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Why Carley Bobby From Talladega Nights Looks So Familiar

Every great athlete needs someone to keep them focused on the prize: a person who can help him remember what it takes to win, what's at stake, and that Jesus did, in fact, grow up into a man. 

For Ricky Bobby (Will Ferrell), that someone is his wife, Carley. Carley gives as good as she gets from her racing savant of a husband and her foul-mouthed children, Walker (Houston Tumlin) and Texas Ranger (Grayson Russell). Carley is unapologetic about the transactional nature of her and Ricky's relationship. He gets a "red-hot smokin' wife," as he puts it, and she gets to attach her name to a winner. When he crashes out of the circuit, he's no longer holding up his end of the bargain, and so she leaves him for his long-time friend and teammate, Cal Naughton Jr. (John C. Reilly). 

But the actress who played Carley didn't need to hitch her wagon to someone else's race car to make it big in Hollywood. In fact, although she has appeared in other comedies, the "Talladega Nights" brand of absurdity is something of an outlier in her career, which has spanned more than two decades, including TV dramas and big-time superhero properties. 

Leslie Bibb played a cheerleader on Popular

After a few years of small parts in television and movies, Leslie Bibb broke through when she was cast as one of the lead teenagers in "Popular," the first series from television mastermind Ryan Murphy, who would go on to create "Nip/Tuck," "Glee," "American Horror Story," and many more.

"Popular" follows a pair of teenage girls, Brooke McQueen (Bibb) and Sam McPherson (Carly Pope), who have to move in together when their single parents become engaged. This creates immediate conflict a they're on opposite ends of the social spectrum at Jacqueline Kennedy High School, with Brooke as the fashionable cheerleader and Sam as the crusading journalist. Their prickly relationship and its slow growth into warmth and kinship powers much of the drama of the series, but even when they become more accepting of each other's differences in status, the ups and downs of high school life make things difficult for Brooke and Sam.

"Popular" ran for two seasons on The WB. In the final episode before its cancellation in 2001, Brooke's rival Nicole Julian (Tammy Lynn Michaels) runs her down with a car, but Brooke's fate remains unknown.

She played a psychologist on Crossing Jordan

After the cancellation of "Popular," Bibb bounced around on '00s television, nabbing appearances on memorable shows like "ER" and "CSI: Miami," along with a few series that didn't last long, such as "Line of Fire," "Capital City," and "Atlanta" (not the Donald Glover one, but a different pilot from 2007). 

In 2005, Bibb provided new blood on the long-running NBC crime drama "Crossing Jordan," joining the show's stacked cast for its fifth and sixth seasons. Bibb played Detective Tallulah "Lu" Simmons, a homicide detective who's brought into the team to help the eccentric Det. Woody Hoyt (Jerry O'Connell) work through some psychological issues. She becomes a regular partner to Jordan Cavanaugh (Jill Hennessey) and the Boston Medical Examiner's Office, but eventually sparks Jordan's jealousy when she begins a relationship with Woody, which leads to the two women butting heads. 

Though the sixth season of "Crossing Jordan" was its last, Lu didn't make it to the finale. She was shot and killed in the third episode of the season during a riot after Boston police shoot and kill an eight-year-old boy.

Bibb got Tony Stark to admit his identity

Bibb got in on the ground floor of the Marvel Cinematic Universe when she played reporter Christine Everhart in 2008's "Iron Man."

Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) seduces Everhart after she tries to interview him for Vanity Fair magazine, an interaction that helps set up both Stark's genius and his flippant, playboy attitude toward the potential consequences of his actions. The next morning, she wakes up alone in his home in Malibu, until she is greeted and dismissed by his assistant, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow).

Later in the film, she confronts Tony with evidence that Stark Industries weapons have been used to attack a village in Afghanistan, leading Tony to take his new and improved Iron Man suit into combat for the first time. Finally, she appears in the movie's last scene, interrupting Tony's pre-planned press conference address to express skepticism about the idea that Iron Man is one of Stark's bodyguards in his own suit, which leads Tony to close the film with the iconic "I am Iron Man."

Bibb reprised her role as Everhart in both "Iron Man 2," where she appears with Tony's rival, Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), and in the web series "WHIH Newsfront," a faux-news series purporting to cover politics, current affairs, and business in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

She now fights to save the world

In 2021, Bibb returned to superhero stories to play a leading role as Grace Kennedy-Sampson, better known as Lady Liberty, in the Netflix series "Jupiter's Legacy."

Grace is one of the original members of the Union of Justice, the superhero team formed by her husband, Sheldon (Josh Duhamel), after they and a small group of others were granted their powers in the 1930s. In the present day, she serves as both a check and a guide to Sheldon as he comes to terms with the changing world around him and the new threats facing the pair and their children.

In an interview with Den of Geek, Bibb compared the show and its shifts between periods to "'Mad Men' meets 'Justice League.'" That dynamic made her excited to take the project, as did the fact that someone wanted her to play a superhero at this stage of her career. "I felt that maybe I'd missed that window to be a superhero, so to get to do it ... well, I feel really lucky and excited."