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Good Girl Gone Bad

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"Easy for a good girl to go bad, and once we gone, best believe that we've gone forever."
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She is adorable, sweet, nice, good-hearted... your stereotypical good girl. Until that fateful day. Abduction, murder, rape, any kind of violence. You name it. The nice, good girl goes through an event (or series of events) that changes her character and shapes her to the way she is now.

And now she's a bad, bad girl.

They come in various different flavors. Sometimes they're simply an Ice Queen. Other times, they are worse. Many female villains tend to be good girls gone bad.

Subtrope of Face–Heel Turn. Not to be confused with Good Bad Girl, which is more about a woman with a reputation for being 'bad' who is actually a good person. May also relate to Used to Be a Sweet Kid, Corrupt the Cutie, Unstable Powered Woman, Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds, Woman Scorned.

Due to this trope often being used as a plot twist, be wary of potential unmarked spoilers.

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In-Universe Examples Only:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Elfen Lied:
    • Kaede, commonly known as Lucy. She was nice and sweet, until a group of orphans beat to death Lucy's puppy, the only being in the world she actually cared about. And they found out about it from a girl who pretended to be her friend, the first human she was beginning to trust. That's when her murder spree began, although it was put down eventually thanks to Kouta. However, after he lies about his cousin's gender and she finds out the truth, she's gone for good.
    • Anna could be considered, but due to her being Affably Evil, it's doubtful. She does have a rough past, since her own father used her for experimentation and much, much worse, but she's not truly bad herself.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry: Just about all the female villains, sans Rina and Nomura, were once good before the Hate Plague got to them. Each one also has an event at a respective arc that makes her snap.
    • Miyo Takano, who was revealed to be the Big Bad in Kai. Her actions speak for themselves, and all because the investigation of her grandfather was laughed at and treated as rubbish. Her horrible life before being found by him contributed as well.
      • Rena in Tsumihoroboshi-hen after killing Ritsuko and Teppei.
      • Shion in Meakashi-hen when Mion and Keiichi's relationship makes her remember that Satoshi's gone.
      • Satoko in Tatarigoroshi-hen after seeing Rika dead in the shrine, and Keiichi in front of her. And an axe on his hands.
      • Mion does not fall into this in the anime and manga, but in the visual novels it is implied that, in one of the worlds Rika was in, Mion went Yandere for Keiichi, going as far as to murder others to keep him for herself.
  • Madam Red from Black Butler, after the death of Ciel's parents and meeting Grell. Although she does redeem a bit at her last moments, when she is unable to kill Ciel.
    • Subverted by Elizabeth, who was a bad, kickass girl until she met Ciel and decided to remain a cute, good girl for him.
  • Future Diary:
  • Megumi from Shiki was a common schoolgirl... until, she met the Kirishikis. Then, when she comes back as a shiki, she becomes much more bad, almost reaching Yandere levels for Natsuno.
  • Yuka Minase from 11eyes could be considered this, even if in the end she returns to her old persona, becoming the sweet girl she was in the beginning once again, she does have her bad moments.
  • School Days is famous for this.
    • Sekai starts off as the protagonist's best friend and a comical plucky girl, which she was until she gets pregnant by Makoto who, terrified that his secret lover could be carrying his child, leaves her for Kotonoha and orders Sekai to get an abortion. Needless to say, things do not end well.
    • Kotonoha is this ten times worse. She was possibly the nicest girl in the series; honest, pure, and compassionate. And then she starts seeing Makoto, falling in love with him. But when he starts secretly having sex with Sekai, Kotonoha starts to break, completely breaking after Setsuna kisses Makoto right in front of her to let her know that their relationship was over. Not to mention she had seen Makoto and Sekai dancing at the couples dance the previous night, which caused Kotonoha a Heroic BSoD that led to her being raped by Taisuke. The result is not pretty. You've been warned.
  • In Naruto, we have Konan, who used to be a cheerful young girl... then things happen.
  • Misa Amane from Death Note may or may not be a case of this. It's unclear which was the moment that made an Ax-Crazy Yandere out of her: the death of her parents when she was a little girl, or getting her hands on the Artifact of Doom mentioned in the title.
  • There's also Belarus from Hetalia: Axis Powers. We see her in her, Russia's, and Ukraine's backstory as a cute little girl who clings to her brother and pouts to her older sister. And then, we see her now, as a scary girl in a frilly Elegant Gothic Lolita dress...
  • In Deadman Wonderland, when we see Minatsuki's (Hummingbird) past before the earthquake, she comes around as a sweet, innocent girl who loved helping her mother out in her flower shop. Then, the earthquake came along, and she's trapped on the shop. What does her mother do? Grab a pot of flowers and left her to die. And that's when she became as we know her now.
  • Perfect Blue: This is the character arc of Mima's character in the drama she's acting in: a sweet, ordinary woman is gang-raped and develops a split personality and becomes a serial killer in response to her trauma. But this also affects Mima the actress, who was also traumatized by the rape scene. A former Idol Singer with Contractual Purity whose transition into "adult" roles is signified by the rape scene, Mima also becomes unhinged and develops an "Idol Mima" persona who may or may not be killing people. The ending reveals a similar thing played out with Mima's manager, a former idol singer and consummate good girl who is also traumatized by watching the rape scene and actually carries out all the murders and cyberbullies Mima, all the while trying to become Idol Mima. Played with of course in that the pure "good girl" is also the one doing all the bad things.

    Comic Books 
  • In Scott Pilgrim, this is the general consensus for Natalie V. "Envy" Adams, Scott's ex back when he was in university. She was a rather nice otaku girl and her relationship with Scott was quite a happy one. However, her success with Scott and Steven Stills' band Kid Chameleon began influencing her. She sold her otaku possessions for more expensive clothing while becoming less invested in her relationship with Scott. It gets worse as the band gets more people and she takes main control over it, steering to a direction where the others (namely the band's founders, Scott and Stephen Stills) were not happy with and there was even suspicion that Envy may have cheating on Scott. This all led to the disastrous breakup, admittedly started by Scott where he ended in a big fight with her after getting drunk at a party, having no memory of the fight or even getting drunk and causing a good deal of heartbreak and emotional damage to Scott. It's telling that everyone calls her by her stage-name Envy while Scott remains the only person to call her by Natalie.
    • Even taking into account Scott's unreliable memory, the general consensus among Scott's friends is they view her as more-or-less a bitch (except for Julie, who is attempting to use her newfound popularity, and Knives, who was starstruck for a while.) Wallace is the largest example, having met her while in the later developments of her into a bad girl and recommended Scott dumped her immediately. He was very angry to hear her returning.
    • Ultimately, she stays as Envy though she does get closure with Scott and appreciates he still remembers her as Natalie.
  • In Seven Soldiers: Bulleteer, Sally Sonic is a former Golden Age heroine who became evil under the influence of an emotionally-manipulative boyfriend who drugged her up, forced her into doing porn, and later auctioned her off to supervillains. By the time she meets Bulleteer, the only thing that gives her any enjoyment is ruining other people's lives.

    Film 
  • Averted in The Bad Seed. Rhoda Penmark was never good; she's been evil literally from birth, and the mystery of why she's evil is part of the creepiness.
  • Selina Kyle from the Batman comics is usually portrayed as a criminal who grew up on the streets. In Batman Returns she starts out as a cute but dorky and painfully insecure secretary who has a regular job, a home, and a pet cat. She actually hates her life because she's constantly being pushed around by everyone and eventually snaps when her boss pushes her out of a window to cover up his crimes. After coming Back from the Dead, she takes on the identity of Catwoman, the deceptive, sultry, morally-ambiguous cat burglar we all know, teaming up with the Penguin to get revenge on her boss and generally cause chaos.
  • Played with in regards to Nina Sayers in Black Swan. Nina starts out as a 'good girl' in the sense she's wholesome, hardworking, and never puts a toe out of line. But she's also a meek perfectionist who is easily controlled by others (especially her mother). She starts to crack under the immense pressure of her role as the Swan Queen and becomes increasingly aggressive, paranoid, and reckless; she stays out late drinking before an important recital, takes drugs, hooks up with two random guys, and breaks her mother's hand during an argument. This culminates in her fatally stabbing her rival during a physical altercation...or at least it seems that way initially. However, in the process Nina also starts standing up for herself and becomes more independent. Either way, she could probably benefit from therapy.
  • Both female protagonists in Bride Wars become bad girls after their weddings get booked on the same date. And since, to them, weddings are Serious Business, they each become obsessed with ruining the other one's great day.
  • The main villain in Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle is the former agent Madison Lee, who was an angel previous to the three protagonists and lost her path after leaving said position.
  • The Craft:
    • Bonnie started off a genuinely nice person, though also shy with poor self-esteem due to severe scarring, but turned vain and heartless once she was bestowed with the power of beauty and magic. When Sarah points out Bonnie's unpleasant personality shift, she dismisses it and also laughs off Sarah's warnings about misusing their powers. She later joins Nancy in terrorizing Sarah when the girls have a falling out, although she does express some reservations about actually killing Sarah.
    • Rochelle is one of the sweetest and most easy-going members of the coven, not even retaliating against the constant taunts of the school's Alpha Bitch (some of which are blatantly racist). She eventually gets sick of it and puts a spell on her bully to make her hair fall out every time she's mean to her, and sides with the increasingly unhinged Nancy, helping her terrorize Sarah with magic. That said, Rochelle is shown to feel some guilt over her actions and it's implied she's following Nancy more out of fear.
  • In The General's Daughter, the titular character was an honor student at West Point—until she was brutally gang-raped, and her father helped to cover it up. This led her to sexually act out as a form of revenge.
  • The title character of Maleficent was originally a very kind and polite - if not naive - orphaned fairy girl, who used her powers to heal damaged trees and defend the Moors from human armies who tried to invade it. She even befriended a human boy named Stefan and came to love him. However, this all changed when Stefan betrayed her trust and cut off her wings in order to become king, resulting in her becoming a cold and ruthless woman capable of cursing an innocent child to get revenge. Luckily, in this version Maleficent comes to love Aurora like a daughter and she helps her redeem herself.
  • Oz the Great and Powerful: Good witch Theodora is a kind and well-intentioned Wide-Eyed Idealist who wants to bring peace to the Land of Oz; unfortunately, she's also very naive and easily manipulated, and also has a fierce temper. She quickly becomes enamoured with Oz, not realizing his attraction to her is merely superficial, and is devastated when she believes he used her, as he was one of the few people to ever show her true affection. Her sister Evanora (who for years has told Theodora she's "wicked" deep down) manipulates her into turning against Oz fully and tricks her into eating a cursed apple to 'take away her pain'; the end result is Theodora becoming the Wicked Witch of the West.
  • Star Wars:
    • Qi'ra from Solo started out as a kind-hearted orphan but goes through enough crap that she ends up a manipulative and self-serving Femme Fatale (she's an orphan who grew up of the streets of Coronet City, had to work as a thief for Lady Proxima, was captured and separated from her boyfriend when she was inches from escaping to a better life, and joined a ruthless criminal syndicate to survive). She does have a bit of a soft spot for Han Solo, though.
    • Downplayed and ultimately defied with Rey in The Rise of Skywalker. She's a plucky All-Loving Heroine and aspiring Jedi Knight, who in spite of her harsh upbringing is determined to help others and do what’s right. However, the Trauma Conga Line of being abandoned as a child, forced to work as a scavenger, seeing her father figure die in front of her, having the legacy of the Jedi on her shoulders, failing to turn Kylo Ren back to the Light Side, and learning her grandfather is Emperor Palpatine puts a lot of pressure her. She begins thoughtlessly lashing out in anger, pushes her friends away, nearly kills one of her friends when she loses control, and wants to "destroy" Palpatine for killing her parents. She also sees visions of herself as a Sith Lady, who tells her this is who she really is. This culminates in her stabbing an unarmed Kylo after he triggers her Rage Breaking Point. However, she immediately regrets this, healing Kylo's wound and even taking a 10-Minute Retirement out of fear she'll fall to the Dark Side until Luke Skywalker encourages her. She ultimately remains on the side of good.
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    Literature 
  • Rachel from Animorphs. She starts the series as a confident, poised, assertive young woman who excels in academics and gymnastics alike. But three years of fighting a guerrilla war gradually brings out the Blood Knight within her, and by the end she's a straight-up Sociopathic Soldier.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Arya Stark. She went from a young noble girl who didn't want to be a lady to a little girl who has killed a lot of men, despite her very young age. Not to mention she's now on her way to become a magical assassin of sorts. At first she killed only to survive after her father is wrongfully executed and she's forced to go on the run in a war-torn country, but she now also seeks revenge against everyone who betrayed and hurt her family.
    • Catelyn Stark is a courageous and mostly benevolent Proper Lady who wants to protect her family above everything. She completely loses it after the death of her son Robb (plus, she assumed her other children, Arya, Bran, and Rickon were all dead as well), and after her own death and resurrection, she goes on a killing spree against every Lannister and Frey on her way.
    • Sansa seems like the only good Stark girl left by A Feast For Crows, but even she's shifting towards this trope. Horribly losing most of her family, being held as a hostage by Joffrey, and nearly gang-raped during a riot has forced her to become more manipulative and calculating to survive. The fourth book has her covering up the murder of her Ax-Crazy aunt Lysa and it further implies that she might have to kill her cousin Robert, or at least allow him to be killed by Littlefinger to keep herself safe and secure.
  • Misty from The Wildflowers is a downplayed example. She started out as a sensible, popular, straight-A student, who eventually ditches her friends, neglects her schooling, and hangs around with the school’s resident delinquent due to her parents’ messy divorce. This culminated in her running away from home with her boyfriend and getting arrested as an accessory in armed robbery. She’s started getting better after going to therapy, though she’s clearly still bitter about it all at the start.

    Live Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Faith fits this trope perfectly, although she gets better after appearing in Angel and turning herself in to the police.
    • In Season 6, sweet, shy, nerdy Willow ends up becoming the Final Boss after the death of her girlfriend Tara in the episode "Seeing Red", which was the final straw after a horrible year of losing her best friend, bringing her friend back to life but then learning she'd unknowingly ripped her out of heaven which has contributed to her depression, all her friends' lives falling apart, becoming a magic addict, and temporarily breaking up with Tara over it; she'd in fact just gotten back with Tara when she's fatally shot in front of her. It's also made clear her hurt and resentment has been building up for years, after she spent her entire adolescence being bullied or ignored. Willow proceeds to delve deep into black magic and seek revenge against those she holds responsible for Tara's death, is willing to hurt her friends if they get in the way, and eventually tries to destroy the entire world to put everyone out of their misery until Xander talks her down.
  • In the fourth season of Chuck Vivian Winterbottom, a sweet, naive character, is manipulated into following in her father's footsteps after being hurt by both him and the show's heroes. In the end her father himself is able to redeem her.
  • The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance: Seladon starts out as well-intentioned and dutiful, dedicated to being the perfect princess and desperately seeking her mother's approval. Finding out that everything she was raised to believe is a lie and seeing her mother violently killed for standing up to the Skeksis doesn't do wonders for Seladon; she goes into denial, insisting her mother and sisters are traitors, and fervently supporting the Skeksis. She becomes outwardly colder and more ruthless, and gets an Evil Makeover to match. Even when faced with undeniable proof the Skeksis care nothing for the Gelfing, she tries to negotiate sacrificing a few Gelfing to spare the rest, rather than oppose them. By the end, she finally snaps out of it and joins her sisters in fighting the Skeksis.
  • Heroes gives us Niki Sanders, although in her case she didn't turn into a bad girl, she developed a second personality that was a bad girl. So, there was good girl Niki and bad girl Jessica. Jessica took control over Niki's body, though, so she counts.
    • And then there's Elle Bishop, a bad girl as result of years of torture by her own father since she was eight.
    • The future version of Claire Bennet we see in Season 3 counts as well.
  • Game of Thrones: Daenerys Targaryen in Season 8. While she always had a ruthless streak, Daenerys was a fundamentally compassionate and heroic young woman for the majority of the series, aspiring to end slavery and create a better society for the smallfolk; she's also far kinder and more idealistic compared to most characters in the setting. However, the Trauma Conga Line she goes through in the final season (including finding out her lover is her long-lost nephew, violently losing a lot of her army, two of her closest friends, and another of her dragons, being rejected by the Westerosi despite her sacrifices to help them, and one of her advisors plotting against her) snaps her sanity and turns her into a merciless tyrant who tries to justify mass murder as being 'necessary' to create her vision of a "good world".
  • Quinn from Glee becomes this in the beginning of the third season, due to the events at the end of the second season, complete with whole new look: pink-dyed hair, piercings, and cigarette in hand, she is the complete opposite of her old self.
  • In Gossip Girl Jenny Humphrey, possibly the most innocent character of them all, is nearly raped and gradually transforms first into a bad girl and by season four is even something of a villain. She mostly learns her lesson though after losing her virginity to Chuck, her own would-be rapist from before at the end of season three.
  • Morgana from Merlin (2008) discovers she has magic in a kingdom where it's punishable by death, lives in terror of her guardian the king, tries to run away only to be brought back again, can't prevent her powers from manifesting, becomes estranged from all her friends, meets her half-sister who places her under a spell that causes all of Camelot to fall asleep, and is poisoned by a friend she trusted in order to break the enchantment. She comes back after a year's absence with a few bones to pick...
  • Subverted in "Last Whiff of Summer", the two-part fourth season premiere of The Middle. Sue realizes that even the negative attention her older brother gets is attention, and decides to start going bad to get some of that from her parents. However, the transgressions she comes up with—not wearing her headgear at night, wearing a red hair extension, and not taking her multivitamins—aren't really that serious. Double subverted by her parents not noticing or caring.
  • Inverted with Claire from Modern Family, who makes sure her daughter doesn't make the same mistakes she did.
  • Regina Mills, aka the Evil Queen, from Once Upon a Time is a clear example of this. After her abusive mother killed Daniel, the man she truly loved, to force Regina into marrying the king, she gradually became a callous and power-hungry sorceress who takes her pain out on everyone, though especially her stepdaughter Snow White, whom she blames for Daniel’s death (technically, Snow was responsible for breaking her promise to Regina and telling her mother about Daniel, but Snow was only a child and didn’t realize the implications of her actions, with Cora clearly manipulating her).
  • Sara Tancredi from Prison Break zig-zags this. She was a good girl before she got hooked on drugs, as revealed through flashbacks dating prior to Lincoln's arrest. Her father even had to use his influence to prevent it from going on her record. It is only after she is unable to save a life due to being drugged at the time that she decides to straighten up and get over her addiction. In the second season, while she's on the run with Michael and Lincoln, she is classified as this again.
  • Naevia begins Spartacus: Blood and Sand as a compassionate and gentle-hearted Beautiful Slave Girl, who dislikes the violence of the arena. She's then given as a wife to Ashur against her will and after he publically reveals her forbidden romance with Crixus, she is brutally punished, including being passed around the Roman elites as a Sex Slave and sent to the mines. Although Naevia is rescued, she's nearly broken by what was done to her and resolves to become an Action Girl so she'll Never Be Hurt Again. By the final season, though, her experiences have made her exceedingly ruthless, paranoid, and vengeful, bordering on being a Token Evil Teammate; she is reluctant to show the Romans any mercy, even when it comes to civilians, and pushes Crixus to defy Spartacus to wage war on the Roman Republic, which ends up contributing to a major rift in the rebels.
  • Supernatural:
    • Bela Talbot. Even if we don't exactly know whether she was good or bad before she made her deal with a demon, it was certainly implied that she was somewhat innocent and being abused.
    • Ruby. Before being the demon we know, who eventually betrayed the Winchester brothers, she was a human witch who lost her soul to the demon Tammi. The torture she underwent in hell eventually turned her into a demon as well and is responsible for making her a bad girl.
  • In True Blood:
    • Debbie after getting hooked on V (aka vampire blood).
    • Jessica, who's not evil or anything, but before being turned into a vampire she was a good girl who went to church and classes and obeyed everything her father told her, and now she's a blood-thirsty vampire so... you can see how she might fit in here.
  • The Witcher (2019): At the beginning of her story arc, Yennefer is a shy, unconfident, but otherwise sweet-natured girl who has only ever wanted to be important to someone. After a lifetime of being shunned, abused, and manipulated, though, she finally has enough and embraces a pursuit of power, becoming an arrogant, selfish, and sometimes ruthless sorceress who does whatever she wants and pushes everyone away. However, Yen's not all bad and does occasionally show compassion to others; by the end of the first season she's risking her own life to help stop (or at least slow down) Nilfgaard's invasion.

    Music 
  • Invoked by Rihanna with her album Good Girl Gone Bad, which provides the page quote. The Title Track describes a woman who tries to be a good and loyal girlfriend to her partner, but eventually gets sick of it after he cheats on her one time too many (in addition to being emotionally neglectful and controlling), giving him a taste of his own medicine.

    Video Games 

    Web Comics 
  • Damara Megido from Homestuck was apparently fairly nice in the early stages, but following something of a bad breakup she went Ax-Crazy.
  • White Mage from 8-Bit Theater tries to embrace this when (after talking to Fighter of all people) she starts to blame herself for all the damage done by the Light Warriors and her inability to do much good in the world. However, her greatest attempts at villainy are really just Poke the Poodle moments and Fighter (again) convinces her to switch alignments back to Lawful Good.

    Western Animation 
  • Barriss Offee in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. She started out as the ideal Jedi Padawan: courageous, selfless, and dedicated to protecting the Republic. But after fighting in the Clone Wars for three long years, and seeing how it was eroding both democracy and the principles of the Jedi Order, Bariss became a much darker and more cynical person, seeking to make her allies see their mistakes in an extreme manner. Namely, it's revealed she was the one who orchestrated a fatal bombing at the Jedi Temple and framed her friend Ahsoka Tano for it (possibly hoping to sway Ahsoka over to her way of thinking after the Jedi turned on her). When she's caught, she explains that in her view the Jedi betrayed themselves by getting involved in the Clone Wars and supporting the failing Republic, even believing they've fallen to the Dark Side. Although Barriss is clearly presented as being in the wrong for her brutal actions, even Ahsoka admits she does make some good points; it's just the excessively violent and treacherous way she went about making her points that undermines her.


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