Credit: Kristin Callahan/Courtesy of the Everett Collection, Howard Wise/JPI (2), Jesse Grant/JPI (2)

She didn’t even have to say a word, and we could tell: This kid was trouble.

When most of us were 16, our professional experience generally involved flipping burgers or folding sweaters. But Alison Sweeney is not most of us.

Though she was barely old enough to drive in 1993, she’d already been working in television for more than a decade. (Get a glimpse of her on the late-1980s sitcom Family Man in the clip below.)

All Sweeney needed was that big break to make her the star that she was born to be. Finally, she got it on January 6 of that year, when Days of Our Lives signed her to the contract role of Roman and Marlena Brady’s daughter, Sami. When she made her on-screen debut on January 22, there was no turning back.

She. Had. Arrived.

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Her First Episode

The NBC soap sure knew how to build anticipation about the new kid on the block, too. We got our first glimpse of Sweeney dressed in bulky winter clothes with her beautiful blonde hair hidden beneath a hat. Shot from the back, she could’ve been anyone — old or young, male or female.

For a while, Sami just played voyeur outside the Brady Pub. Then she tried to place a call to mom Marlena but got her answering machine. D’oh. Finally, she stole across town, shook out her gorgeous locks and let herself into Marlena’s house. (You can watch Sweeney’s debut below, though we’ll warn you upfront: The video quality ain’t great.)

A Lasting Impression

From the get-go, it was obvious that Sami was going to stir the pot. And over the years, boy, has she ever. If there’s trouble being made in Salem, odds are always at least 50/50 that the scheme queen is involved.

As the actress told Soap Opera Digest all those years ago, when she was juggling high school and daytime drama, “I didn’t want to make Sami a good Brady. She has good values, but she’s got a conniving side to her.

“She’s not so different from what I am,” she added.

More: Days of Our Lives through the years [PHOTOS]

On the anniversary of this, the day that Hurricane Sami touched down in Salem, join us, won’t you in celebrating Sweeney’s incredible run in the role by cracking open the below photo album that highlights some of the most memorable moments from her countless storylines.