In movies and TV shows, there is often a character we find repulsive. Whether it is their ugly faces, the way they move and behave, or a combination of the three, we simply feel uneasy watching them on screen. Those characters always stick with us, and we keep a vivid image of them in our minds. All of this is created thanks to the talent of makeup artists and costume designers. When these actors take the costume and makeup off, you discover the beautiful men and women underneath it all. Here is a list of gorgeous actors who "de-glam" themselves to play not so pretty characters and end up looking nothing like their original selves.
1. Naomi Grossman
Naomi Grossman is well-known by the fans of the TV show American Horror Story for playing the role of Pepper. Her character was so beloved that she was the first one to appear in two different seasons. Pepper, who is suffering from microcephaly, is sent to a mental asylum for a crime she didn't commit in the second season, American Horror Story: Asylum. Pepper then appeared in the fourth season, American Horror Story: Freak Show, where we learn more about her story and past as she is performing in a circus freak show.
2. Anne Hathaway
Anne Hathaway's breakthrough role was in The Princess Diaries. She played the lead role of Mia Thermopolis, a clumsy young teenager who suddenly discovers she is royalty. She then goes through a serious and much-needed makeover that sees her losing her glasses and changing her hairstyle.
3. Taryn Manning
When actress Taryn Manning was asked to play the role of Tiffany "Pennsatucky" Doggett in the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black, she was over the moon. She said she loved the concept and accepted it immediately when they offered the role. Tiffany Doggett, her character on the show, can only be described as a redneck (and proud of it).
The character Tiffany doesn't have good looks or dental hygiene, mostly due to her drug addiction before being sent to jail. The beautiful Taryn Manning was already a well-known actress before the role of Tiffany. She acted in the series Sons of Anarchy and the movie 8 Mile.
4. Elisabeth Moss
Before she was the leading role in The Handmaid's Tale, a lot of people knew Elisabeth Moss for her role as Peggy Olson on Mad Men. She was the secretary of Don Draper, the show's main character. In the first season, she is frowned upon for her appearance in comparison to the other women. A lot of disparaging remarks are made both about her, and her choice of attire in the office.
In the beginning, the character of Peggy is both homely and innocent. Throughout the show, she became a real feminist who starts to denounce the double standards between women and men, not only in her firm, but also in society - which was quite brave to do in the sixties!
5. America Ferrera
Ugly Betty made a star of America Ferrera. Still, a lot of people could only see her as the de-glam Betty Suarez. At the end of the show, Betty finally becomes the swan she was always supposed to be. People were impressed when they would see Ferrera on the red carpet because she looked nothing like her character.
6. Melissa Rauch
Melissa Rauch is an American actress. Her most famous role is, without a doubt, Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz on The Big Bang Theory. She plays the part of a Doctor in microbiology with a high-pitched voice, and that's a euphemism. The actress confessed in an interview that she got the inspiration for Bernadette's voice from her beloved mother in real life.
7. Charlize Theron
Charlize Theron needs no introduction being one of the most celebrated and versatile actresses today. In 2003, when she was considered to be the new "It" girl in Hollywood, she was offered the lead role in Monster.
Aileen was a vicious killer with a complex personality. She was executed in 2002 for the murder of six men in the late '80s/early '90s. Critics raved about Theron's sensational performance, some going as far as saying that it was one of the most exceptional in cinematic history. She eventually won an Oscar for that role in 2004.
8. Emma Thompson
Emma Thompson is a famous British actress known for her star role in the movie Nanny McPhee. She played the lead, Nanny McPhee, a magical nanny with a hideous face.
Although the kids that she has to watch initially try to get her fired, they are slowly won over. With every good action they do, the face of Nanny McPhee gets more and more beautiful. As you know, Emma Thompson is a lovely woman, which means there were many special effects needed during the production of the movie.
9. Thesy Surface
You may not know her name, but you have probably seen her before if you are a fan of the series It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Thesy Surface plays the role of Margaret, a mute girl who is the sister of two elementary school classmates of the Sunny gang.
Thankfully for her, Margaret is only fictional, and Thesy Surface does not look like her at all in real life. Hopefully, she will get more roles where she can show how beautiful she truly is.
10. Judy Greer
The American actress Judy Greer is famous for a lot of roles in shows and movies like It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Californication, Jurassic World, and as the voice of Cheryl on the animated series, Archer. Strangely, a lot of people remember her as the eccentric Kitty Sanchez in Arrested Development.
In interviews, she explained she was a late bloomer and often felt awkward and out of place. She said she had braces, frizzy hair, and wasn't getting curvy like all the other girls. She mentioned that it was easier for her back then to play the role of the funny friend instead of the pretty one. She decided to make people laugh, and that helped her a lot in her acting career years later.
11. Vanessa Hudgens
We all remember Vanessa Hudgens getting her breakthrough role in High School Musical. But in 2013, she was cast in a completely different role in an independent movie about a young teen struggling with abuse from her mother called Gimme Shelter. In the film, she plays a young girl who spent a lot of time in foster care and is eventually reunited with her father.
Unfortunately, he rejects her after finding out she is pregnant and wants to keep the baby, and she has to make a new life for herself at a shelter for pregnant teenagers. Vanessa Hudgens had to make drastic changes in her appearance to play the part. This is not how she looks every day.
12. Rooney Mara
Rooney Mara got her big breakthrough when she got the role of Lisbeth Sanders in the American adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Lisbeth is a hacker with a turbulent upbringing who is eventually hired by a Swedish journalist to work with him on a murder case.
Mara had to undergo an extreme transformation to prepare for the role of Lisbeth. She had got piercings, cut her hair, and shaved her eyebrows. Her performance was well-received, landing her a lot of nominations for several awards, including for a Golden Globe and an Oscar in the Best Actress category.
13. Bette Midler
Hocus Pocus is undoubtedly one of Bette Midler's most famous roles. In this 1993 Disney movie, the iconic actress plays the role of Winifred Sanderson, who was executed with her sisters after being found guilty of witchcraft at the infamous Salem trials. She and her sister had, however, cast a spell to allow them to resurrect if a virgin lights a magical candle. That's precisely what happens in 1993, and the three evil witches are brought back to life, determined to capture the souls of innocent children to maintain their eternal youth.
Hocus Pocus is a cult movie for the '90s kids. The film is hilarious and entertaining, and Bette, like the rest of the cast, is fantastic in it. Sadly, some of them might not know that Bette Midler is an accomplished singer and actress, and has done many other things with her career.
14. Drew Barrymore
This is a classic movie for '90s teens. In this 1999 movie called Never Been Kissed, Drew Barrymore is Josie Geller, a girl who was a geek back in high school. Now an adult and working as an editor, she is being told to go undercover as a high school student to prepare a report on the lives of young teenagers. In the beginning, she is being ridiculed and rejected for her poor fashion taste, but she slowly starts to erase her bad memories and fit in.
Drew Barrymore certainly had to wear ridiculous and unflattering clothing to play the part of Josie. Everyone can relate to the movie with their own high school experience. We were all ready to make efforts to fit in and felt sad when we were rejected.
15. Cameron Diaz
Since the '90s, everyone knows Cameron Diaz for her iconic roles in The Mask, and There's Something About Mary. In 1999, she played a part in the movie Being John Malkovich, where she wasn't exactly the sexy girl we are so used to. She plays the role of Lotte, a woman obsessed with her pets, who finally can explore her transgender desires when she is given a portal that allowed her to penetrate the mind of the actor John Malkovich.
This was a role so different from the charming, naive, amusing, and sometimes flirty girls she was often playing back in the '90s. The person in charge of the makeup department for the film said it was quite a challenge to make such a beautiful woman look so ordinary.
16. Kate McKinnon
Kate McKinnon is one of the funniest women in the television and movie industry, and proved her acting talent with many unforgettable performances on Saturday Night Live. While there, she gained a reputation for her spot-on impressions of celebrities.
She has said there are many advantages to changing how you look, talk, and behave. She rose to stardom in 2016, during the US election campaign where her imitations of Hillary Clinton got her a lot of attention. She often speaks about it and how much she admires her.
17. Joaquin Phoenix
18. Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep is a living legend. In 2014. she was cast in the film Into the Woods, in which she played the part of the Witch. The producers successfully turned her into a scary creature you would be afraid to meet in a forest or a dark alley somewhere. If you know her work, you know that she can be very convincing as a threatening witch.
There is a point in the movie where the witch transforms herself into a beautiful woman after the evil spell is finally lifted. That version is way closer to the legendary actress we all adore in real life. Is there anything she can't do? She got her 19th nomination for an Oscar for Into The Woods!
19. Johnny Depp
20. Salma Hayek
21. Linda Cardellini
22. Mayim Bialik
23. Maisie Williams
24. Tina Fey
25. Steve Carell
26. Gwendoline Christie
Gwendoline Christie is primarily known for having played the role of Brienne of Tarth on Game of Thrones. A strong, independent woman on the show, she is bound by her word and strict moral code. She also has a particular form of fragility, as she is having a hard time forgetting the bullying, cruelty, the lack of respect, and the failures she had to suffer in her past.
Her partner, Giles Deacon, is a well-known British fashion designer. He helps her to find outfits to wear on the red carpet. He had this to say about her, "She's a character herself, and her trail of various characters is brilliant – she's pretty transformative, which is always an interesting thing from a designer's point of view."
27. Phyllis Logan
Phyllis Logan is a Scottish actress, known for her role as Elsie Hughes on the British television series Downton Abbey. Originally from a little town outside Glasgow, she always wanted to become an actress. Unfortunately, every casting director demanded she loses the Scottish accent. That's until Downton Abbey came along, and everyone was pleased with Mrs. Elsie Hughes having a delightful Scottish accent.
Although she plays the rigid and austere head of housekeeping on the show, she loves to be glamorous and beautiful at awards ceremonies like the British BAFTAs. She said she had to wear a corset for very long hours every day to play the role of Mrs. Hughes, but she would do it again at the first chance. She said that her family sadly never approved of her acting dream. She also publicly expressed sadness at the fact there are fewer interesting parts to play for a lady after a certain age.
28. Ralph Fiennes
29. Elizabeth Banks
30. Lena Headey
31. Patricia Heaton
Patricia Heaton is an American actress, known for the roles of Debra Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond and Frances "Frankie" Heck on The Middle. In The Middle, Patricia Heaton plays the part of the hectic and over the top mom.
She says all the cast members were cast because of the quirky looks, and that she goes out of her way to make Frankie a little bit frumpy. Her outfits and haircut are very plain, far from the glamorous woman she can be in real life. She says that even with the extras on set and the cameos, the casting director goes out of his way to find people who look ordinary and have a friendly Midwest vibe.
32. Lea Michele
All the fans of Glee will recognize Lea Michele instantly. She plays Rachel Berry, an extremely ambitious singer in the high school's glee club. You can say she is not very popular despite her vocal talents. She definitely has her own style and many people find her personality to be a little overbearing.
In several interviews, Michele stated that she gained a lot of weight to play the part of Rachel. It was also hard for her to adapt to the LA lifestyle. Since her show was canceled, Lea Michele is more present in the media, where she promotes a lifestyle of fitness, wellness, and clean eating.
33. Jenna Fischer
You cannot help but like Jenna Fischer, the plain secretary Pam on The Office. Pam Beesly is suffering from her boss' and her coworkers' stupidity and having a sweet romance with the gorgeous Jim. She confessed her first acting job was a "sex education video for psychiatric patients." You can safely say she has come a long way since that time.
You have to be honest and admit Pam seems a little plain and boring sometimes, but Jenna thought the role was perfect for her. She was quoted as saying: "I'm so attached to Pam's journey," and, "I just love playing this character so, so much." When The Office premiered in 2005, Jenna admitted she didn't wish to be a huge star. On the contrary, she just wanted to "be on a long-running hit TV show." Jenna got her wish, and she created something we will always remember.
34. Janel Parrish
Janel Parrish is an American actress and singer. She first made a name for herself with the role of Mona Vanderwaal in Pretty Little Liars. She was also acting in Bratz: The Movie and came in third place in the 19th season of Dancing with the Stars.
On Pretty Little Liars, you could see two sides of Janel. She played a timid and unpopular Mona in flashbacks reflecting back when she was bullied for her appearance. Contrast that with the present day, Mona, a confident, sexy girl who was afraid of nothing and extremely smart. In the show, you might say she is a bit of a villain, and Janel expressed on numerous occasions how much she loved to play the role. It's just "so much fun," according to her.
35. Tori Spelling
Tori Spelling is the one and only Donna from Beverly Hills 90210. An obnoxious girl with a big heart who was obsessed with NOT losing her virginity to her boyfriend David. But before all that, she had braids and glasses and was on Saved By The Bell. She was Violet Bickerstaff, Screech's love interest. Since that, she has been known for True Tori, an elegant reality television show where she would expose her life to viewers and wash her dirty laundry in public.
After sharing her marital problems, failures, and other controversies on True Tori, Spelling tried her luck in acting again, but her attempted return failed miserably. Her new show, Mystery Girls, was rapidly canceled. Here is something that will sadly make a lot of sense for a lot of people, though, she once said: "All it takes is for one person to say you’re ugly, and you’re like, I guess I’m ugly. And that was it."
36. Sophie McShera
Sophie McShera is a British actress, famous for playing the role of a simple kitchen maid, Daisy Robinson, at the beginning of Downton Abbey. Funnily, she claims she got her first big acting job because of the show Saved by the Bell.
She also played the part of Drisella Tremaine, one of Cinderella's infamous stepsisters in a new adaptation by Kenneth Branagh of the fairy tale. She said it was fun playing a girl cruel and evil. It was also ironic because her co-star Lily James, who was playing Cinderella, was also in Downton Abbey. In the show, she was the servant, and Lily James was the lady being served, and in Cinderella, the roles were reversed entirely!
37. Kaitlin Olson
Kaitlin Olson is an American actress who is mostly known for playing Deandra "Dee" Reynolds on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. She is hilarious in the show. People have described her character quite accurately as a "drunken, rude, borderline sociopathic character." She is enjoying the part, and she plays it perfectly.
Her role is lunatic and versatile; Dee is always changing and Kaitlin perfectly fits herself into the part. Nothing for her is too much or going too far, and anything is acceptable and possible as long as it's funny. She can be happy, sad, angry, vulnerable, depressive, or desperate. She's always amusing playing the trashy and ugly alcoholic. So far away from the beautiful lady she is in real life.
38. Alyson Hannigan
Everyone remembers Alyson Hannigan from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She played Willow, a plain and innocent girl who becomes Buffy's side-kick and friend. She also appeared in the American Pie trilogy and the legendary show How I Met Your Mother.
On Buffy, the sweet and innocent Willow evolved into a strong witch who was not afraid to fight to protect her beloved friends. Willow was also one of the first major gay characters on television in the '90s. A lot has changed over the last 20 years, and it was entirely new back then to explore the homosexuality of one of the main characters. Alyson Hannigan also met her husband, Alexis Denisof, on the set of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. They are still happily married with two children!
39. Aimee-Ffion Edwards
Aimee-Ffion Edwards is a Welch actress. People will remember her as the ugly duckling named Sketch from the show Skins. The TV series ran for seven seasons and dared to explore some very controversial topics like substance abuse, violence, bullying, grief, mental and physical illness. Sketch only appeared in the second season.
The cast of the show was regularly changing. She was a quirky girl who developed a fascination for the gay character of Maxxie, which turned into a real obsession. Sketch had a sad life; she was alone to take care of her mother, who was suffering from multiple sclerosis. Since Skins, she has acted on A Poet in New York and Being Human.
40. Mae Whitman
Mae Whitman is a young actress from the US who acted in films like Independence Day. Many will remember her for her role of Ann Veal on Arrested Development. She plays the girlfriend of George Michael, who is played by Michael Cera. On the show, they had this running gag of always forgetting her because of how plain she is.
Mae Whitman is nothing like Ann in real life, and she has continued to act in more shows and movies since the end of Arrested Development. In 2015, she played the lead in the film The Duff, in which it is she learns she is "the duff" of her group of friends, which stands for "designated ugly fat friend." Ouch! She does not look like that description.
41. Pauley Perrette
All the NCIS fans know and adore Abby Sciuto played by Pauley Perrette! This American actress is also a singer, writer, and civil-rights activist. Before she finally became a full-time actress, she had many different jobs. Those helped her to create the complex character of Abby, a forensic scientist working at the Naval Criminal Investigative Service to solve crimes committed by members of the Navy. She has been described by the show creator as: "the happiest Goth you will ever meet" and "alternafreak".
The character of Abby is easily one of the most fascinating characters on TV. The creator of the show explained she was the: "smartest, most capable person" on TV. When asked if she's really "Goth," in real life, Perrette always has the same answer: "Who cares?" She also described Abby as "a smart that simply cannot be reduced to a stereotype." You have to admit she is really awesome in that show!
42. Delphine Chanéac
French actress, Delphine Chanéac is also a model and a DJ. She appeared in the Canadian science-fiction horror drama, Splice, as Dren, which is actually "nerd" spelled backwards. Dren is another version of the infamous Frankenstein's monster. The film mixes and horror and explores the limits of research on genetics and the dangers of playing God.
43. Demi Moore
Demi Moore needs no introduction. She showed her talents for pottery with Patrick Swayze, on Ghost, but the role where she really pulled off an incredible transformation is as Lieutenant Jordan O'Neil, on GI Jane. She was a test-case, designed to prove that a female soldier could succeed in one of the toughest training units in the US military.
She suffered extremely harsh treatment in brutal conditions but yet refused to give up. She said she wasn't interested in becoming a poster girl for women's rights, but she wanted to prove she could do it. People then tried to bring her down by claiming she is a lesbian. She successfully gets rid of the allegations and demonstrates her bravery on the field in Libya, before officially becoming part of the unit.
44. Sandra Oh
Scrubs are not the most flattering outfit, so it's no surprise Sandra Oh looks so much better in real life than as Dr. Cristina Yang on Grey's Anatomy. During her ten years on the show, she won many awards for the role, including a Golden Globe and two Screen Actors Guild awards.
Sandra loved the role and gave her best every minute she was playing her. But after ten years, she wanted to try new things and she told the world: "It's such an interesting thing to play a character for so long and to actually get the sense that she wants to be let go as well. She wants to be let go, and I am ready to let her go. We have to start the process, story-wise, for the Grey's writers to think how she's going to go."
45. Ellie Kemper (Kimmy Schmidt)
Tina Fey produced the show about this eccentric young woman who just wants to start a new life. She is living a long series of weird adventures as she is trying to fit in into that new city and life. Meanwhile, her boss Jaqueline and her friend Titus, an inspiring actor and singer are here to help and support her in their very own way. This is an unforgettable comedy with many different types of humor mixed together! Ellie Kemper transformed herself easily in the hilarious, sweet, and quirky Kimmy.
46. Kate Winslet
Kate Winslet is one of the most famous English actress and singer. She was the youngest woman to be nominated for five Oscars and finally won one on her sixth nomination for The Reader. She also won an Emmy Award, four Golden Globe Awards, a Grammy Award, and three BAFTA Awards. She's beautiful, but she is not scared of taking the roles of ugly women, inside or physically. That's why she accepted without hesitation the role of Sarah Pierce, in Little Children.
In the movie, she has a short monologue about Emma Bovary, the heroine of Gustave Flaubert's novel, Madame Bovary. She explained she didn't like or understand Emma in the past, but now, she finds there's something beautiful, even heroic about her: "It's the hunger. The hunger for an alternative, and the refusal to accept a life of unhappiness."