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Why Phoenix From Top Gun: Maverick Looks So Familiar

"Top Gun: Maverick" brings back fans' favorite fly birds from the 1980s in spectacular fashion. Leading the charge is the titular pilot himself — Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, as played by Tom Cruise. He's joined in the cockpit by his old school rival, Iceman (Val Kilmer). Fans have waited decades to see these men suit back up and take to the skies, but in another way, the film could be viewed as a passing of the torch of sorts to the next generation of pilots who have devoted themselves to protecting their country. 

One of these new recruits is Lieutenant Natasha "Phoenix" Trace (Monica Barbaro), a mission pilot trainee. Barbaro may not have a ton of experience in blockbuster entertainment, but hopefully, that's all set to change with her most recent role. She has ample experience elsewhere, to the point where there's bound to be something you recognize her from. Here are just some of the highlights from her most impressive resume

Monica Barbaro broke out in UnREAL

Monica Barbaro got her start in television with a slew of one-off appearances. This includes guest spots in the likes of "Hawaii Five-0" and "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend." However, she finally got a more substantial role starting in 2016 with a part in the Lifetime series, "UnREAL." It's safe to say more people know how fake reality dating shows can be, and "UnREAL" brings viewers behind the crazy behind-the-scenes drama that occurs with one fictitious series.

Barbaro played Yael, a.k.a. Hot Rachel, one of the contestants on the series but is actually an undercover reporter seeking to expose the show's secrets. It's a juicy role, seeing how different Yael is from the other contestants, and Barbaro spoke about it at length to Cosmopolitan. When describing her character, Barbaro admits, "She's totally type-A and eager to win. You'll see moments where she is absolutely not good at getting what she wants. All the girls run up into that issue with Darius. You can't force somebody to love you. For her and for all the girls, it's kind of confusing." 

Her role in "UnREAL" may have been cut short, but it didn't take the actress long to appear in her next gig.

She next showed up in the One Chicago franchise

The "One Chicago" franchise remains one of the most underrated series to crop up on television in recent years. The series has managed to weave together plotlines from disparate shows and pull them into one cohesive narrative. It's impressive, and throughout four separate shows, many characters have come and gone. But one of the more refreshing additions to the cast has been Anna Valdez, played by Monica Barbaro, who appeared in 13 episodes of "Chicago Justice" and four episodes of "Chicago P.D."

Anna is an assistant state's attorney who's passionate about her line of work, partly because she's new to the profession and hasn't had time to get burnt out yet. While "Chicago Justice" was the character's main territory, that series was unfortunately canceled after a single season. It performed well, but NBC decided it needed real estate for other types of programming (via Deadline). It merely opened Barbaro up for other opportunities, and she quickly moved on to other projects.

She recently had a role on Splitting Up Together

After appearing in several drama series where her character always manages to find herself in tense situations, Barbaro had a chance to show off the funnier side of her personality. She also proved she was adept at delivering jokes as Lisa Apple on "Splitting Up Together." The sitcom follows two parents — Lena (Jenna Fischer) and Martin (Oliver Hudson) — who decide to split up but still live on the same property so that they can raise their kids. During this awkward time, Martin begins dating Lisa, who becomes pregnant. 

Sadly, this was a storyline that Barbaro couldn't finish either. The show was canceled after two seasons. Next up, Barbaro has "Top Gun: Maverick" on deck and hopefully plenty more projects waiting in the wings. It's an impressive feat, especially considering how the actress began her career as a dancer. It goes to prove how multifaceted people can be.