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Why Sloane From Ferris Bueller's Day Off Looks So Familiar

In the world of the 1986 film "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," there's only one central character: Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick), whose dynamic personality draws both friends and fans to root for his "recovery" from his faked illness on the day in question. He's everyone's hero, with only a couple of exceptions: the school principal Ed Rooney (Jeffrey Jones) and his sister, Jeanie Bueller (Jennifer Grey). "He does whatever he wants, whenever he wants, and he never gets nailed," complains Jeanie, who devotes much energy to busting him.

Despite his devoted following, Ferris counts just two confidantes in his inner circle. They're his sad sack best friend Cameron Frye (Alan Ruck) and his sweet, pretty girlfriend Sloane Peterson, who manages to steal the show from Ferris himself several times throughout the movie. Consider the taxi scene, where she dons sunglasses to flirt with Ferris' father. It was obviously a task only Sloane could take on, and she did it with panache. While he never discovers who that mystery woman was, she establishes herself as unforgettable in that moment. And we can't help wanting to know more about her.

Mia Sara starred opposite Tom Cruise

"Ferris Bueller's Day Off" was far from Mia Sara's first onscreen role. In her 1983 appearance as Francesca on ABC's long-running soap "All My Children," she was a 14-year-old playing the 19-year-old target of Tad's pressure and affection (which presumably didn't last long as the part was a one-off). Two years later, she auditioned for a role in a Ridley Scott film. When she met the director, the connection was instant. "I read half a poem for him and he said that was all he needed. Something really clicked when we met," she told UPI.

Scott cast Sara in a starring role in the movie "Legend." As Lili, she played the love interest opposite one of Hollywood's hottest actors: Tom Cruise. It was an incredible way for a young actress (she was 16 at the time) to transition to film. She enjoyed living like an adult during eight months of filming in London and had the benefit of learning from the more experienced people around her. '"The only time I really began to think seriously about acting (as a career) was in the middle of making my first movie, 'Legend,'" she told the Chicago Tribune. "Then I thought, 'This is what I'm meant to do, and I'll try to get better and better at it.'"

She worked with Kirk Douglas on a miniseries

While she's perhaps best known for "Ferris Bueller," Sara's career didn't stop there. In 1987, she appeared in "Queenie," a miniseries based on the life of actress Merle Oberon. Sara starred as Queenie Kelly, a poor, half-Indian girl who struggles to become a movie star. The role had Sara excited for many reasons, not the least of which was the opportunity work with legendary actors including Kirk Douglas, Claire Bloom, and Joel Grey. ”Not only is `Queenie` beautiful and has many special moments, but I'll probably never get a chance to play a role like this again anytime soon," she told the Chicago Tribune. "Roles for women my age rarely cover as much ground as this did.”

After "Queenie," Sara appeared in several more movies, including 1988's "Apprentice to Murder," (with Donald Sutherland and Chad Lowe), 1988's "Shadows in the Storm" (with Ned Beatty), 1991's "By the Sword" (with Eric Roberts), and 1992's "A Stranger Among Us" (with Melanie Griffith). Her next big break was a starring role opposite one of the hottest actors of the '90s: Jean-Claude Van Damme.

She had a nude scene in "Timecop"

When Sara was cast as Melissa in the 1994 film "Timecop," she played love interest to Van Damme's Walker. The role gave her a shot at her first nude scene, which took a toll on her personal life when her grandmother cut off communication for a time. But for Sara, the scene was a success. She made sure the director didn't show too much skin, and also made her own decision to wear nothing at all under the sheets, rather than subjecting her body to uncomfortable underthings that wouldn't show on camera.

Sara said on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" that she and Van Damme were both very nervous, but they had organic beer beforehand and played music to set the mood. He even helped her get in tip top shape for the role suggesting specific exercises. Van Damme's attitude on set helped make her job easy. "He's actually really sort of boyish, and kind of sweet and shy," she said.

After "Timecop," Sara kept making movies. She also had a guest role on the hit series "Chicago Hope" in 1995, a starring role in the series "Birds of Prey" from 2002-2003, and a guest spot on "CSI: NY" in 2005. But after a few more acting gigs, she stepped back, realizing it wasn't for her anymore.

She's often recognized — but not for her onscreen roles

Sara retired from acting around 2013. "I was a very unhappy actress. It was something I felt I could do, and I needed to work, and I got lucky at the get go, however I was never going to be the kind of actress I admire, because I just didn't have the drive for the process," she told The Cossack Review.

These days, she's a much-published poet, and she still gets recognized as a familiar face. Often, however, it's not for any of her onscreen roles. "Most of the time people think they went to high school with me," she told Glamour.

Taking her cue from those strangers on the street, she penned a poem called "Not Your High School Girlfriend: The Long Shot," published by Barrelhouse Magazine in 2017. Her bio states clearly that she's given up acting and is making her mark from now on as a writer.