Celebrities rarely look like the characters they portray on television or who they pretend to be in the media. Whether it’s the clothes they choose to wear privately, how they style their hair, or if they start shaving for a role — it’s hard to determine what celebrities actually look like. Unless you see them without any makeup on, you’ll never know for certain just how attractive or unattractive celebrities actually are.
For celebrities, being recognized is their star power. It doesn’t matter how talented or critically acclaimed actors are if nobody knows who they are. Even for actors like Daniel Day-Lewis or Christian Bale, who undergo extreme transformations for their latest roles, they never change so much that we can’t recognize their face. Some of the celebrities on this list are what you would call one-hit wonders. After they landed a role that was rather iconic, they struggled to capitalize on their fame because they looked nothing like their character. Other celebrities on this list are household names, but when you take away a part of their iconic look, they look like a completely different person. These are 15 celebrities who look nothing like you think they do.
15. Uzo Aduba — Suzanne Warren
Uzo Aduba has stolen Orange is the New Black from a number of the other actresses. Originally, her role as Suzanne ‘Crazy Eyes’ Warren was meant to be a minor role on the show. She was originally awarded an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series, but as Orange is the New Black went on, producers decided to give Aduba a main role on the show. She was awarded a second Emmy, this time for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. She’s only one of two actors to win an Emmy Award in both comedy and drama categories for the same role.
When Aduba heard about Orange is the New Black, she originally auditioned for another role. According to the casting director, Aduba wore her hair in her famous ‘Crazy Eyes’ knots. After seeing her audition, performers felt that she would be a better fit for the character of Suzanne Warren. Outside of Orange is the New Black, Aduba hasn’t had much of a career. We’ll see if that changes.
14. Naomi Grossman — Pepper
When Naomi Grossman started out in the entertainment industry, her career was filled with promise. When she first started out in Los Angeles, Grossman became a member of the comedy troupe The Groundlings. Some notable comedians who were once members of The Groundlings include Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig, Jimmy Fallon, and Melissa McCarthy. Grossman originally had the ultimate goal of performing on Saturday Night Live, but for an unknown reason, she was removed from The Groundlings.
With her acting career in the gutter, Grossman gave up on her acting career and started teaching Spanish. She auditioned for the second season of American Horror Story without realizing what role she was auditioning for. Luckily, she was offered the role of Pepper in the second season and was asked to reprise her role in the fourth season. Grossman doesn’t look anything like Pepper in real life, which is probably why her career will end up in the gutter in a few years time.
13. Emilia Clarke — Daenerys Targaryen
Emilia Clarke is best known for her role as Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones. Because people only associate her with this one role, Emilia Clarke could probably walk around the street without anyone recognizing who she is. After all, Daenerys Targaryen has hair so blonde that it’s practically white whereas Emilia Clarke has hair an average shade of brown. Additionally, the makeup that Clarke wears for television would make her pretty much unrecognizable to even the biggest fan of Game of Thrones.
Before appearing on the hit HBO show, Clarke starred in a film called Triassic Attack. Despite the movie being a little cheezy, Clarke was named one of the United Kingdom ‘stars of tomorrow’ by Screen International for her role in the movie. They were right, too. Clarke has been nominated for three Emmys for her role on Game of Thrones and was labeled the sexiest women alive in 2015 by Esquire.
12. Charlie Chaplin — “The Tramp”
Charlie Chaplin is considered one of the most important figures in the film industry. Despite coming from a poor family and being forced to the workhouse as a young boy, Chaplin rose to stardom during the era of silent films. His acting career lasted a total of 77 years, with his latest performance taking place just a year before his death. While we all think of Chaplin as having a bowler hat and a mustache that resembles that of a German dictator, that wasn’t actually what he looked like.
The look that we all associate with Chaplin is actually a character invented by Chaplin, called ‘The Tramp.’ It’s definitely his most famous character, but it only loosely resembled what Chaplin looked like. In real life, Chaplin styled his hair differently and dressed a lot more fashionably than The Tramp, and he didn’t even have a mustache. It wasn’t a real mustache — he just taped it on!
11. Sophie McShera — Daisy Mason
Sophie McShera was thrown into the British spotlight when she appeared in Downton Abbey. The show definitely didn’t appeal to everyone, but for those that found the drama in an upper-class Yorkshire estate captivating, Downton Abbey was amazing. It had a niche audience and struck a chord with both critics and those who gave the show an opportunity to grow.
McShera played Daisy Robinson (later Daisy Mason), a kitchen maid in the estate. With her hair underneath a bonnet and authentic clothing for that time period, McShera is almost unrecognizable. Only a team of talented costume designers and make-up artists could conceal McShera’s natural beauty. Since leaving Downton Abbey, McShera has managed to find steady work in UK television. Recently, she’s worked on Inside No. 9 and Galavant. Hopefully, McShera isn’t one of those one-hit wonder actresses. I would hate to see such talent go to waste.
10. Michael Dorn — Worf
Michael Dorn is one of those one-hit wonders whom everyone is at least familiar with what his character looks like. Whether or not you’re a fan of Star Trek, everyone with any sort of pop-culture knowledge has seen Worf. The character is a Klingon in the world of Star Trek, and Dorn wore prosthetics that made him pretty much unrecognizable. The entire top half of his head is messed up.
Dorn is one of the Star Trek greats. He made his first appearance in Star Trek: The Next Generation and made his last appearance in Star Trek Nemesis. Over his Star Trek career, Dorn acted in five movies and 272 television episodes. After leaving one of the most popular franchises on the planet, Dorn had a number of roles in independent films, such as Shadow Hours and Lessons for an Assassin. When he’s not making comic con appearances, Dorn flies his very own Lockheed T-33 trainer jet, which he refers to as his spaceship.
9. Taryn Manning — Tiffany Pennsatucky
Taryn Manning has made somewhat of a name for herself as ‘that crazy girl’ in movies. She made her debut in the movie Crazy/Beautiful (2001) before starring opposite Britney Spears in Crossroads the following year. You may recognize Manning from 8 Mile, White Oleander, and Hustle & Flow. Additionally, Manning had a recurring role on Sons of Anarchy and a main role on Hawaii Five-O.
As you can tell, the roles Manning usually lands involve her looking far from classy. Her most famous role has been in Orange in the New Black as Tiffany ‘Pennsatucky’ Doggett. In the first season of the show, Manning had to wear prosthetics to make it look like she had rotten teeth. It was a minor change to her appearance, but it definitely impacted her overall look. Watching Manning in Orange is the New Black and watching her walk the red carpet is like night and day. She’s a lot less trashy in real life, or so we think. She does have a history of abusing her personal assistant, though.
8. Nick Offerman Without Facial Hair
Nick Offerman broke into mainstream media when he played Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation. Offerman’s real-world personality is similar to Ron Swanson’s, and it almost feels like he’s always in character when he does interviews. If he really is as macho as he wants us to believe he is, Offerman would be one of the manliest guys in Hollywood. And like any overly masculine man, Offerman has rocked facial hair for most of his career. It’s like his signature look. Without his facial hair, he looks a lot less manly and a lot younger.
As Parks and Recreation came to an end, Offerman started taking on a number of roles that were similar to Ron Swanson. Offerman had roles in The Lego Movie, We’re The Millers, Ice Age, The Founder, and most recently, Infinity Baby. To clear up any doubt that Offerman is putting on a macho facade — he makes furniture and other wooden structures in his woodshop as a hobby. He’s written a book about woodworking that included several project tutorials and regularly tries to spread his knowledge of woodworking in interviews.
7. Rebecca Romijn — Mystique
When X-Men was released in 2000, none of us realized how many movies were going to follow. Here we are, nearly 18 years later, and the X-Men movie franchise is still going strong. Albeit, some of the original actors and actresses have been replaced, the new generation of actors have done a decent job of making each role their own. Jennifer Lawrence plays this generation’s Mystique, but she doesn’t hold a candle to Rebecca Romijn‘s Mystique. Romijn’s Mystique was more of a side character in X-Men, whereas Lawrence’s is a main character. But, I think that Romijn’s makeup is a hundred times better than the makeup worn by Lawrence. The reason I say this is because you can tell that Jennifer Lawrence is playing Mystique, but Romijn looks completely different.
Originally a supermodel, Mystique was Romijn’s first movie role. She was completely nude in the movie, except for a few pieces of prosthetic to cover up body parts too crude for the big screen. Outside of acting, Romijn appeared in Cosmopolitan, Allure, Glamour, GQ, and Esquire and appeared in advertising campaigns for companies like Maybelline, Victoria’s Secret, and Tommy Hilfiger.
6. Conleth Hill — Varys
Conleth Hill is a Northern Irish actor who built his career as an actor on stage productions in the United Kingdom. He received two Tony Award nominations and won a Laurence Olivier Award for best actor. It’s a bit odd that an actor as successful as Conleth Hill would make the switch to television, but we’re glad he did it. He absolutely kills his role as Varys on Game of Thrones.
Since Varys is completely bald, I was surprised to discover that Conleth Hill has a thick head of hair. He only shaves his hair off during the filming of Game of Thrones. Surely, he could’ve been fitted with a bald cap, but I guess he wants to look as authentic as possible. Hill is currently unmarried, and his role as a bald guy in Game of Thrones probably isn’t helping too much. Maybe, if he was cast as a Stark, he would’ve had a little more luck with the ladies.
5. America Ferrera — Ugly Betty
Ugly Betty popped up out of nowhere and went away just as quickly. For the four years that the show ran, anyone watching network television couldn’t escape the show’s advertisements. The show starred America Ferrera, who, through the show, became the first Latin woman to win an Emmy award in the Outstanding Lead Actress category. Under her fake braces, bushy eyebrows, wig, and unflattering clothing, Ferrera’s real appearance was practically hidden.
Outside of Ugly Betty, Ferrera starred in The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants and End of Watch and voiced Astrid Hofferson in How to Train Your Dragon. She’s currently starring and co-producing the comedy series Superstore, which, although hilarious, is struggling to find an audience. It will probably have the same fate as Ugly Betty — funny but failed.
4. Johnny Galecki — Leonard Hofstadter
Johnny Galecki, who most of us know as Leonard Hofstadter, has made nothing short of a small fortune acting in America’s favorite sitcom, The Big Bang Theory. Galecki, who was originally offered the role of Sheldon Cooper, makes approximately $1 million per episode. That’s the same pay the main cast of Friends received during the later seasons of the show.
Galecki, who’s originally from Belgium, had a relatively small career before The Big Bang Theory. He was mostly known for playing David Healy on the sitcom Roseanne. Additionally, Galecki appeared in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Bookies, and In Time. When he’s not filming, Galecki only loosely resembles Leonard. He could probably get away with walking around the streets of Los Angeles without anyone realizing who he is.
3. Tom Mison — Ichabod Crane
Before being cast as Ichabod Crane on the Fox series Sleepy Hollow, Tom Mison had a number of supporting roles under his belt. These roles were in British theater, television, radio productions, and a few independent films. Without a doubt, Sleepy Hollow was Mison’s first major role, and it should’ve been the start of a long acting career. The show was pretty successful, too, running for four seasons and 62 episodes. So, what went wrong?
Tom Mison doesn’t really look like Ichabod Crane — people won’t recognize him unless he has facial hair. Without a gristly beard and a man bun, Mison doesn’t have distinct-enough features that would make someone realize who he is. That’s just the risk you take when you appear in a period drama. Then again, Tom Hardy usually has most of his face covered in movies, and people still manage to recognize him on the street. I guess Mison just has a forgettable face!
2. Thesy Surface — Margaret McPoyle
Thesy Surface is one of many beautiful women cast as a hideous character, only, hers is in a niche sitcom that doesn’t have a mainstream audience. Surface plays a rarely recurring character named “Margaret McPoyle” on the sitcom It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. Surface’s natural beauty is hidden by McPoyle’s unibrow, greasy hair, and what appears to be an uncomfortable amount of upper-lip hair. When Surface originally wanted to audition for the role, she thought that she had no chance of getting cast because she was too attractive.
Other than her brief appearances in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Surface hasn’t had much of a career. She’s found minor roles here and there, but she’s currently focusing on pitching her own television pilot. Her show, titled Revivals, revolves around a young record executive who tries to resurrect the careers of one-hit wonders. Only time will tell if she can bring her pilot to life, but maybe, someone from the cast of Always Sunny can help her out.
1. Madonna — Madonna no Makeup
Madonna is universally referred to as “The Queen of Pop.” She helped pave the way for music videos in the early years of MTV and is the main reason why there’s so much sexual imagery in pop music today. For better or worse, Madonna was one of the main influences for today’s pop stars. And, with over 300 million album sales worldwide, she’s recognized as the world’s best-selling female recording artist of all time. Despite the fact that everyone knows Madonna, nobody really knows what she actually looks like.
At 60 years old, Madonna has more likely than not undergone more plastic surgery than your average celebrity. There are barely any wrinkles on her face. Additionally, whenever she appears in public, Madonna usually has a thick layer of makeup on her face. It isn’t until you see a photo of Madonna without her makeup that you realize that the world’s most famous pop star isn’t as immortal as she likes to pretend. How is she still touring?
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