Same But Different: Actresses That Look Nothing Like Their Characters

Hollywood is filled with gorgeous leading ladies, but from time to time these actresses have to ditch the glamorous gowns, contoured cheekbones, and immerse themselves into an entirely new character.
That’s what acting is all about, after all! The actresses that you’re about to see respect the craft so much that they did just that. From Charlize Theron’s jawdropping transformation in “Monster” to Tilda Swinton’s insane reinvention as Madame D in “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” here are the starlets who abandoned their looks for some meaty roles.

Pepper (Naomi Grossman)

Pepper, a freakish looking character from Ryan Murphy’s “Freak Show” (appropriately titled) is a woman and former performer with Microcephaly who was committed to an institution. As you can tell, the character looks a little on the scary side, which makes sense as she supposed to be a troubled ex-circus performer.


In order to play this unusual character, producers of the show needed a woman willing to go the extra mile, which is why they picked Naomi Grossman. Grossman not only underwent a crazy makeover complete with prosthetics and fake teeth, but she even shaved her head for the audition. In real life, the actress looks nothing like Pepper and has a successful stage career.

Tiffany Doggett (Taryn Manning)

If you’ve seen “Orange Is the New Black,” then you know all about the rough and tough-looking lady convicts on the show. It’s not easy being in prison, and as the show has taught us, these women-led very difficult lives. Character Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett was one of them. The proud “redneck” from western Pennsylvania came a long way, but in the first season, she was not in good shape. With rotten and even missing teeth, this inmate wasn’t her best self.


You can be relieved to know that the actress Taryn Manning does have in fact have all of her teeth and has led a long career in TV and film, starring in “8 Mile,” Britney Spears’ “Crossroads, and “A Lot Like Love.” Interestingly enough, the actress has gotten herself in quite a few scuffles involving the law, and while she doesn’t have the face of an inmate, her fiery personality isn’t that far off from OINTB’s “Pennsatucky”

Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss)

Elisabeth Moss can pretty much morph into anyone. These days she’s one of Hollywood’s serious leading ladies and has starred in a string of critically acclaimed TV shows and films. But when we first saw her, she was just Don’s frumpy secretary, Peggy Olson. Olson was mocked for her homely looks by her unforgiving male colleges in the series “Mad Men” and was even pressured to doll herself up, just to fit in.


Soon Olson proves that she’s concerned for things far more important than hair and makeup, and achieves exactly what she set out to do. We suppose we can say the same for Moss. The gorgeous actress has played many different roles, including Offred from “The Handmaid’s Tale, ” horror writer Shirly Jackson in “Shirly” and more. You might even remember her as the tragic burn victim from “Girl Interrupted.”

Betty Suarez  (America Ferrera)

“Ugly Betty,” told the story of the dowdy brace face and walking fashion crime, Betty Suarez, a writer navigating the world of beauty in a top-notch style magazine. That proves hard to do when you’re surrounded by gorgeous models. Betty donned her very worse throughout the show, teaching us all about self-love in a world of impossible beauty standards. While we all got that powerful message, what we did learn was that the moment Sauarz wore the right clothes, she was rather beautiful.

Alamy Stock Photo/Getty Images Photo by JC Olivera

Yep, actress America Ferrera is no Ugly Betty. The American actress, born to Honduran parents, is an Emmy, Golden Globe, and SAG Award-winning actress. In 2007 this Hollywood beauty was even dubbed one of the 100 most influential people in the world. She currently stars in the new Netflix series “Super Store.”

Nanny McPhee  (Emma Thompson)

In 2005 the great British actress played the magical Nanny McPhee with warts and all. The mystical nanny was based on the “Nurse Matilda” books, a story about a hideous witchy nanny with powers so magical that she could discipline the unruliest of children. And we see Thomspon do just that, with her big round nose, single tooth, and warts, Nanny McPhee is a sight for sore eyes.


Of course (spoiler alert) as the children shed their ugly behavior, McPhee transforms from hideous to beautiful. The nanny’s transformation reveals a more true to life version of Emma Thompson. The actress looks fantastic and even better with age.

Kitty Sanchez (Judy Greer)

Judy Greer is a real chameleon. Throughout her career, she portrayed some very unusual characters, one of her most notable roles was as Kitty Sanchez in “Arrested Development” who, with her crazed curls, would become completely cross-eyed the moment she removed her glasses. Naturally, the quirky role got a lot of laughs. ]

Reddit/Getty Images Photo by Jason Kempin

But Judy Greer is far from the crazy Kitty Sanchez. The lovely actress has made countless appearances in both TV and film and has even penned a book about her life on the screen. We even see her go from drab to fab in the teen thriller “Jawbreaker.”

Agnes “Apple” Bailey (Vanessa Hudgens)

The indie Christian drama “Gimme Shelter” tells the true story of a runaway pregnant teen who finds herself in a home for pregnant girls. Hudgens drastically changed her look for the role of a troubled teen in and out of foster care. With neck tattoos, piercings, and a totally different hair cut, Hudgens is pretty much unrecognizable.

Alamy Stock Photo/Getty Images Photo by Jesse Grant

Of course, if you’ve seen the actress on the red carpet, then you obviously know that Vanessa Hudgens is drop-dead gorgeous. There’s a reason the beauty was in a five-year relationship with Zac Efron.

Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara)

The world took notice of  Rooney Mara once she becomes Lisbeth Salander,  the leading character in “Girl with a Dragon Tattoo.” Since the book, originally published in Swedish, this fictional character gained major notoriety as a troubled yet brilliant goth-punk hacker. Love it or hate it, the look is iconic. Mara’s intense transformation, both internal and external (including accent!) even landed her a Golden Globe.

Alamy Stock Photo/Getty Images Photo by Kevin Winter

Drop the piercings, the pitch-black mohawk, and you will find the big-eyed beauty in her true form, with prominent brows nowhere close to that of Lisabeth’s. Mara has since starred in a string of films, one of them the Oscar-nominated LGBT drama “Carol” for which she was even nominated for Best Supporting Actress.

Winifred Sanderson (Bette Midler)

Throughout her long and illustrious career, Bette Midler has played heaps of quirky and eccentric parts, but none quite as kooky as the witch Winifred Sanderson, the head witch of the Sanderson sister in the movie “Hocus Pocus.” The mad and clownlike witch would cruelly suck the souls of children in order to stay young and “beautiful.” Sadly, no matter how many youthful souls Winifred stole, she was still as hideous as ever.

Alamy Stock Photo/Getty Images Photo by Mark Sagliocco/WireImage

Middler on the other hand looks nothing like Winifred. The megastar looks flawless, and she’s no spring chicken. Having started her career in the year 1970 Midler has been a star ever since. Recently she appeared in Netflix’s “The Politician” as Hadassah Gold, the right-hand woman to senator Dede Standish (Judith Light.) The two make a fabulous and formidable pair.

Josie Gellar (Drew Barrymore)

Josie Gellar in “Never Been Kissed” was never cool in high school. With braces and messy hair, Josie was constantly taunted by her peers for being a nerdy freak. Years later, at 25, she gets a second chance when she goes undercover as a high school student for a story that takes place at the school. Once again, Josie lands up being the high school dork, but surprise surprise, ultimately the school discovers that Josie is actually really cute (a truer depiction of Drew.)


Drew has been captivating audiences since she was a baby. The now seasoned actress still maintains that adorable quality she had since her first commercial as an infant. She also recently launched her very own talk show “Drew Barrymore Talk Show” and there’s not a shred of dorky Josie there!

Lotte Schwartz (Cameron Diaz)

Everyone knows Cameron Diaz as one of Hollywood’s great beauties, so audiences were shocked to find her in the classic Charlie Kaufman film “Being John Malkovich” as an extremely frizzy-haired plain Jane. Her onscreen partner John Cusack even drops her for the sly Maxine (Catherine Keener.)


The role was also a real step for Diaz who up until then was always playing the pretty blonde. We saw this in films like “There’s Something About Mary,” “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” and “The Mask.” This film showed us just how serious the actress can get. Of course since then, Diaz keeps wowing us with her great comic chops and beautiful blue eyes.

Justin Bieber (Kate McKinnon)

SNL is home to some of the greatest impressionist showbiz has ever seen, so you can imagine just how amazing Kate Mckinnon is that she stands out. The hilarious castmember has transformed into countless celebs we know, including Ellen, Jean King, and even Hillary Clinton, but one character that she disappears into completely is Justin Bieber.

People/COURTESY CALVIN KLEIN/Getty Images Photo by Jon Kopaloff

In the now-famous SNL sketch, the actress and comedian does a Calvin Klein underwear ad as Justin Bieber and it is just it’s simply uncanny and hilarious. Underneath all the wigs, costumes, and makeup, Kate Mckinnon looks like any red carpet starlet. Watch her do Penelope Cruz. The mega-talented comedian can do just about anyone!

The Witch (Meryl Streep)

The three-time Oscar winner and 20-time Oscar nominee, Meryl Streep is quite simply Hollywood royalty. Streep underwent some intense movie magic to become the  infamous and terrifying Witch in the film “Into The Woods” (2014), a retelling of the classic “Cinderella.”

Eonline/Disney/Getty Images Photo by Isaiah Trickey/FilmMagic

Out of costume, Meryl Streep looks like nothing like that wicked witch. To be honest, the actress looks completely different in every movie she plays. From Miranda Priestly to Margaret Thatcher, Streep morphs from role to role.

Frida Kahlo (Salma Hayek)

The brilliant artist Frida Kahlo was a known eccentric. With her colorful clothes, flower crowns, and prominent unibrow, the painter’s look was iconic. Sadly, Kahlo was also known to have a terrible disability caused by polio which she caught at age six. Hayek, who is also Mexican had always been a great fan of the artist and did not shy away from any of the less flattering aspects of Khalo in the film “Frida.”

Pinterest/News/Getty Images Photo by Piyal Hosain/Fotos International

In fact, the gorgeous actress who produced the film, fought tooth and nail to depict Frida in the correct way, that meant donning the famous unibrow, and moving and limping in the same way the disabled Frida had moved, all to the dismay of producers, who wanted a more attractive “Hollywood” version of the muralist. But she didn’t’ let all that noise stand in her way, and in the end, transformed into the complex and troubled artist we all know and love.

Velma Dinkley (Linda Cardellini)

We love Velma. The nerdy bob and thick glasses are what make her a central part of the Scooby-Doo team. Perhaps the smartest one in the group, she’s not exactly chic. It’s just something about that big orange turtleneck.

Twitter/sapphicfave/Getty Images Photo by Kurt Krieger/Corbis

That didn’t stop the beautiful Linda Cardelilibni from jumping in. The actress looks nothing like her 2002 role as Velma Dinkley and changed her look completely for the film. And it worked!

Amy Farrah Fowler (Mayim Bialik)

It’s safe to say that both Mayim Bialik and Amy Farrah Fowler are super smart ladies. The fictional character Amy, from “The Big Bang Theory’ is a genius neuroscientist, and in fact, so is Mayim Bialik. Years ago, after some years as a teen star, Bialik took a break from acting to pursue a doctorate in neuroscience.

usmagazine/Michael Yarish/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc/Shutterstock

One huge difference however is that the actress is nowhere near as frumpy as her character on the TV show. Bialik would never be caught dead in the closes that Amy wears!

Ann Veal (Mae Whitman)

Ann Veal was the super religious yet super unforgettable love interest of George Michael in “Arrested Development.” Young George soon started to lose interest in Ann, which was helped by his family’s constant surprised reactions over their relationship.

Alamy Stock Photo/Getty Images Photo by Frazer Harrison

Actress Mae Whitman who played Ann Veal, however, is far from forgettable. Whitman has started in “Parenthood,” “The Duff,” Scott Pilgrim” and much, much more over the course of her long career which she started as a child!

Aileen Wournos (Charlize Theron)

Charlize Theron seriously changed the direction of her career with the role of Aileen Wournos, the notorious convicted serial killer. Having played mostly beautiful leading ladies, Theron said goodbye to all that for the role of playing the controversial Wournos.

Alamy Stock Photo/Shutterstock

With the help of a great hair and makeup team and some significant weight-gain, Theron looked like the crazed and ill-fated drifter that would cause a media frenzy in the courts in 1992. Since then, the South African beauty has taken on extremely diverse roles, cementing her status as one of the most serious actors in Hollywood.

Margaret McPoyle (Thesy Surface)

While Thesy Surface may not be so widely known outside this role, she definitely made her make with her character Margaret McPoyle in “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.” Rather unfortunate looking, sporting a unibrow and mustache, and even deaf and mute, Margaret didn’t have much going for her.

Itsalwayssunny.fandom/Getty Images Photo by Frazer Harrison

Thankfully, British actress Thesy Surface doesn’t resemble Margaret in the least and fortunately is not a deaf-mute either.

Arya Stark (Maisie Williams)

Maisie Williams burst onto our screens as the fierce Arya Stark in the HBO hit series ” Game of Thrones.” The young actress instantly shot to fame. Stark was the ferocious princess who never concerned herself with frills and social norms like the other women. As awesome as this made her, it really did show.

Alamy Stock Photo/Getty Images Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Maisie Williams on the other hand can look glamorous as ever. The young English actress has received major critical success for her role as Stark, which, given the fact that it was her first real acting job, is pretty impressive. The lovely actress even recently launched her own app!

Liz Lemon (Tina Fey)

It’s true that Tina Fey and Liz Lemon both found themselves navigating the difficult and often male-dominated world of improv comedy. And it also might be true that their major weakness is food, okay, and we suppose that both women are pretty nerdy. But, and here’s a big but… Tina Fey is no frumpy spinster!

Koule/novinky/Alamy Stock Photo

Granted, these two share some similarities (Fey did write Lemon after all) Liz Lemon is far unluckier than Tina Fey. With a comedy empire behind her, a best-selling memoir, a loving husband, and two beautiful children, Tina Fey is a force to be reckoned with. In fact, Liz has nothing on Tina.

Rachel Barry (Lea Michele)

Both Rachel and Lea Michele share that x-factor only a broadway star could have. The breathtaking vocals and killer stage presence is after all how Lea Michele landed the role of Rachel Berry in the hit show “Glee.” But Berry wasn’t particularly liked among her peers.

Getty Images Photo by FOX Image Collection/Frederick M. Brown

Overbearing and preppy, Rachel had a rather annoying vibe about her. Interestingly, in a recent Twiter tirade, many of Lea Michele’s former co-stars came forward to complain about how unpleasant she was to work with. Looks like this time, perhaps the two aren’t so different? At least their style differs!

Mia Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway)

Ah, good old Anne. Gorgeous and consistently giving us all our favorite films, the actress Anne Hathaway is another example of another great Hollywood shapeshifter. In 2001 Hathaway starred as Mia Thermopolis in the beloved teen movie ” The Princess Diaries.” Looking completely different, the actress actually had us convinced that she was a dorky weirdo who was in serious need of a makeover.

Alamy Stock Photo/Getty Images Photo by James Devaney/WireImage

Roughly a decade later, Hathaway wowed us once again as the suffering Fantine in the film adaptation of Les Miserables. Terribly underweight, battered, and with patchy short hair, the Anne Hathaway we knew was almost nowhere to be found.

Debra Barone (Patricia Heaton)

Remember “Everybody Loves Raymond?” The hilarious sitcom featured some colorful characters, among them was Ray’s snarky and fed-up, wife Debra. Debra was constantly criticized by Ray’s impossible mother that she had a perpetual eye roll.

Pinterest/Getty Images Photo by Jon Kopaloff

Of course, when you’re told throughout your marriage that you’re not good enough for your husband, you’re not always going to be your best. The actress Patricia Heaton who gave us Debra is far from her TV character.  She is also a mother of four and married to English actor David Hunt.

Daisy Mason (Sophie McShera)

The very talented Sophie McShera is no plain kitchen maid. The actress stars as Daisy Maison in the award-winning period drama “Downton Abbey.” Life isn’t’ easy when you’re a life-long servant during post-Edwardian England, and Daisy is evidence of that.


Thankfully, actress Sophie McShera has proven that she looks fantastic when out of her grey kitchen dress. The actress somehow keeps landing up in unflattering roles. In 2015 she played one of Cinderella’s ugly step-sisters in Kenenth Brannahgh’s adaptation. Clearly, she is far from that!

Mona Vanderwaal (Janel Parrish)

The show “Pretty Little Liars” was of course filled with pretty little women, hence the name, but character Mona Vanderwaal still lacked some inner beauty. While she was attractive, throughout the show it was clear that Vadnerwaal’s low self-esteem and sad past made her kind of unappealing.


The real Janel Parrish, born in Honolulu, has a heart of gold and even dazzled fans in her recent stint on “Dancing With The Stars,” coming third place. The actress also married her long time boyfriend, chemical engineer, Chris Long.

Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer)

Pam Beesly was the sweet and mild-mannered secretary in the hilarious show “The Office.” She may have never won a competition for best dressed, but her dullish looks never prevented her from meeting the love of her life, Jim.

Alamy Stock Photo/Shutterstock

While Beesly could have done with a new wardrobe, actress Jenna Fischer is far cooler than her character, and always looks great in any public appearance. But one thing they do share is their sweetness.

Violet Bickerstaff-(Tori Spelling)

On the sitcom Saved By The Bell, Tori Spelling’s character donned glasses and pigtails. Her character, Violet Bickerstaff was a naive, nerdy girl with a terrible dress sense, even in the 80s.

Worldation/Getty Images Photo by Jon Kopaloff

In reality, Tori Spelling is more of a blonde bombshell than an innocent geek and far more like her character on 90210.

Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan)

As lovely and cute as Alyson Hannigan is, throughout her career, she has always brought out a slightly nerdy element to her characters. It’s probably just the red hair and child-like voice. This was super apparent as Willow Rosenberg in”Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

Alamy Stock Photo/Getty Images Photo by Michael Tran

Off-screen, Hannigan miraculously is very different from the characters we see on TV. We suppose it’s just her TV and movie persona!

Deandra Reynolds (Kaitlin Olson)

Deandra Reynolds shines as a crude and sociopathic drunk in the hilarious comedy series “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.” Her disturbing nature gave viewers some jaw-dropping moments throughout the show. She also had some really bad luck with mean and even lived out of her car for some time.


In reality, Kaitlin Olson is nowhere near her Deandra character. The successful comedian and actress even found love on the show with one of the show’s creators and stars Rob McElhenney.

Lucy Sketch (Aimee-Ffion Edwards)

Lucy’s middle name was Sketch, no, sorry. Lucy’s last name was Sketch, showing just how sketchy she really was! The character who appeared in the second season of “Skins,” the hit British series about complicated English teens was a stalker type girl with serious issues.

Dave Benett/sharetv/Getty Images Photo by David M. Benett

The Welsh actress, Aimee-Ffion Edwards is far from a weird stalker with bad hair. She’s gone onto appear in “Peaky Blinders” and “Luther.”

Brienne Of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie)

Like other women of “Game of Thrones,” Brienne of Tarth is no coward. As a fearless and powerful fighter, this knight couldn’t care less about pretty things and fine clothes. Catch her with a sword in full on armor.

Alamy Stock Photo/Getty Images Photo by Dan MacMedan/WireImage

But Gwendoline Christie however has a whole other look (not that it’s any less awesome.) The SAG winning actress has been blowing up on our screens looking out of this world, once again, in the “Star Wars” films.

Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan)

Scottish star Phyllis Logan dons her best servant smock as the drab matron house-keeper in the critically acclaimed series “Downton Abbey.” The stoic Mrs. Hughes AKA Elsie keeps her maids in check, but still has a good heart.

Thestar/Getty Images Photo by Dave J Hogan

While her title is somewhat prestigious for a servant, the position isn’t particularly glamorous, which is why Mrs. Hughes is often seen in dark and plain outfits. Phyllis Logan is no Elise and has been known to glam it up on the red carpet.

Lieutenant Jordan O’Neil (Demi Moore)

Everybody knows Demi Moore as the gorgeous model-like actress with dark and luscious long hair. But she temporarily parted ways with her signature look for her big 1997 role in the film “G.I. Jane.”

Alamy Stock Photo

Moore buffed up like crazy and even shaved her head, making her look like a real hardened trainee in the U.S. Navy Special Warfare Group. Ultimately, the film got some mixed reviews, but even after the criticism, Demi had no problem going back to her normal beautiful self.

Dren (Delphine Chanéac)

A young scientific couple involved in human cloning get a little over experimental one day and create a human hybrid animal named Dren. Dren has a very strange appearance, with a bald head, alien eyes, and a long tail, this lab experiment of a creature looks, just wrong.

Alamy Stock Photo/zimbio

Thankfully the French actress behind the horrifying makeup and special effects, Delphine ChanéacM looks 100% like a human being and a beautiful human being at that! The actress is also, unsurprisingly, a model.

Alex Dunphy (Ariel Winter)

The Dunphy kids from the show “Modern Family” are a diverse bunch. You had the little goofy Luke, the shallow and whiny Haley, and of course the highly competitive nerd, Alex. Alex constantly had her nose in the books and never cared about fashion. Actress Ariel Winter must have had a tough time playing such a plain geek because, in reality, she couldn’t be further from that.

Hellokuo.blogspot/Getty Images Photo by Duffy-Marie Arnoult/WireImage

No glasses and fabulous hair, the very glamorous “Modern Family” star seems more like her sister Haley in reality. Maybe Haley is more like Alex? Whatever the case, the casting seemed to work.

Suzanne Warren (Uzo Aduba)

We all loved “Crazy Eyes.” Suzanne Warren, AKA Crazy Eyes was the brilliant yet emotionally unstable convict in the infamous Litchfield Prison in the show “Orange Is the New Black.” Actress Uzo Aduba somehow transformed into this unique character, and it wasn’t just the help of those Bantu knots, and scrubs, but rather, some masterful acting.


With the crazed look in her eye, Uzo becomes somehow both endearing and extremely unsettling to watch. In reality, the actress is a wildly talented woman who has nabbed awards for performances, appearing on more and more shows, and even starred in a broadway musical.

Dianna (Tilda Swinton)

Tila Swinton has an interesting and Avant guard look, and with that comes many unique roles. But perhaps the strangest role she ever took on was the role in Amy Schumer’s romantic comedy “Train Wreck. “In the film, she played a shockingly conventional fashion editor, who quite honestly, could look like anybody.

Alamy Stock Photo/Shutterstock

With her blond highlights and fake tan, this might be Swinton’s most unusual role to date. Swinton looks completely unrecognized in this “normal” LA look (albeit with a British accent.)

Marcia Clark (Sarah Paulson)

In the series “American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson” actors take on real people, portraying real crime stories that made history in America. When taking on a show like this, you better make sure that you get it as accurate as possible. Sarah Paulson just did that with her portrayal of Marcia Clark, the lead prosecutor in the infamous O.J Simpson case.

Decider/Getty Images Photo by Taylor HIll/Film Magic

Paulson had it down to the finest details, immersing herself in the role of the woman during the notorious 1995 trial. Considering what Paulson actually looks like it proved to be a major feat.

Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan)

In “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” actress Rachel Brosnahan takes on the role of a 1950s housewife who strikes gold as a dynamite stand-up comedian in a world full of men. The show gorgeously depicts New York City in the late 50s and early 60s, a pivotal time in American culture. Brosnahan perfectly plays the (at first) dutiful wife and mom during this conservative era.

Twitter/modaya_dair/Getty Images Photo by Pascal Le Segretain

Armed with delicious brisket and pearls, Midge finds herself drunkenly killing it on stage at dingy New York nightclubs. Evolving throughout the show, it’s hard to get a sense of the actress, Rachel Brosnahan, who just keeps on making transformative performances.

Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown)

Child actress Millie Bobby Brown burst onto our screens as Eleven, the protagonist in the Netflix series “Stranger Things.” With telekinetic powers, Eleven has been a victim of cruel lab experiments all her life, giving her a freakish appearance and pretty much zero social skills. Though slowly but surely she finds her way with the help of her trusted friends.

Insider/Netflix/Getty Images Photo by Jason LaVeris

Still, Eleven in season one is very different from the actress who plays her, who, even as a young star is wonderfully graceful, and also has beautiful long hair!

Madame D. (Tilda Swinton)

As expected, Tilda morphs into this eccentric rich old woman named Madame D from Wes Anderson’s incredible film “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” The chameleon actress can play just about anything, as we’ve seen so far. Madame D is an 84-year woman with an enviable will, she has countless liver spots and old lady lipstick.

Cultjer/Getty Images Photo by Marilla Sicilia/Mondadori Portfolio

Tilda Swinton is a super talented actress with an alien-like face who can blend easily into any character. Just take a look at her IMDB page.

Janice Ian (Lizzy Caplan)

“Mean Girls” is a classic for any millennial. Apart from the hilarious script, what makes it so memorable is the cast of amazing characters. And such an example is the emo/goth art freak, Janice Ian who gets her need for Regina George revenge seriously ignited.

Pinterest/Getty Images Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage

The 2004 film put actress Lizzy Caplan on the map. Fans soon discovered that their favorite high school reject was very different under that punky hairstyle and smoky eyes. In fact, Lizzy may have even been able to make it in The Plastics!

Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey)

Lena Headey and Cersei Lannister from “Game of Thrones” could not be more different. For starters, actress Lena Heady is covered in tattoos and is super cool and chic. She is also a staunch social activist, who fights for LGBTQ issues, human rights, immigration-related matters, and has even dabbled in an organization that funds Alzheimer’s research.


Cersei on the other hand goes about her reign with a cold heart and somber face. She’ll destroy you without much thought and she’s also had some extremely wrong relationships.

Blanca Flores (Laura Gómez)

Here we have another “Orange Is The New Black” stunner. Actress Laura Gómez plays the seemingly dangerous and wild character, Litchfield convict Blanca Flores. The difference is huge. Gómez is super put together and incredibly elegant.

Alamy Stock Photo/Getty Images Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

But Flores screams “trouble.” Her crazy hair and deathly stare is the kind of look that makes you want to keep a safe distance.

Angie (Julie Lake)

Yet another “Orange Is The New Black” cast member, Julie Lake who places Angie Rice. Beauty standards can drop behind bars, but all that nonsense never really bothered Angie in the first place.


While poor Angie could use some serious dental work, actress Julie Lake’s teeth are just fine.

Helen (Francesca Curren)

As we know, when creating a world of tough convicted felons, sometimes you have to get a little ugly. Case in point, this skinhead, Helen. If you were to see Helen behind bars, you definitely wouldn’t be surprised, but if you were to see actress Franescsa Curren around town you would never think it was the same gal.

Nguli-online/Getty Images Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage

Actress Francesa Curren did a lot to that prison look, starting with the basic head shave, creators needed tons of special makeup to get it right, and to top it all off, the face and neck tattoos that say, “I belong in prison.”

Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke)

Ah yes, the ladies of “GOT” never cease to amaze us. Without those crazy wigs and icy stares, these women are really just beautiful Hollywood starlets (British ones.) Emila Clarke of course looks very different from her character Daenerys Targaryen. Firstly, that witchy white blonde hair is fake, she’s a brunette.


Also, the Mother of Dragons looks just as good in a romantic drama as she does on a big black throne. Check her out in “Me Before You,” where she plays an entirely different person.

Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks)

Since “The Hunger Games” takes place in the uncertain dystopian future in the fictional region of Panem, the minds behind it (both from the books and the films) had to dream up some zany looking characters. Effie Trinket is an example of that. Her outlandish outfits and makeup, make her the quintessential Capitol resident.

Twitter/babydan/Getty Images Photo by Alex Wong

But beneath that white powder and crazy clothes is the sweet and funny Elizabeth Banks, who really looks nothing like Effie Trinket.

Amy Sedaris – Jerri Blank

The hilarious Amy Sedaris has no fear, and will do whatever she needs to do in order to get the laughs! We definitely saw this in the cult classic “Strangers With Candy” where she plays a bizarre and unfortunate looking 45-year-old woman who returns to high school, named Jerri Blank.

Twitter/SethAbramovitch/Getty Images Photo by Jamie McCarthy

Fitted with horrific fake teeth and tacky makeup, Jerri Blank and Amy Sedaris couldn’t be more different. The very attractive comic is also clearly not in high school and is super smart. In fact, she comes from a family of smarties. Her brother is also a renowned humorist and writer David Sedaris.

Scathach (Lady Gaga)

You know when Lady Gaga jumps into acting, it’s going to be big. Gaga has never shied away from outlandish outfits and playing with her looks. So we shouldn’t be surprised when the Grammy-winning star immersed herself into the role of Scathach, the bloodthirsty witch from the 15th century.

Bestladygagaage.blogspot/Getty Images Photo by Presley Ann

Gaga was unrecognizable in this season of “American Horror Stroy”, heck she was unrecognizable in “A Star is Born.”

Moira Rose (Catherine O’Hara)

The award-winning comedy series “Schitt’s Creek” features some hilarious stars who can look incredible in wigs. That certainly goes for Catherine O’Hara who plays the insane Moira Rose, melodramatic ex-soap star and wife of the formerly very rich Johnny Rose, who is now suffering from serious downscaling.

Theworldnews/Pop TV/Getty Images Photo by Santiago Felipe

O’Hara has been sporting these hilarious looks for years as a staple member of another series of films made by mockumentary maestro Christopher Guest. Off-camera, the actress looks totally sane and actually pretty casual.

Rebecca Pearson (Mandy Moore)

Mandy Moore was a pop teen sensation during the early 2000s, but ever since that, somehow. she has maintained that sweet “girl next door” look. So it was really surprising when we saw her age a couple of decades in the beloved series “This Is Us.”

Refinery29/COURTESY OF NBC./Getty Images Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage

In parts of the show, Moore is playing her character, Rebecca Pearson, years in the future. It’s hard to believe that that is not an older woman, but the same Mandy Moore with heaps of makeup typical “older lady” clothes.

Dee Dee Blanchard (Patricia Arquette)

The wildly talented Patricia Arquette has been moving us on TV screens and in theaters since the 80s, taking on different roles, time, and time again transforming into amazing and complex characters. She did it once again with her character Dee Dee Blanchard in the Hulu series called “The Act.”

Refinery29/COURTESY OF HULU./Getty Images Photo by Presley Ann

Her signature blonde hair was nowhere to be seen and she was barely recognizable in the pasty drab cardigans and sweaters. The role earned her an Emmy Award, which is definitely justified,

Queen Elizabeth II (Claire Foy)

Claire Foy is English, yes, but she is no royal. That is until you see her in “The Crown” where she impeccably portrays the young Queen Elizabeth II. Royals don’t speak with just a regular posh accent, it’s on a whole other level, just watch those speeches, better yet, just watch Foy as she disappears into the role in the brilliant Netflix series.

Alamy Stock Photo/wikimedia

The modest clothing and sensible hairdo also make her look older than she really is. When the actress is out of her Elizabeth costume, she looks totally different.

Dorota (Zuzanna Szadkowski)

“Gossip Girl” was everyone’s favorite guilty pleasure. The show that followed Manhatten’s Upper East Side elite revealed the juicy stories of utterly privileged teens and college students. Though some weren’t so privileged, like Dorota. The maid and confidant of Blair Waldorf was a special character.

Alamy Stock Photo/Getty Images Photo by Brian Ach

While very prim and proper on the show, the actress Zuzanna Szadkowski is far more stylish in real life and looks like she might even perfectly blend in with the gang while they tear up the streets of Manhatten.

Janine Ofwarren-(Madeline Brewer)

“The Handmaids” Tale” is not an easy show to watch and the trials the characters go through are extremely troubling. The women who wear the red robes and white hoods are stripped of everything and are barely recognizable. That goes for Madeline Brewer, especially, who plays Janine Ofwarren.

Refinery29/COURTESY OF HULU/Getty Images Photo by Frazer Harrison

Throughout the show, the actress is missing an eye and is deeply disturbed by the events of the story (no spoilers!) The actress of course thankfully very much has both eyes and looks like a completely different person when she’s not playing Ofwarren.

Shannon Purser (Barb Holland)

We saw Barb for a hot second. The loveable nerdy red-head sadly got swallowed by the Upside Down far too soon. When fans found out who she was, they were all shocked to see that she barely resembles her character on TV.

Twitter/Faranbalanced/Getty Images Photo by Frazer Harrison

OK, obviously her character is from the 80s, but still, actress Shannon Purser looks rather different from Barb and is nowhere near as frumpy. She still looks just as sweet though!

Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael)

As with many “Downton Abbey” stars, how they look on the show is not an accurate representation of their true selves. And that doesn’t only apply to the dowdy servants. Even Lady Edith looks drastically different in real life.

Pinterest/Getty Images Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage

It’s incredible what an old fashioned hairstyle can do. Access Laura Carmichael looks completely different on the red carpet.

Detective Sgt. Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman)

Actress Olivia Coleman in reality sports a very fun blonde pixie do.  Not at all like the serious Ellie Miller, the detective sergeant from the hit British show “Broadchurch,” in which she stars alongside David Tennant.


The actress keeps blowing us away. Whether it be as a wicked stepmom in “Fleabag,” the frail Queen Anne in “The Favorite”, or once again, another queen (Queen Elizabeth) in “The Crown.”

Princess Margaret (Vanessa Kirby)

If you’re a British actor, you inevitably end up playing a royal family member at some point in your career. That generally comes with a huge makeup and wardrobe team. For actress Vanessa Kirby, her time for that was during the first season of Netflix’s “The Crown.” After a six month search, Kirby was chosen for the role, and she shows us why.

Alamy Stock Photo/IMDb

The actress completely immersed herself in the part, sharing an uncanny likeness to the young Princess Margaret (the Queen’s wild sister) in both looks and signature mischievous demeanor. Of course, out of costume, she’s the gorgeous Vanessa Kirby.

Dayanara “Daya” Diaz (Dascha Polanco)

Daya is shy and a little reserved, she loves her manga comic books and doesn’t draw so much attention physically. Actress Dascha Polanco on the other hand is all colors. The actress has a totally different look with blonde hair, colorful streaks, and bright clothes.


This is just another example of how different these “Orange is The New Black” characters different from the actors behind them.

Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron)

It’s one thing when an actor portrays a historic figure, it’s another when they play people we see on TV every day. When Theron played the famous news anchor Megyn Kelly, audiences did a double-take. In the film “Bombshell” it almost looks as if it’s Kelly playing herself, alas, it’s Charlize Theron.

Yahoo/Getty Images Photo by Jason Merritt

With eyelid prosthetics and makeup that gave her identical cheekbones, her look was completely transformed and everyone felt like they were watching the real Megyn Kelly.

Sister Michael (Siobhán McSweeney)

Siobhán McSweeney in a nun’s habit, with zero makeup as Sister Michael on the extremely funny and heart-warming TV show “Derry Girls” is unrecognizable in regular clothes.


Her platinum blonde hair looks nothing like the character on the who would head straight to confession if she ever dared to look like that!

Andrea (Paloma Faith)

When you’re the leader of the emos you have to look the part. Actress Paloma Faith jumped into the role of the morbid character from the film “St Trinians,” which is, aesthetically, very different from her actual look,.

Alamy Stock Photo/Getty Images Photo by Mike Marsland/Mike Marsland/WireImage

In reality, the actress is blonde and loves vintage stye colorful outfits. We’re sure that Andre and Paloma would never be caught dead walking around together.

Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman)

It’s miraculous the difference a prosthetic nose can make. When actress Nicole Kidman donned the famous Virginia Woolf snout in the film “The Hours,” she was instantly transformed into the famous writer. There was also quite a bit of makeup and the perfect wardrobe.

Alamy Stock Photo

Kidman is totally blonde and has a very different looking nose, as we all know. The brilliant actress more or less maintains the same look throughout her movies, though this one was a real step in another direction.

Karen Walker (Megan Mullally)

“Will & Grace” star Megan Mullaly gave us the hilarious Karen Walker. Walker described herself as “a spoiled, shrill, gold-digging socialite who would sooner chew off her own foot than do an honest day’s work.” That pretty sums it up. Oh, and that high-pitched voice.

Pinterest/Buzzfeed/Getty Images Photo by George Pimentel

In reality actress, Megan Mullaly has a very normal voice and has a totally different demeanor from Karen. Her style is also much less flamboyant.