A lithe, attractive player who paid her dues with day work on soaps while studying her craft in New York City, Melissa Sagemiller made her feature film debut in James Toback's gritty, mostly improvised feature "Black and White" (1999), a Manhattan-set look at upper class white teens who appropriate black hip-hop culture. Sagemiller made her television debut the following year on an episode of the NYC-filmed series "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (NBC) before returning to the big screen with her first featured role in "Get Over It" (2001). Playing Allison, the girl who dumps lovestruck longtime boyfriend Berke (Ben Foster) for the ego-drenched, faux-accented new kid (Shane West). Sagemiller managed to bring dimension to her heartbreaker, and elevate her above the fickle, opportunistic shrew she could have been made out to be. Audience reaction to the film showed her to be a likable if underused screen presence, and Sagemiller's name and photogenic face cropped up on many a starlet hot list. Following up with a starring role in the teen thriller "Soul Survivors" that summer, Sagemiller sought to make the most of her girl-next-door good looks and acting talents, playing a young woman haunted by an accident that continues to wreak havoc long after the pieces have been picked up. That same year, she acted in the college comedy "Sorority Boys" (2002), a comedy in which ousted fraternity brothers in disguise join a sorority known for its unattractive members and ostensibly learn the errors of their cruel and judgmental ways.