In cinema, the emphasis on portraying the most authentic version of a character is more than ever before, and actors stress on looking and behaving like their character with no regard for how attractive or ghastly they appear. Some such performers in drab outfits and transformational makeup are so convincing in their roles that fans forget how they look in reality. Let’s look at some actors who convincingly pulled off looking ugly on the screen even though they are quite attractive in real life.
Almost all films and television shows have characters that look nothing like the real-life actor playing the role, and that’s partly because talented actors love a good challenge. Some actors love playing frumpy, problematic and sometimes, ugly characters, that leave a lasting impression on the audiences. These actors may look weird or ugly on-screen, but once the makeup comes off, they are every bit as beautiful as some of the traditional faces we see on screen. Case in point, America Ferrera as Ugly Betty and Dren from Splice. In this video, we’re taking a look at how some of the most iconic and ugliest characters look in real life.
American Horror Story
Naomi Grossman is best known for playing the role of Pepper in American Horror Story. Pepper is a microcephalic who is abandoned by her family in an orphanage. She is placed into a mental asylum after she is accused of a crime. Pepper is a model inmate who often pesters visitors and hoards food for herself. To play the role of Pepper, Grossman shaved her head. Grossman has done a few roles here and there. However, the role of Pepper was her biggest to this day. Naomi is 5-feet-tall and 45-years-old and quite a stunner in real life.
Mia Thermopolis in
The Princess Diaries
and Fantine in
Anne Hathaway who is famous all over the world for her gorgeous, unique looks, has played not one but two ugly characters in her career. For the character of Mia Thermopolis in The Princess Diaries, Hathaway turned into a dorky young woman with big glasses and unruly hair. For the role of Fantine, she underwent an even larger transformation. Not only did Anne lose a lot of weight, but she also chopped off her beautiful hair for the role.
Tiffany Doggett from
Orange Is the New Black
When Taryn Manning was offered the role of Tiffany Doggett in Orange Is the New Black, she readily accepted even after knowing that she would have to transform herself into an ugly-looking woman. Tiffany is a drug addict and therefore, has receding gums and missing teeth. Manning had to undergo a major transformation for the role. The funny thing is when she was offered the role, Manning was already an established name, and therefore did not have to take such a huge risk. However, as many have said, acting is all about transforming into someone else.
Betty Suarez in
America Ferrera played the role of Betty Suarez in the comedy-drama television series Ugly Betty. Though America is a very charming and beautiful woman in real life, for the role she had to wear adult braces, dorky glasses and supremely bright clothes that completely changed the way she looked. Though Ugly Betty made America Ferrera quite popular, most people recognized her only as Betty Suarez and not America Ferrera. Thankfully, towards the end of the series, Betty undergoes a looks transformation and therefore, the audiences finally got the see the beauty that America has in real life.
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Aileen Wournos in
Charlize Theron is a beautiful woman and most people would kill to have her looks. However, at the height of her career, Theron decided to accept the role of Aileen Wuornos in Monster. Aileen was a Florida prostitute who turned into a serial killer and murdered six men. She was executed in 2002. Theron’s portrayal of Wuornos won her accolades as well as an Oscar for Best Actress in 2004. However, portraying the role wasn’t easy. Charlize had to completely deglamorize herself for the role.
Nanny McPhee in
Emma Thompson is a brilliant actress and can easily transform into any character she wants. We have seen her do this in the Harry Potter series as well as in Sense and Sensibility. However, her most sensational on-screen transformation continues to be the role of Nanny McPhee, a frighteningly hideous woman who is a magical nanny capable of making kids fall in love with her. For the role, Emma had to put on heavy make-up each day to transform herself into the ugly-looking nanny.
Kitty Sanchez on
Judy Greer is a wonderful actress and has played several different kinds of role in her elaborate career. However, her most memorable role continues to be Kitty Sanchez on Arrested Development. In an interview, Judy shared that she was a late bloomer and therefore, being funny on screen was easier than being pretty. Judy wore braces and had frizzy and unappealing hair as a child. When she was offered the role of Kitty Sanchez, she knew immediately that she would be able to do a good job – and she was right.
Agnes Apple Bailey in
We all remember Vanessa Hudgens as the adorable Gabriella Montez from High School Musical. However, in 2013, Vanessa tried to and in many ways succeeded at shunning her cute-girl image with the independent drama film Gimme Shelter, in which she played the role of a problematic teen who often experiences abuse at the hands of her addiction-addled mother. Agnes Apple Bailey, Vanessa’s character in the film, eventually runs away from home and starts living with her father only to be thrown out by him after he discovers that she is pregnant and wants to keep the baby. The role was certainly a complex one, and to look the part, Vanessa cut off her beautiful and long hair and got multiple piercings. She even gained a few pounds to look like Agnes.
Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Rooney Mara has several hit films to her credit, including The Social Network and Nightmare on Elm Street. However, to this day, the actress is best remembered for her portrayal of Lisbeth Salander in the 2011 psychological crime thriller The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Lisbeth is a talented investigator and hacker with a troubled past. For the role, Mara had to undergo many physical changes. For starters, she had to shave off her eyebrows, cut short her hair and get piercings. The good thing is Mara’s efforts eventually paid off, the film was a great success and she was nominated for a Golden Globe and an Oscar for Best Actress.
Arya Stark from
Game of Thrones
Few can claim not to have watched Game of Thrones, and of these, yet fewer can claim not to like Arya Stark. The tomboyish lass is a universally loved character throughout the show’s eight seasons, and she is known for her plain looks. Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark, is beautiful in real life, and she’s made to look rough to stay true to Arya’s character.
Liz Lemon from
The satirical sitcom 30 Rock needs no introduction. And as a viewer, one is quite familiar with the quirky Liz Lemon. Lemon is typical in so many ways; her personality is a mixed bag of weird traits. And of course, she is a classic when it comes to appearance – a nerd with glasses and unkempt hair, mostly seen messily stuffing her face with a snack as a compulsive stress eater. Tina Fey, who plays the role of Lemon, is beautiful in real life. The actor’s convincing performance could also be because 30 Rock is Fey’s brainchild, after all.
Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz from
The Big Bang Theory
The sitcom The Big Bang Theory is something so unique, it’s a category in itself. The core cast mostly comprises academicians who are the ultimate nerds, but are unequipped to deal with what others consider normal. Bernadette’s role fits the bill; she’s nerdy, but she’s also got a bit of a temperament (oh! don’t forget the sugar-sweet, shrill voice that can get on your nerves sometimes). Melissa Rauch, who plays Bernadette on the show, is gorgeous in real life, whereas Bernadette can be pegged as ‘cute’ at best. The bangs, glasses, dresses, stockings, and clunky shoes don’t flatter Melissa one bit. If you’ve ever seen Melissa’s pictures from award shows or interviews, you’d definitely agree.
Willow Rosenberg from
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Actor Alyson Hannigan, who is best known for her role as Lily on How I Met Your Mother, is anything but ugly. Even those who swoon after Cobie Smulders, who played Robin Scherbatsky, would agree that Hannigan is still appealing to the eye and beautiful in an innocent and cute way. But you wouldn’t be so sure if you saw her first as Willow Rosenberg on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. As a viewer, Hannigan never caught your eye, which was unsurprising considering her plain, unimpressive look on the show.
Lieutenant Jordan O’Neil from
Demi Moore is best remembered as the demure beauty from Ghost, the film that glorified romance enough to popularize a whole new sub-genre, ghostly romance! While most of us know Moore is a true beauty, one look at her in the movie GI Jane will have you reconsidering. The look is so radical for Moore that it’s hard to believe it’s her. In the movie, Moore played Lieutenant Jordan O’Neil, a female soldier in training. In order to look the part, Moore shaved off her head and transformed her otherwise lithe frame to a mass of rippling muscles.
Sarah Pierce from
Something is disturbing about seeing Kate Winslet on a list of people who looked ugly, however temporarily. Most people can’t imagine the beauty from Titanic as anything but drop-dead gorgeous, but Winslet is a finer actor than a beauty. For her role in Little Children, she went for a plain blanched look to stay true to her character. Even in real life, Winslet prefers to look natural and is typically seen in a thin layer of no-makeup makeup.
Although everyone knows modern makeup can do wonders, not many understand the extent to which it can change someone’s appearance. The best example is actor Delphine Chaneac, a grey-eyed, black-haired beauty in real life, who was transformed into a bald, alien-looking species in the science fiction flick Splice. She truly looked alien, and while many of the other transformations listed in this video are on the lines of ‘gorgeous to ordinary-looking or plain,’ Chaneac’s look in Splice is the stuff of nightmares.
Brienne of Tarth from
Game of Thrones
When you see Brienne of Tarth on Game of Thrones, the first words that come to your mind are manly and huge. The character is likable, so you may even think of something on the lines of honourable and trust-worthy. But almost no one would think she’s gorgeous. Gwendoline Christie, who plays Brienne, is a model, and one look at her Instagram page will have you wondering how Gwendoline and Brienne could be the same person. Gwendoline is a statuesque beauty who turns heads in every room she enters.
Which of these actors did you honestly believe looked ugly till you saw this video? Let us know in the comments; we’re always happy to hear from you. Are there other actors who looked very unlike their normal beautiful self in a movie? We tried to cover most of the prominent ones, but if we missed any major ones, do let us know. If you liked this video, please do like and subscribe to our channel, and don’t forget to hit the bell icon to stay updated with our latest content.