[[quoteright:350:[[Disney/BeautyAndTheBeast http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/belle_paints_beast_8269.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Apparently, ''she'' could learn to love a Beast.]]

->''"That's just something ugly people say."''
--> -- '''Fletcher''', ''Film/LiarLiar''

One of the most common StockAesops out there: We shouldn't judge people based on how they look on the outside but rather how they look on the inside. Looks are a shallow motivator and are almost always wrong.

Many a Betty wins in a BettyAndVeronica LoveTriangle once the guy realizes this Aesop.

Compare BeautyEqualsGoodness and BeautyIsBad. Related to EvilIsSexy. Often paired with UglyHeroGoodLookingVillain.

Contrast with IJustWantToBeBeautiful.


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'': Spoofed/Played With by the flamboyant fraccion Charlotte Cuuhlhourne. He's a LargeHam who accuses his opponent Yumichika (a more reserved {{Narcissist}}) of being mean and lacking "inner beauty" when he refuses to look at him for thinking he's ugly. Despite that, Charlotte's obsession actually lies with external beauty and at the end of the fight gracefully acknowledges the beauty his opponent had been hiding.
* Done in the ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' episode "Pokemon Fashion Flash", though somewhat poorly -- Vulpix is ''not'' a particularly ''un''attractive Pokemon, and yet it's used to prove this point. (Specifically, her trainer cultivating its natural beauty is contrasted with the tacky makeovers Jesse, James, and Meowth are giving other Pokemon.)
* In ''Anime/SmilePrettyCure'', this is the MeaningfulName of Cure Beauty. When confronted with her Bad End form, who boasts that the world is only for the beautiful, she gets back up and retort that this trope is what matters, and true to her name, she will be protecting the beautiful hearts which is inside. Cue ass kicking.
* A mutual version shows up in the backstory of ''Anime/SpacePirateMito'': Fierce space pirate Mito initially dismissed gentle human gardener Kagero as a wussy doormat but came to love him for his caring decency. Kagero continued to love Mito even after she revealed her true alien form. Protagonist Aoi is the HalfHumanHybrid result of their InterspeciesRomance.
* A variant in ''Manga/AnatoliaStory'', where Japanese teen Yuri is transported to the late Hittite Empire and becomes [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mursili_II Prince Kail's]] concubine. While Yuri is fairly attractive by modern standards, by ancient Hittite standards she is very scrawny and plain; indeed she is often mistaken for a young boy at first, leading many characters to wonder what is wrong with Prince Kail that he has fallen in love with someone like her. Invariably, they find themselves smitten with her as well, not because of her looks, but because of her spirit, intelligence, and personality.

* Played with in ''ComicBook/TopTen'': Irma (a plump, middle-aged PoweredArmor-wearing mother of two) and Joe Pi (a robot) discuss human appearance. Joe comments after meeting Irma's family, that he believes that Irma has an inner beauty. She replies "Yeah, I've got kidneys to die for".
* Played with in ''ComicBook/Deadpool'' and the GreatLakesAvengers: Deadpool goes on a date with Big Bertha, and is obviously disappointed when she shows up in her slender form rather than her Big Bertha form. Big Bertha lectures him about how it isn't any better than people who pursue her just because of her slender form's beauty, to which Deadpool replies he's been waiting for someone to say that for a long time - at which point [[BodyHorror he unmasks]]. Cue Big Bertha [[BrownNote vomiting]] from the mere sight of Deadpool's face.

[[folder:Film (Animated)]]
* This appears as AnAesop at the beginning of the Disney version of ''Disney/BeautyAndTheBeast''. A beautiful enchantress changes her form to look like an old woman and is not allowed to stay the night at the castle by the prince. She punishes him for judging her by her appearance (and not providing hospitality) by turning him into the Beast. This trope is supposed to be the overall message of the film, as Belle falls in love with him despite his monstrous appearance -- once he cuts out the actual monstrous ''behavior''. As well, the Beast becoming a good person is contrasted with Gaston, the handsome hero of the village, becoming more and more repulsive and ruthless as the story progresses simply because Belle rejects his advances.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Shrek}}'' did slightly better in that Fiona decided to become an ogre at the end, keeping the trope intact. Of course, she was a rather cute ogre, and was voiced by the even cuter (at the time) Cameron Diaz, which tended to deflate that, especially since Shrek was an ogre and one assumes he finds ogres attractive. [[MarsNeedsWomen Not that it's particularly easy to tell]]. Taking both to their logical conclusion makes this a sort of a reverse "Literature/BeautyAndTheBeast" as it would mean that Shrek first fell in love with Fiona ''despite'' her human appearance once he discovered he and she actually shared a lot of things in common. It just so happens that her human form was one most audiences would consider beautiful.
* Quasimodo of ''Disney/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame'' fits this trope as well. It probably helps that it's from the same directors of ''Disney/BeautyAndTheBeast'' (Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise).
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheHunchbackOfNotreDameBurbankAnimation'', [[spoiler:Esmeralda tells Quasimodo this.]]
* Ludmilla, the BigBad of ''WesternAnimation/BartokTheMagnificent'', ''thinks'' this is true about herself. Then she takes a potion designed to make its user "10 times what they are inside", expecting to be extremely beautiful as a result. [[OneWingedAngel She was WAY off!]]
* ''WesternAnimation/StrangeMagic'': Both Marianne and [[EvilOverlord the Bog King]] are burned by past relationships where they fell in love with somebody because they were good looking. [[spoiler: The two fall in love with each other even though the two are nothing like what they each consider attractive [[note]]Marianne is from a typical good looking fairy race. The Bog King is a insect humanoid and his past love was a frog humanoid.[[/note]] because they are able to look past their different appearances and see similar personalities.]]

[[folder:Film (Live Action)]]
* ''Film/ShallowHal'' has a character cursed with a very literal example of this trope: He is only capable of seeing a person's "true beauty" which, for most of the movie, seems to be personified by Gwyneth Paltrow.
* Oddly not mentioned in ''Film/TheGraduate'', although the beautiful Mrs. Robinson is a depressed alcoholic who cheats on her husband and tries to force her daughter into an unhappy marriage, and Ben (who rescues the daughter) is played by Dustin Hoffman. Then again, Dustin Hoffman was cast at the last minute.
* In ''Marvel One-Shot: Film/AgentCarter'', we find out that Peggy Carter has a photo of Steve in her desk drawer. Not post-serum Captain America, but pre-serum, skinny runt from Brooklyn Steve Rogers. Just goes to show that she fell in love with him long before he became a Super Soldier, unlike the secretary who kisses Captain America just because he's just that - a Super Soldier - in ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger''.
* Used in ''Film/SnowWhiteAndTheHuntsman'' if not addressed directly. The "fairest of them all" in this case refers to Snow White because of her ''inner'' beauty. After years of being locked in a tower by her WickedStepmother, she remains good and kind at heart - her EstablishingCharacterMoment is to comfort another prisoner who's just brought into the tower. This puts her in direct contrast to Ravenna, who drains the youth from innocent women to maintain her great beauty.
* ''Film/TheTenCommandments'': During Nefertiti's attempt to win back Moses' love, she argues that Sephora is not as attractive as her, but Moses tells her that she fails to understand that there is a beauty of spirit.
* ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxyVol2'': Variant. Drax spends the entire film telling Mantis that she is ugly as sin, despite the fact that everyone else considers her a CuteMonsterGirl at absolute worst. Drax assures Mantis that it's better to be ugly; that way if someone loves you, you know it's real, while beautiful people can never be sure.


* Appears in all the "Literature/BeautyAndTheBeast" adaptations as it is the crucial linchpin of the story: Beauty must come to understand that just because beast is a hideous monster doesn't mean he's a bad person. Which is weird considering the fact that in many cases he's been made into a hideous monster specifically because he's a bad person.
** But he's gotten ''better''.

* ''Literature/JenniferMurdleysToad'' by Creator/BruceCoville is about an ugly girl with a nice personality. At the climax of the story she encounters a witch who [[spoiler:offers to turn her "inside out," metaphorically speaking, so that her inner beauty will be on the outside, but upon thinking about this, Jennifer realizes that this would make her ugly on the inside, which she realizes would be worse]]. So she stays outwardly ugly (but a good person).
* ''Literature/DragonQueen'': Trava's father believes this. Then again, he's blind.
* This trope was [[DeconstructedTrope deconstructed]] in one of the ''Literature/{{Spellsinger}}'' books. One of the characters is despondent that a beautiful woman he loves won't even give him the time of day. When the protagonist gives the, "She should see you for what you are on the inside", the despondent character points out that in RealLife, looks '''do''' count. They are part of who you are. It might not be the most important, but they still are something. Not to mention that one of the reasons he wants her in the first place is for her looks, so it would be a DoubleStandard if he wanted her to ignore his ugliness.
* Horrifically subverted in a children's book, in which a young monster who accidentally made a "pretty face" (which was considered horrifyingly ugly by the family) and got stuck with it took her mother's advice "true beauty is on the inside" to the literal extreme and flipped her face inside out.
* Parodied in ''Discworld/{{Jingo}}'' -- Nobby Nobbs, who is so ugly that he has to carry around a paper from the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork stating he is human, complains that women won't date him. Angua points out to him that maybe he should lower his standards, as he shouldn't expect to be able to date the more sought-after women. Nobby eventually settles on a Verity "Hammerhead" Pushpram, an ill-tempered fish seller whose eyes don't face the same direction and who usually reacts to seeing Nobby by [[SlapSlapKiss telling him to bugger off and throwing fish at him]] (because hey, free seafood). When Nobby does land himself a gorgeous girlfriend in a later book, Angua is horrified for her, though fortunately by the end of the book Nobby is back with Verity (largely because she's [[ThroughHisStomach a better cook]]), while Tawneee is cured of [[AttractivenessIsolation "jerk syndrome"]].
** Also parodied in ''Discworld/{{Maskerade}}'', where the plump and plain Agnes Nitt is sick of condescending comments like this, and thinks to herself that boys don't normally fall for an attractive pair of kidneys. It's also played with in that the local standards of attractiveness in her native Lancre (but not in the city the story takes place in) actually favor large women; her main problem is her extreme emotional isolation.
** The end of the book actually suberts the trope, by the end of it Agnes is still looked over for the much more outwardly appealing Chritine, despite the fact that Agnes is clearly the better singer and Christine has a voice like a violin if they'd just tied a cat to it instead of strings.
*** For the most part, though, this is played straight, albeit silently. Most of the people who can be termed "heroes" in this world tend not to be the best lookers.
* OlderThanPrint with ''Literature/TheCanterburyTales'': in the Wife of Bath's tale, the DesignatedHero knight of the story finds himself wedded to a smart woman with a great personality -- who's also a terribly ugly crone. She catches on to his distress and delivers this Aesop to him (along with a few others regarding wealth and noble birth), and then offers him a choice: as an enchantress, she could make herself young and beautiful, but then he'd always have to risk her sleeping around with his friends -- or she could remain old and ugly, but be the best wife he could possibly ask for. His choice. He [[spoiler: [[TakeAThirdOption humbly says that the choice is up to her]], and she, delighted that he's learned how to respect her, announces that she will be both beautiful ''and'' faithful. And they all life HappilyEverAfter]].
** This enchantress has appeared in many legends and is known as the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loathly_lady Loathly Lady]].
* [[DiscussedTrope Discussed]] in Creator/AnneBronte's ''Literature/AgnesGrey''.
* In ''Literature/HarryPotter'', [[FrenchJerk Fleur]] [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold Delacour]] [[spoiler:says that Bill's scars just show how heroic he is. [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming She still wants to marry him, no matters how he looks]]]].
* [[ShrinkingViolet Ruth Mallory]] of ''Literature/SomeoneElsesWar'' is very ugly and treated poorly by the army for it. [[KnightInSourArmor Matteo]] likes her so much that he literally can't see her ugliness.
* Played with a horrific twist in ''Duckling Ugly.'' Cara is a nice enough person on the inside, but she is so ugly that she is tormented by everyone around her, even being nicknamed "the Flock's Rest Monster". Then she goes to a magical place called De Leon and while there, becomes beautiful via the Fountain of Youth. It would have ended right there with her happily ever after if she hadn't decided to [[spoiler:go back to Flock's Rest and take sadistic delight in punishing the AlphaBitch by stealing her boyfriend and then using magic to make her ugly. This activated a curse on ''Cara'' that [[WalkingWasteland made everyone and everything around her ugly while she remained beautiful.]]]]
* In Creator/EdgarRiceBurroughs's ''[[Literature/JohnCarterOfMars Master Mind of Mars]]'', Valla Dia reconciles herself with her ugly new form with this thought; she was beautiful before only if she had a beautiful soul, and if so, she can go on.
* Occurs in the Dick King Smith short story ''Baldilocks & the Six Bears''. A bald fairy goes on a quest to gain hair and when he finds out the only way to do that is to kill a bear, melt it down and rub the grease on his head - he can't bring himself to do it. Beforehand he'd kept bumping into a red haired fairy who he describes as having a kind face but not being particularly beautiful. At the end when he admits that he refused to go through with killing the bear, the other fairies mock him. The redhead fairy on the other hand says she's proud of him and likes his bald head. The narration then says that Baldilocks sees that she doesn't just have a kind face; she is beautiful.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'':
** King Renly Baratheon, Lady Catelyn Stark and Lady Olenna Tyrell are among the very few individuals in this CrapsackWorld who can look past Brienne of Tarth's unappealing physique and see her inner beauty. Ironically, the person who probably knows this best is a man who should be her enemy, Jaime Lannister.
** Sam Tarly is definitely more overweight than the rest of the main cast, and yet he is one of the nicest, most loyal, and trusted people in the series.
** Tyrion is a good example - nowhere near as attractive as his siblings, nor anywhere near as morally declined.
* ''Series/UglyBetty'' is about this trope. At least, that's what the critics said when it debuted, as well as what America Ferrera said at an awards ceremony not long after the show debuted. But not very many actual episodes of the show mention this trope, and the eponymous character (Betty Suarez, played by America Ferrera) is usually treated as if nothing is wrong with her. Hooray for CharacterDevelopment!
** Amanda and Mark continue to throw in snide comments about Betty's weight/glasses/braces/clothes throughout the series, even after she bonds with them as they have to maintain their mean and beautiful status. What really undermines the trope is America Ferrara's HollywoodHomely-ness. She was never obese in the first place (despite all the "plus-sized girl" comments Amanda & Co like to make) and lost weight over the course of the show, finally getting to the point where Betty's "ugliness" really is an InformedFlaw.
*** To be fair, the show takes place in the high fashion industry. Compared to [[NothingButSkinAndBones them]], she would be considered pudgy.
* This is the premise behind the RealityShow ''True Beauty''. Specifically, contestants believe they are competing in a show where they are being judged on their "outer" beauty, but are in fact being evaluated on their "inner" beauty and how they interact with other people.
* In ''Series/DoctorWho'', during the episode, "The Girl Who Waited," Amy Pond had an absolutely ''beautiful'' speech about this regarding her husband [[http://images2.fanpop.com/image/photos/12700000/Rory-Vampires-in-Venice-rory-williams-12748792-500-281.jpg Rory,]] whose nose and general adorable awkwardness made a few people think that Amy might be a step or two out of his league (This was before he took his multiple levels in badass.) Then she says this:
-->'''Amy''': You know when sometimes you meet someone so beautiful and then you actually talk to them and five minutes later they're as dull as a brick? Then there's other people, when you meet them you think, "Not bad. They're okay." And then you get to know them and... and their face just sort of becomes them. Like their personality's written all over it. And they just turn into something so beautiful. Rory's the most beautiful man I've ever met.
* ''Series/SabrinaTheTeenageWitch'' does a Beauty & the Beast type episode. Cousin Susie visits and turns Harvey into a beast when she realises how much emphasis Sabrina places on looks. After failing to get Susie to reverse the spell, Sabrina eventually opts to just spend time with Harvey. She still has fun anyway and realises that she doesn't care what he looks like; she loves him for who he is. Cue Cousin Susie delivering the trope name and turning Harvey back.
* The short-lived reality TV dating show ''Mr. Personality'' had the premise that a woman would choose a prospective husband from a number of men who would all wear masks around her so that she would judge them based only on their personality instead of their looks. However, ''all'' of the men being HollywoodHomely at worst turned this premise into one gigantic BrokenAesop.

* Music/MichaelJackson's ''[[Film/MichaelJacksonsGhosts Ghosts]]'' short film tried to impart this moral as well as disprove LonersAreFreaks. Jackson played two characters at odds with each other -- a Mayor and the mysterious Maestro (really, Jackson himself) -- and stated in the making-of documentary that the Mayor's problem was his inability to see a person's inner beauty; just because a person looks and acts strange doesn't mean they're bad. But it's a BrokenAesop -- Maestro is a JerkSue and the Mayor himself is presented as an AcceptableTarget: a fat, middle-aged white guy whose concern over [[Main/RealitySubtext young boys secretly meeting up with Maestro for ghost stories]] is seen as merely bigotry against anyone who's different.
* It's a well-treaded Aesop, but it [[SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped still bears repeating]] and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXSkd8apbWM "More Beautiful You" by Johnny Diaz]] does it in a rather heartwarming way, telling young women that they were put here for a special purpose, and as such, nothing they change on the outside could make them more beautiful than they already are. [[note]]Yeah, it's a Christian song, but give it a shot anyway, won't you?[[/note]] And as a bonus, the video even shows the two young ladies' "flaws" being photoshopped away to help make the point that the standard of beauty promoted by popular media doesn't actually exist.
* "Beauty Is Only Skin Deep" by TheTemptations.
* ''Morgenstern'' by Music/{{Rammstein}}: A guy is begging the morning star to shine upon his ugly girlfriend to make her beautiful. Instead the star shines upon himself and he sees her with his heart and realizes that she really is beautiful.

* ''ComicStrip/{{Dilbert}}'' [[http://www.dilbert.com/fast/1998-02-14/ satirizes this]].
-->'''Dogbert''': I realized that what's inside a person doesn't count because no one can see it.

* From ''Literature/TheBible'': a message to wives and women in 1st Peter 3:3-4:
-->''Do not let your adorning be the outward adorning of braiding the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine clothing. But let it be the hidden nature of the heart, that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.''

* ''Theatre/ThePhantomOfTheOpera'' inverts this. The Phantom believes that it's his deformity that prevents Christine from loving him and when he abducts her at the end of the play, taunts her about how she's doomed to spend an eternity with a deformed freak like him. She coolly and calmly tells him that she's not longer repulsed by his mangled face, for, "it's in your soul that the true distortion lies". As in, she ''could'' have loved him, malformation and all, had he not been such a murderous psychopath. In the sequel ''Theatre/LoveNeverDies'', however, this trope is played straight with songs like "Look With Your Heart" and "The Beauty Underneath" and the revelation that [[spoiler: she realized the ''murderous psychopath'' was the man she truly loved too late; when offered the chance to choose him again, she does so]].
** Played straight in the [[Series/ThePhantomOfTheOpera 1990 miniseries]]. Although Christine initially faints at the sight of the Phantom's face, she gets over it and by the movie's end, is able to remove his mask and kiss him without flinching, showing that she knows he's a good person deep down. (Even though while he isn't nearly as bad as his theatrical incarnation, he still murders several people who dare to venture into his lair and terrorizes Carlotta much in the same way as he did in the show.)
* Theatre/CyranoDeBergerac, the WarriorPoet with the big nose, is [[GrumpyBear too cynical]] to believe people actually believe this, despite what everyone else in the play tells him. Nevertheless, he invokes this trope at Act I Scene IV when Viscount De Valvert mocks his [[ImpoverishedPatrician poor clothes]]:
-->'''Cyrano''': True; all my elegances are within.

* The ending of ''Webcomic/ZombieAndMummy'' episode [[http://www.zombie-and-mummy.org/go/to/beauty_salon.html "...Go to Beauty Salon"]].
* In ''Webcomic/{{Sinfest}}'', [[http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=2887 Slick assures Monique she will still have her inner figure in her old age -- like inner beauty, but sexier.]]
* ''Webcomic/TheInexplicableAdventuresOfBob:'' The alien Nemesites believe this. Because their natural lifespan is about two thousand years, their sex drive doesn't amount to much, otherwise "our numbers would flood the sky." But they can still feel loneliness and may fall in love with members of other species, based purely on their personalities.
* ''Webcomic/SequentialArt'': Art's comment on Hilary and Kat's respective appeals basically boils down to this; Hilary is gorgeous, but she's a petty, vindictive bitch with no redeeming qualities beyond her sex appeal. Kat is just as gorgeous, if less garish about it, but she is a decent person whose bad side only comes out as a defensive reaction to Hilary's abuse. Art implies that Hilary is jealous of Kat for being the better person of the two, and that Kat is ultimately more attractive because of her better personality.

* [[http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8r79Bokqeww This YouTube video]] depicts a cartoon duck [[LiteralMinded turning himself inside out so that he could be appreciated more]].

* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' jokes about this when Bart and Milhouse become [[Series/MythBusters Myth Crackers]].
-->'''Bart:''' Legend has it that if you go all the way around the swingset, you turn inside-out.
-->'''Milhouse:''' Finally, my beauty will be on the outside!
* Done ''beautifully'' in the ''WesternAnimation/JohnnyBravo'' episode "To Helga and Back" where Johnny orders what is essentially a [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar mail-order bride]]. Of course what he gets is ''hideous'' and all he wants is to get rid of her. He drags her to places like the monster truck rally and pro-wrestling trying to drive her away, but it turns out she's into all that stuff as well and falls for him harder. After everything is said and done, he has an epiphany about how "she isn't pretty, and she doesn't smell too good", but comes to the realization that she's the perfect woman for him and decides her looks don't mean anything. Unfortunately this leads to him trying to woo her with his ''typical'' Bravo charm, which [[StatusQuoIsGod very promptly disgusts her and makes her dump him]]. Poor guy.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' episode "It Isn't the Mane Thing About You", Rarity wastes a day angsting over her ruined mane before realizing that, by "shin[ing] from the inside out", she can still come across as beautiful (with a little help from a punk rock vest and mohawk hair weave).

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Creator/DustinHoffman realized this when preparing for ''Film/{{Tootsie}}''. When made-up to look like a woman, Hoffman asked the make up artist to make him look more beautiful. The artist told him that's as good as he was going to look. Looking at himself as a woman he had an epiphany. In an AFI interview in 2002 he tearfully admitted there were too many interesting women he ignored before that moment because they didn't fit the standard of beauty that society had instilled in him.