The 90s gave us some of the best movies and the closing year of 1999 did not let us downt. We were gifted films like The Sixth Sense, The Matrix, and The Mummy among so many other incredible films. We also saw the introduction of new favorite talents like actress Mena Suvari. The doe-eyed beauty had our full attention in some of 1999s biggest hits, American Beauty and American Pie.
Did Mena keep acting in films with “American” in the title? Did she come back for any additional helpings of the American Pie movies? Let’s check in on Mena Suvari and see what she’s been up to after all these years
Mena Alexandra Suvari made her debut on February 13th, 1979, in Newport, Rhode Island, to parents Candice (Thompson) Suvari, a nurse, and Ando Ivar Suvari, a psychiatrist.
She has three older brothers, and is the youngest child and only girl in the family.
Her family later moved to South Carolina and she was educated at the exclusive all-girls Ashley Hall private school in Charleston.
Suvari moved to California where she finished at Providence High School in Burbank in 1997. Mena initially had dreams of becoming an archaeologist when she grew up. Acting sounds like a pretty good close second.
Though she made her acting debut at the age of 15, Mena had already appeared in a Rice-A-Roni commercial and had been a model since she was a preteen for the Millie Lewis Models and Talent Agency, then later the Wilhelmina Agency.
Her first roles were on TV shows like Boy Meets World, ER, and High Incident. Her first movie role was as Zoe in the dark teen indie dramedy Nowhere in 1997. That same year she would appear in Kiss the Girls with Morgan Freeman and Ashely Judd.
Mena would start to see her star rise when she landed the role of Heather in the 1999 teen coming-of-age comedy American Pie. She played the innocent choir girl who gains the attention of the star lacrosse player, Oz, who pursues her and they become a couple by the end of the movie.
The movie catapulted the whole main cast into instant celebrity and spawned multiple sequels. Mena returned for the second slice in American Pie 2, but skipped out on the third installment, American Wedding, as did a handful of other actors from the first two, including Chris Klein, who portrayed her boyfriend Oz. But she came back with the entire cast for the final film in the original franchise in 2012, American Reunion.
Mena rounded out 1999 with two more “American” films, the first being American Virgin, where she played Katrina in the comedy that also starred Bob Hoskins.
Her role as Angela Hayes in the Oscar-winning dark dramedy American Beauty brought Suvari critical acclaim. With a solid cast including Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Wes Bentley, Allison Janney, and Peter Gallagher, Mena went on to be nominated for a SAG and a BAFTA for her role, earning her a SAG Award for Best Ensemble.
Suvari stuck to the rom-com and indie route, appearing in films like the teen rom-com Loser with American Pie co-star Jason Biggs in 2000, the 2001 teen black comedy and cult classic Sugar & Spice.
In 2002, she would land the part of a meth-head named Cookie in the movie Spun, a movie about the wild and turbulent world of people addicted to amphetamines.
What is Mena Suvari doing now?
But Mena would also pop up in TV shows like Six Feet Under for seven episodes, in American Horror Story: Murder House, and Chicago Fire for seven episodes in season two.
She also had one-off appearances on shows like Inside Amy Schumer and American Horror Story: Apocalypse in 2018.
In 2022 alone, Mena had five projects come out, mostly lower-budget and indie films that aren’t going to win anyone any awards, but they still pay money that spends all the same.
And Suvari isn’t slowing down, as she has five projects in post and one currently in production.
In 2021, she added author to her resume when she published her memoir titled The Great Peace. In it, she detailed her heartbreaking youth, from feeling neglected by her parents, her mother’s abandonment, having to care for her elderly father, being raped by a brother’s friend at only 12 years old, to being overly sexualized by Hollywood before she was even a teenager, abusive relationships, drug use to escape it all, and being preyed on by older men.
For the fans that kept Mena’s career going despite all of her struggles, she always makes time. She joined the convention circuit in September of 2021 and made a few appearances in 2022.
Mena’s personal life reads a bit like a movie itself. She was first married in 2000 to cinematographer Robert Brinkmann, who was 16 years older than the actress. The pair divorced only five years later in 2005.
She tried her luck at love again in 2010 when she married Simone Sestito, a concert promoter she had been dating since 2007. Unfortunately, a year later Mena filed for divorce, which was finalized in the fall of 2012.
In 2016, Suvari met set decorator Michael Hope while making the Hallmark movie I’ll Be Home for Christmas.
The couple quietly wed in 2018, and by 2020 Mena was announcing she was pregnant with their first child. They welcomed a healthy baby boy, Christopher Alexander Hope, named after Michael’s late father, in April of 2021.
With her personal and professional paths on the right tracks and thriving, we’re sure to see some of Mena’s best work yet to come.