You know what is really interesting? The fact that so many “hot” or “beautiful” Hollywood actresses that have graced all sorts of “Most Beautiful” or “Sexiest” lists, are actually downright fugly. Because just because a woman dresses nicely, has a fit body, done-up makeup, or perfect hair does not mean she is attractive. And many times, they are, in fact, unattractive. I’m not saying these celebs should be outed in a full on “Butterface” way, but you’ll get my point when you stop and think about the following ladies.
Have you ever been watching a movie or television show, and found yourself scrunching your nose up in distaste and wondering why on earth they picked that actress for the lead role? I have – a lot, recently. I have learned that there are a surprising number of famous leading ladies who are really not that gorgeous when you think about it. Now to be fair, the ladies on this list have all made it big in Hollywood, but that is not to say they are automatically beautiful. I mean, Hollywood needs fugly people, too. But mostly the mainstream media and public think of many of these women as attractive precisely because of their hair, makeup, body, and wardrobe. But I am talking about the face, without all that other stuff in the mix.
The following 25 famous women are the embodiment of exactly what I am talking about. Some are obvious choices, others you may see in a new light (and not necessarily a flattering one). Because it takes more than makeup and stylists to be truly beautiful, and these women are just… not.
24. Jennifer Carpenter
You know her best from the ultra-popular show Dexter, where she played Dexter Morgan’s adoptive sister Debra Morgan for eight seasons. Deb was the lead female in the series, credited for 96 episodes, just like Dexter, himself (Michael C. Hall, to whom she was married from 2008-2011 and continued to work with on the show even after divorcing). Now Jennifer Carpenter 35, has landed the lead role yet again, this time in the CBS crime/drama/sci-fi show, Limitless. She plays FBI Agent Rebecca Harris, who teams up with a guy who gains the use of his entire brain (Jake McDorman) and is hired by the FBI as a consultant. Her breakout role was as the title character Emily Rose in the horror film The Exorcism of Emily Rose in 2005, and though she says she does not necessarily feel typecast, her biggest success was about a serial killer. And it may surprise people to know that Jennifer hopes to do more comedy than the dark stuff she is known for.
23. Dakota Johnson
The daughter of Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith is Dakota Johnson, who became more famous last year after being cast as the lead female in the risqué film 50 Shades of Grey, based off the book of the same name. She played sweet, innocent Anastasia Steele. Anastasia falls in love with the handsome billionaire Christian Grey, who has a very specific taste in the bedroom. This is her most recognized role, though before it she had acted in many smaller roles, like in The Social Network, Beastly, 21 Jump Street, and The Five-Year Engagement. Since 50 Shades of Grey, Dakota has been in Black Mass, A Bigger Splash, and How to be Single with Rebel Wilson and Leslie Mann, though she has not had another leading role. Being the lead Anastasia was both a blessing and a curse, though, because as she said, it was her biggest sacrifice, since the entire world can see her completely naked. At least she got to take home the flogger and some underwear to keep for herself, though.
22. Mindy Kaling
The star of her own show, The Mindy Project, is none other than Mindy Kaling. She has always been funny, hence having her own sitcom, but few people know that she was the first female member of The Office writing staff when she started there at just 24 years old. She also portrayed Kelly Kapoor on the show from 2005-2013, and has had various smaller roles in other TV shows and movies. On The Mindy Project, currently in its fifth season, she plays OB/GYN Mindy Lahiri, who is quirky and tries to make her way through her personal and professional life alongside a gang of equally quirky co workers. Obviously, the fact that she is an OB/GYN (and that she is her talented, comical self) means there is plenty of material to work with there, and the show has been a success. She likely gathers info, ideas, anecdotes from her mother, who was a real OB/GYN and no doubt an inspiration for her daughter’s show.
21. Melissa Joan Hart
She is best known for her teenaged roles in Sabrina, the Teenaged Witch and Clarissa Explains It All, in both of which she played the title character for several seasons. She played the teenaged witch Sabrina Spellman on six different television series: Sabrina, the Teenaged Witch, Clueless, Boy Meets World, You Wish, Teen Angel, and Robot Chicken. Few people know that she was offered (but turned down) the lead role of Sidney Prescott in the Scream movies, and also Sarah Michelle Gellar’s role in the I Still Know What You Did Last Summer films. There were several television movies made based on the character of Sabrina too, and Melissa was in them all. Other lead roles she has had include the film Drive Me Crazy with Adrian Grenier and the TV show Melissa and Joey with Joey Lawrence from 2010-2015. Her most recent project was a Christian movie called God’s Not Dead 2, and was released in April of this year.
20. Taryn Manning
Taryn Manning is a familiar face these days, largely due to her role in the Netflix Original Series Orange is the New Black. For some reason, she often plays a troubled young woman, or a troublemaker. Well, she is very good at it, so I can see why. Her first big role was in the film Crossroads with Britney Spears, but her breakout role was as the prostitute Nola in Hustle and Flow (2005), for which she was nominated for Best Breakthrough Performance by the Washington, D.C. Area Film Critics Association Awards. Other notable roles for Taryn are on the shows Hawaii Five-O, Sons of Anarchy, and the movies Love Ranch, Cold Mountain, 8 Mile, A Lot Like Love, and White Oleander. She is also a fashion designer, singer-songwriter (she is in a bad called Boomkat with her brother Kellin), kickboxer, champion dancer, rollerskater, and a third degree black belt in karate.
19. Lauren Cohan
Lauren Cohan plays Maggie Greene on AMC’s The Walking Dead, and has for the past six of seven seasons. And she is one of the few remaining cast members that has been around since (almost) the beginning, as they naturally get killed off every once in awhile since in their world, the earth has been overtaken by zombies. Lauren has been a regular since the very beginning of season two in 2011, playing the daughter of the farmer whose home provided refuge to Rick’s original group, and big sister to the show’s young blonde (now a zombie, herself), Emily Kinney. You may be surprised to know that Lauren is British-American (her mom is Scottish and her dad is American), and spent part of her youth in the UK, and she graduated college from there as well. Now she owns a home there, too. She has had recurring roles on The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural, and Chuck. She splits her time between Los Angeles and London.
18. Kat Dennings
Kat Dennings was born as Katherine Victoria Litwack, the youngest of five children. She was homeschooled until her family moved to Los Angeles to pursue her acting career. Known for her pouty lips, husky voice, and most often playing rebellious, sarcastic characters, Kat has had leading roles in multiple film and television projects. She lead casts in the films Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Daydream Nation, and Day One, with large roles in several other movies. And since 2011 she has been one of two main characters on the CBS sitcom 2 Broke Girls, which is currently in its sixth season. She is best friends with her costar and fellow “broke girl”, Beth Behrs, and good friends with actress Evan Rachel Wood. She has the exact same birthday as Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen (June 13, 1986), and also played Bob Saget’s daughter (like they did on Full House) in the 2001 movie Raising Dad. Weird coincidence, if ever there were one!
17. Tori Spelling
As the daughter of Hollywood producer Aaron Spelling, Tori Spelling appeared on many of her father’s shows and has a clear taste for fame. She got her name out there mostly by portraying Donna Martin on the hit teen drama Beverly Hills 90210. The original version aired from 1990-2000 (1o whole years!), and interestingly, Tori has played Donna Martin on three separate television series: Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place (1992), and 90210 (2008). Countless other projects, though none as successful as Beverly Hills 90210, include various television walk-on roles, made-for-TV movies, reality shows, and some big screen movies, as well, like Scary Movie 2. Fun fact: Tori had to have plastic surgery on her nose after a parrot bit her in 1994. She says of the injury, “I felt a little insecure about my nose. I asked my mother if I could get it done, and she was very supportive and that was that.”
16. Michelle Rodriguez
Michelle Rodriguez is known for playing the tough, tomboy type chicks. She got her start in Hollywood after living in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, when she and her family moved back to the States. There, she beat 350 girls for the lead role in the independent film Girlfight about a female boxer. Michelle had acted as an extra in various films prior to this, but this was her first-ever audition, and she got the lead role despite having never stepped into a boxing ring. Her second-ever audition was for The Fast and the Furious, and she got that role, too. Her other noteworthy roles include The Fast and the Furious movies, The Breed, LOST, The Hills Have Eyes 2, and Avatar. Of her looks, she has this to say, “My favorite part of my body is my brain. I think no matter what my body looks like, I won’t be satisfied unless I know how to use it.”
15. Maggie Gyllenhaal
The sister of Hollywood hottie Jake Gyllenhaal, Maggie is famous for several big screen blockbusters, like The Dark Knight with Christian Bale, in which she replaced Katie Holmes. Though she worked on movies prior to Secretary in 2002 (her first six films were all directed by her father), it is considered her breakout role and it got her a Golden Globe nomination. She also played the lead role of Sherry in Sherrybaby (2006), and she has been in three movies with her brother, Jake. I feel like her success in Hollywood is largely due to her director father, scriptwriter mother, and actor brother, but who knows? Her most famous movies include Mona Lisa Smile, Crazy Heart, White House Down, and of course the aforementioned The Dark Knight Rises. She also played a sister to her real-life brother in the film Donnie Darko. She is the mother to four children by her husband of seven years, actor Peter Sarsgaard.
14. Kirsten Dunst
Actress Kirsten Dunst was probably better known when I was a teenager watching movies like Bring It On, but she is still quite famous, and has a lot of leading roles under her belt. Though her breakout role was in the 1994 movie Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, alongside Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise, Kirsten is most famous for movies like Little Women, Jumanji, The Virgin Suicides, and of course, every teen girl’s favorite, Bring It On. In all of these, she had a leading role, which is quite impressive as they are all successful movies that all star other big Hollywood names, from Robin Williams to Winona Ryder. Wimbledon, Elizabethtown, Melancholia, The Two Faces of January, and Marie Antoinette are a few of her other films in which she had a starring role. She turned down several other roles as well, like Mira Sorvino’s character Angela in American Beauty (the girl that is naked in a bathtub of roses, if you don’t know), Ali Larter’s Clear Rivers in the original Final Destination movie, and as Chrissy in Now and Then. She is a personal friend of Maggie Gyllenhaal, who we just talked about, and even dated Maggie’s brother, Jake!
13. Emma Stone
Everyone seems to disagree with me about this one, but I have never seen the appeal of actress Emma Stone, myself. I do not get the attraction males have to her. She largely became known after playing Jules in the 2007 comedy Superbad, which was in fact her film debut. Though she lost out to Hayden Panettiere when she auditioned for Heroes, Emma had been on VH1 talent/reality show In Search of the Partridge Family (she won the role of Laurie Partridge), which led to various small-screen roles. Her leading roles on the big screen include Zombieland, Easy A, The Help, Irrational Man, and Aloha. Her large (but not leading) roles in blockbusters include The House Bunny, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Friends with Benefits, Crazy Stupid Love, and The Amazing Spider Man (both of them). She is rumored to be playing Cruella de Vil in the live-action feature that follows the evil exploits of the villain from the much-loved Disney film 101 Dalmatians. We’ll see…
12. Courteney Cox
The oldest on our list, Courteney Cox is a veteran member of the Friends cast. Friends aired for 10 years (1994-2004), and she played one of the six friends, the neurotic Monica Geller (but can you believe she was originally offered the role of Rachel? I cannot imagine the show that way, myself, so luckily Courteney preferred playing Monica). She was originally turned down for the role of Gale Weathers in the Scream movies, because at first the producers thought she could not play a bitchy role, but only because of her well known portrayal of the “nice” Monica. But Courteney proved them wrong and is now one of only three actors who have been in all four Scream films (the other two are her ex-husband David Arquette, whom she met on the set of Scream, and actress Neve Campbell). Her only other true lead role was in the television series Cougar Town (2009-2015), in which she played a divorced woman and single mom new to the dating scene. Not as successful as Friends (but hey, what could be?) but it aired for long enough to be considered a success in its own right, so good for Courteney.
11. Saoirse Ronan
Saoirse Ronan grew up in her parents’ native Ireland, though she was born in New York City. One of her first roles was alongside Keira Knightley and James McAvoy in Atonement (2007), and for that she won international recognition and even a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, an award that made her the seventh youngest person ever to be nominated for it. She went on to make several movies that featured her in a lead role, including The Lovely Bones, The Way Back, City of Ember, Hanna, The Host, Violet and Daisy, How I Live Now, Lost River, Stockholm Pennsylvania, Brooklyn, and Byzantium, for which she turned down the role of Kitty in Anna Karenina. She was also the first choice for the role of Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch in The Avengers: Age Of Ultron but turned it down. She also chose The Way Back over Robin Hood in 2010, as she was cast in both at the same time. This is quite an impressive resume for someone so young.
10. Drew Barrymore
The sweet little girl from our beloved childhood movie E.T. grew up to be a very successful and famous actress. She was just six when she appeared as the little sister in Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi blockbuster, but she would go on to do much, much more. To be honest, I don’t even really know where to begin with this one, so I will just… begin. She is the star of the following movies (among others): Poison Ivy, Never Been Kissed, Riding in Cars with Boys, 50 First Dates, Fever Pitch, Ever After, Grey Gardens, Going the Distance, Blended, and Miss You Already. And there are soooo many others! Not only is she a regular star of each cast, but also has a million movies under her belt in which she has a large role that is not the lead, such as He’s Just Not That Into You, Charlie’s Angels, The Wedding Singer, Boys on the Side, and countless more.
9. Katherine Heigl
Ever since I first laid eyes on Katherine Heigl in the earliest days of Grey’s Anatomy, I recognized that she had a… unique look to her. She has always reminded me of a young Ellen Burstyn, actually. I think it is because of their similar teeth. Anyway, as we know, this actress has been the star of so many movies that it is insane. Some of these are My Father the Hero, Bride of Chucky, Knocked Up, 27 Dresses, The Ugly Truth, Life as We Know It, Killers, Home Sweet Hell, Jackie and Ryan, and Jenny’s Wedding. A great majority of these are romantic comedies. Quite opposite of that genre, Katherine was also a main character on the show Roswell from 1999-2002. Fun fact: Katherine has played a character named Isabel three times! Less than one month ago on June 23, 2016, she announced that she is expecting her first child with her husband, Josh Kelley. It is a boy, which is good because the couple already has two adopted daughters together. But seriously (and most importantly), how am I the only one who has noticed the Ellen Burstyn thing? It’s uncanny!
8. Sarah Jessica Parker
Carrie Bradshaw, aka Sarah Jessica Parker, really rose to fame when she was the leading lady on six seasons of the HBO sitcom Sex and the City, about four New York women looking for love in the Big Apple. She reprised the role of sex-columnist Carrie for two subsequent Sex and the City movies. She also had leading roles in films such as Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Miami Rhapsody, and Failure to Launch, among others. In one of her most well-loved movies, Hocus Pocus, SJP played a witch who was executed during the Salem Witch Trials, and she found out that one of her ancestors was actually accused of being a witch in Salem during that time period, but escaped with her life. That ancestor’s accusation actually led to the end of the infamous Witch Trials. Weird! Regarding her looks, Sarah Jessica was named the “Unsexiest Woman Alive” by Maxim magazine in 2007.
7. Julia Roberts
She is considered one of America’s Sweethearts (and was in a movie titled such), and even the most popular actress in the country. Julia has been the leading lady in countless films. And she is not drop dead gorgeous like so many people think Hollywood stars are or should be, but has more of a unique look to her, as I say. Perhaps ironically, her biggest success (and signature movie) was Pretty Woman. Following that, she was the face of dozens of big Hollywood pictures. To name a few, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Notting Hill, Runaway Bride, Erin Brockovich, Mona Lisa Smile, Eat Pray Love, Secret in Their Eyes, and the list goes on and on and on. It seems that she is known best for her romantic comedies, and that people like best to see her in them out of any genre. Her trademarks are considered to be her smile and her gentle voice.
6. Emma Roberts
Maybe it runs in the family. Up next we have Julia Roberts’ niece, actress Emma Roberts. They do not look too alike, though they do share that certain uniqueness I was talking about. Julia’s brother Eric is Emma’s father, and as a child she spent a lot of time on the sets of her famous aunt’s movies even though her parents split and she resided with her mother. Watching Julia work inspired her to want to become an actress, too. She has been the main character in the following films: Nancy Drew, Hotel for Dogs, 126.96.36.199., and Scream 4. And she has worked with some pretty big names, like Johnny Depp in her first movie, Blow, and Jennifer Aniston in We’re the Millers. She was also on the show American Horror Story from 2013-2015 (she is engaged to her costar from the show, Evan Peters), and has numerous other credits to her name.
5. Kaley Cuoco
Unlike many of the others on this list, Kaley Cuoco is a television-only success story, whereas many are only on the big screen. Her biggest success is arguably her role as Penny on The Big Bang Theory. This, too, is ironic, as Penny is the gorgeous blonde that lives across the hall from total nerds Leonard and Sheldon. The premise of the whole show is that the beauty falls in love with the geek (and befriends the other geeks), but I have long said that just because you have a hot body and pretty hair and makeup, does not mean that you are necessarily beautiful. Anyway, Kaley’s other big or leading roles include the television series 8 Simple Rules and Charmed. It may shock loyal The Big Bang Theory fans to know, but in 2010, Kaley broke her leg in a horseback-riding accident, so she had to be written out of two episodes. For several more episodes, she could only be seen sitting down or behind furniture in order to hide her injury.
4. Lindsay Lohan
She was super-duper cute when she played 11-year-old twins Hallie and Annie in The Parent Trap remake in 1998. It was her first feature film and she not only got the lead- but got both leads! From there, her career really took off, even though before that she had been on the soap opera Another World, which she left to film The Parent Trap. She then starred in several teeny-bopper films, such as Life Size, Freaky Friday, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, Herbie Fully Loaded, Just My Luck, Georgia Rule, Labor Pains, and the uber-popular teen classic, Mean Girls. There are many more, as well. She is known for her fiery red hair, and also for her real-life drama with her parents and numerous stints in rehab and jail for drugs and alcohol. Of this, she says, “It’s so weird that I went to rehab. I always said I would die before I went to rehab.” Um, pretty sure rehab is there to prevent dying, Lilo.
3. Kristen Stewart
Kristen Stewart was the star of not one, but all four movies in the Twilight saga. The original Twilight movie was her breakout role, and after that her career skyrocketed. Since then she has taken the lead in a ton of movies, and had large roles in a ton more. These include Adventureland, On the Road, The Runaways, and Snow White and the Huntsman. She was in several before her breakout role as Bella Swan, too, like Speak, The Messengers, Into the Wild, and Panic Room. Clearly she is very successful in Hollywood, but I have to admit I have never gotten the big deal about this girl. She is like incapable of smiling, and has a total of one facial expression. In her movies, it takes an hour for her to get any words out. Maybe this is why she so often plays depressing characters or girls that are emotionally disturbed.
2. Maya Rudolph
Maya Rudolph is a comedian and actress famous for many projects. She got her start as a nurse in the show Chicago Hope in the 90’s, and played a nurse again in the movie Gattaca. She appeared in several shows, TV movies, shorts, and a few films over the years, but was finally the lead in the 2009 movie Away We Go. She has also had large roles in Grown Ups, Grown Ups 2, Idiocracy, Bridesmaids, Friends with Kids, and the show Up All Night, as well as lending her voice to numerous animated movies and shows. She was one of the most popular performers on Saturday Night Live. She was born to a soul singer mother and a music producer father, and her family was good friends with Gwyneth Paltrow’s family, so the two women are childhood friends. They worked together on the Bruce Paltrow-directed 2000 film Duets.
1. Anna Paquin
Anna Paquin has had several lead roles in films and on television, but her most widely known success was her seven seasons (2007-2014) as the main character Sookie Stackhouse on the HBO vampire show, True Blood. Many years prior to that, she had played Jeff Daniels’ daughter (the lead) in the 1996 movie Fly Away Home, and interestingly, in the 2005 movie The Squid and the Whale, she played his lover. Her lead roles include the films Darkness, Blue State, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, The Romantics, Open House, Margaret, Straight A’s, and Free Ride. She grew up in New Zealand, and wound up meeting and marrying her husband Stephen Moyer on the set of True Blood. Together, they have eight-year-old twins, a boy and a girl, as well as his two children from a previous relationship. She is one of the few actresses to win an Academy Award without having been a professional actress beforehand.