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Sexier Alter Ego

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Instant Ladies' Man, Just Add Applied Phlebotinum.

Yugi: You're in love with me, right?
Tea: Actually, I'm in love with your sexy alter ego.
Yugi: Oh. [small beat] Well this is kind of awkward.

This trope is for characters of any gender that have an alternate form or identity that is much sexier than their normal mode. It's not necessarily because their "civilian" mode is ugly, but it is generally more mundane or otherwise less appealing than their "heroic" mode. Depending on the genre, the changes can be accomplished through either regular means such as acting and swapping wardrobes or though various magical or phlebotinum-driven methods. This usually involves a change in a character's physical appearance, but sometimes it's purely a change in personality traits and behavior, suggesting that the character in question is deliberately making themselves appear unattractive to hide their Secret Identity.

Naturally, it often results in Loves My Alter Ego.

Given that sexual attractiveness is subjective, the best examples are those when the sexier nature of the alternate form is shown from the perspective of another character reacting to them with subtle flirting and innuendo that otherwise wouldn't be present. That said, it's generally pretty clear when the creators of the story are trying to change someone from Hollywood Homely (or even downright ugly) into Ms. Fanservice or a Head-Turning Beauty.

This often overlaps with Split Personality, Shapeshifting, Older Alter Ego, and Superpowered Alter Ego.

Compare A Darker Me. Compare also to Shapeshifting Seducer where a shapeshifter capable of assuming many forms takes on several in an attempt to appeal to a specific person. She Cleans Up Nicely should be used for when a character changes from their usually dull or unattractive wardrobe, hairstyle and such to be more attractive (particularly at a formal event) however this new appearance is not associated with an alter ego or alternate physical form. Also see Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains and Sexy Villains, Chaste Heroes.

See also Bishounen Line for when a monstrous character gets sexier once they hit a certain power level, and With Great Power Comes Great Hotness when they get more attractive with power in general.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The main character of Accel World, Haru, is a chubby looking teen with a tall and slender robotic avatar called "Silver Crow" which he uses exclusive in the titular virtual reality fighting game.
  • Kinji, in Aria the Scarlet Ammo, normally tries to avoid anything even remotely romantic to avoid going into Hysteria mode. When he goes into it, he becomes a smooth ladies' man.
  • D.N.Angel: Daisuke changes into Dark, a suave, Tall, Dark, and Handsome, older looking Phantom Thief who is the heart throb of most of the ladies, except for Riku, who prefers Daisuke.
  • In D.Gray-Man, the Millennium Earl normally looks like a rotund, cartoony demon but occasionally takes on a ruggedly handsome human form.
  • Kichiku Megane stars the adorable, shy, door matty uke Saeki Katsuya, who turns into a sadistic and sexy seme when he puts on his glasses.
  • In Kill la Kill, Ryuko's scruffy old homeroom teacher, Aikuro Mikisugi, can reveal himself to be a ridiculously Bishōnen and chronically stripping member of La Résistance with little more than a Hair Flip and Glasses Pull.
  • Meru Puri: Aram is under a curse that causes him to age up to a teenager when exposed to the dark, likewise changing him from a cute boy to Bishōnen. Of course, to the girls in the manga, this might be viewed as a Cursed with Awesome ability.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
    • Negi Springfield and Kotaro both use age-up pills to change from Adorably Precocious Child and Badass Adorable to Bishōnen from time to time.
    • Vampire Lolita Archetype Evangeline A.K. McDowell is a similar case. She has the body of a 10-year-old girl, but uses magic to become older and very buxom.
    • Chisame, a fairly normal looking, geeky girl, who combines cosplay, The Glasses Gotta Go and computer graphics editing to make herself into famous web idol Chiu. Eventually she gets an artifact that allows her to do much the same process magically.
  • Makoto in Nicoichi is much more attractive (and popular) in his female persona than his normal self.
  • One Piece: Carrot is a Genki Girl rabbit Mink that loves adventure. When the full moon is out, she can activate her Sulong form, making her taller, makes her hair longer (and go from blonde to white), and makes her voice much deeper.
  • In Psychic Squad, there's a Hospital Hottie who also happens to be a powerful Esper with powers of illusion. It's eventually revealed that her perky-and-pretty appearance is ALSO an illusion, which she maintains whenever anyone's around - underneath it, she's got a face straight out of a Hammer Horror movie - think 'Frankenstein' more than 'Dracula'.
  • Moka from Rosario + Vampire, when she transforms from Outer Moka into Inner Moka. This is especially evident in the anime where a lot of the transformation sequence is just her, um, various assets almost doubling in size. Also, Inner Moka's voice is deeper and much more sultry than Outer's. Possibly a bit subverted later on because Inner Moka is actually the real personality and Outer is the alter ego created to tone down her powerful vampire aura.
  • The Story Between a Dumb Prefect and a High School Girl with an Inappropriate Skirt Length: Student Council President Yamato Nadeshiko is introduced dressed in a short skirt, baring her midriff, and with her hair down. At the end of the chapter, she unfolds her skirt, braids up her hair, and puts her glasses back on for her normal look (though she's quite good-looking like that too). Vice President Kogori Kaoru is attracted to this "gal version" but can't seem to see through her Paper-Thin Disguise.
  • When shy Aimi Komori applies her magic eye shadow, she becomes the sexy, superpowered cat burglar Shadow Lady.
  • Sword Art Online: Sugou Nobuyuki seems to be going for this with his Oberon avatar, given its long blond hair, fancy clothes, and lack of glasses. However, his facial expressions and body language ruin the effect.
  • Tenchi Muyo!: Really 20,000 Years Old Washu Hakubi normally looks like a young teenager, and she pulls a fast one on Tenchi by unexpectedly transforming into her adult form to seduce him which is, needless to say, much more well endowed. The "alter ego" is her true form, but she's spent most of life in the younger form because she long ago decided that adult society was just too screwed up for her to want any part of.
  • Tenjou Tenge has Maya Natsume, who actually inverts this trope. Her real form is that of a voluptuous young woman, but she spends most of her time in the form of a young girl, making most people think it is her regular form.
    "Bob? If that weird little girl suddenly turns into the kind of stacked voluptuous chick you’d see working in a sketchy nightclub, what should I do?"
  • Natsuki from Uta No Prince-sama may count. He turns into Satsuki when he takes off his glasses.
  • Yugi in Yu-Gi-Oh! is a dorky cute boy, but the spirit of the puzzle is a full out Bishōnen, who is far more successful at attracting Tea's attention than Yugi. Lampshaded, of course, in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series (see the current page quote, above).
  • In YuYu Hakusho, Koenma (usually in the form of an infant with a pacifier) is able to take on an older, more Bishounen appearance. Admittedly, an older more bishounen appearance with a pacifier, but its the thought that counts.

    Comic Books 
  • DC Comics character Looker was a frumpy librarian until she got her powers, and then she could turn into a redheaded hottie. Eventually, though, after she became a vampire, the sexy became her Shapeshifter Mode Lock.
  • Inverted with Big Bertha of the Great Lakes Avengers. Her superheroine form is immensely fat, while her regular form is the most popular swimsuit model in Wisconsin. Deadpool prefers her as Big Bertha... but then, he's Deadpool. As of the team's 2016 series either her civilian form is fat too or she gave up transforming on some level, as she's now a plus-sized model.
  • A Running Gag in the French comic Mélusine is that her werewolf boyfriend always runs away before sunrise (interrupting the romantic moment and leaving her confused) because it turns out his human form is a textbook specimen of the Geek Physique (and he's all too aware of it: every such strip ends with him scrawny and bespectacled saying "Can't let her see me like this").
  • Shazam!:
    • Billy Batson is an average child, but his alter-ego Captain Marvel is an attractive, muscular man. This is explained in comics set in the future that show that Captain Marvel is what he looks like as an adult. Utilized in the Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam continuity, where Billy is stuck in a Loves My Alter Ego situation with a Lois Lane Expy.
    • Likewise with his twin sister Mary Batson, and her alter-ego Mary Marvel.
  • Compare mousy Jennifer Walters to the Amazonian Beauty Green-Skinned Babe that is the She-Hulk.
  • Spider-Man:
    • Villain Stunner was an overweight and lonely receptionist who gained super strength and great beauty through virtual reality technology.
    • Black Cat considered Spider-Man himself to be this, as she tried very hard to get romantic with him, but was not remotely attracted to Peter Parker, and consequently the big moment where he unmasked himself to her as a sign of commitment ended with her asking him to put his mask back on. In the Ultimate Marvel version she actually threw up, though this was just the Squick factor of realizing how young he was.
  • Supergirl cohabits the DC universe with a version of herself from an Alternate Universe called Power Girl, who is about ten or fifteen years older and wears a different costume. Technically, they're the same person (Kara Zor-El of Krypton), but the latter is much bustier and prone to being treated as Ms. Fanservice than her younger counterpart.
  • Superman sometimes falls into this, particularly in the earlier ages, with his Clark Kent persona wearing mild-mannered clothing, general weak posture, and self-effacing personality, contrasting Superman's tight clothing, powerful stance, and determined attitudes.
  • The titular W.I.T.C.H. are fairly average (albeit skinny) teenagers in their normal form. When transformed however, they are changed to look much more... adult. Lampshaded on more than one occasion.

    Fan Works 
  • Mare Do Well in The Games We Play (Friendship Is Magic) exploits this against Rainbow Dash, using the fact that the persona is essentially a blank template upon which she can project whatever personality she likes to entice Rainbow into an actual relationship. The trouble is, Rainbow has no idea whose alter ego it actually is, which leads to many complications.
  • Same as in the source material, Miraculous Ladybug, heroes wielding a Miraculous transform into the person they want most to be in "The Legend of Royal Blue and La Sylphide." Very little about Emilie changes as La Sylphide, aside from her hair growing longer and gaining a light purple ombré, but skinny, bespectacled and grouchy Gabriel becomes the handsome, well-built, and utterly suave Royal Blue. This is Deconstructed later on, as comparing himself to Royal Blue further adds to Gabriel's crippling insecurity.
  • Upon The Secret Return of Alex Mack, Alex sets out to establish a proper secret identity, with a costume that puts as much distance as possible between "Alex Mack" and "Terawatt". As part of that, she wears a padded bra that takes her from a B cup to D, 5-inch heels that both conceal her height and basically force her to sashay in order to walk in a straight line, and much bolder lipstick and makeup. Her boyfriend is most impressed when he first sees her in it.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Batman Returns puts this in play for Catwoman - instead of a confident and seductive professional thief, Selina Kyle is a mousy secretary for Max Schrek, and only dons the black vinyl cowl for revenge after he pushes her out a window to her not-quite-death.
  • Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) in Fight Club is The Narrator's (Edward Norton) more charismatic alter-ego. In his own words, he "look(s) like you want to look and fuck(s) like you want to fuck." Interestingly, since he only looks like Brad Pitt to the Narrator, the difference is entirely in his actions and attitude.
  • Corrine in The Initiation of Sarah mostly appears as a beautiful blond young women in her 20s, while her true physical appearance is that of an wrinkled old hag with grey hair and black teeth.
  • Stanley Ipkiss, from The Mask film. Note that he's not more physically attractive (unless you're into that sort of thing), but more confident and impulsive (and gets reality warper powers), and consequently has more luck with his Love Interest. As is often the Aesop with such tales, the Mask only highlights personality traits already present, and brings out the ones the wearer keeps inside. Stanley, by the end of the film, has become a more confident and assertive person, meaning he has no need for the Mask anymore to be attractive to his love interest.
  • This was a main plot point in both versions of The Nutty Professor. In both versions, the titular professor invents a way to change himself from a nerdy looking fellow in the original film (and a rather overweight guy in the remake, as shown in the page image) into a smooth ladies man. The original even concluded with the titular professor coming clean to a large group of people while he lets the formula wear off. There are no cuts, and both the professor and his alter ego were played by Jerry Lewis, so the transformation is almost entirely just Lewis changing his physical mannerisms and putting on a pair of glasses.
  • Anne Bowman from Psycho Beach Party (Chicklet's Split Personality) looks the exact same during her scenes but her confidence and behavior, using her body language, makes her seem sexier compared to Chicklet's shy and tomboyish nature.
  • Probably inevitably, there have been at least two versions of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in which Jekyll changes from man to (gorgeous) woman. The older version, Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde, was a Hammer Horror movie that dragged in Burke and Hare and Jack the Ripper, to boot. The second was Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde, which was more of a comedy, though Ms. Hyde was still evil.
    • More conventionally, in The Two Faces of Doctor Jekyll, Jekyll is hirsute, unkempt, ill-mannered and shabbily dressed; Hyde is clean-shaven, dapper, debonair, and charming. But still a terrible person.

  • Black Hanekawa from Bakemonogatari. Tsubasa Hanekawa is seen as an attractive girl, but "Black Hanekawa" flaunts about in delicate lingerie, shows off her fit, lithe body, has cat ears and speaks in "nyaa"s. She only appears when Tsubasa's stress peaks, the 'Cat' takes over and she rampage on the town to find relief.
  • In God Stalk, the first volume of P.C. Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath, Jame's tavern dancer persona, the B'tyrr, is this. It's partly the rather revealing and sensual Senetha costume she wears, described as revealing "much skin in unexpected places", but also the dance, which is magically seductive. Since this is so not Jame's persona otherwise, people who've seen her as the dancer generally don't recognize her regular persona in public.
  • Alex, in The Other Kind Of Roommate, comes off to Beth as only only slightly better than the serial killing, international crime lord she pictured. Her second impression of him is when Xander's in control, who not only gets her flirting and giggle-snorting in the space of ten minutes, but has her noticeably disappointed when Alex comes back the next day.
  • In Sister Pelagia series by Boris Akunin, the eponymous protagonist often has to disguise herself as her own sister for the needs of her investigations, wearing alluring female clothing and even flirting with men.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the singing competition Alter Ego (2021), many of the contestants take advantage of their customized avatars to make themselves more conventionally attractive than they look in real life. Particular mention goes to Wolfgang Champagne, a hunky werewolf who is actually a 60-year-old truck driver, and Safara, a sassy diva who's actually a shy, overweight young woman.
  • The Are You Afraid of the Dark? episode "The Tale of the Dark Dragon" had two students taking a special serum that made them temporarily into their "true" selves (more good looking, confident etc). Their desperate repeat use of it to remain beautiful, however, gradually corrupts them and the transformation. Once they were able to accept their deep psychological issues, the beautiful transformation became permanent.
  • Family Matters: Supreme nerd Steve Urkel is in love with one of the other main characters, Laura, but his nerdiness and forwardness repulses her. He creates a machine utilizing a concoction he calls "Boss Sauce" to become Stefan Urquel, a sexier version of himself who was a smooth ladies' man and just as smart as Steve (though it was subtly implied Steve was just a little bit smarter). However, the first time usage also had Stefan be a world-class jerk. Later iterations had Steve perfect the formula so Stefan would retain Steve's positive qualities like his niceness and even attempted becoming Stefan permanently. Later Stefan became his own man when Steve cloned himself and Laura decided to use the clone to become Stefan. Stefan himself addresses Steve as "the man who created him." (Stefan is essentially Jaleel White, Urkel's actor, being himself)
  • Girls5eva: Invoked and parodied. After Dawn feels rattled knowing her husband is in the audience, Summer urges her to come up with a fierce alter ego in the vein of Sasha Fierce and Roman Zolanski. Dawn comes up with "Fledge Mulholland", a confident and striking woman with a lurid backstory, and it largely works even if everyone agrees her name is ridiculous.
  • Candice from Heroes casts illusions of her appearance (similar to Shapeshifting, but her shape doesn't really shift it just looks like it). She usually appears as a hot chick, but her real appearance is a lumpy, acne covered mess named Betty.
  • Jekyll: Most people seem to consider Tom Jackman's alter-ego Mr. Hyde to be considerably sexier than Jackman, with even two lesbian characters agreeing that he's hot. Katherine Reimer (Jackman and Hyde's assistant) is seemingly the only person who considers Jackman better looking than Hyde.
  • In La Fea Mas Bella, one of the many incarnations of Yo soy Betty, la fea (Ugly Betty in the US), it turns out that the protagonist's ugliness is completely fabricated. Her alter ego, Aurora, is a model for the very same magazine where she works.
  • The main heroine of the now defunct American soap opera One Life to Live, Victoria Lord, had DID, but her most recurring personality was Niki Smith, who was more sexual and less uptight in behavior and appearance, but Depending on the Writer was also self-destructive and sociopathic.
  • Inverted with Dwayne Dibbley on Red Dwarf, who is The Cat's dorkier alter ego: a clumsy, badly-dressed, bucktoothed nerd with a literal pudding bowl haircut. He first appeared in "Back to Reality" as the man The Cat hallucinates being in "reality"; the writers worked him into the series a few more times, including as an impromptu disguise.
  • In Saba-dol, middle-aged teacher Shijimi Usa uses makeup and cute clothes to transform herself into 17-year-old national Idol Singer Mayu Watanabe.
  • In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Mudd's Women", Mudd has pills that he claims makes a woman more attractive. It was eventually revealed that a placebo produced the same results, with the aesop being that attitude and confidence is what makes a woman attractive. Of course, given that they clearly showed women physically changing as a result of the pill rather than just acting differently, it was something of a Broken Aesop.
  • Wonder Woman: In the World War II era, Wonder Woman went to great lengths to make her Secret Identity, Diana Prince as mousy and unglamorous as it is reasonably possible.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Princess: The Hopeful: Since a Princess's Transformed self is explicitly an idealized version of herself, this is actually very common. Especially for Princesses of Mirrors, whose philosophy revolves around vanity and narcissism (and conveniently have the ability to remain Transformed indefinitely).

    Video Games 
  • Ar tonelico Qoga: Knell of Ar Ciel:
    • Playable Reyvateils have multiple personas, some of which are older and sexier than the main teenaged ones.
    • A character named Mute is a hyper-masculine woman. She has an alternate Token Mini-Moe form, where she suddenly becomes a lot less aggressive and arguably cuter.
  • Azure Striker Gunvolt Series:
    • In Azure Striker Gunvolt, Joule's powers manifest into an Energy Being known as Lumen, the Muse (Cyber Diva in Japan). Joule is a 13-year-old girl, while Lumen is probably what she'd look like when she's 4 years older, mixing this with Older Alter Ego. The two of them were actually compared to each other by Gunvolt and their friend Zeno (who's a fan of Lumen back when she was still a celebrity) and the latter explicitly states that he "likes the parts of [Lumen] that are all grown-up and bouncy."
    • Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 reveals that Zonda's true form is that of a young girl probably no older than Joule. Her male and female forms that she uses in her boss battle and were originally presumed to be her true form, on the other hand, are Mr. Fanservice and Ms. Fanservice respectively as they look like they're in their late teens to early twenties and represent the sin of Lust.
    • Azure Striker Gunvolt 3 brings another case: One member of the antagonistic ATEMS knights, Layla, is an Evil Counterpart to the above-mentioned Joule: A young, unremarkable girl who can create a Muse-like Digital Avatar names Luxia who is curvier and dressed in a revealing Bedlah Babe attire.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Cloud's 'ex-SOLDIER' personality in Final Fantasy VII is a cool, hypercompetent, swashbuckling '90s Anti-Hero who is irresistible to women and men - even though he's also a total jerk. His original personality is that of the unpopular town dork, and quite hesitant and awkward.
    • In Final Fantasy XIII-2, it's implied that Chocolina is actually this to Dajh's Chocobo chick. This is later confirmed in Sazh's DLC story. As it turns out, she got caught in the distortion just like he did, and wanted to help the others just like they always helped her, so Etro gave her the form of an attractive woman and the ability to be everywhere at once.
  • The Galaxy Angel II trilogy introduces Kahlua, a mage with straight blonde hair and an ability to transform into the more assertive purple-haired Tequila, who is notably more busty to the point Kahlua's jacket opens to accomodate the change in bust size.
  • Persona 5: The Protagonist normally presents himself as a mild mannered high school student with dorky glasses, but becomes a suave Gentleman Thief during his illicit activities to reform corrupt members of society.

    Visual Novels 
  • While the protagonist of Double Homework is sleeping in the sauna of a ski lodge, he dreams that Dennis is in charge of the place (the girls even call him "Master"). Dennis is much taller in the nightmare than in real life, not to mention more commanding.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • In Animaniacs Minerva Mink had a nerdy wolf Abhorrent Admirer who turned sexy under a full moon.
  • An episode of Codename: Kids Next Door had Hoagie gets turned into a cool teenager, whom he dubs "Hank", uses his new persona to date Cree.
  • Bluster Kong in the CG Donkey Kong Country cartoon accidentally created a Nutty Professor type potion in one episode. It turned him from a sniveling, cowardly, balding ape into a smooth talking ladies' gorilla called Leo Luster. Candy Kong forgets about her date with DK and falls for him instantly. His coolness is so potent that he can use it to hypnotize King K. Rool and his goons into giving back the Crystal Coconut willingly. And he does it all through a catchy musical number!
  • Jem: Jerrica Benton is an attractive young woman in her own right, however her alter ego Jem is a knockout who draws men like bees to honey. Part of it is due to the clothes Jem wears compared to Jerrica while another part is how Jem acts more open and flamboyant than Jerrica. Jerrica's long-time crush Rio likes both Jem and Jerrica. Season 3 introduced Riot, who loves Jem but ignores Jerrica.
  • The Mask:
    • The Mask, unlike Stanley, is confident, wears a nice suit and is very easy looking but also like Stanley he is a Nice Guy and is a genuine hero who cares about his friends and will protect the people who live in Edge City despite they can annoy him at times.
    • Eve, unlike Evelyn, wears a red dress with blue eyeshadows, red lips, wears jewellery and necklace and is very confident as well as she gets attached to Stanley in no time at all but also like The Mask she is a Nice Girl who cares about him and treats him nicely despite that she is a lot more stronger than The Mask.
    • Masked Dr Neuman, unlike his unmasked self who has a average appearance, has a yellow coat, blue trousers, red and black tie and his hair is very much straight up as well which can make him very attractive because of that and though he is a supervillain he is Affably Evil as he does not hurt anyone who does not try to get in his way unless they try to which he does try to kill them.
  • On Recess, when Gus loses his glasses, all kids outside his small circle of friends no longer recognize him and mistake him for a new kid. He takes on a new cool kid identity, Guy, and several girls crush on him throughout the episode.
  • Present in the W.I.T.C.H. television series as well as the comic above. Cornelia even wonders at one point if she can date older boys in her Guardian form. In Season Two she does just that with Taranee's older brother.


Video Example(s):



Jen teaches Johnny to not judge a book by its cover.

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