Why Angelina Jolie is an Ugly Actor


When I was young, I loved the idea of becoming a beautiful actress. Walking down the red carpet, dressed in satin and dripping in sparkling diamonds.

It also meant I could be anyone; I could be a hard, no-nonsense police officer, and a tender hearted veterinarian.

It was a world of possibilities.

As I got older, I enrolled in acting classes. Learning the craft inside out so I could be the shining star, beating back the paparazzi as I write out my autograph in red lipstick.

But then I tried my hand at being behind the camera as a director. I realised something about acting that I’d never been comfortable with, and it made me question whether or not I would still choose it.

To act well, you must live believably under imaginary circumstances. This means you have to be ugly sometimes, and what girl wants to be seen as ugly?

Thankfully there are some amazing actresses who are open to the idea and we are a better world for it. Let’s take a look at some of the best “ugly” actors out there.

Ugly acting requires being truthful, even when the actor may find what they’re doing to be embarrassing.

Angelina Jolie Pitt


While there’s no doubt that Angelina Jolie is one of the most stunning actresses of our times, she is one who is definitely not embarrassed to be ugly.

Take for example her character in Changeling. She plays the mother of a boy who’s gone missing. There are many moments, like the clip below, where the character goes through some horrific moments. Watching a woman scream at a little boy that she’s not his mother is very confronting and uncomfortable. It’s ugly, but it’s truthful to the story, and was an important moment to show this woman’s suffering.

Angelina was willing to look ugly in order to be truthful to an incredible and important story. If she hadn’t, the story would have suffered dramatically.

If you like this check out some more of Angelina’s amazing ugly acting in films like Playing by Heart, Girl Interrupted and Taking Lives.

Winona Ryder


Again, another natural beauty, but when it comes to some of the characters she’s portrayed, they are perfect examples of ugly acting.

If you have joined in on the excitement of Netflix original series Stranger Things, then you’ll know exactly what I mean. Winona plays a mom whose son has gone missing. (Ha! Totally didn’t see that both examples were about mom’s with missing sons. I promise this isn’t part of why it’s ugly acting).

What I found so powerful about her performance in Stranger Things was how willing she was to look like a crazy person. There were no moments where I thought “Gee, she’s embarrassed to play this part.” Instead, I watched a living being on screen that you could run into outside your small local grocery store and wonder what was wrong with them.

She lived one hundred percent believably. Something I think she brings to a lot of her performances. Check out Little Women, The Crucible and her supporting role in Black Swan.

Charlize Theron


I don’t think there could be any doubt that Charlize is a stunning woman, but my oh my has she done a great job with her ugly acting.

For example, her character in Snow White and the Huntsman. Now perhaps you want to interrupt me and say, but she was beautiful in that film. Her character was the fairest in all the land until Snow White came of age.

I’m not contradicting that. However, the personality traits of Ravenna, Charlize’s character, were definitely not attractive. It required some ugly acting.

It would be a fun part to play, the evil queen, but when you look at some of the horrible things she has to do, it could be hard to find the truth in the moment. There are many moments in this film where the rage and anger are hard to watch, but she does it unrepentantly. Making for some great ugly acting.

For some more great ugly acting by Charlize check out Mad Max: Fury Road, Monster and Sweet November.

These are only three examples of women who are willing to play ugly roles or portray some ugly scenes that make us uncomfortable, or challenge us. However, our world is full of these moments and I think it’s important to portray them in our characters on screen.
It makes the characters more believable. And it can actually be an incredible tool to help someone going through their own ugly moments to feel like they are not alone.


  • Charis Joy Jackson

    Producer, Director, Writer, Actress

    Charis Joy Jackson is a writer, director, producer and teacher working with The Initiative Production Company. During the day she makes movies and in her spare time writes short stories and novel. She's a self-proclaimed nerd who wishes she could live in Hobbiton. You can follow her on Instagram @charisjoyjackson

  • Show Comments

  • Sandi

    Excellent article!

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