See Pink Power Ranger Amy Jo Johnson Now at 51
From Power Rangers to Felicity, she made quite an impression on the '90s.
Kids of the '90s had plenty of shows to get hooked on, from Boy Meets World to Clarissa Explains It All to Pokémon. But you didn't have to be a '90s kid to recognize the massive pop culture impact of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, which spawned toys, movies, and continuation series and reboots that continue to this day. Adapted from the Japanese series Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger, Power Rangers cast new actors to don the costumes from the original show—and few made as strong an impression as Amy Jo Johnson, who starred as Pink Ranger Kimberly Hart. Now 51, the actor-turned-filmmaker has had quite a career over the past few decades. Read on to see Johnson now, and to find out what she's been up to since the '90s.
Amy Jo Johnson got her start on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
Don't let this ruin your childhood: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was largely repurposed from an existing series, specifically the Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger installment of Japan's long-running Super Sentai franchise. To create the U.S. version, producers cast new actors, including Johnson. In a 2020 interview with IndieWire, the actor said that she was just 18 and had been in Los Angeles for six months when she landed her breakthrough role.
Playing Pink Ranger Kimberly Hart was a major step forward for the then-unknown Johnson. She appeared on the series from 1993 to 1995, then chose to leave after the 1995 feature film Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie. As she told IndieWire, she had aspirations of bigger and better things, but felt held back by her association with the campy kids show.
"At that time [I was] 22, 23 [and] I was like, 'I'm going to be a star. I'm going to Julia Roberts," she said. "And I felt like, for at least the first year or two [after leaving the series] it was very hard to get a role because they're like, 'Oh, that's the girl from Power Rangers.'"
Her next major role came on the TV series Felicity.
Those of us who grew up in the '90s likely remember Johnson from TV movies like Disney's Suzie Q and NBC's Perfect Body, in which she played a gymnast struggling with an eating disorder. As far as she's concerned, however, the opportunity to prove herself didn't come until she was cast on the series Felicity in 1998, she told IndieWire.
For the first three seasons of the hit WB drama—like Power Rangers, a '90s staple—Johnson starred as Julie Emrick, a close friend of Felicity, played by Keri Russell. Johnson left the series of her own volition to cope with the death of her mother, as she revealed to Page Six in a 2018 interview. "[My mom] got sick when we were doing the pilot and then that summer when we were filming she passed away," Johnson said. "It was just sort of this like rollercoaster ride for me emotionally for two years. I think I just needed to go fall apart somewhere."
Series co-creator J.J. Abrams wrote Johnson off the show, but not before making her promise she'd come back for the end. She stayed true to her word, and appeared as a special guest star in Felicity's fourth and final season in 2002.
Johnson has continued acting, but is more interested in writing and directing.
You may have caught Johnson making appearances on a number of TV shows in the early 2000s, including ER and Spin City. But Johnson's longest TV run was actually on the Canadian crime drama Flashpoint, on which she played Jules Callaghan for five seasons, from 2008 to 2012. She and husband Olivier Giner welcomed a daughter the same year Flashpoint premiered—Johnson filmed while pregnant, though her character was written off for several episodes while she was on maternity leave.
Now, Johnson seems pretty focused on other creative pursuits. She wrote and directed the 2017 film The Space Between, which was crowd-funded. Johnson credits the fans of Power Rangers and Felicity for helping her make it happen. "I raised the money by the support of these kids who are now adults who have just followed me on my ride through … all the shows I've done," she told IndieWire.
More recently, Johnson directed 2019's Tammy's Always Dying. Now based in Toronto, she told Page Six, "It's my passion now—all I want to do is write, direct and be a filmmaker. I love it and I love doing it in Toronto as well. I find that city to be quite nurturing and comforting. I don't feel overwhelmed. I was very overwhelmed in Los Angeles and I don't feel that there."
She still connects with Power Rangers fans.
Johnson may be more interested in being behind the camera than in front of it these days, but she doesn't shy away from her past—including her stint as the Pink Ranger. Johnson regularly appears at fan conventions, which she says has helped finance her filmmaking beyond the crowdfunding of her first feature. Power Rangers fans "feel like the fuel to the engine of my new career," she told Refinery29 in a 2019 interview. "It is really fueled by these people's love and passion for this show. I get to meet people through these conventions and also spread the word that I'm writing, directing, and filmmaking now."
In the same interview, she called Mighty Morphin Power Rangers a "bad, terrible show" that was "cheesy," but also acknowledged the tremendous impact being the Pink Ranger had on her life—and the impact the show had on so many young people who grew up in the '90s.
"Looking back now, it was such a gift that fell into my lap. It's really cool how positively it affected so many kids," Johnson told Refinery29. "I hear stories from people whose parents were going through a divorce and it was their reprieve from that pain. I met this guy named Matt at the last convention I was at. He said when he was a kid, Power Rangers was his best friend because he was so bullied. Then he looks at me and he goes, 'Thank you for being there before I knew how to laugh.' It was just the sweetest thing anybody has ever said to me."