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18 Infuriating Times Movies Tried To Convince Us A Female Movie Character Was Ugly, Despite The Fact They Were Played By A Gorgeous Celebrity

A lot of movies try to make us think a character is supposed to be ugly...when that character is played by one of the most beautiful people on the planet.
A lot of movies try to make us think a character is supposed to be ugly...when that character is played by one of the most beautiful people on the planet.

Warner Bros. Pictures

A lot of movies try to make us think a character is supposed to be ugly...when that character is played by one of the most beautiful people on the planet.

It's absolutely ridiculous, and seems to happen even more with female characters — which can influence young girls to think
It's absolutely ridiculous, and seems to happen even more with female characters — which can influence young girls to think

20th Century Fox

It's absolutely ridiculous, and seems to happen even more with female characters — which can influence young girls to think "Gee, if this beautiful actor is supposed to look 'ugly,' and I don't even look like them, what am I supposed to be?"

Bianca in
Bianca in

Lionsgate

Bianca in "The DUFF" (played by Mae Whitman)

This one pisses me off so much. In what world is Mae Whitman the "designated ugly fat friend"??? I know Wesley says this doesn't always actually mean "ugly fat friend" but the fact that they frame Mae as this kind of character, when she really just looks like a normal teenage girl, is the kind of thing that makes teenage girls everywhere feel really, really shitty about themselves.

Gretchen in
Gretchen in

Paramount Pictures

Gretchen in "Mean Girls" (played by Lacey Chabert)

Gretchen is established to be the "not pretty" one of the three by Regina. Now, Regina is maybe just being mean, but because she has no qualms calling Karen pretty, it seems like she actually believes Gretchen isn't. Except...Gretchen is gorgeous? She has brown curly hair compared to Regina and Karen's blonde straight hair, but other than that I honestly can't figure out why Regina would suggest she's ugly. It's bizarre.

Needy in
Needy in

20th Century Fox

Needy in "Jennifer's Body" (played by Amanda Seyfried)

I always find it funny when an actor plays the hot character in one movie, and then the awkward nerdy one in another. She's established as the "prettiest" one by Regina in Mean Girls, but here, Seyfried plays the nerdy Needy who plays second-fiddle to Jennifer. Except she looks exactly the same as she does in Mean Girls, save for glasses and somewhat frumpy clothing. They do her dirty with her prom dress, but overall...she's still the gorgeous Amanda Seyfried.

Kate in
Kate in

20th Century Fox

Kate in "John Tucker Must Die" (played by Brittany Snow)

I always found this one so funny, especially because Kate's "makeover" to become hot literally just includes...straightening her hair. That is IT. There's a whole plot about how Kate is insecure because her mom is so hot, but like...she's Brittany Snow. Why was she cast as the "invisible" girl who's always overlooked or seen as a loser?

Sam in
Sam in

Universal Pictures

Sam in "Sixteen Candles" (played by Molly Ringwald)

Like Amanda Seyfried earlier on this list, Molly Ringwald played a plain, overlooked character pretty close in time to when she played an It Girl, despite the fact that she looks basically the same in both roles – but this one's even worse because Sam looks completely identical to Claire from The Breakfast Club, the "princess." They even have the same hairdo. Ringwald is obviously gorgeous, as she is portrayed to be in The Breakfast Club, so it's ridiculous that she's supposed to be someone the romantic lead would never even look at in this film.

Aimee in
Aimee in

A24

Aimee in "The Spectacular Now" (played by Shailene Woodley)

Like Kate, Aimee is supposed to be kind of invisible and not get romantic attention (though this is partly in her head)...except she's played by Shailene Woodley. Woodley is also portrayed as someone who would be easy for Ben to get to have sex with him in The Secret Life of the American Teenager because she isn't as pretty or popular as Grace or Adrian. I don't know why multiple projects made Woodley's characters out to be plain, because Woodley is the opposite of plain.

Gracie in
Gracie in

Warner Bros. Pictures

Gracie in "Miss Congeniality" (played by Sandra Bullock)

They make the makeover scene look wildly intense, as if they basically have to re-engineer Gracie's entire body and face, and then she looks exactly the same after except she has straight hair and is wearing makeup. This only proves the point that Gracie was beautiful from the beginning — I mean, she's played by Sandra Bullock. Sure, she didn't have great table manners, but acting like Bullock is unthinkable as a beauty queen is completely unrealistic.

Laney from
Laney from

Miramax Films

Laney from "She's All That" (played by Rachel Leigh Cook)

This is the classic example, because all they do to make Jamie look "pretty" is basically take off her glasses...which kinda feels like it would give all young girls with glasses a complex. In what way could Rachel Leigh Cook ever be ugly because of glasses, and why are glasses even "ugly" to begin with? Dean really thought that this was the only girl in school that could NEVER become pretty and popular?

Natalie in
Natalie in

Sony Pictures Releasing

Natalie in "House Bunny" (played by Emma Stone)

None of the Zetas were ugly, and a few of them were gorgeous — like Emma Stone. I'm sorry, there's just no way I am ever going to see Emma Stone as the weird ugly girl, even dressed the way she is above. She just ends up looking like a hot librarian.

...and Skeeter in
...and Skeeter in

Walt Disney StudiosMotion Pictures

...and Skeeter in "The Help" (also played by Emma Stone)

This is another funny one where they don't even bother to change Stone's appearance in this flashback scene where she talks about boys calling her ugly. Her hair's just up. And in the rest of the movie, she's established as a misfit/the "loser" amongst the girls, even though appearance-wise, the only difference is that she has curly hair. She does get kind of a makeover moment where her hair is in a more traditional '60s style, but even before that, she stands out as completely gorgeous. I have a hard time believing boys at school called her ugly. 

Sam in
Sam in

Warner Bros. Pictures

Sam in "A Cinderella Story" (played by Hilary Duff)

Again, this may just be an example of a mean character being mean, but Sam is definitely established as the overlooked, non-popular girl when she's played by Hilary Duff. The fact that Austin can't recognize her is actually wild, considering she doesn't even change her appearance for the dance — she just dons a mask over her eyes and wears her hair up. She doesn't even have to do anything to look like a princess because Duff already does. 

...and the ugly stepsisters (played by Madeline Zima and Andrea Avery)
...and the ugly stepsisters (played by Madeline Zima and Andrea Avery)

Eamonn M. McCormack via Getty Images

...and the ugly stepsisters (played by Madeline Zima and Andrea Avery)

They look like completely normal teenage girls and aren't ugly by any means. Yet they're the butt of the joke and it's mocked that Austin would ever see one of them as Cinderella. Well...yes, considering they look nothing like the girl he met, but otherwise either one of them could've dressed up as Cinderella and looked just as glam.

Tai in
Tai in

Paramount Pictures

Tai in "Clueless" (played by Brittany Murphy)

This is yet another example of Hollywood putting a beautiful woman in an outfit that isn't super femme, giving her curly hair, and not having her wear makeup, then saying that she's ugly or "tragic." Justice for curly-haired women everywhere!!! Curly hair is beautiful, and Brittany Murphy was absolutely stunning.

Hermione in the
Hermione in the

Warner Bros.

Hermione in the "Harry Potter" series (played by Emma Watson)

Hermione was supposed to be this buck-toothed, frizzy-haired girl, and then...they cast Emma Watson. They literally just gave up on trying to make her look like Hermione (with frizzy hair) by the third film. Although I will say, even in the books I suspect Hermione was a lot prettier than she's made out to be, considering all she does at the Yule Ball is smooth her hair and Harry doesn't even recognize her, she looks so pretty.

...and also Pansy Parkinson (played by Scarlett Byrne)
...and also Pansy Parkinson (played by Scarlett Byrne)

Warner Bros.

...and also Pansy Parkinson (played by Scarlett Byrne)

I know she's a minor character, but I still was shocked when I realized Scarlett Byrne was meant to play Pansy, especially after I saw her in The Vampire Diaries. Pansy is described as "pug-faced" a million times in the series, and then she's played by a literal Playboy Model.

Nadine from
Nadine from

STX Entertainment

Nadine from "The Edge of Seventeen" (played by Hailee Steinfeld)

I love this movie, but right from the start, they try to make us believe Nadine is ugly and that's just preposterous. Sure, they give her an awful haircut in the first few minutes, but she's still Hailee Steinfeld, and it makes no sense to keep suggesting she's not as pretty as Haley Lu Richardson. Also, Mr. Bruner keeps making comments about her horrible fashion, when she seems to dress like a completely normal high schooler to me. Her hair is even nicely curled and done-up the whole movie.

Mia from
Mia from

Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

Mia from "The Princess Diaries" (played by Anne Hathaway)

All they do is put makeup on Mia, take of her glasses, and straighten her hair!!! Again, CURLY HAIR IS NOT UGLY, and neither are glasses! She mainly looks better after because she's not making weird faces like in the before photos. It's always so funny to me when people react so wildly at school when she shows her new hair. And Anne Hathaway is obviously gorgeous no matter what her hair looks like.

And finally, Jamie from
And finally, Jamie from

Warner Bros. Pictures

And finally, Jamie from "A Walk to Remember" (played by Mandy Moore)

We'll end on another example of a star who played the popular girl in one film (The Princess Diaries) and the nerdy wallflower in another. Jamie is gorgeous from the start of the film, and she basically looks exactly the same in the scene where she sings and everyone notices her (in a notable example, they actually curl her hair this time for the magic, "now she's pretty!" scene). I know this scene is about her singing talent too, but still. Landon (and their other classmates) really didn't realize she was beautiful before??? Young girls shouldn't feel like they have to do their makeup or fancy hair to look beautiful.