Frankly, the best of us go through an ugly duckling phase. Mostly it’s when we hit puberty. The boobs pop out on lanky bodies, the mustaches start to grow on baby smooth chins and acne becomes your very personal face napalm.
For some, it’s the teeth-falling phase of childhood – bloody gums and chins apart – the teeth fall as they please, and not a straight pearly white among them. For others, it's the oh-my-gawd-look-at-the-scale weight phase – and this can swing both ways literally. Lose too much weight and the world waves a bulimic/anorexic blame finger at you. Gain too much and you’re fat, and your life is over till those pounds go away.
It’s easy to get bogged down when you look at the Hollywood Gods and Goddesses around and feel ugly compared to their perfection. But remember, these celebs, larger than life as they may seem to be, are as human, fallible, and mortal as you and I. Believe it or not, they too have gone through their own "ugly duckling" phase. So many of these gorgeous celebs were once fat, buck-toothed, acne-prone, or just plain ol’ geeky. If you could go back in time and ask these celebs when they were nobodies if they ever thought they could become icons, they'd probably laugh in your face.
But years later, these very ugly ducklings now rule Hollywood and have featured in many best-looking lists in publications across the globe. Today we consider them to be the most beautiful of women and men but trust us, once upon a time the mirror was no great friend of theirs! So here go 15 gorgeous celebs that were once ugly ducklings and have since bloomed into the objects of our affection and attention!
15 Julia Roberts: From A Bespectacled Girl To A Smile That Lights Up A Room
Without a doubt, Julia Roberts has to have the warmest and widest smile this side of the human world. She has proved her worth as an actress over and over again in various movies, such as the successful Pretty Woman, the toned-down Erin Brockovich, or even the more recent Eat Pray Love!
But seriously, that smile could launch a thousand ships and all those clichés. And believe it or not, she has been named People magazine's "World's Most Beautiful Woman" an astounding five times. After winning many awards, being one of the highest paid actresses of the 90s well into the 2000s, Julia Roberts has come a long way from the little girl that she was. Gap-toothed, bespectacled, and with dreams of becoming a veterinarian, this daughter of actors and playwrights bloomed into a stunning beauty and acting came as naturally to her as her 1000-watt smile!
14 George Clooney: With A Paralyzed Face, Clooney Was Once The Class Clown
So for a hunk as hunky as George Clooney, his childhood so wasn’t. Hunky dory we mean. When Clooney was in his rather geeky awkward phase (seriously, what’s with that haircut?) in middle school, he developed Bell's palsy, a condition that partially paralyzes the face. Yep, that did not add to his popularity at all. While the condition was cured in about a year, Clooney later remarked in an interview with Larry King, “It was the first year of high school, which was a bad time for having half your face paralyzed. To cope up, I engaged in a series of making fun of myself. And I think that's an important part of being famous. The practical jokes have to be aimed at you.”
The disease and the various odd jobs he did before acting (including selling women’s lingerie and cutting tobacco) did not stop him from chasing his dream. With that face, voice, and acting skills, it wasn’t long before Clooney began to make women weak in the knees all around the world.
13 Demi Moore: A Broken Home, A Cross-Eyed Girl & Some Starry Eyed Dreams
Demi Moore went “under the knife” at a more tender age than most divas – but this was not cosmetic surgery to enhance lips or boobs. Demi was cross eyed and underwent corrective surgery to repair the kink in her eyes. And her childhood was far from happy. Born to a mother whose husband (Demi’s biological father) left her after just two months of wedded bliss, Demi was raised by her stepfather. Once this marriage ended, her stepfather committed suicide while her mother has had a long record of drugs, criminal activity, rehab, and even arson!
Through all this and a kidney dysfunction, Demi Moore aka Demi Gene Guynes, got up and decided to make something of herself. A marriage to Freddy Moore and a Oui magazine cover later, Demi started to land her first roles. Her top grossing movie to date has been Ghost though she is most known for Striptease. Her relationships and breakdowns aside, she still remains a forever diva.
12 Ben Affleck: Was Actually Written Off As A Geek By Michael Bay
He may have been a child actor in the PBS series Voyage of the Mimi, but when he auditioned for a lead man role for Armageddon, he was actually rejected by the director Michael Bay. Since this was before the release of Good Will Hunting, Michael Bay wrote him off as a geek but producer Jerry Bruckheimer saw the star quality behind this ill-dressed man. And so he landed the role of astronaut A.J. Frost, after he lost weight, got a tan, and had to have his teeth capped – all part of Michael Bay’s casting deal.
Ben Affleck came onto the screen with an undeniable screen presence and what people dubbed as a Paul Newmanish charm! And he had given us plenty of hits as well as misses in the past but despite Nannygate, his relationships going bust, and his drinking problems, Ben Affleck’s smile can woo just about anybody on this earth.
11 Christina Aguilera: Ugly Duckling & Beautiful Swan, Again & Again
No one has managed to change their image so many times as Christina Aguilera, who as a child was dubbed the little girl with the big voice. After a stint on The Mickey Mouse Club as a child, Aguilera went on to become a singer. As a child and then as a budding teen idol, she was told that thin was in and she stuck to being thin to the point of looking sick and weak without makeup. After her bubblegum pop-entertainer look, Christina introduced her black-hair sporting alter-ego Xtina where she went far more risqué than before – and while some loved it, others hated this trashy look of hers.
Perhaps she looked best when she yet again reinvented herself as a more mature singer and began to look like a 70s pinup girl with Monroe-like curls, red lips and a voluptuous body. Her weight later ballooned, though she dismissed all the disses with “I like the way I look” before she lost it and began to look like her curvy self again.
10 Ashton Kutcher: The Teen Who Once Thought About Suicide, To Save His Brother's Life
For a man who has a rather joyful smile and an infectious laugh, Ashton Kutcher’s childhood was anything but full of joy. Born as a pair of fraternal twins, Ashton’s brother Michael was brought into the world with a weak heart and cerebral palsy; he was in and out of hospitals and clinics most of their young lives. Ashton recalls, “I would not want to go home most days, dreading the further bad news we might get about Michael.” When he was a geeky, gangly and awkward 13-year-old, Ashton even contemplated suicide thinking that if he did so, his heart might save his brother’s life who was waiting for a transplant. Luckily he talked to his dad about it, who talked him out of it – especially since they had been informed that Michael was getting a heart!
From doing movies to his own shows on MTV, and being married to cougar Demi Moore and then to his former co-star and current hottie Mila Kunis (with whom he now has two children) – Ashton has been described as a hunky young actor, heading in all different directions at once!
9 Elle Macpherson: From Miss Too Tall And Towering To The Body
Known for now and forever as The Body for her record five cover appearances in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues, Elle Macpherson is a not just a model but a businesswoman, television host, and actress.
As successful as she is in her business life, her personal life reads out like a string of failed marriages and affairs – perhaps men aren’t used to strong (and tall) women like her. Her childhood and teens were no better, too tall to be a child and not yet a woman, Elle was often teased for her height and growing up, she didn’t feel beautiful at all. She recalls, “I never looked at myself and thought that I was a swan. All I could see was an ugly duckling. I thought I looked pretty shabby half the time and think it is amazing I’ve been able to convince so many people I am not. I can’t explain how that all happened. It is something I just don’t think about. I was modeling at 18, earning all this money, thinking: ‘I don’t deserve this’!"
8 Bruce Willis: A Boy Who Took To The Stage To Overcome His Stuttering
So Bruce Willis was born in Germany to an American soldier father and a German mother and after the war, his father brought the family back to America. The family basically came from a long line of blue collar workers – humble beginnings for Bruce (Almighty?), with his mother who worked in a bank and his father a welder, master mechanic, and factory worker.
As a young boy, he looked like a far cry from the dashing and masculine man he later became. It sounds rather unbelievable but Bruce actually had a stuttering problem when he was young and was nicknamed "Buck-Buck" by his schoolmates. He took to stage performances in order to overcome this issue – which was, all things considered, rather brave of him. Before Bruce Willis became the well-known actor, he worked at a number of menial jobs including being a security guard at a power plant and even a private investigator.
7 Jennifer Garner: From A Simple No Makeup Background To A Ravishing Star
For a woman this accomplished as an actress, with such a wide variety of roles behind her which she gracefully managed with a marriage, three children and then a rather well-scrutinized divorce, it’s surprising to know that she’s from a simple, non-Hollywood background.
A typical middle child, Garner wanted to stand out from her academically accomplished older sister. The family was simple, non-political but very conservative. As a teenager, Jennifer Garner was never allowed to color her hair, pierce her ears, wear makeup, or even apply nail polish. She actually calls her upbringing almost Amish. She’s so insanely cute in her kid pic that she’s almost the epitome of the ugly duckling. She’s done plenty movies where, as critics have dubbed her, she's been “perfectly nice” but her role in Juno, as a woman desperate to adopt a child, was lauded by many as a turning point in her career. "She came into the movie a steely figure, and left it as the mother you'd give your own child to...”
6 Brad Pitt: From A Little Dreamer To Too Darn Good Looking
Another meteoric rise to fame story, Brad Pitt was born and raised in Springfield, Missouri – what he describes as Mark Twain or Jesse James country with many hills and many lakes – to a school counselor mother and a trucker father. He was raised conservative but Brad’s one and only love were the movies and so he went to chase his dream – doing odd jobs to make ends meet, and having nothing but a reasonably pleasant face and a mop of silky hair as credentials.
Today, Pitt has been cited as one of the most influential and powerful people in the American entertainment industry, he has been named, many times, the world’s most attractive man by many different media publications, globally. From his marriage to Hollywood’s darling Jennifer Aniston to diva Angelina Jolie, he has taken a few hits, no doubt. But Pitt is down but never out – not with that dashing mug of his.
5 Jennifer Lopez: From Miss Goody Two Shoes To Being A "Famous Movie Star"
No one can really, truly equate the gorgeous, barely-dressed diva we see on stage today with this little girl in braided pigtails. Jennifer Lopez was born and brought up in The Bronx, to a Puerto Rican family who believed in providing their children with a simple upbringing but an excellent education. Lopez began taking singing and dancing lessons when she was just five and even toured New York with her school when she was just seven! Her parents wanted her and her two sisters to be able to speak English fluently and to know the true meaning of hard work and ethics. To make the girls stay out of trouble and in school, they encouraged their daughters to put on performances at home for each other, singing and dancing in front of their friends so that they would stay “out of trouble.”
She even did a movie in high school and loved filming it so much that she decided to become a “famous movie star.”Her parents were shocked and told her that “no Latinos did that!” So JLo simply moved out and now the rest is history!
4 Zac Efron: From Geeky & Studious Class Clown To A Sizzling Hunk
He was adorably chubby with his apple cheeks and those baby blue peepers and that mop of wild hair. But somewhere between his childhood and his really, hot adulthood, he did get a bit, well, geeky. And yes, that is really a young, slightly zonked out Zac Efron on the right.
Efron was rather studious it seems and he has admitted that getting a B instead of an A would really make him flip out, and that very often he’d act out as the class clown. His father started to encourage him to act when he was eleven and so he began to work in school theater productions and began to take singing lessons as well. His talent was obvious, so his drama teacher recommended him to an agent in Los Angeles and the rest, as they say, is history. To see the best of him, just relive Rita Ora ripping his shirt off!
3 Beyoncé: From Everything Is So Delicious To Bootylicious
In 2013, Beyoncé made the Time 100 list, and Baz Luhrmann had this to say about her: “No one has that voice, no one moves the way she moves, and no one can hold an audience the way she does... When Beyoncé does an album, when Beyoncé sings a song, when Beyoncé does anything, it's an event, and it's broadly influential. Right now, she is the heir-apparent diva of the USA — the reigning national voice!” That’s quite a tribute and perhaps all true.
But Beyoncé’s bootilicious-ness wasn’t always apparent. As a child, Beyoncé was a cute, plump-cheeked and plump-bodied little girl who had to be laid down flat on the floor with four people pressing on her tummy – in a bid to zip up her jeans. And these are Beyoncé’s words, not ours! Now she’s a diva supreme with those dangerous curves and signature moves, she knows how to hold an audience’s attention with that gorgeous voice and amazingly sexy body!
2 Dwayne Johnson: From Curly-Headed Cutie To The Rock To Dwayne Johnson The Movie Star
To say that wrestling was in Dwayne Johnson’s blood would be an understatement. His father, Rocky Johnson, and his grandparents before him basically built the Polynesian Pacific Pro Wrestling legacy. The family also has close “blood” ties to the legendary Anoaʻi family with many accomplished wrestlers. Despite his father’s success in the ring, the family’s financial situation was precarious and that gave Dwayne a bad attitude and a penchant for dabbling in thefts.
With a really bad mustache and hair that went from cherubic curls to an Afro, his football career never took off. And so wrestling it was. His rise from Rock Daivia to The Rock was simply fabulous. And from there, his movie career took off. From his half-naked warrior, Scorpion King to the multi-million dollar grossing The Fast & The Furious franchise, his rise was nothing short of meteoric!
1 Taylor Swift: From Little Country Music Lover To Worldwide Sensation
Like her, hate her, troll her, or diss her – there’s something undeniable about Taylor Swift that ensures you cannot ignore her. Her love for country music was so intense that at school Taylor was often bullied and ignored and she ended up having little to no friends. An exuberant girl by nature, she was pretty as a child in a geeky sort of way but loved and believed in her music so much. When she was 11, Taylor and her mum went to Nashville and she knocked on producers’ door telling them “Hi, I’m Taylor, and you should listen to me sing ‘Call Me’!” But nothing came from it. So she went back, learned to play the guitar, and to come to everyone’s attention, starting singing the national anthem at public events in hopes of getting noticed. With a voice like that, noticed she was. And with the grooming in place, her transformation from a wholesome farm girl to a diva was complete!
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