usher hadn't mentored Justin Bieber throughout his purple American Apparel hoodie days 10 years ago, would we really have Carly Rae Jepsen today? (Not to mention this very important music video staring Tom Hanks doing a perfect Tom Hanks impression?) Not a chance. Here are eleven celebs of the '90s who paved the way for our fave celebs of today.

1. Kim Kardashian Can Thank Jennifer Lopez For The Universal Acceptance Of Bootyliciousness


Granted, no one's insinuating the KUWTK star has any of J.Lo's talent, but, when it comes to all things badonk, Kim K has J. Lo to thank. Jenny From The Block herself admits as much, telling Watch What Happen Live's Andy Cohen earlier this year that she "paved the way" for the KUWTK star and her sisters. (In fairness, I'm sure the Destiny's Child song didn't hurt, either.)

2. When It Comes To Disney-Approved Pop Stars, Miley Cyrus Has Britney Spears To Thank

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The elder pop star, of her 2016 counterpart, told Extra's Mario Lopez in 2013, "I remember that age when I was just transferring into my career and, like, doing more controversial things and the energy that you feel and all this chaos that goes on."

3. Mindy Kaling, Like Margaret Cho 20 Years Before Her, Is An Asian American TV Groundbreaker

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Margaret Cho's short-lived series All-American Girl was the first network series to star an Asian American woman and to center around an Asian American family. Likewise, Mindy Kaling's The Mindy Project is the first series to star an Indian American woman.

4. One Direction Is 2016's Answer To NSYNC

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While both are chart-toppers to be sure, when Justin Timberlake was asked which group is more talented, he responded in the only matter fitting of a former teen pop star: "I have not seen them on stage, but I'd be willing to say that we're better than them."

5. Full(er) House's Bob Saget Was Modern Family's Ty Burrell

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Both comedians-turned-sitcom-dads, both patriarchs of generation-defining sitcoms... the Saget-Burrell connection is real.

6. Ellen DeGeneres' Character Coming Out Paved The Way For Greater LGBT Acceptance On TV

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The talkshow host's coming out episode on her eponymous sitcom is frequently cited among the most influential gay moments on television.

7. The Olsen & The Sprouse Twins Have More In Common Than Just Their Child Star Pasts

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And true, they're both twins, duh. But did you know that the Olsen twins mentor the Sprouse twins? Or that the latter conduct side projects through Dualstar Entertainment, a company owned by the Olsens? It's hard to imagine, but Dylan revealed in an early interview how the sisters "have always given us great advice. It really means a lot to us that they care so much about what we're doing. They've been through it themselves so we take their advice very seriously."

8. Matt Groening And Seth MacFarlane Have Never Feuded Over The Similarity Of Their Shows

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According to The Simpsons' wikia community, "It has been stated on numerous occasions that Family Guy is a rip-off of The Simpsons, but both he [MacFarlane] and Matt Groening have stated that they are friends and there is no rivalry between the shows, nor have they said Family Guy is a rip-off of The Simpsons." The Family Guy creator guest-starred in a Simpsons episode and even collaborated on a Family Guy-Simpsons crossover episode, "The Simpsons Guy."

9. Charo Cemented The Latina Bombshell Image In American Culture Before Sofia Vergara

While both women are known for their hourglass figures and accents, it seems the two might not exactly be the best of friends. After learning the elder star deemed the Modern Family star "Charo with diarrhea," Vergara quipped, "Of course she doesn’t like [being compared to me]. No one likes being compared with someone else, especially someone younger."

10. Chris Rock's Friendship With Louis C.K. Is Heart-Warming (And Career-Making)

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Or, to hear Louis C.K. tell it: "I said, 'Can I just be a writer, please?' So he [Rock] hired me as a writer-producer and I worked there for four years, and it was f*ckin’ awesome."

11. Eminem Is The First To Admit You Wouldn't Know His Name Without Dr. Dre

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After Dre heard his then-unknown protege freestyle, he immediately flew him out to LA, recalling later on, "In my entire career in the music industry, I’ve never found anything from a demo tape. When I heard it, I didn’t even know he was white."

Who will be thanking Miley in 2026?