It’s hard to believe it’s been over 20 years since Shannon Elizabeth first stole hearts on screen as the foreign exchange student Nadia in 1999’s teen comedy classic American Pie. With her girl-next-door charm and iconic scene, Elizabeth left an indelible mark on a generation of moviegoers.
So what ever happened to Shannon Elizabeth, American Pie’s beloved sex symbol? In this article, we catch up with the actress over two decades after her breakthrough role and find out what she’s been up to since leaving Hollywood behind. From poker tournaments to animal activism, Elizabeth has been keeping very busy out of the public eye. Read on to learn about her surprising second act.
Shannon Elizabeth was born on September 7, 1973 in Houston, Texas. She graduated from Waco High School in 1991.
During high school, she was a cheerleader and played tennis; for a while, she even thought she would pursue the sport as a career.
However, when she was cast in a music video, her interests veered from tennis into modeling. These modeling gigs ultimately opened the door for Elizabeth’s entre into the world of acting.
After modeling for Ford and Elite agencies, Elizabeth began acting, accepting small parts in shows like Arli$$, Step by Step, Hang Time, and USA High.
She also had roles in the action movie Blast, the made-for-TV Blade Squad, and the cult-classic horror film Jack Frost.
While these opportunities gave Elizabeth the exposure she needed to make it big, her breakthrough performance came at 26 when she was cast in American Pie.
One of the most popular sex comedy franchises of the late 90s and early 00s, American Pie follows the adventures of a group of high school guys trying to lose their virginities before graduation.
Elizabeth’s character Nadia is an attractive foreign exchange student who captures the fantasy of Jim, the movie’s protagonist played by Jason Biggs.
In the film, much of the comedy hinges on a scheme to convince Nadia to sleep with Jim.
There is even a famous scene wherein Nadia is secretly recorded changing her clothes while the group of friends watch from a different location.
In a 2019 interview, Elizabeth acknowledged that this scene is problematic and much of the content of the American Pie movies would likely not be well-received today considering the increased awareness around the MeToo movement.
Still, Elizabeth appeared in three American Pie films including the original, its sequel American Pie 2, and the final entry American Reunion.
She has credited the franchise with bringing her career to the next level and opening the door for playing different kinds of characters and pursuing passions outside of acting.
What did she do after American Pie?
Following the huge success of American Pie, Elizabeth continued acting. She appeared in famous films like Scary Movie, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Thir13en Ghosts, Love Actually, Tomcats, and more!
On television, Elizabeth played the character Tiffany Sherwood in thirty-one episodes of Cuts and played the character Brooke Rockwell in nine episodes of That ’70s Show.
She has even provided voice-overs for roles in King of the Hill and the James Bond video game 007: Everything or Nothing!
Throughout her career, she continued to model sporadically and acted in a number of music videos for artists such as Enrique Iglesias and Chris Brown.
She even hosted six episodes of Live Nude Comedy, a series that combined comedy sketches with burlesque dancing.
In 2012, she reprised the role of Nadia in American Reunion, and in 2019 she once again played her character Justice in Jay and Silent Bob Reboot.
What is Shannon Elizabeth doing now?
Since her early 2000s heyday, Shannon Elizabeth’s acting career has slowed down considerably.
In the last few years, she has only appeared in a handful of smaller independent films like Plan B, Playing with Beethoven, and Jay and Silent Bob Reboot.
Her most recent role was in the upcoming drama A Home for the Holidays. While Elizabeth is still acting on occasion, it’s clear her days as a major Hollywood star are behind her.
She seems to be focused more now on entrepreneurial ventures and charity work related to animal rights and environmentalism.
Shannon Elizabeth founded the non-profit Animal Avengers in 2001 to rescue dogs and cats. Her awareness of broader conservation issues grew over time, leading her to establish the Shannon Elizabeth Foundation (SEF) in South Africa in 2018.
SEF focuses on wildlife conservation through four key initiatives – education and awareness, youth empowerment, law and legislation, and land and community. The foundation believes in cooperative support for common conservation goals, and partners with like-minded organizations globally.
In 2019, a blind black rhino named Munu was found wandering erratically in a South African park. With lions threatening him, conservationist Brett Barlow intervened to save Munu rather than euthanize or release him. Barlow, with assistance from the Shannon Elizabeth Foundation, moved Munu to a temporary sanctuary.
As Munu’s genetics are valuable, Elizabeth’s foundation helped secure land and build an enclosure for Munu to safely live and potentially breed. In 2023, Phase Two construction is underway for an expanded sanctuary for Munu and any future female rhinos. Elizabeth’s foundation is committed to protecting every rhino and shares Munu’s story to promote conservation.
Shannon Elizabeth is not only known for her acting career but also for her significant involvement in the world of professional poker. She has referred to poker as her “second career” and has been recognized as one of the leading celebrity poker players.
Shannon Elizabeth’s passion for poker began in her childhood, playing stud and draw games with her family. However, it was only after establishing herself in Hollywood and befriending poker professionals Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Laak that she developed a keen interest in Texas Hold’em.
She has participated in numerous celebrity tournaments and even entered the Main Event at the World Series of Poker in 2005. By 2006, she had achieved several successful finishes, including a win at the Nicky Hilton New Year’s Eve Poker Tournament.
It was through her conservation efforts that Elizabeth met her future husband, Simon Borchert in 2015.
A fellow conservationist, Borchert worked with Elizabeth to focus the foundation’s work on spreading education and awareness of their central issues. They have been married since 2021.
Shannon Elizabeth is a truly versatile person who uses her talents and resources to make the world a better place. We are excited to see what is next in her journey!