A student of dance, music and art as a child in Reno, Nevada, Madchen Amick decided to focus on acting as a teenager, and shortly thereafter, she got her major break in David Lynch's innovative TV series Twin Peaks (1990). After moving to L.A. at 16, Amick appeared on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Baywatch, and mounted a small role in The Borrower (1991), John McNaughton's ill-fated gorefest about a roving alien of ere-shifting appearance who rips heads from his victims and uses them as his own.
Amick became famous, however, as waitress Shelly Johnson, one of several beautiful young small-town women harboring terrible secrets, on the much-praised and memorably-eccentric Twin Peaks. Although Amick followed Twin Peaks with starring roles in the Stephen King horror fest Sleepwalkers (1992), it took the actress a few years to match her initial success. She hit her stride in the 2000's however, with a string of roles on ER, Joey, Freddie, Gossip Girl, Californication, My Own Worst Enemy, Damages, and Mad Men.