The Beautiful Elite aren't just beautiful. Their whole life is beautiful. They are more fashionable than anyone else, more sophisticated and charming than anyone else, and are usually fabulously rich. Their clothes are all way too expensive for you to ever own. They almost always live in a Big Fancy House that is so clean and well organized they look like they are Living in a Furniture Store.
Most of the time they simply fell into this status. In many cases, they are of royal descent, of divine descent, or at least belonging to some sort of lesser nobility. If they weren't born to the upper crust, they have managed to become a part of it. More likely than not, they have been educated in elite private schools. The Beautiful Elite rarely have to work hard at anything. In many cases, they don't have to work at all, but if they do have a job, it will be just as glamorous as the rest of their lives.
And to make all of this worse, those who don't rub it in, are so gracious about it that one has to wonder whether their unparalleled humility isn't just one more way they're better than you.
Don't always count on Beauty Equals Goodness. Sometimes Beauty Is Bad, and they spend their time plotting to torment the poor, decent average folk like (maybe) you and me.
To some degree, this tends to be Truth in Television. In most societies, wealth, success and attractiveness are highly correlated: The wealthy have much greater access to resources that improve their own appearance; the attractive have much greater access to material success, whether through marriage or career opportunities; and, more often than not, it's the higher classes or castes of a given society who get to enjoy both the greatest wealth and the privilege of defining what's considered "beautiful" to begin with.
Expected in Bishoujo Series. See also Bishōnen. Not to be confused with The Fair Folk, although they're often an Inhumanly Beautiful Race. Contrast Beauty Is Never Tarnished and Unkempt Beauty.
Too Good To Be True:
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Anime and Manga
Trinity Blood. Being Perpetually Broke has never looked so good, and it must feel great being a Church Militant wearing such elaborate and sexy garments - though Abel's robe gets torn off all the time, Tres is a bullet wall and Esther isn't immune to wounds either. The vampires are of course uncannily beautiful, being vampires and all, but so are almost all the human characters (see more in the evil part of the trope). Caterina has the complete dashing beauty + regal paraphernalia in addition to Regal Ringlets.
Lampshaded in Black Butler with the Phantomhive family. In fact, chapter 32 (which was entirely about the backstory of the Phantomhive family) is titled "Beautiful People." To quote Baron Kelvin:
"White porcelain skin like a bisque doll, beautiful hair, big eyes like diamonds, a youthful body. I will become something else. It doesn't matter if my ugly wife leaves me. I will be beautiful with a beautiful life. I will be suitable for him."
Pretty much every person in the series is beautiful, save for some of the males like Baron Kelvin, Georg von Siemens, Jumbo, Lord Arthur Randall, Azzurro Vanel, Fred Aberline, Damian, and Doctor.
Exemplified in Star Driver. Every single character, not just the main characters, is beyond beautiful (even, nay, especially the men). There's a reason why the main character of the series is called the "Galactic Pretty Boy".
Most of the cast of Fruits Basket. Mostly applicable to the Sohma family however, who are all incredibly good-looking, rich, and mysterious (to the point at which one person asks if their good looks are a genetic trait). On the other hand, the good looks aren't always a good thing, as proven by Yuki (who is constantly either mistaken for a girl or forced into dressing like one for his lovesick fans).
It's justified with the Sohmas, since most of the Sohmas in the main cast are supernatural. Apparently being possessed by a Zodiac spirit makes you better-looking.
Subverted in Yamada Taro Monogatari, in which the eponymous Yamada Tarou is so amazingly beautiful that everyone in his school believes that he has to also be rich, noble, and a candidate for princehood. Tarou, who has more practical concerns, uses Valentine's Day chocolate as 'emergency rations' for his six hungry siblings.
The vast majority of the significant cast in Hanasakeru Seishounen. They're all so regal that even when the situation is funny they stay in bishounen/bishojo mode! And then you have the occasional normal looking character (Gonk by comparision).
Infinite Stratos. All IS pilots have snazzy school uniforms, a 5 star hotel grade dormitories, pimping mecha suit, and of course, look very good.
The mangaka Chi-Ran never draws anyone in any other manner than a) very beautiful and b) very feminine, whether they're male or female, major or minor; they live in pretty surroundings too, whether mansions or nightclubs.
This is one of the complaints that the Morlocks - a community of sewer-dwelling mutants - and especially their leader Callisto and flesh-shaper Masque had about the X-Men. The X-Men - self-appointed ambassadors of the mutant community - are almost all powerful and attractive (even the inhuman-looking ones wouldn't have much trouble getting a date) and live in a mansion (or they did when the Morlocks were around), while the Morlocks were all freakish (some due to the afore-mentioned flesh-shaper) outcasts who lived in a sewer, relatively few of which had impressive powers. They accuse the X-Men of being elitist snobs who have a "but not TOO mutant" policy toward new recruits.
In Attack of the Clones Padme can be seen having an intellectual discussion, using proper grammar, while sitting in a green field against a waterfall and dressed in a golden summer gown.
The Twilightfilm series introduces us to the gorgeous Cullens, who are an altogether different breed. As the "saga" progresses so does our view of just how very well off the family is. Their designer clothing, collection of imported/armoured automobiles, a patriarch with centuries of medical experience, their beautiful home, the magazine worthy dream wedding, and private island honeymoon clue us in to just how beautiful and elite life as a vampire can be.
In the dystopian sci-fi film In Time, the rich people from New Greenwich, due to their being able to afford the time and luxury to live refined lives, embody this trope.
George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire makes heavy use of this trope; an unrealistically-high proportion of the Great Houses of Westeros seems to consist of glamorous, insanely gorgeous men and women. The leading examples of this trope are the royal House Targaryen and the House Lannister. Although more often then not, this trope is pointedly deconstructed and subverted throughout the series. It should be noted that A Song of Ice and Fire is also full of people and settings that are the exact opposite of this trope.
House Targaryen is famous for its sons and daughters possessing - according to Martin - a striking, almost inhuman beauty; including hair like silver-and-gold beaten together and eyes either of pale lilac or deep indigo - or somewhere in along the spectrum, but always violet. Queen Daenerys I Targaryen is hailed as a great beauty at the age of thirteen and her eldest brother - Prince Rhaegar Targaryen - was regarded, before his untimely death, as the most handsome man alive in all of Westeros with the potential to be a great king. Even the profoundly narcissistic Cersei Lannister admitted that Rhaegar made her own twin brother and lover - the fantastically good-looking Jaime - look decidedly plain in comparison. Before being overthrown and exiled, the Targaryens ruled the Seven Kingdoms and reserved for themselves alone the right to wed brother-to-sister and name the offspring of these unions as heirs. They also built a mighty castle to live-in and rule the kingdom from and at one point were demi-god badasses who rode dragons into battle. Blood Magic also runs strong in the Targaryen family. Daenerys used her blood magic to hatch her petrified dragon eggs.
House Lannister is the richest and most glamorous of the Great Houses, drawing its immense wealth from native gold and silver mines. Lord Tywin Lannister - the family patriarch - is regarded as the greatest man alive of his time. Tywin first made a name for himself crushing a rebellious lesser House, and his subsequent tenure as the Hand of the Mad King Aerys II Targaryen brought two decades of unprecedented peace and prosperity to Westeros - things only went downhill after he resigned from his post. His children include the "Golden Twins", Cersei and Jaime Lannister - a queen and a knight respectively, and the baby and fan-favorite, Tyrion Lannister - a ferociously clever and highly-sympathetic dwarf.
Other noteworthy examples include; Sansa Stark, Margaery Tyrell, Loras Tyrell, Arianne Martell, and Renly Baratheon.
Noldor Elves in the J. R. R. Tolkien's works. To err is human, but to really screw things up requires an Elf.
Most of the vampires in the Twilight series follow this trope, but especially the Cullens. All the Cullens are described as being impossibly beautiful with Edward being metaphorically referred to as a god. All of them have at least one Cool Car and several college degrees. They also possess extreme wealth from years of compound interest and knowing someone able to predict stock market trends. Ordinary High School Student Bella often despairs because she can't find anything that Edward is bad at. It's implicit that this is almost a side effect- when you finally meet an ordinary looking vampire, it's because in life, he was really, incredibly ugly.
Anne Rice. All of her vampires, but especially Louis, Armand and, of course, Lestat are gorgeous and rich. This whole trend is heavily subverted with Near Dark, where the vampires tend to be grimey, travel around in camper vans and almost definitely steal their clothes from the people they kill.
Of course most of the above were chosen as vampires mainly for their looks, and they had money because they stole it; Lestat turned Louis at least partially because he had good stable wealth, and needed a nice place to care for his elderly human father.
Inverted in the Australian school comedy Hating Alison Ashley by Robin Klein (later made into a play and film), where the beautiful and talented Alison is a genuinely nice person, but the 'ordinary' protagonist persists in believing she's a snob who's constantly showing off her superiority.
The Clique. The Pretty Committee, the titular Clique, are described with lavish prose down to their accessories and the brand names of their cell phones—and, mind you, these are seventh graders.
The Clackers and assorted fashionistas in The Devil Wears Prada. Of course, this comes at the cost of being shallow and obsessed with fashion and dieting to the point of neurosis.
The Koryon [Korean] royal court in Bones of the Hill is described in such a manner - the Koreans are all incredibly good-looking and exotic, the gardens are gorgeous, and the wall hangings and decorations are spectacular. Of course, that scene is told from Chagatai's Point of View; since this is probably the first time Chagatai has been in a building other than a tent or fort, it's only natural for him to be awed.
Deconstructed in The Great Gatsby, a classic novel that starts off by showing all the glamor of the rich, then revealing the ugly truths behind why some of them are this way.
During the first few chapters of War and Peace, there are various beautiful ladies hanging around a beautiful people party, where all the other beautiful people notice them being beautiful even in relation to their beautiful-to-begin-with-selves, and in fact whatever they do must be accompanied by a beautiful description of how beautifully beautiful they are, and their beautiful dresses, and the beautiful way they do their graceful beautiful beauty walk, and overall their beautifully beautiful beauty, lest you for a second forget what these ladies' apparent defining characteristic is. And also, you're drunk.
The good guys in Ayn Rand novels. Example: John Galt from Atlas Shrugged is a brilliant enough scientist to rewrite the laws of physics, a brilliant enough engineer to build a perpetual motion device using his discoveries, a brilliant enough philosopher and orator to Author Filibuster on  for HOURS, and a brilliant enough leader to get every industrialist on Earth to join a utopian society of his own creation. Also, he's incorruptible. And torture proof. And every word of his physical description is dripping with swooning adoration.
Kyle from Beastly. As Lindy says, "Ten out of ten shallow high school girls surveyed would agree you're perfect." He's also fabulously wealthy thanks to his father being a huge media reporter and can date any girl in his school. Deconstructed, however, as even before the witch Kendra tells Kyle that he's ugly on the inside where it matters most and curses him to become ugly on the outside too, it's implied that he's not really happy because his "perfect" life is a shallow one and his father doesn't give him any real attention or love.
In Death: Some of the characters, particularly the rich ones like Roarke, end up in this trope. Then there are characters who are average-looking, or just ugly-looking.
The 'haut' caste of the Cetagandan Empire fulfill this trope in every detail.
A Series of Unfortunate Events: Both the Baudelaires and the Quagmires used to be this, but their house burned down in a terrible fire, killing their parents and leaving the children to have to fend for themselves amidst their evil relative trying to steal their fortune.
Song at Dawn:Inverted. Alienor's high class ladies-in-waiting are more or less parasites in too much make up while Dragonetz' lower class soldiers are all described as handsome and gallant.
The citizens of the Capitol from The Hunger Games. While the rest of the Panem districts are on the brink of starvation, the Capitol expends its wealth on extravagant parties consuming as much food as possible, and even drinking emetic beverages to induce vomiting so they can continue eating.
Friends is one of the most famous examples, where the supposedly middle-class friends have apartments that only the richest people in Manhattan could afford in real life, and everyone looks awfully good.
See also just about every other "young single people living in the city" sitcom of the last two decades.
In The Cosby Show, nobody wore the same outfit twice, everyone's hair was perfect when they woke up, and the parents were overachievers who could catch up on twenty tasks before breakfast. In fairness, the parents in question were a doctor and a lawyer, so money was probably not a problem, but they should have had a lot heavier demands on their time.
Gilmore Girls Lorelai says of her family's lifestyle that "These people live in a universe where they feel entitled to get what they want, when they want it, and they don't care who's in their way..." They'll dress in gown and tux whenever they get the chance or talk about their boarding school experiences.
The Comics Curmudgeon website refers to the Judge Parker cast as "The Pretty People Posse" who, in spite of doing virtually nothing (even by realistic serial-strip standards), routinely get huge sums of money dropped into their lap.
All main characters in Noblesse - especially the nonhuman characters who live with Rai. It gets very funny when one of the characters (a young, spoiled idol) visits school bringing her famous "handsome" boyfriend, only for a bunch of her friends to dismiss him as "average" and "not so good looking." She's pissed off, until she gets a glimpse of the people they've been hanging out with - M21 and especially Rai.
The Goodkinds of the Whateley Universe, particularly Phase's big sister Heather Goodkind who chose not to go into the family business and instead has 'worked' as a supermodel and a Hollywood actress. Apparently, Phase's mother Helen Hilton-Goodkind counts as well.
The Castlevania series received a makeover with more beautiful characters for both heroes and villains, males and females, courtesy of character artist Ayami Kojima. Her art is associated with Team IGA's tites, which started with Castlevania Symphony Of The Night.
The cast in Beverly Hills Teens are all insanely rich and good looking, the only exception is Bianca who is total self centered snob.
Dream World Examples
Mount Olympus, with it's inhumanly-beautuiful behaviorally-chaotic inhabitants, is one of the prototypes for this trope. Which makes it Older Than Feudalism. There were some exceptions among the Olympians, however, such as Hephaestus, who was scorned for his ugliness.
The Zeerust World of Tomorrow from the 1930s-1950s, (Up to the early-60s The Jetsons) with shiny new Crystal Spires and Togas and not a speck of dirt anywhere — in some cases, not even on the ground (which is artificial).
Just look at any illustrated advertisement from The Fifties. Good God, we should be so lucky! Those ads had you believe that women wore the most glamourous makeup all the time, and that men had impeccable hair, dimples, and teeth - and, of course, everyone was always in a really good mood. Compare those with actual photographs from the 1950s, and you'll see the tremendous toll that an era when plastic surgery and physical fitness were still at a premium took on the appearance of certain people.
Dawson's Creek is a different sort of dream world: an absurdly picturesque town by the shining crystal lake. Everyone is not only too beautiful, but more romantic than anyone living, and everyone talks in a language that sounds more beautiful than standard English, but doesn't really count as English. Combined with the soundtrack, it really does feel like a televised dream. The better class of dream, obviously, not the kind with the scissor man chasing you or the bottomless moebius pits.
Sex and the City takes place in a fantasy version of upper-class Manhattan that appeals to the materialism in everyone. The main characters have absurdly easy but nonetheless well-paying jobs that give them time to be glamorous, have wild love lives, and own more shoes than Imelda Marcos.
Zoey 101 may be the pinnacle of this trope. It takes place in a preppy boarding school that...actually, preppy doesn't begin to describe it. The indoor scenes are more like "rainbow technicolor fairy land." Multi-colored glass, rainbow knick-knacks, Rube Goldberg gadgets that run on nonsensoleum...and that's just the backgrounds. The characters all look perfect, including the pair of Hollywood Homely girls, even when they brush their teeth without a mirror (as demonstrated in one episode). Everything is so bright that wearing dark clothes on this show is a notable personality trait.
House: When Dr. House is in a coma hallucinating his team, they're all dressed in absurdly stylish clothing throughout the hallucination.
Anime and Manga
Siegfried's Contra Mundi team in the Trinity Blood manga. Perfect skins, stylish, expensive Nazi uniforms and haircuts, and ohmygod, he sparkles!. (Then Cain shows up naked and ruins the effect. Nice butt, though.)
Subverted in Umineko: When They Cry. The Ushiromiya household is filthy rich, composed of good-looking people with astonishingly good fashion sense and... well, pretty. That is, until the murders start. The first incident of the series consists of 6 people locked in a shed with their faces almost completely gone. Beauty Is Never Tarnished, this is not. And one or more of them may be the culprit...
Averted with Hideyoshi and George, who are overweight and not especially attractive, but played straight with the rest of the main cast, excluding non-Ushiromiyas.
Revolutionary Girl Utena may be the peak of the evil version. Utena's school is literally a palace, complete with royal gardens, and the marble walls are draped in roses and ivy. Everyone is beautiful and has their closet packed with skeletons. It is, deliberately, a more extreme version of almost any portrayal of royal courts on television.
Just about every character in Gankutsuou is beautiful and either endured some trauma in their past or will in their present life.
Vampire Hunter D where most of the Nobles and Dhampyrs are inhumanly beautiful, but hide predatory instincts behind their suave demeanour. One of the novels mentions that even the most kind-hearted Noble can't spend more than three days in the presence of a human without succumbing to the desire to drink their blood.
Pegasus J. Crawford and Siegfried von Schroider of Yu-Gi-Oh! are both impossibly rich, intellectual and glamorous. Unfortunately, they're also very unhappy with their lives.
Sailor Moon: The villains of the second season, the Black Moon clan, are all rather beautiful and seem to lead very dignified lifestyles. Special mention goes to Esmeraude, who is repeatedly seen in fancy clothes. The only one who does not abide by this lifestyle, is finally revealed as the Big Bad.
The highest-ranking members of society in In Time, are very good looking and rich. In the film, everybody stops aging physically at 25.
Seconds depicts a elderly man who pays to literally be remade as one of the Beautiful People; in a nice touch, post-transformation he is played by Rock Hudson. It doesn't work out very well.
The Stepford Wives takes place in a Town with a Dark Secret where the women and their houses look too good to be true...and are. Notable in that the people who run the town, the Men's Association, are the only things that are ugly.
"Beautiful Dirty Rich" by Lady Gaga seems to be about people of this nature. Many other examples from Lady Gaga have also appeared in her work, most notably "Paparazzi". The video takes place in a nice looking mansion, but during the Talky Bookend part Gaga is thrown off a balcony by her boyfriend. It gets worse from there on out, as there are repeated shots of models' corpses throughout the video, among other things, and at the end Gaga gets revenge on her boyfriend by poisoning his drink.
Marilyn Manson's Concept AlbumAntichrist Superstar features a race of beautiful, superior beings who lord over the oppressed masses. The story is told from the perspective of "Wormboy", a downtrodden Muggle who seeks to join the ranks of these Ubermenschian overlords and become the titular Antichrist Superstar. There's actually a song on the album entitled "The Beautiful People" (the original name of this trope).
David Bowie's "Oh! You Pretty Things" tells the story of a perfect next generation, homo superior, who will discard and destroy the current population of humanity.
Brave New World is one of the most famous examples. A Dystopia where everyone is raised to be a Stepford Smiler, and everyone looks twenty years old (except the Epsilons, the lowest caste; they are barely human).
In Scott Westerfeld's book Pretties everyone gets turned phenomenally beautiful at age sixteen, but given brain lesions, so that they're all the same and follow the herd.
In William King's Warhammer 40000Space Wolf novel Wolfblade, the House of Belisarius is like this. They even provide this kind of luxury for the Wolfblades, their Space Wolf bodyguards. The factional fighting is something else again, as well.
Averted with Inari Raith, Thomas' little sister. Cute, but not blinding, jaw-droppingly beautiful like Lara, although that's only because she is still human. It is shown in the same book that teenaged Thomas was, while not ugly, slightly overweight and had a "squint that suggested a need for glasses." So becoming a White Court vampire literally makes you one of the beautiful people.
Treacherous Beautiful People often figure in the novels of Sidney Sheldon, dating back to his breakthrough hit The Other Side of Midnight and villainess Noelle Page, a poor French girl who clawed her way to the top by utilizing her beauty. Good Beautiful People exist too, but usually are the targets of the bad ones.
Terry Pratchett's novel Lords and Ladies features the exceptionally beautiful Fair Folk who are described as evil, violent sociopaths. They get away with it because they are so beautiful that people don't think they're good enough to stop them.
The beauty turns out just to be a glamour field though - to anyone that can see through it, they look vaguely feline and not especially attractive at all.
Almost any portrayal of royal courts on television. In the polar opposite of The Dung Ages, royal courts from ancient Rome to the Tudors to Louis XIV are often portrayed as places where everyone is a scheming courtier in Gorgeous Period Dress who has everything —looks, brains, charm — except a soul. This requires completely ignoring the uglier parts of historical court life. For instance, Louis XIV's Versailles was beautiful, but it was incredibly uncomfortable and unhygienic. (Courtiers sometimes used the stairwells as lavatories.)
The Twilight Zone episode, "Number 12 Looks Just Like You", may have been inspired by Brave New World. (It was based on a Charles Beaumont story.) The future Dystopia in which the story is set forces its people to undergo an operation that makes them beautiful and ditzy. (Said people are only allowed to choose from a small number of idealized forms for their new bodies - which is why except for the main character until she goes through the operation at the end all the roles in the episode are played by only three people - and thus have to wear nametags in order to identify each other.)
The '70s TV movie The Girl Most Likely To... is about a smart, homely, overweight girl who enters college and is routinely tormented by the beautiful people. Driven to the brink, she ends up in a major car crash. After months of hospitalization with her jaw wired shut and extensive reconstructive surgery, she emerges slim and beautiful. Returning to college unrecognized, she gets close to her tormentors, who regard her as one of them...and starts killing them off one by one.
The Bretonnian Knights in Warhammer Fantasy. They are brave, noble, courageous killing machines living off the sweat of the peasants bearing 90% taxes on them.
Dark Eldar in Warhammer40000. Tall, pale and beautiful, but also complete sociopaths who literally feed on pain and suffering. Their Craftworld cousins are slightly more benevolent, in that they won't kill you for fun (but will kill you if you have any reason to do so).
A lot of Elite class in the Imperium society, and plenty of military commanders look down on the regular Red Shirt Guardsmen, viewing them as mere Cannon Fodder.
Subverted with one of their Bloodlines, the Carnival - an entire bloodline of sideshow freaks. Imagine having the hungers and desires of someone who could trade entirely on their looks, but looking like you just crawled out of an auto wreck.
The Fairest from Changeling The Lost; the name of the group literally derives from Fairest of Them All, and they pretty much embody The Beautiful Elite - complete with its darker aspects. They were kept largely for either sex or decoration by the Gentry, and they get the ability to use magic to enhance their presence and their ability to manipulate and persuade, along with a Contract called Vainglory which at high levels simultaneously makes them inhumanly beautiful and utterly terrifying even if they weren't to start with (and many are). Meanwhile, they pay for it by having an extra hard time with their Clarity (simultaneous Karma Meter and Sanity Meter) because they and those around them tend to mistakenly believe that Beauty Equals Goodness even when they're subverting it like mad.
Genius The Transgression: There are a group of people who are better, faster and stronger than any normal human has a right to be. They also look damn hot. They're genetically modified Nazi fanatics grown in vats. Avoid them.
The Excrucians of Nobilis are this trope. Achingly graceful in motion, soul-churningly beautiful in appearance, hauntingly melodic in speech... And out to unmake reality on such a fundamental level that even those who aim to merely destroy it must oppose them.
Many of the Exalted are like this, particularly ones old enough to reach a permanent Essence rating of 6 or higher (who can thus raise their Appearance stat to beyond-human levels). Abyssal Exalted, unless they are so horrifically ugly that their Appearance is permanently 0, actually have to become this as they grow stronger.
Orion's Arm: While genetic modifications can give pretty much anyone who chooses this status by modern standards, Clade Labela stands out as an extreme example since their mandatory scarcity make them all the more attractive.
In the "Sweet and Elite" episode, the characters Jet Set and Upper Crust are in possession of very high fashion. Too bad they frown on anyone considered less than their standards. The only person considered to be of higher tastes is Fancy Pants, and the two take every opportunity to accept what is to his liking, even Rarity, who they previously mocked.
PrincessMiAmoreCadenza, better known as simply Cadance, is the subversion. When we first see her in the present, she seems a bit of a Jerkass, but it's subverted by the fact that it's an impostor. The real Cadance is just as nice and friendly as she was seen in Twilight's flashbacks.
Family Guy: Connie D'Amico considers herself to be the most beautiful girl at James Woods High School.