You would think that all actors and actresses in Hollywood would be swooning after attractive parts. In fact, that couldn’t be further from the truth. A lot of celebrities enjoy playing roles where they’re basically unrecognizable in order to prove their range in acting. Charlize Theron did it in Monster and it won her an Oscar. Tom Cruise did it in Tropic Thunder and proved his insane comedy range.
And now, with Netflix and Hulu on the rise, more and more actors are jumping to the small screen, so it makes sense when you see famous actors, who rank high in the looks department, moving over to television.
Here are 25 actors and actresses who are naturally attractive in real life, tackling TV roles that are, well, on the ugly side.
25 Naomi Grossman in American Horror Story
If you’re a fan of American Horror Story, you’ll know who exactly the character of Pepper is, but you may be shocked to see the actress who plays her in two seasons of the show (Asylum and Freak Show) Naomi Grossman, played the microcephalic who ends up in a sideshow. Grossman looks COMPLETELY different in real life and is very pretty.
24 Maisie Williams in Game of Thrones
If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, you know that Arya Stark it the ultimate heroine who managed to take down the fantasy drama’s deadliest villain: the Night King. But if you’re not a fan and you just glanced at Maisie Williams' character, you probably wouldn’t find her attractive in the usual sense. And for that, we GOT fans just say: watch the show.
23 Judy Greer in Arrested Development
Judy Greer has played some dorky roles and some stellar sidekicks, but she plays the ultimate dork in Arrested Development. Geer played Kitty Sanchez, the secretary and sometime mistress of George Bluth. Kitty was always utterly devoted to the Bluth company and George himself and when he broke things off, she went a little bit mad.
22 Jaleel White in Family Matters
The character of Steve Urkel is a cornerstone of most millennials’ childhood. From his lovable nerdiness to his weird obsession to neighbor Laura Winslow, to his trademark “did I do that?” line, Jaleel White portrayal of the iconic character was aces, even if he looked or acted NOTHING like the character in real life.
21 Gwendoline Christie in Game of Thrones
Like most of the women characters in Game of Thrones, Brienne of Tarth was a force to be reckoned with. In the show and the books, Brienne was harshly nicknamed “the Beauty” by those who didn’t find her attractive thanks to her stunning height. In real life, Gwendoline Christie is an absolute true-to-life beauty on both the inside and on the outside.
20 Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson in Game of Thrones
Sure, in the beginning, Gregor Clegane (nicknamed “The Mountain”) was not bad looking, even though he didn’t seem human at times in the fantasy show, but after his battle with Oberyn Martell which left him basically dead, he turned into the ultimate zombie. In real life, Bjornsson is a really good-looking and powerful man.
19 Kate McKinnon in Saturday Night Live
Anyone with eyes could plainly see that comedian Kate McKinnon is an attractive (and hilarious) woman and while she sometimes plays good-looking characters on Saturday Night Live, she really thrives when she plays the lesser attractive ones – and it shows in her work. Overall, McKinnon is just a comedic genius.
18 Thesy Surface in It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia
In the comedy series, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, real-life beauty Thesy Surface plays Margaret McPoyle, the uni-browed member of the McPoyle family. If you see her as Margaret then immediately look at a picture of Thesy in real life, you’d be blown away by the difference. It’s like night and day.
17 Phyllis Logan in Downton Abbey
On PBS’s drama Downton Abbey, the entire household would not have been run properly if Mrs. Hughes wasn’t in charge of things. Hughes was stern, yet lovable and wise who made sure the servants did their jobs correctly. She was the beating heart of the show. In real life, Phyllis Logan as Mrs. Hughes' loving soul but is beautiful on top of it.
16 Alexis Bledel in The Handmaid’s Tale
Alexis Bledel is one of the most beautiful actresses on the planet, and while her looks were considered beautiful in the beginning of Hulu’s drama The Handmaid’s Tale, her looks began to harden the longer she stayed in Gilead. She never seemed to recover having to go work in the Colonies either, and the hardness stayed with her.
15 Uzo Aduba in Orange is the New Black
One of the most emotional speeches ever given by an actor or actress has to be when Uzo Aduba won an Emmy award for her portrayal as Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren in Orange is the New Black. While her speech was moving, fans saw that Aduba looks NOTHING like Suzanne and is simply gorgeous in real life.
14 Neil Patrick Harris in A Series of Unfortunate Events
Almost everyone who was a fan of How I Met Your Mother had to do a double take when watching A Series of Unfortunate Events when seeing Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris) as the evil Count Olaf. Harris transformed himself completely in order to play the evil guardian, and it seemed to agree with him.
13 Sophie McShera in Downton Abbey
On Downton Abbey, Sophie McShera plays the quiet and aloof Daisy, one of the kitchen servants who leads a calm and distant life. In the looks department, Daisy is pretty homely and non-materialistic, while in real life, McShera is drop dead gorgeous and youthful, nothing like the sometimes mousey Daisy.
12 America Ferrera in Ugly Betty
Even though the title of the show is Ugly Betty, the character America Ferrera plays is actually rather beautiful if you look at her kind heart. But, since she works in the fashion industry and doesn’t have the “desirable” dress size, she’s often the butt of many cruel jokes. In real life, Ferrera is quite stunning, especially when she smiles and lights up a room.
11 Emily Browning in American Gods
In the show, American Gods, actress and model Emily Browning plays two different characters: Laura Moon, the dead wife of the main character, and Essie MacGowan, a character who believes in leprechauns. In real life, Browning is luminously beautiful with hazel eyes that pop with color whenever she turns her face to the camera.
10 Taryn Manning in Orange is the New Black
If you’re a fan of Orange is the New Black, you know that Tiffany Doggett is pretty obnoxious who needs to just calm down a tad. Years of abuse and trouble shows on her worn face and teeth. In real life, however, actress Taryn Manning is a wondrous looker with a charismatic personality.
9 Rory McCann in Game of Thrones
Like his brother on the show, Rory McCann’s character The Hound has been through a bit of a transformation on the show. When he was young, The Mountain shoved little brother Sandor Clegane’s face into a fire, leaving him scarred. McCann himself doesn’t have the massive scar on his face and is pretty easy on the eyes.
8 Matthew McConaughey in True Detective
In the first season of HBO’s True Detective, Matthew McConaughey played Rustin Cohle, a detective who supposedly solved a 1970s crime but is questioned about it several years later. When older Rust is revealed, he looks like Matthew McConaughey from an alternate universe – one where McConaughey didn’t age gracefully. Yikes! Look at that hippy hairline.
7 Ewan McGregor in Fargo
In the third season of FX’s drama Fargo, actor Ewan McGregor played dual roles, Emmit Stussy (who looked a LITTLE BIT more like Ewan in real life) and his brother Ray, who was balding and living in the shadow of his brother. We all know better if we watched McGregor in anything else. He’s a British dreamboat.
6 Josh McDermitt in The Walking Dead
Eugene Porter, even though he’s a doctor on the post-apocalyptic show The Walking Dead, is pretty dang useless when he’s introduced in the show (except for intelligence). He’s overweight and even sports a mullet. Josh McDermitt, the actor who portrays him, is far from goofy looking though. And it shows when he walks the red carpet.
5 Pablo Schreiber in Orange is the New Black
George Mendez isn’t exactly your ideal guard stationed inside a women’s prison. In fact, he can be downright disgusting at times, which is called for considering the character’s personality. But remove the weird 70s mustache and personality, and you have a catch of a guy in actor Pablo Schreiber. The difference is really night and day.
4 Shannon Purser in Stranger Things
Even though the show is in its third season, fans of Stranger Things are still screaming for justice for Barb. We only had her for a brief time, but everyone fell in love with the homely Barb – it was a shame that Shannon Purser, who is beautiful in real life, didn’t really get to explore her character’s range.
3 Amy Sedaris in Strangers with Candy
Comedian Amy Sedaris has been around the comedy world for a long time, but most people will know her from her show Strangers with Candy, a show that was a spoof on after school specials from the 1970s and 80s. In real life, Sedaris’ face isn’t that droopy and aged, of course.
2 Ian Colletti in Preacher
There are some pretty bizarre characters on the show Preacher, but the character played by Ian Colletti has to be the absolute most bizarre. While his character’s face looks like it’s caving in, in real life, Colletti has a boyish charm to his red carpet style and his entire look altogether.
1 Vladimir Furdik in Game of Thrones
True fans of Game of Thrones know that things are never what they appear to be. Sure, the Night King is a funky looking ice-zombie who is hard to kill (unless you’re Ayra) but in real life, he’s Vladimir Furdik, one of the stunt coordinators on the show who, when he’s not in costume, is training the actors in sword fighting, combat fighting, and everything else.
References: buzzfeed.com, screenrant.com, youtube.com, imdb.com