[[quoteright:350:[[Music/MariahCarey http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rsz_mariah-carey-29_6061.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:From this...]]
[[quoteright:350:[[Film/{{Precious}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mariah-carey-precious.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:...to this.]]

->''"An actress known to be good-looking who plays a role which calls for her to indulge in a makeup that makes her look homely usually gets flattering notices from the reviewers, even if her performance isn't worth a nickel[.]"''
-->-- '''George Jean Nathan'''

An actor or actress known for their physical beauty being altered by makeup and prosthetics to play an unattractive or even ugly character, usually as OscarBait. This doesn't cover really deformed or monstrous characters like Freddy Krueger or Quasimodo; that would be TheGrotesque.

Note: This is different from HollywoodHomely, where, an actor or actress will be "plained down" with unflattering clothing or hairstyle, glasses, a better-looking sibling, crippling shyness hiding their looks or so on, but the result is only (maybe) average-looking by non-Hollywood standards. A Hollywood Homely character can quite easily be changed in-story to the actor's normal appearance for a BeautifulAllAlong reveal. This trope, instead, is when the actor uses makeup or prosthetics to change the look of their face to match the expectations and image of the character.

This trope usually happens in biopics and serious dramas, and covers attractive actors playing below average-looking characters (or real people), and there is a definite effort to not only play down but deliberately counteract the actor's usual good looks. Since most Hollywood actors tend to be very attractive, it's an interesting challenge for them to portray a {{Gonk}}.

If they're playing outright [[OurMonstersAreDifferent monsters]] who are usually portrayed as ugly, this may result in a GorgeousGorgon.

See also DyeingForYourArt, which generally covers actors who change their appearance for their roles. Contrast with AdaptationalAttractiveness.
!! Examples:


[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* In-universe, unusually justified example: In ''ComicBook/{{Passionella}}'' by Jules Feiffer, Passionella, having achieved success as a movie star, decides to make a more realistic movie where she plays a non-beautiful, unglamorous, chimney sweep. All of her scenes in the movie are shot during the day, where all her previous glamorous roles could only be filmed at night, because she only transforms into a beautiful, glamorous movie star in the evening. She wins the Best Actress Oscar, of course.


[[folder: Film ]]

* One of the earliest examples of the trope came from Kathleen Byron in ''Film/BlackNarcissus''. Her character Sister Ruth begins the film as a devout nun, but slowly suffers SanitySlippage and eventually turns into a {{Yandere}}. In the last act of the film, make-up is used to put her in the UncannyValley - giving the impression she's wearing a corpselike mask.
* Creator/BetteDavis pulled this off quite a few times in her illustrious career:
** The first notable one was ''Literature/OfHumanBondage''. Her character Mildred ends up on the streets and eventually dies of tuberculosis. Bette designed the make-up Mildred would wear for her death scene, wanting her to accurately look like someone who had died of an illness and not "a deb who had missed her afternoon nap."
** She wanted to do this for ''Film/NowVoyager'', padding her costumes out to make Charlotte look even heavier in her 'before' appearance. The studio rejected this look for being "too grotesque" and she's HollywoodHomely in the finished film.
** ''Marked Woman'' after her character has been attacked by the Mafia. The original bandaging was rather [[BeautyIsNeverTarnished small]], so she went to a doctor and had the face bandaged more realistically.
** In ''Film/WhatEverHappenedToBabyJane'' she decided that Jane Hudson would never wash her face and only put a new layer of make-up on every day. She patterned the look off numerous homeless ladies seen on Hollywood boulevard. When Bette's daughter saw her in the make-up for the first time, she remarked "mother, this time you've gone too far." Elsewhere averted with her co-star Joan Crawford, who struggled to look unattractive. She wanted to have full hair and make-up, despite playing a wheelchair bound woman who hadn't left her room in years. This did however give the impression that Blanche had aged better than Jane, giving her sister another reason to resent her.
* Creator/CharlizeTheron as Aileen Wuornos in ''Film/{{Monster}}''. The actress [[DyeingForYourArt gained between 25 and 30 pounds]], shaved her eyebrows, and wore prosthetic teeth. As such, she looked completely unrecognizable in character and got the Best Actress Oscar in a walk. She wasn't afraid to get dirty in ''Film/NorthCountry'', and then once again shaved her head and wore dark circles of grease for her role as Furiosa in ''Film/MadMaxFuryRoad''.
* Creator/SalmaHayek as Frida Kahlo in ''Film/{{Frida}}''. To play Kahlo, Hayek either used make-up or grew out her own mustache and unibrow.
* Creator/NicoleKidman wore a prosthetic nose to play Virginia Woolf in ''Film/TheHours''.
* Creator/EmmaThompson in ''Film/NannyMcPhee''. In an interview with Magazine/DisneyAdventures, she jokingly lamented that it took less time for them to make her look ugly than to make her look pretty.
* Creator/TomCruise wears a baldcap and a fatsuit in ''Film/TropicThunder''.
* ''Film/BeingJohnMalkovich'':
** Creator/CameronDiaz wears frumpy clothes and frizzy hair.
** Creator/JohnCusack in that same movie also does not look too attractive with his greasy hair and unclean skin, descending into seediness at the midpoint of the film.
* Creator/BradPitt at his homeliest (with the exception of ''Film/TheCuriousCaseOfBenjaminButton'', where he was aged up considerably) was in ''Film/TwelveMonkeys'' -- didn't use prosthetics, but gave the character a lazy eye and unflattering hairstyle.
* [[http://www.themakeupgallery.info/character/fat/obese/shallow.htm Gwyneth Paltrow, the actress who played her mother]], and [[http://www.themakeupgallery.info/character/plain/fugly/shallowbb.htm Brooke Burns]] in ''Film/ShallowHal.'' When the movie got flak for casting such a thin woman as a heavy character, the director defended himself by noting that the concept called for her to be attractively thin through most of the movie -- Paltrow could fat up while a heavy actress could not thin down. The result is a movie littered with bad fat jokes... about the smoking hot Paltrow.
* ''Film/{{Precious}}'': Music/MariahCarey (Precious' social worker, pictured above) is the most obvious example, but the lead actress Gabourey Sidibe was also made to look larger using unflattering clothes.
* Mariah Carey doesn't look too good in her role as the titular character's mother in ''Film/TheButler'', either.
* Creator/SharonStone in ''Film/AlphaDog'', where she uses a fatsuit in an interview [[spoiler:held years after her only son was killed.]]
* Creator/JohnnyDepp had his head shaved (''by Creator/HunterSThompson'') and wore huge glasses in Creator/TerryGilliam's ''{{Literature/Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas}}''. Creator/BenicioDelToro just put up a lot of weight and a leatherman's moustache. They both looked quite unspectacular in result. But it was the brilliant acting that made them truly offputting.
** Similarly, he wore extensive prosthetics and makeup (including a cap to simulate a receding hairline) to play Whitey Bulger in ''Film/BlackMass'' and as a result is barely recognizable.
* Creator/HeathLedger as ComicBook/TheJoker in ''Film/TheDarkKnight''.
** Played with by Creator/TomHardy in ''Film/TheDarkKnightRises''. While Bane's mask, bald head, wrecked skin, and grotesquely musclar body make him anything but attractive, Hardy's naturally handsome face still allows us to immediately identify him in a flashback as [[spoiler:the prisoner who helps Talia escape.]]
* Creator/JudeLaw played a slimy, gaunt, brown-toothed, heavily balding photographer/assassin in ''Film/RoadToPerdition'' with [[spoiler: disfiguring facial scars in the end]]. Like in ''Literature/AnnaKarenina'' he made himself balding, grew a big beard, and gave himself spectacles and wrinkles to make himself look older and unattractive. And in ''Film/{{Contagion}}'' he has snaggle-teeth to point out that he's the bad guy.
* Gloria Swanson in ''Film/SunsetBoulevard'' had to look more aged as Norma Desmond than she did in RealLife.
* The handsome, elegant Dame Judi Dench playing the haggard spinster Barbara Covett in ''Film/NotesOnAScandal''.
* [[http://www.joblo.com/images_arrownews/ElizabethBanks288.jpg This]] is Creator/ElizabethBanks. [[http://www.horror-asylum.com/news/pics/elizabeth-banks-and-jennifer-lawrence.jpg This]] is Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket in ''Film/TheHungerGames'', under ten tons of makeup to bring out her wrinkles and make her look more like Joan Rivers than a 37-year-old woman has any business looking.
* [=AnnaLynne McCord=] in ''Film/{{Excision}}'' not only wears no makeup, but has acne scars and badly damaged hair, and looks far less attractive than the blonde bombshell that [=McCord=] is in real life.
* The normally very beautiful Creator/LenaHeadey sports some very nasty looking facial scars, cracked lips and bad teeth in ''Film/{{Dredd}}'' while playing former prostitute turned drug baron Mama.
* Missi Pyle as Fran Stalinovskovichdavidovitchsky in ''Film/DodgeballATrueUnderdogStory''. Of course, this doesn't stop Owen from falling in love with her. In the epilogue, she is shown to be [[Main/ProgressivelyPrettier substantially more attractive]], though.
* Tilda Swinton sported a prosthetic nose and protruding teeth for her role as Mason in ''Film/{{Snowpiercer}}''.
* Nicholas Hoult in ''Film/MadMaxFuryRoad''. To quote [[http://io9.com/do-you-realize-mad-max-fury-road-is-a-miracle-1707000166 one article]]: "Hire one of Hollywood's youngest, most attractive stars, then shave his head, paint him bone white, and have him play a character with disgusting chapped lips for the entire movie."
* Angela Bettis as the title character in the [[MadeForTVMovie TV remake]] of ''Film/{{Carrie 2002}}''. Drab clothes, messy hair and something about not washing her face or anything definitely hid any beauty that she had, making it that much more special when [[SheCleansUpNicely she went to the prom]].
* Portia Doubleday in Kimberly Peirce's [[{{Film/Carrie2013}} 2013 remake]] of the above does a different take on this trope to play Chris. In contrast to previous films showing the AlphaBitch as one of TheBeautifulElite, this version is done up to look like an [[ButNotTooWhite over-tanned]], [[UncannyValleyMakeUp made-up]] [[Series/JerseyShore Snooki wannabe]] with ratty hair extensions and trashy clothes. This adds a layer of subtext that Chris could be jealous of Carrie's more natural beauty.
* Creator/MerylStreep as the Witch in ''Film/IntoTheWoods''. Like Thompson above, she said it took more makeup to make her look beautiful later in the film than to make her look ugly for the majority of her screentime. Played straighter with ''Film/{{Ironweed}}'' and ''Film/SophiesChoice''.
* Creator/BlakeLively, a very glamorous blonde, in ''Film/TheTown''. She plays a trashy alcoholic who layers the make-up on and looks constantly spaced out. Critics were shocked. She also did this in ''The Rhythm Section'', disguising herself as a homeless woman and adopting various other disguises. It became a RunningGag during production of the film for tabloids to report "Blake Lively looks unrecognisable..." In ''Film/TheShallows'' her character also ends up with a nasty gash along her legs, sunburn all over her body and other unsightly blemishes brought on by spending the day trapped at sea.
* Creator/KeiraKnightley as a skinny, sleep-deprived, chain-smoking alcoholic in ''Film/TheJacket''.
* Downplayed with Lizzie Caplan in ''Film/MeanGirls''. Producers were reluctant to cast her as 'art freak' Janis because of her beauty, but [[AbilityOverAppearance she gave the best audition]]. So instead of trying to dress her down, they gave her odd fashion choices, goth make-up and MessyHair. She even wears a tuxedo to the prom, subverting SheCleansUpNicely. There are fandom rumours that Janis herself is a former AlphaBitch, and Caplan's beauty is likely a contributing factor.
* Creator/ChristianBale does this a lot:
** He starved himself down to a dangerously skinny weight as an anorexic insomniac for ''Film/TheMachinist''.
** As an overweight balding conman with a bad fashion sense in ''Film/AmericanHustle''. He gained the weight and shaved the hair himself to affect an authentic combover.
* Creator/MelissaMcCarthy is very pretty when seen in interviews, even making ''People'''s "Most Beautiful" list at least once. For a lot of her roles, she's given make-up and hairstyles to make herself seem frumpier and less attractive.
* Kate [=McKinnon=] is likewise a very beautiful lady. In ''{{Film/Ghostbusters 2016}}'' she's dressed down with MessyHair, constantly seen in overalls and portrayed as something of an oddball.
* Creator/{{Rosanne}} Barr isn't a conventional looker, but she ''really'' downgraded her appearance in ''Film/SheDevil''.
* ''Film/StellaMaris'':
** Creator/MaryPickford played one of the earliest examples in the 1918 film ''Stella Maris''. She played the titular Stella in her normal look but [[ActingForTwo also played]] the plain and homely Unity Blake as well. Unity is the least attractive girl at her orphanage while Mary Pickford was known for her cherub cute looks.
** Marcia Manon played TheAlcoholic Louise. She had MessyHair and looked like she was in a permanent stupor.
* James Franco donned various prosthetics and put on a wig for his role as Creator/TommyWiseau in ''Film/TheDisasterArtist''. Nonetheless, he still looks far better than [[LooksLikeCesare the real Tommy]].


[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* Big Rhonda on ''Series/That70sShow''. The actress who plays her appeared out of costume in a flash forward once, and looked nothing like Big Rhonda.
* Ana Maria Orozco, the original Betty in ''Series/YoSoyBettyLaFea'', especially when compared with her [[Series/UglyBetty Anglo counterpart]] who was HollywoodHomely at worst. The Colombian producers went the whole nine yards on transforming Orozco: no makeup, bad haircut, the ugliest glasses possible, orthodontics... they even hired an expert to choose specifically the most unflattering colors and styles to dress her, then the writers incorporated that knowledge on the script to justify and explain her eventual makeover and her business plan.
* Creator/AmySedaris is another comedian who is attractive in real life, yet prefers playing unattractive characters. The Creator/DavidSedaris essay "Shiner Like A Diamond" noted how she is easily the most attractive member of the family, yet all her life she enjoyed hiding it under wigs and prosthetics. She has said in interviews as well that she's never comfortable doing straight-up sexy, she can't help but add some sort of goofy element to it. Don't forget her "fatty suit".
* Creator/HelenaBonhamCarter as Morgan in ''Series/{{Merlin 1998}}''. In the first act she is a homely girl with a lazy eye and pigtails, but uses magic to make herself beautiful in order to trip up Arthur. [[spoiler: At the end [[ThisWasHerTrueForm her magic slips away and she is homely again]].]]
* Some well-applied zombie makeup was enough to make the incredibly handsome Creator/JamieBamber look utterly horrible during a guest stint on ''Series/GhostWhisperer''. There's also his appearance on Series/{{House}}, where he starts out looking like his usual gorgeous self, but his looks worsen as his condition does--yellowing skin, bulging eyes, etc--until finally, the sight of him laying on a bed wearing nothing but boxer shorts is completely undercut by the fact ''his skin is peeling off''. Quite jarring considering that he's usually MrFanservice in whatever he's starring in.
* Most of the women on ''Series/OrangeIsTheNewBlack'' are made to look a lot uglier than they do in real life by using a combination of unflattering hairstyles and the ill-fitting prison uniforms, and they in most cases wear a minimal make-up (...which by any logic different than the Hollywood one doesn't make them ''uglier'', but rather shows their faces closer to like they really look). The most literal examples of the trope are Taryn Manning (Pennsatucky) and her character's followers, who are given meth-teeth, bad skin and perpetually messy, dirty hair.
* The microcephalic Pepper in ''Series/AmericanHorrorStoryAsylum'' and ''[[Series/AmericanHorrorStoryFreakShow Freak Show]]'' is played by the beautiful Naomi Grossman.
* In ''Series/ASeriesOfUnfortunateEvents2017'', the murderous, balding grey-haired and perpetually scowling Count Olaf was played by Creator/NeilPatrickHarris.
* For her recurring role as Estelle in ''Series/{{Friends}}'' June Gable wore an unflattering wig, too much jewellery and UncannyValleyMakeUp. She also affected a voice to suggest the agent had been a chain-smoker for years.
* ''Series/OnceUponATime'' Season 5 featured Jennifer Morrison in her Dark One make-up to subvert EvilIsSexy. Even after then, the stress and exhaustion Emma is going through in her TraumaCongaLine is conveyed with make-up to have her look continually weary and tired.
* Larissa does this on an episode of the reality show ''Average Joe'', under a lot of ageing prosthetics to appear like an overweight old woman. She passed herself off as her visiting mother and fooled all the other contestants.
* Creator/RikMayall frequently covered up his PrettyBoy / {{Bishonen}} good looks with grotesque costumes, make-up, and exaggerated expressions for several of his roles in ''Series/TheYoungOnes,'' ''Series/TheComicStripPresents'' and ''{{Series/Bottom}}''. Fellow comedian Andy de la Tour even commented "Rik was a very beautiful man, but in every character he played, he made himself ugly."
* The actresses playing the maids in ''Series/DowntonAbbey'' were dressed down considerably to look plainer and less glamorous than the aristocrats.


[[folder: Professional Wrestling ]]

* When Wrestling/MollyHolly underwent a FaceHeelTurn from a sweet CountryMouse to a SourPrudes, she darkened her hair from blonde to brown and cut it short. She also wore more conservative ring attire to make herself look less attractive.


[[folder: Theater ]]

* Any actress who plays the Witch in ''Theatre/IntoTheWoods'' until the end of the first act. The ultimate example may be Creator/BernadettePeters from the original Broadway production.
* As well as the actors who play the title character in ''Theatre/ThePhantomOfTheOpera'', most of whom are quite handsome in RealLife.