With the massive success of Yellowjackets, the name Melanie Lynskey has been on everybody’s lips. The star has received a lot of traction since the premiere of the show for her portrayal of Shauna. Although she may be a character most viewers usually dislike, Lynskey makes it so Shauna becomes an indispensable key member on the show.

However, Lynskey isn’t a newcomer. On the contrary, she has been portraying remarkable women since 1994. Lynskey’s career spans nearly three decades, proving that talent will really get you far. 

As a popular name within the queer community for her constant support, it is great to watch Melanie Lynskey get the recognition and the love she deserves for constantly putting in the work.

If you haven’t taken a deep dive into her previous work, here are 10 of the characters you should look into.

RELATED: How Yellowjackets Depicts Trauma Responses Through Its Main Characters

Jacqueline in Ever After: A Cinderella Story

Cinderella’s world-renowned story has been shared in many versions. In 1998, Ever After: A Cinderella Story premiered with Drew Barrymore and Dougray Scott in the lead roles. In this retelling of the fairytale, the movie follows the Brothers Grimm as they come across a Grande Dame who shares the story of a cinder girl who turns out to be her ancestor.

Melanie Lynskey joined the cast in the role of Jacqueline, one of the evil step-sisters. She is a witness and partaker in the abuse of Cinderella at the hands of her mother Rodmilla (Anjelica Huston).

Hilary in But I’m a Cheerleader

A year after being a part of the cast of Ever After: A Cinderella Story, Melanie Lynskey joined the cast of But I’m a Cheerleader. This is the role that made her an icon and a popular star within the LGBTQ+ community as everyone holds the movie to a high standard as part of the pop culture of the community.

When Megan (Natasha Lyonne) is sent to a rehab camp, her parents and friends begin to suspect she is a lesbian. Clea DuVall, Michelle Williams, and RuPaul are some of the famous names that joined Lynskey in helping tell this iconic story.

RELATED: Queer Tested, Teacher Approved: 14 YA LGBTQ+ Books, Movies and TV Shows Bursting with Queer Joy

Gloria in Coyote Ugly

Although Melanie Lynskey isn’t one of the main girls in Coyote Ugly, she made her character of Gloria a memorable one. The movie takes place mostly inside the bar, Coyote Ugly, as these women work night after night to deliver drinks mostly for men and earn their tips.

The story follows the life of Violet Sanford (Piper Perabo) who is an aspiring singer who leaves her home to follow her dreams. She finds herself in a detour while working at the bar. It is there that she learns more about herself as she becomes working with these women. Maria Bello, Izabella Miko, Tyra Banks, and Bridget Moynahan joined her in the lead.

Lurlynn in Sweet Home Alabama

Up until Yellowjackets, Melanie Lynskey. was mostly known for supporting roles that bring something to the table and add to the story. Whether it was as a step-sister, a friend, or a background character, her talent always managed to shine through the screen — especially if you think how well she has disguised her New Zealand accent.

In Sweet Home Alabama while everyone is rooting for Reese Witherspoon to realize that coming back home was for a reason and that reason is getting back together with her ex (played by Josh Lucas), Lynskey plays the friend from the past. Her most memorable scene is when Witherspoon’s character runs into her at a bar with a baby, “Look at you! You have a baby …. in a bar.”

Susan in Say Uncle

Any movie with Kathy Najimy as the lead will definitely result in a lot of laughter and a good time. Say Uncle is a comedy in which Paul (Peter Paige) is a young artist who spends a lot of time playing with the neighborhood children at the park. He is missing his godson, so he wants to recreate that bond. However, things get out of hand when Najimy’s character gets suspicious of his intentions.

Melanie Lynskey plays Susan, one of the women in the community that Maggie Butler reaches out to. The movie includes chasing scenes on the street, a very small press conference, and a mom railing up her neighbors.

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Clea Mason on The L Word

Many of the actors who have become famous within the queer community have been a part of The L Word; whether it was during the original series or the reboot. The show follows the lives of lesbians and queer women in a tight-knit group as they go through life in Los Angeles. The main cast included Jennifer Beals, Laurel Holloman, Leisha Hailey, Mia Kirshner, Kate Moennig, and Pam Grier.

To add to her fame among LGBTQ+ folks, Melanie Lynskey was a part of the show for two episodes during season 5. Clea Mason shows up on Season 5 Episode 11, “Lunar Cycle,” and Season 5 Episode 12, “Loyal and True.”

Jess in Show of Hands

Show of Hands tells the story of a competition to win a car. The challenge is to keep a hand on the car at all times in order to be the winner. The competition puts Jess (Lynskey) against Tom (Craig Hall). Jess is a single mother and a parking warden. Tom is a greeting-cards salesman who loves a good competition as long as he wins.

The movie premiered in 2008 and this time around Lynskey is on as the lead. The cast also includes names such as Stephen Lovatt, Chelsie Florence, Matt Welan, and Nick Dunbar.

Rose on Two and a Half Men

Most people who recognize Melanie Lynskey from the work she has done in the past recognize her for the role of Rose in Two and a Half Men. On the show, she played Charlie (Charlie Sheen) and Alan’s (Jon Cryer) neighbor slash Charlie’s stalker. Even though the two of them had a brief affair, Charlie has moved on while Rose keeps coming back to his life.

A lot of Rose’s scenes involve her climbing through the balcony and into their living room, her preferred method of entering the house. Lynskey was on the show for 63 episodes, coming back for the reboot when Charlie died and Walden (Ashton Kutcher) took over.

RELATED: Become one with The Wilderness by reading our Yellowjackets recaps!

Sara in Our Ex-Wife

There might be a tendency in Melanie Lynskey’s career to play characters that are labeled as either crazy or extravagant for one reason or another. Rose on Two and a Half Men and Shauna on Yellowjackets being two of the most popular. But Sara in the TV movie Our Ex-Wife could join the list as someone who has to deal with a crazy or extravagant character.

The movie tells the story of a couple who recently got engaged and has to face the actions of the ex-wife to sabotage their relationship. During the movie, Sara makes it her end goal to mend the relationship with the ex-wife in order to move on and have the marriage of her dreams.

Betty Gore on Candy

The moment the audience meets Betty Gore on Candy, you can’t help but feel sorry for her. She has recently given birth and feels lonely, her husband works all the time and is cheating on her, and she doesn’t seem to have that many friends. You feel even worse for her when you realize the story is based on true events and her killer was never really brought to justice.

Melanie Lynskey does an amazing job bringing this character to life. As a viewer, you can’t help but feel bad for her and wish someone had paid attention before the terrible ending. Her counterpart is Jessica Biel who also does an incredible job portraying Candy Montgomery, housewife-turned-murderer.


Yellowjackets streams new episodes every Friday on the Showtime app, and if you bundle Paramount+ with Showtime. You can also catch their cable network airings every Sunday at 9 pm on Showtime

This article was originally published on 4/14/23.

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Lara Rosales
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