Not every celebrity was born gorgeous. If Kylie Jenner has taught insecure teenagers anything, it’s that money can make you beautiful. While some celebrities resort to paying absurd amounts of money to make themselves sexy, others are naturally beautiful. Oftentimes, the people who are attractive as adults looked awkward or dorky as children and teenagers. This phenomenon is called “ugly duckling syndrome” in honor of the children’s story.
While some of these celebrities have always been hot, they haven’t always known how to pose in front of a camera. It doesn’t help that yearbook photographers are trying to take as many photos as possible in as short a time as possible. Many yearbook photographers only take one photo of each student, so you have to bring your A-game when posing. Unfortunately for these A-listers, they look a little awkward in their yearbook photos. For most people, these photos would fade into obscurity. For the celebrities, however, these photos have been immortalized. To celebrate the start of a new school year, here are 15 hot celebrities and their awkward yearbook photos.
15. Angelina Jolie
You might say that Jolie was destined for stardom. As the daughter of actors Jon Voight and Marcheline Bertrand, Jolie had a foot in the door when she was starting out. Learning how to act from her father, Jolie was able to improve her acting ability by observing people and then trying to act similarly to them.
Looking back on Jolie as a teenager, it’s easy to see how she was able to develop a career centered around her sex appeal. Jolie has frequently been cited as the world’s most beautiful woman, in addition to being listed as the sexiest woman alive by Esquire, FHM, and Empire.
Once Hollywood’s hottest actress, Angelina Jolie has been putting herself behind the camera rather than in front of it. Though she made a name for herself with her breathtaking looks and acting chops, Jolie has turned to working as a director and writer in recent years. Though the movies she’s directed have been met with mixed opinions from critics, everyone is excited about Jolie’s latest film, First They Killed My Father (2017), set to be released on Netflix on September 15, 2017.
14. Anne Hathaway
Anne Hathaway wasn’t always the superstar that she is today. She began acting as a teenager, performing in Carnegie Hall and landing a role in a short-lived series called Get Real (1999). It wasn’t until she starred in The Princess Diaries (2001) when she was 18 years old that she broke through into the movie industry. Her acting experience was limited, but Hathaway managed to find her footing in the Disney comedy film. Following the success of her first few films, Hathaway was able to transition her career into more adult roles that further led to her success.
Even though Hathaway starred in The Princess Diaries so soon after graduating, she looks like an entirely different person in her yearbook photo. You can definitely tell that it’s her, but she has somewhat of a Sandra Bullock look to her. She also looks like she was one of the crazy horse girls in high school.
Beyonce has been famous for what seems like forever. Becoming a pop icon as a teenager, Beyonce developed somewhat of a cult following as one of the singers in Destiny’s Child. Unlike the other members of the pop group, Beyonce managed to propel her career to unprecedented heights after Destiny’s Child disbanded. Today, Beyonce has sold over 100 million records as a solo artist, making her one of the best-selling musicians in history. She’s won more awards than anyone can keep track of, with an astounding 22 Grammys over her career.
Due to her family’s history in the entertainment business, Beyonce didn’t have a normal childhood. Her parents sort of pigeonholed her into the entertainment business, and thankfully, it worked out for her. Still, it’s a shame that Beyonce began performing at the age of 7 and was hired to perform in a group called “Girl’s Tyme” at the age of 8. With the success that she’s had, it’s hard to say whether or not Beyonce wishes she had a normal childhood. Would you trade yours away to be as successful as Beyonce?
12. Channing Tatum
Channing Tatum has had an interesting career, to say the least. Dropping out of a state college despite having a football scholarship, Tatum resorted to working in a strip club under the name “Chan Crawford” to support himself. His experiences as Chan Crawford led to the creation of Magic Mike (2012). But before he became a household name, Tatum had to make a name for himself in the movie industry. He made his debut in the hit movie Coach Carter (2005) before starring as the romantic interest in a number of romantic comedies as well as the lead in cheap action movies. At some point, Tatum managed to completely rebrand himself and started landing roles in comedy movies such as 21 Jump Street (2012) as well as more serious films like The Hateful Eight (2015).
As a teenager, Tatum performed horribly in school due to his ADD and dyslexia. Similar to his character in 21 Jump Street, Tatum was a natural athlete in high school. He excelled at football, soccer, track, baseball, and martial arts.
11. Chris Pratt
Chris Pratt is the success story that keeps the dream alive for aspiring actors. Dropping out of community college during the first semester, Pratt worked as a discount ticket salesman and daytime stripper. At his worst, Pratt ended up homeless in Maui, Hawaii, sleeping in his van. Looking back on those times, Pratt has surprisingly fond memories. He once told an interviewer, “It’s a pretty awesome place to be homeless. We just drank and smoked weed and worked minimal hours, just enough to cover gas, food, and fishing supplies.” He was soon discovered by director and actress Rae Dawn Chong while he was working as a waiter at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. Had he not been working that night, Pratt, more than likely, would’ve never been as successful as he is today.
In school, Pratt was a dedicated wrestler. He was so talented that he came fifth in a high school state wrestling tournament. His wrestling coach once asked him what he planned to do with his life, to which Pratt responded by saying, “I don’t know, but I know I’ll be famous and I’ll make a s*** ton of money.”
10. Courtney Cox
Even though Courtney Cox has had a respectable television career, for most people, she’ll always be Monica Gellar from Friends. Since the critically acclaimed sitcom was taken off the air, Cox struggled to find steady work as an actress. It wasn’t until the show Cougar Town was picked up by ABC that she was able to somewhat distance herself from her role as Monica.
Not much is known about Cox’s life in high school. She had the grades to attend Mount Vernon College in Washington, D.C. for architecture but dropped out of her program. Instead of becoming an architect, Cox decided to pursue her passion — a career in modeling and acting. She definitely made the right choice. For the last two seasons of Friends, Cox was paid $1 million per episode for a total of 42 episodes. If she really wanted to, she could’ve retired with that kind of money, but we’re glad that she didn’t.
9. Emma Stone
According to Emma Stone, she used to suffer regular panic attacks as a kid, which affected her social skills. The only way that she was able to get rid of her panic attacks was by participating in plays at the local theater. It was at this theater that Stone developed her skills as an actress. She was so committed to becoming an actress that she dropped out of her all-girl Catholic high school after one semester to pursue her acting career.
As much as she wanted to be an actress, Stone was rejected for every Disney Channel show and every sitcom that she auditioned for. She was struggling to survive in Los Angeles and took a job at a dog-treat bakery while enrolled in online courses to get her high school degree. It wasn’t until 2007 (three years after moving to LA) that Stone was offered her first movie role, and it was a big one: Superbad (2007). From there, Stone starred in Zombieland (2009) and Easy A (2010) and went from a failed actress with a dream to Hollywood’s favorite red head.
8. George Clooney
George Clooney made his acting debut in 1978 when he was 17 years old but didn’t make a name for himself until he played Dr. Doug Ross on the medical drama ER. He became an instant Hollywood heartthrob and is widely thought of as the face of Hollywood. His career as an actor goes to show that hard work and dedication will eventually pay off for anyone hoping to make a name for himself.
During high school, Clooney loved to play baseball and basketball. He figured that he was a talented baseball player and tried out for the Cincinnati Reds in 1977. He didn’t make it past the first round of cuts and decided to attend Northern Kentucky University, majoring in broadcast journalism. He eventually dropped out, supporting himself by selling women’s shoes, offering insurance as a door-to-door salesman, stocking shelves, cutting tobacco, and working construction. It’s crazy how one one role can change a person’s life forever.
7. Katy Perry
From the moment Katy Perry released “I Kissed a Girl” in 2008, people knew that she was going to be a success. Her blatant use of her own sexuality catapulted her to the forefront of the pop industry and made her stand out from otherwise generic pop artists. Today, it seems that Katy Perry is trying to change her public persona in a similar way that Miley Cyrus did when she released Bangerz a few years ago.
When she was a teenager, Perry made the decision to drop out of high school to pursue a music career. She had been singing in her church choir her whole life, but it wasn’t until she was a teenager that Katy Perry originally pursued a career in gospel music. Her first album was a Christian music album titled Katy Hudson (2001) and was a commercial disaster despite receiving positive reviews from critics. She was dropped from her label and, somewhere along the way, completely sold herself to the music industry. She’s sold 100 million records and has an estimated net worth of $125 million, so I think she made the right move selling out.
6. Justin Bieber
It’s sort of cheating to include Bieber‘s middle school graduation photo because of how young he was when he became famous. When he was first discovered by Usher in 2008, he looked the same as he did in his graduation photo. He was the first YouTube celebrity turned pop sensation, and he had been posting videos before he hit puberty. Was he exploited by his mother for money and fame? Yeah, probably. But he seems OK with it now that he’s one of the most successful musicians of this century.
Before being discovered by Usher, Bieber enjoyed life as an amateur musician. He played the piano, drums, guitar, and trumpet and excelled in school. Roughly a year before being discovered, Bieber sang in a local competition in his hometown but placed only second. Can you imagine being the kid that beat Bieber in a singing contest only to have him become a teen heartthrob and household name? It would be like beating a young Michael Jordan in a game of pickup basketball.
5. Megan Fox
Megan Fox seems to polarize movie fans. While she’s been my celebrity crush since she first appeared in Transformers (2007), there have been reports of her acting rather unfavorably on movie sets. She butted heads with director Michael Bay constantly while filming the Transformers movies and was eventually booted from the franchise entirely. She was once Hollywood’s hottest celebrity, and her fame as everyone’s celebrity crush led to a number of websites being unable to go days without sharing photos of her. She was typecast in roles as an attractive bimbo, which were the types of roles that she wanted to avoid as an actress.
As a child, Fox had a tough childhood. She was bullied mercilessly through middle school. Regularly pelted with ketchup packets, Fox had to eat lunch in the bathroom to avoid the bullying. According to Fox, she was bullied because she had an aggressive personality and always got along better with the boys than other girls, which rubbed people the wrong way.
4. Natalie Portman
Making her debut in Leon: The Professional (1994), Natalie Portman rose to fame when she appeared as Padme Amidala in Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace. Despite the general disdain for the Star Wars prequels, Natalie Portman has been able to make a name for herself in Hollywood by taking on a number of artistic roles. Her most notable, perhaps, is when she starred in the film Black Swan (2010) for which she won an Academy Award for Best Actress.
Originally from Jerusalem, Portman moved to the United States when she was three years old. She claims that while she loves living in the States, her heart is in Jerusalem. In order to travel back and forth between the Jerusalem and the U.S, Portman was given dual citizenship.
As a teenager, Portman worked to find a balance between her acting career and an education. She missed out on attending the premiere of Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace so that she could study for her high school final exams. After graduating, Portman attended Harvard University. When asked why she chose to pursue her education, she said that she would rather be smart than a movie star!
3. Russell Brand
Russell Brand is everyone’s favorite foul-mouthed Brit. Starting as a stand-up comedian, Brand became an international success after appearing in Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008). The popularity of his character led to a spin-off film, titled Get Him To The Greek (2010). Throughout his career, Brand has been a controversial celebrity due to his sexual nature, former drug use, and outrageous behavior at awards ceremonies.
Originally from Essex, England, Brand was the victim of sexual abuse at a young age. His mother faced two different forms of cancer while Brand was growing up, causing him to have a very difficult childhood. When he was 14, he suffered from bulimia. At the age of 16, he left home and began smoking cannabis, amphetamines, and taking LSD and ecstasy.
Brand says that his relationship with his father was “strange” due to how rarely he saw him. When Brand saw his father, he would take him on strange adventures, such as a trip to Thailand to have sex with prostitutes while Brand was still a teenager!
2. Ryan Seacrest
Ryan Seacrest is best known for being the host of American Idol. It’s sort of been his entire career. While he does have work for other television shows (and numerous radio shows), Seacrest will always be a game-show host to everyone. There’s nothing wrong with being a one trick pony either. We estimate that his net worth is around $380 million, earning approximately $65 million per year.
Ryan Seacrest is not only proof that celebrities can catch breaks in the industry but he’s also proof of the “ugly duckling syndrome.” “Ugly duckling syndrome” is a term used for people who struggle through awkward teenage years only to come out looking gorgeous at the end of it all.
As a kid, Seacrest would walk around with a microphone and improvise talk shows with friends and family. When he was 16 years old, he was trained by radio and television host Tom Sullivan, who was so impressed with Seacrest’s ability on air that he offered him a gig hosting an overnight radio show. At 19, Seacrest dropped out of the University of Georgia to move to Hollywood and pursue a broadcasting career.
1. Zooey Deschanel
You either love her quirkiness or hate her for always seeming awkward. Like most actors and actresses, Zooey Deschanel has made a career filling a niche in Hollywood. Most of her roles revolve around her being some sort of hipster love interest, filled with quirks and fascinated with hobbies that nobody has ever heard of. Through a string of hit movies at the start of her career, Zooey Deschanel quickly became one of the most famous Hollywood actresses. Today, Deschanel stars in New Girl (2011) a Fox sitcom that pulls in millions of viewers every night.
Growing up in Los Angeles, Zooey Deschanel had to travel a lot with her father because of his work. He was a cinematographer and took his daughter Zooey with him on a number of films shot on location. At the time, Zooey Deschanel said that she hated being away from her friends but is thankful that she had the opportunity to experience a traveling lifestyle as a child.
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