Why Hollywood Won't Cast Aimee Teegarden Anymore

If you don't know her as Aimee Teegarden, then you know her as Julie Taylor, the pitch-perfect Texan daughter of Coach Eric and Tami Taylor on the football, high school, and small-town-livin' masterpiece Friday Night Lights.

Since Friday Night Lights went off the air, in 2011, some of its stars have gotten more attention than others. Taylor Kitsch flew high (and bombed hard) with John Carter, and Kyle Chandler is living it up on Netflix's Bloodline and in new classics like The Wolf of Wall Street. But other members of the show have been conspicuously out of the spotlight since the show went off the air, Teegarden in particular. Let's see what might be keeping her career in the sort of holding pattern that it's in now.

Prom was a bomb

Teegarden landed a starring vehicle in Disney's Prom, a bland barely-there movie which hit the box office with a thud. No one's clamoring for a sequel, and Teegarden's a casualty of its failure. In the same fashion that a baseball team will occasionally send a player back down to the minor leagues, her output since has been a lot less cinematic, with TV movie fare like Beneath the Darkness, Beautiful Wave, and last year's little seen Bakery in Brooklyn. While there's no one saying she won't get there, don't expect to see her top-billed for anything high-profile anytime so soon.

She's been looking for her niche

Before her breakthrough role on FNL, Teegarden was pretty much an unknown in Hollywood; and after five years of shooting on-location throughout Texas, she's still trying to figure out her place in Los Angeles. So, she's been dipping her feet into both film and television, with a leading role on the CW's short-lived Star-Crossed that didn't work out, and a role in the horror remake/sequel Rings that sank like a stone, both critically and at the box office. However, she saw some success in comedy series The Ranch with a two-episode turn, so maybe her country niche has been there right in front of her all along.

Ageism, sexism, and other unfortunate forces

It is a well-documented problem that female actors tend to hit a wall, professionally, around the age of thirty, much as we hate to say. And at age 27, Teegarden has found herself at a crossroads that so many other actresses before her have faced: too mature to play kids anymore, yet still young enough to have difficulty transitioning into adult roles.

Not that she hasn't tried, of course. Perhaps you saw her on ABC in 2016, as Ella Benjamin in the show Notorious. On that show, she plays a newbie at a law firm, looking to climb the ranks. Career-wise, it's a step in the right direction (and she's quite good on the show). But neither her role nor the show itself has managed to make much of an impression, and its future at ABC is uncertain.

She kept a low profile after Friday Night Lights

After her long-running role on Friday Night Lights, Teegarden didn't appear on TV for a little while, and her next appearance in a series wasn't on TV at all. The result was Aim High, a two-season webseries of roughly 10-minute episodes revolving around a high school spy played by Jackson Rathbone. (Teegarden played his punk-loving paramour, Amanda Miles.) Though produced by a subsidiary of Warner Bros., the show didn't have the furthest reach, so if this is your first time hearing about it, don't feel too bad.

She's still too closely linked to Friday Night Lights

Even though Friday Night Lights went off the air in 2011, people still associate Teegarden with her role on the show. In fact, one mention of her name and fans will immediately think back to all the times Julie cried, or yelled at Tami or had some type of emotional moment with Matt Saracen. It's both the blessing and the curse of giving such an indelible performance: you're always remembered for it, and yet you can't quite escape it yet.

What's an actress to do? Well, she could sit around and wait for Netflix to get nostalgic and revive the show. But we're guessing she'd rather work now, than later. In which case, Teegarden's best bet is to find a role that's exactly the opposite—something grown-up and mature. Or, you know, not Julie Taylor.

And yet, people don't recognize her anymore

While Teegarden rides high on name recognition, the actress admitted recently to Fox News that even fans of Friday Night Lights have a tough time recognizing her in person, considering she started the show as such a youngster. "It's funny. It takes people a hot second [to recognize me], because when I was in Friday Night Lights, I had super blonde hair and bangs, and I was 16 when I started that show," she revealed to FOX411. "It takes people like a second and they say 'You were on Friday Night LIghts'? Who did you play?'"

She added: "It takes them five or six seconds and they say 'oh wow. I can't really believe it.'"