Most famous role: Nola Darling in She's Gotta Have It (1986)

In the late 1980s, a new wave of up-and-comers stormed the American independent film scene, with Spike Lee leading the charge. His debut feature was She's Gotta Have It, in which the free-spirited—and sexually empowered—Nola Darling happily juggles three men. The film should have made Tracy Camilla Johns as big a star as her director, but since her breakthrough performance she has appeared in exactly three films: Mo' Better Blues and Red Hook Summer for Lee, and as seductress Uniqua in New Jack City.