Hollywood has been long looked to as the staple of attractive people. The media highlights the beauty (or flaws) of each individual. However, sometimes these beautiful people must cover-up their good looks, in order to portray certain roles. These actresses took a step beyond the acting, and altered their appearances, in order to achieve the perfect performance.
Naomi Grossman (Pepper)
Actress Naomi Grossman played the role of Pepper, in the American Horror Story franchise. Pepper appeared in season two and season four of the show. She is the only character that appears on more than one season. In season 2, she is placed in the “Asylum” because she is accused of killing her sister’s baby. In season 4, she is a part of a “Freak Show.” Naomi even shaved her head for the part.
Anne Hathaway (Mia Thermopolis)
Anne Hathaway made her film debut as Mia Thermopolis in The Princess Diaries. A role which she reprised for the sequel, in 2004, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement. However, in the first movie, Mia is a frumpy-teen, whose appearance is no good for royalty. Her grandmother, played by Julia Andrews, hires someone to do a makeover. Her new look is actually how Anne looked in real life, beautiful.
America Ferrera (Betty Suarez)
Although she was already known in Hollywood, America Ferrera made her TV breakthrough, after landing the lead role, of Betty Suarez, on Ugly Betty. The show followed Betty and her outlandish wardrobe and personality, as she worked at a high fashion magazine. Ferrera has continued to see success in acting, and has landed many roles, most of which allow her true beauty to show.
Emma Thompson (Nanny McPhee)
Emma Thompson is a two time Oscar winning British actress. She is known for her roles in the Harry Potter films, Sense and Sensibility, Howards Ends, and Nanny McPhee. Thompson plays the title role in Nanny McPhee, who at the beginning of the film is frighteningly hideous. However, as the family heals and learns to truly appreciate each other, McPhee also becomes more and more beautiful.
Thesy Surface (Margaret McPoyle)
Most people will know Thesy Surface from her portrayal of Margaret McPoyle in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Margaret is the deaf-mute sister of the gang’s old grade school classmate. Margaret is not a pretty sight and her actions insinuate a incestuous relationship with her brothers. However, Thesy Surface looks nothing like her character. She is very attractive in real life.
Judy Greer (Kitty Sanchez)
Judy Greer has played many roles throughout her time in Hollywood. However, one of her most notable was as Kitty Sanchez on Arrested Development. Kitty was George Bluth’s personal assistant and then Michael’s assistant. She also had a fondness for flashing people. She appeared in 11 episodes throughout the 4 seasons of the show. Greer has since landed many roles, where she doesn’t need to cover up her beauty.
Bette Midler (Winifred Sanderson)
Bette Midler is an amazing singer-actress, who has graced the silver screen in many roles. However, her most memorable may have been as the witch, Winifred Sanderson, in Hocus Pocus. Winifred is executed after being discovered a witch. But, she and her sisters are brought back from the grave, after lead character, Max, lights the black flame candle. Chaos ensues until the main characters are able to send the witches back to their graves.
Drew Barrymore (Josie Gellar)
Drew Barrymore has been a star since a very young age. However, many people love her, in the 1999 film, Never Been Kissed. Barrymore plays Josie Gellar. In high school, Josie was a geek and was bullied by the “popular” kids. However, she is given the chance to go back to high school as an undercover student, to find the next big newspaper story. She always reverts back to her original high school days and is afraid of rejection. However, with her brother’s help, she breaks out of her shell and (SPOILER) gets her first kiss.
Cameron Diaz (Lotte Schwartz)
Cameron Diaz sore to international stardom in the 90s. She played the role of the hot blonde love interest, in films such as The Mask and There’s Something About Mary. However, one movie tried to lessen her beauty as a pet-obsessed woman. In Being John Malkovich, Diaz played Lotte Schwartz, who was excited to “live out her transgender desires” once she was shown the portal to John Malkovich’s mind. The makeup artist on set, said making Diaz look “homely” was a hard task.
Taryn Manning (Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett)
Taryn Manning plays the role of Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett in the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black. When she was offered the role, she had no hesitation and said she loved the character. Doggett is a young woman from rural Pennsylvania, that describes herself as a redneck. When she is first introduced to viewers, she has receding gums and is missing teeth. However, in real life, Manning is a Hollywood bombshell.
Meryl Streep (Witch)
Meryl Streep is a Hollywood legend. She has been nominated for 20 Oscars, 3 of which she won. In 2014, she played The Witch in the movie adaptation of the musical Into the Woods. The movie also featured great actors such as Johnny Depp, Emily Blunt, and Anna Kendrick. The witch goes around granting wishes but warns people that everything comes with a price, which they all soon learn. Meryl was given a makeover to look older and much more ominous.
Linda Cardellini (Velma Dinkley)
Linda Cardenelli began her on-screen career in 1996. However, it wasn’t until 2002, when she landed the role of Velma Dinkley in Scooby Doo that she became a household name. The homely, intelligent, female of the Mystery Incorporated was always able to use her superior knowledge to sniff out the criminals. Cardellini reprised this role in the sequel Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed.
Mayim Bialik (Amy Farrah Fowler)
Mayim Bialik plays the nerdy love interest, Amy Farrah Fowler, of Sheldon, on the hit CBS series The Big Bang Theory. On the show, Fowler is a frumpy neuroscientist. However, in real life she is also super intelligent. She actually has her PhD in neuroscience. However, in real life she also has more style, and is the true definition of beauty and brains.
Tori Spelling (Violet Bickerstaff)
One of the highest rated 90’s teen sitcoms was Saved By The Bell. The show featured a group of friends as they dealt with heartbreaks and achievements, during their time in high school and eventually college. While in high school, the nerd of the group, Screech, had a love interest named Violet. With those pigtails and glasses she was perfect girl for Screech. Violet was played by the beautiful Tori Spelling.
Aimee-Ffion Edwards (Lucy “Sketch”)
Aimee-Ffion Edwards played Sketch on the hit TV series Skins. The TV show follows a group of teenagers who live in South West England. The show discusses lots of controversial topics such as: sexuality, bullying, death, substance abuse and gender. Sketch only appeared in season 2. During her time on the show, Sketch became obsessed with Maxie, and also acted as the caregiver to her mother who has multiple sclerosis.
Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth)
Brienne of Tarth, played by Gwendoline Christie, is arguably one of the strongest and most loyal female characters on Game of Thrones. Once she swears her life to you, she will protect you and your family by any means necessary. However, she is normally considered very manly. But, she never lets criticisms stop her from completing her duties. When Gwendoline is not playing Brienne, she definitely shows off her feminine side.
Demi Moore (Lieutenant Jordan O’Neil)
You may recognize Demi Moore for her role in Ghost, or for being long time partner to much younger actor, Ashton Kutcher. However, she also played some other pretty impressive roles – including this one. She played Lieutenant Jordan O’Neil in G.I. Jane. Female soldier, Jordan O’Neill enrolls into the Combined Reconnaissance Team. Everyone expects her to fail, but she proves them wrong. Demi shaved her head through the role, but she let it grow back once filming wrapped.
Delphine Chanéac (Dren)
Delphine Chanéac could have given you nightmares when she played the role of Dren, in Splice. The movie follows two young genetic engineers as they splice together a animal-human hybrid. The experiment works but chaos ensues. Just like Frankenstein’s monster, Dren doesn’t belong in the world, and she rebells through numerous violent actions. Delphine has continued to land roles despite her frightening appearance in Splice. She has played in numerous French films, most recently in Uchronia, in 2016.
Hillary Swank (Brandon Teena)
Boys Don’t Cry follows female-born Brandon Teena as he beings his transition to male and looks to find love. Although a very intense subject for its time of release (1999), the film was still a huge success. Hillary Swank played the lead role of Brandon Teena. Her performance won her the Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Her co-star, Chloë Sevigny, was nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
Mariah Carey (Ms. Weiss)
Mariah Carey shocked fans everywhere when she appeared as the homely, anti-makeup character, Ms. Weiss in the 2009 film, Precious. Ms. Weiss was the social worker, dealing with the title character’s case. She is the first one to discover the incest in Precious’ family, and helps makes sure Precious’ mother never sees her children again. It is without a doubt one of Carey’s strongest performances on film. The movie was nominated for 6 Oscars, 2 of which it won.
Amy Sedaris (Jerri Blank)
Strangers with Candy ran for 3 seasons between 1999-2000. The comedy, followed main character, Geraldine Antonia “Jerri” Blank. Jerri was a high school runaway who never graduated. Therefore, at the age of 46, she decided to start high school all over. She attended Flatpoint High School, the home of the Concrete Donkeys. Sedaris brilliantly played her role, creating Jerri’s weird mannerisms and persona. A prequel film was also created and released in 2005.
Amanda Seyfried (Anita “Needy” Lesnicki)
Before she was Cosette in Les Misérables or Savannah in Dear John, Amanda Seyfried played the role of nerdyAnita “Needy” Lesnicki, in Jennifer’s Body. Jennifer, played by Megan Fox, becomes possessed by a succubus and goes on a killing spree of her male classmates. Jennifer and Needy have been best friends since childhood, who by high school had nothing in common. Despite their differences, Needy tries to save Jennifer. However (SPOILER), she ends up killing Jennifer for the greater good.
Lizzy Caplan (Janis Ian)
Janis Ian was the mastermind behind the plan to take down ‘the plastics’ in the hit movie Mean Girls. Ian, played by Lizzy Caplan, adopts new girl Cady Heron, into her social circle. When she realizes that Cady is also wanted by the mean, popular girls, she begins her dastardly plan. What ensues is hilarious revenge plot, and great insight to the minds of high school girls. Caplan has recently been able to show of her true beauty in the series Masters of Sex.
Nicole Kidman (Virginia Woolf)
Although Virginia Woolf was considered a beauty in her time, today’s beauty standard may label her as otherwise. To transform into the famous English writer, for the film The Hours, Nicole Kidman added some prosthetics to her face. However, it was her talent that made the movie so successful. Kidman even won the Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role. The movie was nominated for 8 other Oscars, including Best Picture.
Elisabeth Moss (Peggy Olson)
Peggy Olson was the secretary of Mad Men‘s main character, Don Draper. Olson was constantly scrutinized from her homely look. Many other women in the office believed she should change her look in order to fit in more. However, Olson disagreed. Throughout the seasons, her character developed into a powerful feminist, thanks in part to the acting of Elisabeth Moss. Olson questioned the “normal” standards, and believed that woman should be treated equally.
Charlize Theron (Aileen Wuornos)
Charlize Theron’s name is synonymous with beauty, and amazing acting. She has appeared in films such as The Italian Job, Snow White and the Huntsman, and Mad Max: Fury Road. However, her most notable role, and one for which she won an Oscar award, tried to cover up her beauty. In Monster, Theron plays serial killer Aileen Wuornos. Based a real story, Aileen goes on a murder spree and kills 6 mens. She was executed for her crimes.
Cara Delevingne (Enchantress)
Cara Delevingne played the Enchantress in the super-villian task force film Suicide Squad. The Enchantress is also June Moore. Moore was taken over by a villainous demon and Moore begins to lose control over it during the movie. As the Enchantress becomes stronger, Moore becomes weaker, unable to fight the darkness. Make-up artists for Suicide Squad did an amazing job on the supermodel Delevingne.
Vanessa Hudgens (Agnes ‘Apple’ Bailey)
Vanessa Hudgens sky rocketed to fame after playing the cute girl-next-door, Gabriella Montez, in Disney’s High School Musical. However, she has certainly broken that innocent girl persona since. In 2013, she appeared as a struggling teen in the indie drama, Gimme Shelter. The film follows the struggles of teen, Agnes ‘Apple’ Bailey, who has been in and out of foster care. After finding her birth father, he takes her in, but then kicks her out after he discovers she is pregnant and wants to keep the baby.
Salma Hayek (Frida Kahlo)
In 2002, Salma Hayek played the title role in the film Frida. For the film, she also acted as a producer. The film was a biography of the famed artist Frida Kahlo. Through health problems and heart ache, Frida expressed her emotions through her surrealist art. The film won 2 Oscar awards, and was nominated for 6 total. The film also starred actors such as Diego Luna, Antonia Banderas, Edward Norton, and Alfred Molina.
Rooney Mara (Lisbeth Salander)
Rooney Mara had landed various roles, before 2011, in films such as A Nightmare on Elm Street and The Social Network. However, after playing the role of Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, she became a household name. But, when she was portraying Lisbeth, you would certainly not recognize her. Even though the transformation was extreme, her hard work paid off and she was nominated for both an Academy Award and an Oscar.