It’s a truth that people don’t like facing: most actors and actresses are good looking people, at least the visible ones are. Sure, some might not have the model-like figures or the flawless faces that we’ve become used to seeing, but they are almost always attractive. Now with A-List celebrities, we see them in so many different situations, in so many different roles and in real life, that we know exactly how good looking they are. Nothing can surprise us. But what about those actresses who we only know from one or very few roles? Maybe we’ve never seen them at an awards show, or dressed up like a normal human. Maybe their role(s) on TV or film have them dressed down, covered up or looking worse than the major stars so they don’t overshadow them. Seeing these actresses as they normally look, or at least in the real world, sometimes gives us a pleasant surprise.
Well, that’s what this list brings us. Here, we’ve compiled a list of actresses who we’ve become used to seeing in a certain light, usually an unflattering one. Most of the time, we can see that they’re pretty, but they’re actually much better looking than their characters would suggest.
Now, before you get all defensive and start talking about how beauty on the inside is the only beauty that matters, just hold on. Hold your damn horses. We’re sure that each of the actresses on this list is beautiful inside and out, but until we find a way to photograph feelings and inner beauty, we’re going to stick to showing pictures of the outside beauty. While there are several actresses on here who are known as sex symbols, there are also some who never get that opportunity to shine, so instead of getting defensive for them, why not celebrate their beauty? We want to make room to compliment these women who probably don’t get as much as they deserve. Here’s our way of showing them that we enjoy the way they look. Here are 15 actresses who are way hotter than you think.
15. Emily Bett Rickards
Emily Bett Rickards is hot. We’re sure you know that. Her big character, Felicity Smoak from Arrow and The Flash, Vixen, Legends of Tomorrow and probably like 63 other superhero shows that no one has time to keep up with anymore, is hot. So, why is Rickards on this list? Because this is a list of actresses that are hotter than you think, and, while Smoak is a gorgeous character, Rickards is even better. Why is that? Well, for obvious reasons, the showrunners want Smoak to be vanilla. She’s good, but she’s not the temptress. She can’t upstage all the other sexy characters. They tone her down and bland her up. We all know that a bad pair of glasses on a woman in TV and film is a death sentence. Out in the real world, Rickards is a rocket, Rocket Rickards they call her in Montreal. They probably don’t, but they should. She’s Canadian too. That’s another way of saying she’s special.
14. Gwendoline Christie
Gwendoline Christie, the actress best known as Brienne from Game of Thrones and Captain Phasma from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, is not often talked about for her beauty. At 6’3, it’s her stature that captures the attention of most. Because of her height, Christie has become the visage of the warrior woman, hence the roles she’s known for. But look at this woman for a minute. Threatening height and strength aside, this is a gorgeous person. It’s really no wonder why Jaime Lannister started up some feelings in that gol’ kingslaying gut of his because, after your eyes get used to seeing a woman so much larger than you, the beauty in Christie begins to shine through. She seems really sweet too. We like you Gwendoline Christie. You’re one of our favorites.
13. Lea Michele
Alright, so maybe Lea Michele‘s hotness isn’t a secret, but, for those people who only know her as the weirdo from Glee, Michelle might be a bit of an unknown. So, on Glee, Michelle plays the straight-laced, insanely annoying Rachel. This character, from her wardrobe, hair and makeup, to her attitude, can really camouflage how incredibly attractive Michelle is in real life. Obviously, if you read celebrity magazines or look at her photoshoots, you won’t be surprised to learn that when she’s not dressing like a high school nerd, Michelle is hot, like mind-blowingly hot. Michelle has what you might call, untraditional looks, which makes her more interesting and more exotic, too. When she puts on that sexy seductress look, Michelle puts herself in that upper echelon of celebrity hotness, at least in our books she is.
12. Judy Greer
For whatever reason, maybe it’s her voice or maybe her somewhat-mousy features, actress Judy Greer always plays the crazy character, the weird friend or some variation of that. We will admit, she’s not your classically beautiful actress. That being said, she really is good looking. Greer is a perfect example to show us just how spoiled we are with good looks in Hollywood. On her own, Greer is hot. If you met her in everyday life, you would be taken aback by her beauty. Yet, when you put her on screen next to a supermodel actress, give her an unflattering hairstyle and make her act a little crazy, she looks like an untrained ferret. Greer has sharp features, which we’ve been programmed to pick apart, but it’s asinine. This is a 41-year old woman who win your local beauty pageant any day of the week, and we’ve been considering her the ugly friend. It’s time to smarten up.
11. Dascha Polanco
It can be difficult for any of the women on Orange is the New Black to stand out and look sexy in those terrible jumpsuits, but, even still, the character Dayanara Diaz (Dascha Polanco) manages to make an impression with her looks from time to time. But it’s only when she’s on the red carpet and when she’s out and about in real life that you realize how attractive Polanco really is. Now, we’re not saying that Polanco needs makeup to look beautiful, but a little can’t hurt. In prison, she’s washed out, tired looking, her hair is awful, and she’s bland. In real life, Polanco is a fashionista. She’s funky, stylish and very interesting. She’s everything that Daya isn’t.
10. America Ferrera
This one’s been beaten to death, but we felt it was necessary to include Ugly Betty herself in this list. By now, we probably all know that America Ferrera, the actress who stars in Ugly Betty, is not actually ugly. If nothing else, that show illustrates what braces, ugly glasses, a bad fashion sense, unkempt eyebrows and sickening bangs can do to a woman’s looks. The point of the show was to dull Ferrera’s natural beauty and they did so with flying colors. Now, if you’ve watched any of Superstore, Ferrara’s new show, you would see a character who is much closer in looks to what she is in real life, still not as attractive, but closer. Again, by now everyone knows this one, but this is just a reminder of how this stuff works.
9. Danai Gurira
Like many of the actors on The Walking Dead, Danai Gurira, the actress who plays Michonne, spends most of her time dirty, tired and bloody on camera. Even still, Michonne is attractive, no amount of filth can hide that, but did you know exactly how attractive she is? When she’s not in character, Gurira gets to smile and laugh and show off the brightness in her features, whereas Michonne is always scowling and angry. Michonne is threatening too. Sometimes that kind of power can be incredibly sexy, but it can also be a tad scary; for Michonne, it’s definitely a bit more of column B than A. As soon as she sheds her Michonne skin, she shines. It’s impossible to overlook.
8. Kate McKinnon
Kate McKinnon is a goofball best known for being a cast member on Saturday Night Live or from the new Ghostbusters. Perhaps it’s because her characters on SNL are always playing up the ugly or maybe it’s the type of comedy or maybe it’s because she doesn’t often flaunt her looks, but McKinnon is never thought of as good-looking, but she is. She really is. She scrunches her face up in laughter and she’s always laughing, which hides a lot of her beauty, even though its cute as hell. She also prefers to go out with subdued makeup and she makes silly faces a lot when the camera is on her, probably because she’s a little awkward, but none of this can hide how beautiful she is. These are just some of the likely reasons why she’s so rarely seen in photographs that show off her looks, but, when she does take those glam shots, shots that we can use to judge her against other hot celebs, McKinnon looks incredible.
7. Ellie Kemper
Like several of the women on this list, actress Ellie Kemper (The Office and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) spends so much acting and looking silly that we tend to forget or never recognize that she’s actually gorgeous. It’s strange because, in real life, humor is something that many people are attracted to, but people have such a hard time seeing past Kemper’s naïve or just plain dumb characters to really see her. We see glimpses of sexiness every once in a while from her on-screen, but mostly she puts on a big blank stare, wears unflattering colors or clothes and almost never gets done up. Still, we compare her to other celebs when they’re done up and looking glamorous. Take a look at Kemper when she’s glammed up. She’s magnificent.
6. Jane Levy
This is probably the last time that Jane Levy will be able to be put on a list like this because she’s not going to remain a secret for much longer. It’s actually crazy that people still don’t know her, let alone recognize her. Levy is best known for playing Tessa on Surburgatory and her roles in The Evil Dead (2013) and Don’t Breathe, Shameless and Monster Trucks. She hasn’t really had a role yet that uses her as a sex symbol, though that could be debated. What we mean is that Levy is much hotter than her roles imply. Especially on film, she’s been cast in two major thriller/horror roles where she was dirty and crying and gross for much of the role. They were both great roles for her, so it’s not a bad thing, but it has led to Levy flying under the radar in terms of her looks, a testament to her acting ability as well. But this is about looks and Levy is much hotter than you think.
5. Nathalie Emmanuel
No one is saying that Nathalie Emmanuel as Missandei in Game of Thrones isn’t hot. Of course she is. She was also hot as Ramsey in Furious 7, but have you seen this woman in fashion shoots or on the red carpet? It’s unbelievable. She’s unbelievable. We’re warning you. If you start looking at photos of Emmanuel, you might never stop. She’s jaw-dropping. It must take an entire team to camouflage Emmanuel enough on screen to ensure that she doesn’t steal the show from the main stars. You can’t have a side character captivate an audience, so they wash her out and knock her down a few pegs. This list is no real order, but, if it was from coldest to hottest, Emmanuel would be number one. No question about it.
4. Tatiana Maslany
If you’ve ever watched Orphan Black, you’ll know that the star, Tatiana Maslany, is gorgeous, but with all the costume changes and different looks, all of the extremes of one sort or another, we can forget or ignore who the real Maslany is. Well, the real Maslany is hot. For the most part, Maslany seems to prefer the natural look and that works well for her, really well. In the show, especially the last couple of seasons, none of different versions of Maslany get to show off how beautiful she really is. Yeah, it’s easy to see through the costumes and see that she’s attractive, but it’s impossible to see the full extent of it.
3. Evan Rachel Wood
Evan Rachel Wood has been around for a long time, but it’s no secret that Westworld has brought this beauty back into focus. Even still, Wood’s character, Dolores, is your typical plain Jane heroin, little to no makeup, sweet and innocent, no flare. There’s nothing wrong with this and there’s a natural attraction to it, obviously; it’s the girl next door. But maybe you’ve forgotten who Wood is. This is the fiery redhead who was married to Marilyn Manson. Yeah, things have calmed down in her life, but Wood is not the sweet and innocent little girl the show played her as. She’s a knockout, a firecracker. She’s a smoking hot woman who can be dressed up as the sweet little princess, but don’t forget the blazing embers underneath it all.
2. Rose McIver
Since Rose McIver is only really known for playing Liv in iZombie, we tend to see her only as a pale, sunken zombie. Even in that role, McIver is hot, but she’s never given the chance to show off what she really looks like. We see glimpses of her from her previous life, which teases us a bit, but even those shots are only the tip of the iceberg. McIver is a wonder to behold. She’s got the whole sweet thing going on, but there’s a significant amount of sex appeal there, too. When she wants to, McIver can really pull out the sexiness. Really, when you think about it, she’s kind of perfect. Easily the best looking zombie in the history of zombies too, so that’s got to count for something.
1. Sonequa Martin-Green
Another actress from The Walking Dead makes the list, but you shouldn’t look so surprised. As we mentioned before, this show makes all of its characters look pretty nasty. Half of the time, they have gobs of dirt on their faces and the other half, they’re making the ugliest of faces while ripping a walker’s face off. It’s never flattering. Having said that, nothing can really mask how hot Sonequa Martin-Green is, the actress who plays Sasha Williams. We’re in the middle of Martin-Green’s breakout, so expect to see and hear a lot more from her, which is a great thing because we can all agree that this woman is super hot.