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Why Lisa From Coming 2 America Looks So Familiar

Audiences have been eagerly anticipating the premiere of Coming 2 America, now available on Prime Video. The sequel features almost all of the same cast members as the original 1988 film, Coming to America, starring Eddie Murphy.

One of the core characters is Lisa McDowell, played by Shari Headley. She became the love interest of Murphy's character, Prince Akeem, after he met her during his first trip to America. The daughter of a fast-food restaurant owner, Cleo McDowell (played by John Amos), Lisa ended up marrying Akeem at the end of Coming to America. So, for the sequel, she's known as Queen Lisa Joffer.

Headley is often recognized by fans of the first movie, who regularly call her "Lisa" in a high-pitched voice, in reference to the Eddie Murphy scene in which he excitedly gushes about having a "date with Lisa" in the original film. The actress said it happens "quite a few times" a day but admitted she loves the recognition, according to HipHollywood. "I'm so blessed that people enjoy this movie 30 years later," Headley said. "I mean that's amazing!" But the actress isn't recognizable only because of the film.

Even people who haven't seen Coming to America will recognize Shari Headley

Back in the day, Headley was a fashion model who won Ford's Supermodel of the Year contest. In the 1980s, she was featured in high-profile magazines such as Glamour and Mademoiselle, which led to appearances in TV commercials for L'Oreal, Macy's, Burger King, and more, according to a bio on her website.

Headley was cast in Coming to America with just a few acting credits to her name, including an episode of The Cosby Show as Denise Huxtable's (Lisa Bonet) friend. She once told the Los Angeles Times that she had a hard time getting her first few acting credits. "I had to audition seven times to play a teenage girl who witnesses a murder on an episode of Miami Vice," she said. "When I got the role, I was so proud." Headley was onscreen for 22 minutes in the 1980s cop drama, an eternity for a first role. Her next credited role was Coming to America

In the 30+ years since the original movie, she has landed an impressive list of roles and could even be considered a daytime TV fixture. She's had ongoing parts on the classic soaps Guiding Light, The Bold and the Beautiful, and All My Children. More recently, she starred as D.A. Jennifer Sallison for three seasons of the primetime OWN Network soap, The Haves and the Have Nots.

Headley's other acting credits include guest appearances on Castle, House, Malcolm & Eddie, Switched at Birth, and 10 Things I Hate About You. Her most recent roles include playing Houston Connelly on the Fox musical drama Star as well as Harmony in the Kirsten Dunst Showtime series On Becoming a God in Central Florida.

In other words, fans of print, TV, and the big screen should be well-acquainted with Headley before viewing Coming 2 America, and they'll probably see a lot more of her going forward.