Remember Lisa McDowell in 'Coming To America'? She Looks Just as Amazing as She Did 30 Years Ago

Mary Scott
Apr 26, 2019
10:19 P.M.
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Nearly 31 years ago, Shari Headley captured our hearts with her portrayal of Lisa McDowell in the 1988 hit movie “Coming To America,” and even now, the actress is still a sight to behold.


Prince Akeem (played by the legendary comic Eddie Murphy) was head over heels in love with Lisa and eventually made her Princess of the fictional Zamunda, thus creating one of the favorite movie couples of all time.


Millions across the world fell in love with Headley and her portrayal of the unassuming Lisa, and we daresay you’d love her more when you see how stunning she still looks.

The Queens-born actress keeps mostly under the radar these days but pops up once in a while

In a 2016 Instagram post, Headley teamed up with her co-star, Vanessa Bell Calloway who played Princess Imani Izzi, the tribe’s chosen bride for Prince Akeem.


Calloway and Headley left fans in awe after they wore versions of their original costumes from the movie and did not look like they’d aged one bit. We may have to ask Headley for the secret to staying young forever because it sure is working for her.

Before landing the role of Lisa McDowell, Headley, who is of part-Trinidadian descent, modeled for magazines such as “Glamour” and “Mademoiselle.”


She made her acting debut in an episode of NBC’s hit sitcom “The Cosby Show” in 1985 and would go on to land roles in “Miami Vice,” “Quantum Leap,” and “Matlock” before starring alongside Murphy in “Coming to America.”

The movie was a box office hit, and fans can look forward to a sequel set to premiere in 2020. Murphy has been slated to reprise his role as Prince Akeem, but no other details have been confirmed concerning Headley or any of the other cast members.


In 2014, Headley joined the cast of OWN's primetime soap opera "The Haves and The Have Nots," created by Tyler Perry. She played the role of District Attorney Jennifer Sallison until 2016 and once described it as her "favorite" character:

“I never get to play the [expletive]. I really like it. A lot of actors play the complete opposite of who they are. I’m crazy and funny, and I’m always laughing. I really embrace this role; this has been my new favorite.”  

The Queens-born actress keeps mostly under the radar these days but pops up once in a while on social media. Headley was married to former rap act, Christopher “Play” Martin. The couple tied the knot in 1993 and divorced two years later. Their son, Skyler, was born in 1994.