Looking as though she hails from an Irish Spring commercial, green-eyed, dewy-skinned actress Robin Tunney became known in the 1990s for her work in a number of teen and independent films. A native of Chicago's South Side, where she attended Catholic high school, Tunney studied acting at the Chicago Academy for the Performing Arts. She spent her summers performing in such stage productions as Bus Stop and Agnes of God. At the age of 18, Tunney moved to Los Angeles, where she began finding work on various television shows.
The actress made her screen debut in the 1992 Brendan Fraser/Pauly Shore comedy Encino Man. She had her first lead role in the teen ensemble film Empire Records (1995), playing a suicidal record store employee who announces her presence in the film by walking into the store and shaving her head. A year later, Tunney starred as a member of a group of high school misfits who use witchcraft to take revenge on their tormenters in The Craft. Sort of a Sixteen Candles meets Carrie, the film proved to be a cult hit, particularly with teenage girls.