Sometimes there is nothing sexier than a good girl gone bad— when she lets her hair down, unbuttons the top button on her cardigan, and goes a little wild. Don’t get us wrong, bad girls are great too. They are exciting. They are the rebellious glue that holds our fantasies together. But there is something extra special about witnessing a good girl convert to the dark side. It’s like watching Anakin Skywalker embrace his inner Sith Lord and slaughter a room full of young Jedis except, you know, without the murder or the terrible, terrible movie.
Of course, there is a right way and a wrong way for good girls to go bad. Take, for instance, the classic example of Olivia Newton John as Sandy in the 1978 classic, Grease. She starts off as the kind of girl who spends most of her life adorned in bubblegum pink sweaters, getting her homework done, and avoiding any kind of vice. By the end of the movie, however, she has transformed herself into a leather-clad goddess who makes John Travolta weak in the knees. That’s doing it right, folks. (If you ignore the problematic moral of the story which seems to be that completely changing who you are in order to impress the boy you have a crush on is a good idea.)
On the other end of the spectrum we have everyone’s favorite human wrecking ball, Miley Cyrus. While she started off on a very Olivia Newton John-style trajectory, including the family-friendly musicals and penchant for pink attire, Cyrus’ descent into pasties and twerking all over Robin Thicke doesn’t have so much the appeal of a girl gone bad as it does a catastrophic train derailment. This list, however, is made up of the Hollywood good girls that have the potential to go bad in all the best ways.
15. Mandy Moore
It is pretty safe to say that you have cemented your good girl image when your most well-known movie role is that of a Christian high school student who spends the whole movie successfully maintaining her virginity and defending her faith. Not that those are bad things. But Mandy Moore‘s character in the film adaptation of A Walk to Remember is so perfectly wholesome, that it has sort of come to define Moore as a person. This is only bolstered by the fact that her most successful film role today is her voicing of Rapunzel in Disney’s Tangled. She is literally a Disney princess.
However, in the third season of How I Met Your Mother, Moore did play a mini-skirt-clad, fishnet stocking-wearing bad girl named Amy, who spent the entire episode sucking face with Ted and then convincing him to get a butterfly tattoo on his lower back. It was pretty hilarious and, if we’re being honest, pretty hot. We’d love to see more of that bad side from Mandy.
14. Katie Holmes
Former Mrs. Tom Cruise has enjoyed a long career of playing nice girls, beginning with her turn as Joey Potter on the teen drama Dawson’s Creek and reaching its pinnacle with her turn as Rachel Dawes in Batman Begins. Along the way she has also popped onto the small screen as a character affectionately referred to as “the slutty pumpkin” on How I Met Your Mother. The character, whose real name is Naomi, stars in two episodes as a woman who shows up to the main characters’ Halloween party dressed as a pumpkin. Calling her costume “slutty” is something of a misnomer. “Cute” would be much closer.
After she dumped Tom ‘runs-really-fast-on-camera’ Cruise back in 2012, many of us speculated that Holmes would let loose, especially once it was clear that she left the Church of Scientology. Katie Holmes, however, reverted back to her previous Catholic faith, rather than evolving into a bonafide badass babe.
13. Emma Stone
Now, why don’t we address the redheaded beauty that is Emma Stone. She shot to fame in movies like Superbad and Zombieland, playing strong-willed, foul-mouthed characters alongside the likes of Jonah Hill and Woody Harrelson, and her stock as a serious Hollywood actor quickly rose soon after, culminating in an Oscar nomination for her supporting role in Birdman back in 2014. However, while her on-screen personas are occasionally less than honorable (her Academy Award nominated character in Birdman, for example, is bad-tempered drug user), Stone has remained consistently chipper and squeaky clean off-screen. And we know she has it in her to go bad. In Easy A she plays a straight laced high school student who embraces her inner bad girl in order to help a friend at school— and, boy, does she nail it. If ever there was a good girl built to turn bad, that girl is Emma Stone.
12. Hayden Panettiere
Hayden Panettiere‘s two most popular TV roles are that of a high school cheerleader with regenerative abilities in the superhero drama Heroes, and the teen celebrity turned poppy country music star in Nashville. You don’t thrive playing those kinds of characters unless you are a good girl. We did see a darker side to Panettiere in the made-for-TV movie Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy, in which she plays the titular accused killer, which leads us to believe that there is a bad girl deep inside, just waiting to be set free. But we’re not going to press the issue. Have you seen the guy she is engaged to? Hayden started dating Wladimir Klitschko, who just happens to be a heavyweight boxing world champion, back in 2009 and they now have a child together. This dude has made a career out of beating up really big men with his fists, so we’re going to avoid inciting his wrath by implying anything he might not appreciate about Panettiere.
11. Emma Watson
Emma Watson is the epitome of the Hollywood good girl. After starring in one of biggest movie franchises in history, she decided to put her career on hold in order to pursue her college education, eventually graduating with a degree from Brown in English Literature. Since then she has become a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and will soon take on the role of Belle in Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast remake. In almost everything she does, Watson is the perfect emblem of poise, intelligence, and wholesomeness. The closest thing to a bad Emma Watson that the world has ever seen was her performance in The Bling Ring as a burglarizing socialite, but even that was pretty tame. Still, during a scene when she is writhing on the dance floor with her friends, she sticks out her tongue cheekily, and gives the camera wink, it’s a truly heart palpitating moment, and just a fleeting taste of sexiness that could exist in the form of Emma Watson gone naughty.
10. Jenna Dewan Tatum
It’s unfortunate, but Jenna Dewan Tatum, also known just as Jenna Dewan, is probably best known for being married to everyone’s favorite stripper turned actor turned actor that can dance turned actor that strips, Channing Tatum. The reason this is unfortunate is that Jenna is a fantastic dancer and pretty solid actor in her own right, as you can see when she challenged her husband on Lip Sync Battle. The lady has some serious moves, folks.
Jenna has spent most of her career doing dance movies, such as Step Up and Take the Lead, as well as handling supporting roles on TV shows like Supergirl, American Horror Story: Asylum, and Witches of East End. Perhaps she could benefit from delving a little deeper into that sultry bad girl side that has popped up from time to time, and showing us all what a Hollywood bad girl really looks like.
9. Selena Gomez
Wouldn’t you just love to see Justin Bieber‘s on again, off again squeeze go a little wild one day? We sure would. Selena Gomez started off her career as a teenage wizard in the Disney TV series Wizards of Waverly Place. While there are a number of Disney child stars who have gone on to shed their squeaky clean image, such as Shia LaBeouf, Miley Cyrus, and Zac Efron, Selena Gomez has never fully managed to shake off her all-American good girl perception. Even her inclusion in hard R-rated films like the wild party flick Spring Breakers, and the atrociously craptastic Behaving Badly did not do much to diminish her good girl status, as she continues to play good girl characters in those movies. Once, just once, we would love to see her jump headlong into one of those anti-Disney type films and let her freak flag fly. We’re willing to bet that Justin might appreciate that too.
8. Zoe Saldana
Zoe Saldana is the actress that makes us clarify the difference between a “bad girl” and a “badass.” Because Saldana is, without a sliver of a doubt, a total badass. She plays Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy for god’s sake. Marvel is not going to cast you as an alien assassin with a penchant for knives and swords if you aren’t already a badass. Further examples of Saldana’s indisputable badassness include: Colombiana, Avatar, The Losers, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, and all three of the new Star Trek movies, playing Captain Uhura. She rivals Sigourney Weaver as Hollywood’s go-to gal when they need a hardcore action actress for its sci-fi flicks.
Despite all that, Saldana seems to always play the good guy. She might occasionally slice some aliens to pieces with her daggers, or shoot a bunch of mobsters in their stupid mobster faces, but she never crosses the line into bad guy territory. And for someone who does badass so well, it seems natural that playing straight evil would be a fantastic fit.
7. Taylor Swift
The biggest transformation in Taylor Swift‘s insanely high-profile career was when she went from being an enormous country music sensation to an even more enormous pop music sensation. Through all of that, however, she has staunchly maintained her good girl image, which might not be a bad thing considering that her fan base is largely made up of young girls. All of a sudden doing an R-rated movie with full frontal nudity and abundant swearing would more than likely do more harm to her career than it would help it. Nonetheless, she seems to have that glimmer of mischief in her eye, doesn’t she? Simmering just below that nearly perfect surface is a bad girl that we’re pretty sure the entire world would die to see. Just think of the headlines: “T-Swift Collaborates with Rihanna For Sexiest Music Video of All Time” or “Just Wait Until You See Terrible Taylor’s Newest NSFW Show!” We can only hope.
6. Alicia Silverstone
It is pretty hard to call the woman who climbed into the spotlight playing Batgirl in Batman & Robin and Cher in Clueless, who is a vehement animal rights activist, a staunch environmentalist, and a devoted vegan anything that remotely resembles “bad.” Alicia Silverstone is the Hollywood embodiment of progressive political correctness. She published a vegan cookbook. She lives in an eco-friendly house complete with solar panels and an organic vegetable garden, with her husband, child, and pack of rescue dogs. She published a second vegan cookbook. She is an outspoken supporter of LGBTQ rights. She has plans to publish a third vegan cookbook. It is nearly impossible to find anything about the actress who was once known as “the Aerosmith chick” for appearing in three of the band’s music videos in the 1990s that could be construed as having a “bad girl” quality. Nonetheless, we’d love to see it happen, even if that just means catching her binging on bacon and steak one day.
5. Amanda Seyfried
Okay, maybe this one isn’t fair. If you have seen the really underwhelming erotic thriller Chloe, then you know Amanda Seyfried is more than capable and more than willing to dive deep into her bad girl persona. The fact that she is the only actress on this list whose entry warrants the words “erotic thriller” should mean something. But really, Chloe is one of a few naughty blips on Seyfried’s otherwise tame filmography, which includes the painfully unpleasant musical Mamma Mia! and the much more pleasant musical Les Misérables.
Oh, right, we almost forgot. She also played real-life adult film star Linda Lovelace in 2013 in the film appropriately titled Lovelace, and definitely got naked on camera for it. So maybe Amanda Seyfried isn’t the “goodest” of the Hollywood good girls, but there is still something about her that makes her seem that way. It’s probably the same thing that got her cast as the titular Red Riding Hood. So really, Seyfried is a perfect example of how good girls can, and should, go bad.
4. Jennifer Lawrence
Ah yes, Tinseltown’s most relatable movie star. The adorably down-to-earth, Oscar-winning multimillionaire who loves pizza, gets nervous around other celebrities, and doesn’t seem to give a crap about the normal trappings of fame and fortune. Jennifer Lawrence exploded into the spotlight when she was cast as the lead in the insanely popular Hunger Games franchise, and she has shown no signs of slowing down, releasing hit after hit after hit. And even through all of that, consistently portraying deeply flawed but always admirable women, Lawrence has always managed to stay on the tried and true path of a Hollywood good girl. Though she may be quirky, a bit foul-mouthed, and always entertaining, she doesn’t seem like the type to go all “Shia LaBeouf” on us and get arrested for drunkenly picking a fight at a play on Broadway. If she ever does get arrested it will more likely be some hilarious case of miscommunication and mistaken identity and will eventually be adapted into an award-winning box office success directed by David O. Russell.
3. Shailene Woodley
Given the fact that Shailene Woodley has most recently made the news for being arrested and live streaming that arrest online, you might initially wonder why she is on a list full of good girls like Emma Watson and Mandy Moore. Once you realize that she was arrested for protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline, you wonder no more. Like several other actresses on this list, Woodley is a well-known environmental activist, which is what motivated her to protest the pipeline and ultimately end up in handcuffs.
On-screen, Woodley has starred in a slew of flicks aimed at teenagers, including The Spectacular Now, The Fault in Our Stars, and all three Divergent movies, as well as a number of critically acclaimed dramas, such as The Descendants and Snowden. Considering her strong acting chops and her willingness to rebel for the right cause, it doesn’t seem like a stretch that someday we’ll catch a glimpse of a much badder Shailene Woodley.
2. Sandra Bullock
She’s America’s sweetheart. That is an actual nickname she has. And, if we’re being honest, it’s an actual fact. Everyone loves Sandra Bullock. She is just so damn lovable. Even when she plays a character that is supposed to be lovable, like her turn as Ryan Reynolds‘ nasty boss turned love interest in The Proposal, she can’t help it. We still love her. It doesn’t even matter if the movie is any good. She can make a string of romantic comedies that are physically painful to endure all ninety minutes of and it does nothing to diminish our love for her. So it might be too much to ask her to really go completely bad on us because there is a very real chance that it is literally impossible. You could probably cast her as a sociopathic, cannibalistic serial baby murderer and we’d still think of her as Miss Congeniality.
1. Reese Witherspoon
If the aforementioned Sandra Bullock didn’t already own the title of America’s sweetheart, there is a distinct possibility that Reese Witherspoon would lay claim to it. Their careers even have some remarkable parallels, having both launched into stardom thanks to a series of enjoyable, if somewhat superficial, romantic comedies, including Legally Blonde and Sweet Home Alabama for Witherspoon. Both actresses then went on to surprise audiences with Oscar-winning performances: Bullock won for The Blind Side and Witherspoon for Walk the Line, playing June Carter. Since then, neither actress has slowed down, each garnering another Academy Award nomination and plenty of critical and commercial success. She even has the same unflappable good girl quality that Bullock has, forcing us to wonder whether or not it would even be possible to see Witherspoon go bad. She just might not have it in her. But if she does, we can only imagine that it would be amazing.