20 Gorgeous Actresses Who Have Played Ugly Characters

There is a long history of producers hiring gorgeous people to play ugly parts instead of less attractive folks that would fit it much better.

Hollywood is a really strange place sometimes. Seemingly totally obsessed with hiring people that are extremely hot since they feel it will bring people into the theaters, most of the biggest stars are among the best-looking people out there. An industry that is also based on its ability to advertise that known entities are in their project, oftentimes, the notoriety of an actor is more important than how suited he/she is to the role in question. As a result of these two facts, there is a long history of producers hiring gorgeous people to play ugly parts instead of less attractive folks that would fit it much better. If you are an actor that doesn’t have movie star good looks and are looking for roles, this may be an outrage but we have to admit that it can be cool to see them alter the looks of a celebrity. Realizing all of this is what inspired us to put together this list of twenty memorably unattractive film characters played by attractive actors.

In order for a character to be up for consideration, he or she has to be obviously unattractive on the face of things. Whether that means they are made up to be monstrously grotesque or they are simply not appealing to the eye in more mundane ways, they may find themselves on this list. Next, that character needs to be played by an actor that is quite good-looking or is at least far more attractive than he/she seems on the screen. Finally, the only other requirement is that they were seen in a film of some sort.

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20 Nia Vardalos – My Big Fat Greek Wedding

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A movie that came out of nowhere and became a surprise sensation in 2002, My Big Fat Greek Wedding was a love letter to an underrepresented culture as well as being a wonderful romance story. Starring and written Nia Vardalos, by the end of the film, her character was a strong independent woman who knew who she is, had fallen in love, and grown confident in herself and her looks. However, when we were first introduced to the adult version of her character, she was a frumpy person who put little to no effort into her looks and you could tell. If someone was misguided enough to turn this movie off part way in, they would have missed out on a heartwarming tale of love and family, as well as seeing Nia for the beautiful person she truly is.

19 Drew Barrymore – Never Been Kissed

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A former child star that was able to buck the trend and remain a star into adulthood, Drew Barrymore struggled in her preteen and teen years but seems to be mostly well-adjusted today. Involved in many noteworthy films as a grown up, like Scream, The Wedding Singer, Donnie Darko, and the Charlie’s Angels movies, her place in Hollywood is well-documented. Someone who has been a part of several genres over the years, one of her most notable works is as part of romantic comedies, including the popular but silly high school film Never Been Kissed. Cast as someone who had never kissed anyone, hence the movie’s name, she was portrayed as hugely unpopular in her teen years. An exquisite person in real life, in order to make that believable, the producers of the movie made her look cartoonishly unattractive but it was effective in its own right.

18 Milla Jovovich - Zoolander

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A comedy that was a minor hit in the theaters but had a life of its own when it was released on home media, Zoolander became a cult classic comedy over the years. Largely remembered for starring Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Christine Taylor, and Will Ferrell, many people seem to forget that Milla Jovovich had a big part in the movie too. A former model herself, it made sense that she would be a part of the fashion-obsessed comedy in which she played the comically-named villainous character, Katinka Ingabogovinanana. Becoming a pretty big movie star in the years since this movie’s release, it is understandable that people don’t remember this role but surprising considering how interesting her look was. Dressed in all-black and over-the-top makeup most of the time in the movie, she was far less attractive in it than we are used to seeing her look like.

17 Salma Hayek – Frida

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Turned into an international star when she played Carolina in the movie Desperado, Salma Hayek has been around ever since and shows no signs of becoming less popular anytime soon. Often cast in roles that show off how incredible her looks are, like in From Dusk till Dawn, Fled, Bandidas, and Dogma, there are millions around the world that have the hots for her. Also a talented actor, to date, her most acclaimed performance by far came when she starred in the 2002 Academy Award and Golden Globe-nominated biopic, Frida. An artist with a memorable look that Salma faithfully brought to life, in her role as Frida Kahlo, she grew out her eyebrows, did up her hair, and dressed down to a large degree.

16 Sarah Hyland - Vampire Academy

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A film that followed in the footsteps of other movies that took obviously attractive persons and changed their look dramatically to make them look bad, Vampire Academy wasn’t the deepest film. Opting to dress Sarah Hyland in unbecoming clothes and style her hair in a way that made her look rather immature, it is silly since it was obvious that if she changed her style, she’d be as pretty as ever. Still, as much as it was clear that all she needed was a makeover, which she does receive as the film progresses for vampiric reasons, she does look far less attractive than we are used to seeing early on. For the life of us, we will never understand why they don’t cast someone a little bit less hot for roles like this, so it is more convincing when we are meant to think they can’t be made hot.

15 Meryl Streep – Into the Woods

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An absolute legend of the acting world, there is little doubt that Meryl Streep is the most respected actress of her generation, let alone of all time. A three-time Oscar winner who was also nominated for a further seventeen more, he also took home an AFI Life Achievement Award, two BAFTAs, and nine Golden Globes to date and even that is only a sampling. Not only an immensely-skilled performer, she is also an extremely beautiful person, which we are pleased isn’t her most notable trait but is a part of her nevertheless. The biggest star of the movie Into the Woods which was a musical released in 2014, she played a witch in it and was given wrinkly skin, a dark wardrobe, and mostly colorless hair to pull off the part.

14 Linda Cardellini – Scooby-Doo & Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed

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In the past, there were actors that were known as movie stars and others that were relegated to television, and there was little to no crossover between them. An actress that is principally a member of the latter group, Linda Cardellini made a huge mark with her work in highly-respected shows like Bloodline, Mad Men, ER, as well as Freaks and Geeks. However, things are different today and TV stars are capable of making the leap to the big screen, which she did when she became one of the stars of the Scooby-Doo movies. Cast in the first film and its sequel, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, she played the group’s resident nerd, Velma Dinkley. Dressed to look as unassuming as possible for the most part, in them, she also had a bowl cut and bangs and wasn’t exactly going to win any beauty competitions with her look.

13 Mariah Carey – Precious

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Someone who is principally known for her singing career, Mariah Carey has spent much of her life in the public view and typically makes sure that she brings her A-game in those situations. Cast in the 2009 drama film Precious, she portrays a social worker to a number of young women that are struggling to find their way, including the main character. A gritty film that doesn’t shy away from the dark things in life, it would have made no sense if Mariah’s character showed up looking as glamorous as she typically does on stage or in music videos. Fortunately, for the quality of the movie, she seems to have fully committed to the part both in regard to her acting, as well as the manner in which she went made herself look extremely drab.

12 Christina Ricci – Penelope

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First coming to prominence as a kid when she starred in the movie version of The Addams Family and its sequel, Addams Family Values, at the time, Christina Ricci seemed born to play Wednesday Addams. Maturing into an appealing-looking woman that many find extremely attractive, as an adult, she has taken on a number of tantalizing roles, including the most notable example, Black Snake Moan. Also one who seems to enjoy being a part of more family-friendly fare like The Smurfs 2, she was cast in the titular role of the 2005 fantasy romantic comedy Penelope. Seen throughout the film with the nose and ears of a pig, since her character was born that way, it is quite the transformation for a woman with otherwise precious facial features.

11 Sandra Bullock – Love Potion No. 9

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An actress with one of the most impressive resumes out there, Sandra Bullock has pretty much done it all in Hollywood. A part of blockbuster films like Demolition Man, Speed, and Gravity, her box office history is quite strong. Also able to exhibit strong comedic chops and romantic chemistry in the past, she has made millions laugh and swoon with her work in movies like 28 Days, Miss Congeniality, The Lake House, and The Proposal. On top of all that, she is a talented actress as well, which is why she has won acclaim for her appearances in movies like A Time to Kill, Crash, and The Blind Side. Of course, these days, being good-looking is of grave importance to an acting career, and she has that quality in spades. But you’d never know that when watching her early scenes in Love Potion No. 9.

10 Delphine Chanéac - Splice

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A Canadian science-fiction film that largely flew under the radar unfortunately enough, even though Splice cost only thirty million dollars to make, it wasn’t able to make that back at the box office. Focused on a pair of scientists that are also a couple, they decide to begin an unorthodox experiment that involves splicing animal and human DNA together to create hybrids for medical purposes. Creating a being they named Dren, it was played by an actress named Delphine Chanéac, who is a well-known actress in her French homeland, with the aid of makeup and special effects masters. A splendid-looking woman that has a history in the modeling industry, in most roles, she turns heads for her beauty. But here, she shaved her head and transformed entirely for this role.

9 Mae Whitman – The Duff

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An actress who has been doing her thing on screen for many years, as of yet, Mae Whitman hasn’t become a big star but she seems like she has the ability to be in the right set of circumstances. A well-established television performer, she has been a recurring part of shows like Johnny Bravo, JAG, State of Grace, Parenthood, and most notably, Arrested Development. Also a part of several movies over the years, you could have seen her in films like Independence Day, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower. However, to date, her most recognizable role came as the lead and titular character in the surprise hit, The Duff. Said to be the Designated Ugly Fat Friend in it, they put makeup on her to make her skin look pale and shallow and dressed her in clothes that made her a frumpy mess.

8 Jennifer Aniston - Cake

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Turned into a big deal pretty much from the moment the world took note of her work in the show Friends, Jennifer Aniston is now seen as the biggest star to come from that beloved series. Since then moving onto a movie career almost any actor would be envious of, she was a pivotal part of hit films like Office Space, Bruce Almighty, The Beak-Up, and the Horrible Bosses series. Considered by most to be among the most lusted-after women in the world, it sometimes feels like the magazine industry may shut down if they couldn’t rely on sales generated by cover images of her. The star of the 2014 indie movie Cake, she was nominated for a SAG award and Golden Globe for her work in the movie as a woman trying to cope with the death of her son, chronic pain, and a partial disability. Made up to look like her face has been weathered by weeks of near constant tears, they also lit her in the harshest fashion possible.

7 Cameron Diaz – Being John Malkovich

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Right from the start, Cameron Diaz was a huge star in the making. Cast as the female lead in the 1994 comedy The Mask, it was her first major role in a movie, and she hadn’t appeared on TV either. Extremely stunning in that flick, her opening moment featured a loving shot of her in a form-fitting red dress that was also wet which gave much of the audience a vision to fantasize over for weeks. Able to become a big movie star in the following years, there is a long list of films that would not have been the same without her. That said, she is also an artist which is why she took a role in the 1999 fantastic indie film with a tiny budget called Being John Malkovich. Given huge frizzy hair that does not work for her at all in the movie, she also wore little to no makeup and had grime and dirt on her face more than once.

6 Vanessa Hudgens – Gimme Shelter

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A former member of the Disney star-making machine, Vanessa Hudgens first came to prominence when she was cast in the highly-processed and beautifully-shot movie High School Musical 3: Senior Year. An overtly innocent film, once it was over, it seems like she bristled at the stifling nature of movies that are designed to be completely family-friendly. Opting instead to take on several mature roles, including movies like Spring Breakers and Machete Kills, they were a good start to changing her image but she always looked hot in them too. Clearly passionate about her art, she decided to take on a role in the 2013 indie drama Gimme Shelter that involved her altering her image completely, making herself far less attractive in the process.

5 Emma Thompson - Nanny McPhee & Nanny McPhee And The Big Bang

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One of the most respected actresses of her generation, Emma Thompson has earned a name for herself by giving some incredibly respected performances over the last several decades. Coming off as a rather dignified woman more often than not, she brings a great deal of heart and soul to each of the roles she takes on no matter how silly they may be on the face of things. Cast as the titular character in the Nanny McPhee series of films that debuted in 2005 and continued with the sequel Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang in 2010, both films did surprisingly well at the box office. Visually altered to have bad hair, a big wart, and a bulbous nose in these films, her natural beauty, that doesn’t get the credit it deserves a lot of the time, was covered up as a result.

4 Nicole Kidman – The Hours

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If you are looking to become a high-caliber actress, we would suggest that Nicole Kidman is the perfect person to look up to. An internationally-beloved beauty that has made a real impact, she has starred in huge hit films like Days of Thunder, Batman Forever, Moulin Rouge!, The Others, and too many more to list here. Also an acclaimed performer with many award wins under her belt, she has taken home so many trophies that it would be foolhardy to try and list them all. But, it was The Hours that won her an Oscar. Cast as the famed English writer Virginia Woolf in that movie, it involved styling and dying her hair to look very plain and even more notably altering her nose to look rounded off. Largely altering the look of one of the most beautiful actresses in the world, it also seemed to help her invest in her marvelous performance.

3 Cara Delevingne – Suicide Squad

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One of the biggest models of her generation, Cara Delevingne has a very striking look that has earned her attention across the world because she is very beautiful and yet unique in her industry. Involved in advertising huge fashion houses like Burberry, Chanel, Mulberry, Dolce & Gabbana, and Jason Wu, that notoriety allowed her to make the jump to the acting world. Cast in the 2016 DC movie Suicide Squad where she played a woman that was taken over by an ancient entity, when she became the villainous Enchantress, she went from hot to not. Looking intimidating in her new garb, her body was also covered in something that was similar to dirt, grime, or ink of some kind, as well as looking aged beyond her years.

2 Kristen Wiig - Zoolander 2

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One of the most respected figures in the comedy world today, Kristen Wiig is extremely talented at eliciting laughs from an audience. Made a star during her tenure as one of the stars of Saturday Night Live, during that time, she created a long list of fan-favorite characters. Since then making the film world her main career focus, her notoriety helped many movies work like Bridesmaids, the Despicable Me series, Her, and too many more to list here. Oftentimes not given the credit she deserves for how bewitching her beauty truly is, that has a lot to do with her focusing on being hilarious more often than not. A great example of that is her appearance in Zoolander 2 where she wore lots of prosthetics to try to put a smile on the face of the audience. Unfortunately, the movie was painfully unfunny.

1 Charlize Theron – Monster

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Somebody who seems like she could spend the rest of her life on lists of the hottest women in the world, Charlize Theron could have easily rested on those laurels and appeared in fluff films. Instead, she clearly decided to give her all on film, and she has proven time and time again that she has what it takes to be one of the best actors of her generation. For instance, if you ask us, she was simply amazing in movies like The Devil’s Advocate, The Road, and Mad Max: Fury Road. However, it was her work in the movie Monster, where she played the serial killer Aileen Wuornos, that won her an Oscar, Golden Globe, and SAG award, to name only a sampling. Gaining a good amount of weight, dyeing her eyebrows to be nearly invisible, and wearing false teeth that are yellow and crooked are some of the things she did to transform for the role.

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20 Gorgeous Actresses Who Have Played Ugly Characters