It’s virtually a given that famous Hollywood actors tend to be pretty darn attractive since their jobs require them to be in front of a camera, and there’s nothing that the camera loves more than a pretty face.
However, while pretty much any famous actor can be envied for their looks, there are a few instances where this was not always the case. Actors are, after all, still just people, and thus they too can be subject to a badly taken photo, a bad hair day, or any of the numerous other superficial problems that we mere mortals who don’t have ready access to a hair stylist or a makeup artist must contend with.
The below actors are also unique in that, when they initially broke into the world of professional acting, they actually weren’t super easy on the eyes (usually because they were just kids). However, they have all since outgrown their ugly duckling roots to become some of the most attractive people in Hollywood.
Whether it was a shift in the types of acting roles that they pursued, a strong commitment towards hitting the gym, good old fashioned puberty, or a combination of all three, these actors proves that, with enough commitment and hard work, you can drastically alter your look for the better.
With that said, here are the 16 Stunning Actors Who Didn’t Always Look Like This.
16 Chris Pratt
To sitcom fans, Chris Pratt will always be the loveable goof Andy Dwyer from the hit NBC show Parks and Recreation, but Pratt has since proved that he is capable of a much broader acting range, having starred in dramas like Moneyball and Her.
He's also found his action hero groove thanks to his leading roles in movies like The Magnificent Seven, Jurassic World, and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.
The severe weight fluctuations that Pratt put himself through to appear in these more physically demanding action movies while also continuing to play Andy Dwyer (a character known to be on the portlier side) served as the topic of a 2014 Entertainment Weekly cover story.
He even poked a little fun at himself by highlighting that the weight fluctuations during his opening monologue when he hosted Saturday Night Live that same year.
15 Michelle Trachtenberg
Michelle Trachtenberg’s acting career technically began in 1988 when she was just three years old, when she appeared in a television commercial for Wisk detergent.
It wasn’t until several years later, in 1994, though, that she started acting of her own volition, playing recurring characters on both the Nickelodeon show The Adventures of Pete & Pete and the daytime soap opera All My Children.
Her Nickelodeon connections also paid off two years later in 1996 when she landed her first feature film role in the movie Harriet the Spy, playing the titular lead.
Trachtenberg’s childhood roles often cast her as a geeky girl next door, but once she went through puberty, she started to really diversify her acting credits, appearing in everything from raunchy comedies (EuroTrip), to slasher movies (Black Christmas), and even several music videos such as the video for Fall Out Boy’s “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race”.
14 Nicola Peltz
Nicola Peltz definitely knew that she wanted to be an actress early on since her first credited acting role was for the 2006 Christmas comedy Deck the Halls when she was only 11 years old.
She continued to land smaller parts over the following years, but it wasn’t until 2010 that she became a household name when she played the part of Katara in M. Night Shyamalan’s live-action rendition of The Last Airbender (based off the popular Avatar: The Last Airbender animated series).
As she got older, Peltz took on more mature roles, appearing as the character Bradley Martin in the hit television series Bates Motel and as Tessa Yeager, the daughter of Mark Wahlberg’s Cade Yeager, in the fourth Transformers movie, Transformers: Age of Extinction.
That same year, she won the Rising Star CinemaCon Award for her role in Age of Extinction.
13 Alyson Stoner
Fans of family-oriented comedies might recognize Alyson Stoner as Sarah Baker, one of the 12 Baker children from the 2003 comedy Cheaper by the Dozen and its 2005 sequel Cheaper by the Dozen 2.
However, Stoner’s acting career technically began two years prior to her turn as Sarah Baker when she appeared on the Disney Channel’s Mike’s Super Short Show.
The show was a sort of faux infomercial series in which host Mike (Mike Johnson) and his sister Sally (Stoner) discussed recent and upcoming Disney home video releases.
In addition to being a talented actress, Stoner has also cultivated a strong love of dancing and singing, and she has gotten to put both those talents to good use as she got older, appearing in movies like Step Up, musical shows like Camp Rock, and even music videos for artists like Missy Elliot and Outkast.
12 Jaleel White
Jaleel White charmed an entire generation of television-watchers as the nerdy, high-voiced Steve Urkel on the 1989 sitcom Family Matters, a role which was originally meant to be a one-time appearance. However, it delighted viewers so much that Steve Urkel was quickly pivoted into a recurring character.
White’s acting career had technically begun several years earlier in 1984, though, when he had a brief guest stint on The Jeffersons.
White was also set to play Rudy Huxtable on The Cosby Show (the character was originally meant to be a boy), but when Bill Cosby decided that he wanted the character of Rudy to be a girl instead, he lost the role to Keshia Knight-Pulliam.
When Family Matters ended in 1997, White worked hard to escape the typecasting shadow that had been left from his portrayal of Steve Urkel, and he has since appeared in a number of different TV projects.
11 Matthew Lewis
You’d be forgiven for not immediately recognizing the name Matthew Lewis, but chances are high that you’ll recognize the character which Lewis is best known for playing: the bumbling yet good-hearted wizardry student Neville Longbottom in the movie adaptations of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.
Much like with his more recognizable Harry Potter co-stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint, Lewis’ transition through puberty could be plainly seen as each new Harry Potter movie came out, with the nerdy child Neville slowly transitioning into a not-half-bad-looking teenage Neville.
Once the Harry Potter saga ended, Lewis continued his acting pursuits, landing various parts in different British stage plays and also expanding his movie and television credits via his roles as Jaime Bradley in The Syndicate and as Corporal Gordon House in Bluestone 42.
10 Daveigh Chase
Daveigh Chase first broke into the Hollywood scene in 2001 when she appeared in the horror movie Donnie Darko as Donnie’s younger sister Samantha (before that she had bit parts in various television series’ as far back as 1998).
Then, a year later, she landed two major roles which could not have been further apart in tone. First, she supplied the voice for the young girl Lilo Pelekai in the Disney movie Lilo & Stitch (a role she would later reprise in the various Lilo & Stitch spin-off properties).
After that, she managed to scare audiences all over thanks to her portrayal of Samara Morgan (aka the creepy girl who climbs out of a well) in The Ring, a role which she won the Best Villain award for at the 2003 MTV Movie Awards.
9 Isabelle Fuhrman
In 2004, when Isabelle Fuhrman was just seven years old, she was spotted by a Cartoon Network casting director totally by chance and offered a role in the show Cartoon Fridays.
Fuhrman clearly enjoyed her time in the spotlight, as just a few years later, in 2009, she made a similar move as Daveigh Chase, scaring audiences nationwide as the creepy girl Esther in the horror film Orphan.
Yet another big break came Fuhrman’s way in 2012 when she landed the part of Clove in the movie adaptation of The Hunger Games.
Fuhrman had originally auditioned for the leading role of Katniss Everdeen but was deemed too young for the part (she was 15 at the time). However, she was later called back to try out for the role of Clove and got the part.
8 Alexa Vega
Alexa Vega started her child acting career in 1994 when she was just six years old, playing a number of smaller bit parts until her big break finally came in 2001.
That was the year that the first Spy Kids movie was released, a movie in which Vega played one of the kid leads, Carmen Cortez. Spy Kids proved to be so popular that it ended up spawning two sequels, with Vega reprising her role as Cortez for both of them.
After she went through puberty, Vega worked to distance herself from her child acting roots, appearing in a litany of different movies including more mature projects like Repo! The Genetic Opera and Machete Kills.
However, when a fourth Spy Kids movie, Spy Kids: All The Time in the World, was released in 2011, Vega reprised her most famous role one last time, playing an adult version of Carmen Cortez.
7 Jonathan Lipnicki
Jonathan Lipnicki was one heck of a cute kid, and movie audiences all over applauded when he made his debut, appearing in the Tom Cruise movie Jerry Maguire as the son of Renee Zellweger’s character.
After that, he continued to utilize his adorable features, showing up in movies like Stuart Little, Like Mike, and The Little Vampire.
More recently, Lipnicki has been balancing out his acting career with his training in mixed martial arts, though he hasn’t ever given a definitive answer as to whether he’ll one day fight professionally or not.
He has acknowledged that his continued devotion to the world of acting has kept him pretty busy (and thus training for an actual professional fight would be difficult), which makes sense considering that he has continued to appear in both television shows and movies as recently as 2018.
6 Georgie Henley
If you watched the most recent Chronicles of Narnia movie adaptations, you’ve seen just how good an actress Georgie Henley can be.
The young English actress made her film debut playing one of the lead characters, Lucy Pevensie, in 2005’s Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe when she was just 10 years old.
Henley later reprised her role as Lucy Pevensie for the two Chronicles of Narnia sequels, 2008’s Prince Caspian and 2010’s The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
Following her Narnia run, Henley has only appeared in a small handful of feature films, but she did land the role of a young Jane Eyre in the BBC’s 2006 Jane Eyre rendition and even wrote and directed her own short movie called Tide in 2016.
5 Daniel Curtis Lee
Daniel Curtis Lee is best known as Simon “Cookie” Nelson-Cook on the Nickelodeon show Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide, a role that he played during the show’s run between 2004 and 2007.
However, his acting career technically began a few years earlier when he landed an uncredited role as a school student in the 2001 movie The Rising Place and later secured small one-off parts on the TV shows First Monday (in 2002) and The Shield (2003).
From 2009 to 2012, he played Kornelius “Kojo” Jonesworth on the Disney XD sitcom Zeke & Luther, and it was during his run on this show that he also cultivated a passion for musical performance, specifically hip hop.
After a brief 2012 stint on the popular musical show Glee, Curtis Lee has since decided to focus on his hip hop and comedy career.
4 Abigail Breslin
Despite the fact that she is now in her early 20s, most people likely still think of the quirky comedy/drama film Little Miss Sunshine when they hear the name Abigail Breslin.
Little Miss Sunshine is a movie in which Breslin, then only 10 years old, stole the show as the adorable Olive Hoover, easily holding her own alongside established adult actors like Greg Kinnear and Steve Carrel.
However, her very first feature film role was actually from four years earlier when she played Bo Hess, the daughter of Graham Hess (Mel Gibson) in the 2002 M. Night Shyamalan movie Signs.
Breslin has continued her acting pursuits into her adult years, landing roles in movies like 2009’s Zombieland and the 2013 movie adaptation of Ender’s Game. More recently, she appeared as Frances “Baby” Houseman in the 2017 ABC TV movie rendition of the classic film Dirty Dancing.
3 Josh Peck
Like several other actors on this list, Josh Peck began his acting career as a child actor, more specifically as a comedic personality within the Nickelodeon network.
After appearing in two episodes of the kid-focused 1994-2005 sketch comedy show All That, he became a series regular on The Amanda Show (1999-2002), which starred the titular Amanda Bynes (herself an All That alum).
Two years after The Amanda Show ended, Peck and two of his fellow Amanda Show co-stars, Drake Bell and Nancy Sullivan, were brought on to star in yet another Nickelodeon comedy series, aptly named Drake & Josh.
More recently, Peck has appeared in many different movie and TV genres. In 2012 alone, he starred in both a horror movie (ATM) and an action-drama (Red Dawn). He has also enjoyed a recurring role as Eddie the opossum in the Ice Age animated movie franchise.
2 Samuel L. Jackson
Considering how much of a living legend Samuel L. Jackson is today, it’s a bit hard to believe that he got his start in Hollywood playing small-time bit parts (mostly unnamed thugs and criminals) when he began his acting career in 1972.
Most movie buffs likely remember the smaller side parts that he had in movies like Goodfellas (1990), Patriot Games (1992), and Jurassic Park (1993).
However, it wasn’t until 1994 that Jackson first really wowed audiences as the oft-quoted criminal Jules Winnfield in the Quentin Tarentino-directed Pulp Fiction. (Tarentino had been impressed by Jackson when he saw him in the 1993 film True Romance, a movie that Tarentino had written the script for.)
Since then, Jackson has not only appeared in several other Tarentino movies, he’s also shown up in movie franchises such as Star Wars, Die Hard, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe to name a few.
1 Adrien Brody
For most of his early acting career (which began in 1989 when he was 16 years old), Adrien Brody was known as a dedicated yet somewhat scrawny actor, a reputation that was mainly established due to the 29 pounds he lost during the preparation period for his role in the 2002 film The Pianist.
However, that reputation started to change when Brody appeared in Peter Jackson’s 2005 King Kong movie, a movie for which he decided to improve his physique so that he could better perform the film’s action sequences.
Brody never fully embraced the action hero persona despite appearing in subsequent films like the 2010 Predator reboot (in which he played the lead character), but he has certainly shown his knack for playing characters across a wide variety of genres.
Can you think of any other actors who now look incredibly stunning? Sound off in the comments!