Kristen Noel Swanson (born December 19, 1969) is an American actress. She is best known for her portrayal of Buffy Summers in the 1992 cult film Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the 1996 cult film The Phantom. Her first starring role was in Wes Craven's horror film Deadly Friend (1986), followed by her portrayal of Catherine "Cathy" Dollanganger in the film adaptation of V. C. Andrews's Flowers in the Attic (1987). Swanson also starred in several films, including Hot Shots! (1991), The Program (1993), The Chase (1994), 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag (1997), Big Daddy (1999), and Dude, Where's My Car? (2000), and appeared in Pretty in Pink (1986) and Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986).