Growing up is never easy. Take our adolescent years for example – They were horrible, pimply, brace-face adjacent, and downright awful for some of us. But, lucky for us normal people who were raised outside of the limelight, we were never famous enough to have our former middle school/high school pictures go viral on the internet or be featured in a segment on some daytime talk show. This happens to be the case for celebrities who, well, were less than glamorous back during their childhood days. Most of the beautiful stars that you see these days happened to be considered “ugly ducklings” who grew up to become stone-cold stunners in their own right. Here are 15 celebrities who happened to be nerds as kids before capturing our very attention in 2017.
15. Not-So-Magic Mike Here
We all know his face (and abs) thanks to the Magic Mike movies, but apparently, actor Joe Manganiello wasn’t such a pretty face back in his youth and wife Sofia Vergara enjoys picking on him for it. Manganiello was clearly a skinny little guy during his formative years, but one thing that’s still hilarious? HE’S STILL A HUGE NERD. On the 2017 Emmy’s red carpet, the Modern Family star was interviewed about her hubby who happened to be away shooting the movie Stano at the time. “He’s a nerd,” Vergara said of her handsome, 40-year old piece of man meat. “The highlight of his life is to play Dungeons & Dragons. He talks together with, like eight friends. I do, like, a spread of food downstairs. He has a ‘dungeon’ room downstairs – spectacular. I decorate it for him.” Some things never change.
14. Harry Potter and The Lying Stunner
Margot Robbie is one of the hottest actresses today. The Australia beauty graced a handful of box office hit movies in the past few years including Suicide Squad, The Legend of Tarzan, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, and The Wolf of Wall Street. Recently, it was announced that she would be starring in not only Suicide Squad 2, but its spin-off revolving around her character Harley Quinn (to be named later). However, she wasn’t always the lovely beauty she is today. While she was visiting Jimmy Kimmel Live! it was revealed that she was a massive geek growing up and was so obsessed with Harry Potter, that she lied about having 20/20 vision in order to get glasses to resemble her beloved hero. She called the photo that captured her, braces and all, reading and sipping tea “literally the most embarrassing photo of my whole life!”
13. Pennywise Would Totally Approve
27 years after the first IT premiered as a mini-series on TV, we were “blessed” with the phenomenal and downright terrifying remake starring the utterly handsome Bill Skarsgard as the murderous clown Pennywise. As we know, Pennywise is a demon who terrorizes the town of Derry, especially the children. Even though Pennywise haunts our nightmares, the actor who plays him lives in our dreams. Bill Skarsgard is the 27-year old Swedish actor and model who doesn’t really follow Tim Curry’s lead as Pennywise but rather takes it to new, more terrifying, heights. However, when the makeup comes off, he’s just another pretty face who wasn’t ALWAYS such a pretty face. Growing up in Vallingby, Sweden, Bill was an awkward and gangly, wide-eyed boy with seven siblings. We are SO thankful that the geek eventually turned into a handsome man-swan.
12. The Fault In Our Eyes
First, he stole your heart in the Divergent series, and then made you bawl your eyes out like a little baby in The Fault in Our Stars, but this year he turned your head for a different reason in the hit film Baby Driver: His modesty. He literally wants to be the most approachable guy in Hollywood. The man can’t even NOT take photos with fans when they ask because he’ll feel like an a-hole. “Every time we can’t take pictures, it makes me feel really bad,” Elgort told Vanity Fair back in 2014. Though back when he was in middle school, all this young nerd could think about was breaking away and hitting the big time. Everyone who knows him isn’t too shocked he remained down-to-earth once he did make it big, and that’s one of the most appealing things about him in my opinion.
11. Every Rose Has Its Thorn
Ah, Amber Rose. When she’s not busy attacking the Kardashian family on Twitter, she’s spreading body positivity to women and young girls all over the world. Even though she’s a complete and utter stunning woman now, she wasn’t always. Rose has since shared a stream of throwback photos that feature her looking, well, not so Amber Rose-ish. When she was a child, she was apparently awkward and TALL (hitting 5’9 at 12-years old can’t be an easy thing on a young girl). Below this particular throwback photo posted on her Instagram, Rose wrote the caption: “#TBT Don’t laugh either. Hey, kids if u feel like an ugly duckling don’t fret just look at this picture of me as a kid and know there’s hope for all of us Lol #DemLasersDoe #ButDemTeefGrewInNice” Certainly relatable, Amber.
10. Jaime Lannister Would Approve
These days, actress Lena Headey is kicking butt and taking names in her role as the deadly Cersei Lannister in the HBO ground-breaking series Game of Thrones. While now she’s a gorgeous, yet dangerously brilliant, actress, back when she was growing up – not so much. Headey actually had a lot of trouble finding work when she was younger, quite often taking on small roles and seemed to subside her until she was able to land her big break. She was actually noticed at the age of 17 when she was starring in a school production at the Royal National Theatre. She was a drama geek, and she was (and still is) dang proud about it. “There’s something cooler about the geek,” Lena once said during an interview when she was talking about people obsessed with Thrones who are more interested in the character rather than the person acting the part.
9. “You Know Nothing, Kit Harington”
There is probably maybe only three people on the planet who don’t know who the heck Kit Harington is. Actually, they know him as another name – Jon Snow. Harington plays the “can’t kill ‘em” Snow on Game of Thrones and is probably one of the most recognizable faces in the cast. Even though the series itself is one gigantic geek fest, Harington claims that he really wasn’t a geek growing up (though that picture speaks otherwise) and that he was constantly getting in fights and partying. One favorite story of his is when he got into a fight RIGHT before his audition for Thrones, which landed him a black eye. Turns out, it worked for the actor because the casting director thought it made him look “very Jon Snow like” and ended up casting him in the role that changed his entire life.
8. We Would Have Still Pined For Him Back Then
Most of us first laid eyes on actor Chris Pine when he blessed the cast of Star Trek as the pompous, yet charming, Captain Kirk. Yet before that, he was actually on the Princess Diaries sequel and played the love interest of Anne Hathaway’s character, Princess Mia. This year, we were able to swoon over him again in the superhero movie Wonder Woman. “I am not a huge sci-fi or a superhero guy, but I really loved Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman director) and I really loved the story that she wanted to tell,” Pine said during an interview. “I felt how fascinating and what a wonderful opportunity that Patty took this genre and the idea of a superhero and flipped it on its head and said what if her (Diana Prince) is love and compassion? I thought God, that’s so neat.” Pine wasn’t always the hunk that he is now – just take a look at his school picture that Ellen DeGeneres managed to dig up. Ha!
7. Does Whatever A Spider Geek Does
Actor Tom Holland’s life took a swift turn abruptly over a year ago when it was announced, via an Instagram post no-less, that he had been cast in the film Spider-Man: Homecoming at the delicate age of 20. But before then, he was just really another faceless supporting actor who starred in major films like In the Heart of the Sea and The Lost City of Z. As a child, he was just another geek who had big dreams of wanting to be… a dancer? “My mom thought I could dance because I used to dance to this Janet Jackson song she’d play when I was a baby,” he said to Interview magazine. “Then she would take me to Saturday dance school. I used to go every week and got spotted by a scout, who suggested I audition for the role of Billy in Billy Elliot the Musical. When I first started auditioning, I was too small and I couldn’t dance.”
6. Get Out Of Here With That Cuteness
Actress Allison Williams was only known in certain circles growing up since she is the daughter of uber-famous news anchor Brian Williams. She really didn’t grace our screens until she starred with Lena Dunham in HBO’s critically acclaimed series Girls. While we were often annoyed with her character’s narcissistic and whiny ways on that show, nothing could have prepared us for her turn in this year’s smash hit Get Out. Williams played Rose Armitage, the beautiful young girlfriend of photographer Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) whom she brings home to meet her wealthy parents. Of course, things turn frightening REAL fast and the audience is taken for a brutally maddening ride. Before all this fame though? Williams was simply a drama geek who was obsessed with the stage. She looked seriously cute in that Peter Pan costume, but man, was she a dork.
5. How I Met The Inside Of Your Locker
If you don’t know who actress Cristin Milioti is, you better get your head out of your rear. Before she played a very famous (and anticipated character) in television history, she was simply a comedian/actress who appeared on a slew of shows, always cast as a quirky, supporting character. That is until she landed the much-coveted part of the allusive Mother on How I Met Your Mother. Audiences quickly fell head-over-heels in love with the future Mrs. Ted Mosby, only to have her viciously taken away from us with her last episode death after waiting nine stinking seasons for her to be introduced. While she’s a knock-out now, Milioti wasn’t always so. Back in middle school, she claimed to be teased so bad because she resembled the Karate Kid with a short hairdo. She was even stuffed into lockers! Kids can be so heinous sometimes.
4. Papa Should Be Proud
You would think that a daughter of the famous Quincy Jones wouldn’t be as awkward as she was growing up, but actress Rashida Jones is rather proud of her geekdom and still enjoys relishing in it to this day, even though she’s simply beautiful. Even though she considered herself a typical “Hollywood kid” who did the typical Hollywood kid things like go to school with Paris Hilton and those dang Kardashians, she wasn’t a jerk. As a teen, Jones claims that she was “a chubby nerd” who no one was attracted to, so she turned to reading. “Every time I look at a photo of myself as a teenager, I think, this is who I feel like. There I am. So uncomfortable, so sad, so much food.” Jones is now starring in the slapstick series Angie Tribeca and shot to stardom with the Amy Poehler comedy series Parks and Recreation.
3. Calm Down With The Hair Spray, Rey
British actress Daisy Ridley stole our hearts when she appeared as the strong-willed Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens two years ago and this Christmas she’ll captivate us once again as Rey in The Last Jedi. However, the brunette beauty wasn’t always on top of her game. Heck, she really didn’t even know that she wanted to be an actor when she was a kid. “I actually wanted to be a zookeeper when I was 5,” Daisy told People magazine. “I was somewhat naughty as a child. My parents found a performing-arts school, and it kept me really busy. I loved the drama classes.” Though that doesn’t explain why this high school picture of the now 25-year-old Daisy looks like she hired Glamour Shots in 1984 to take her portrait. Talk about a throwback.
2. From Troubled To Dreamy
Here’s yet another Star Wars heartthrob gracing this particular list. Actor Oscar Isaac is the Guatemalan-American actor who is best known for playing the playful and daring Poe Dameron in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. He’s actually starred in numerous films like Inside Llewyn Davis (which earned him a Golden Globe nomination), A Most Violent Year, and Ex Machina. Growing up in Miami, Isaac may have looked a little rebel-ish because he was exactly that. “I set off a fire extinguisher in the gym, defaced a mural, just stupid stuff,” he said during an interview when asked about his troubled youth. He even managed to get himself expelled from school, which pushed him into acting. And thank crap for all that. Eventually, he cut his hair and turned into the goofball we all know and love today.
1. Kingsman: The Troubled Youth
Yes, even I’ll admit that when I first saw Taron Egerton in the first Kingsman movie, I nearly melted. He was dashing, glorious, witty, and just plain dreamy with his accent and almost bad-boy nature. This year he turned heads again when he starred in the sequel, Kingsman: The Golden Circle and would gush about co-star Colin Firth so much even when he wasn’t trying. “I think even if I tried to pretend that I don’t like Colin, I wouldn’t get very far,” he said in an interview with Glamour magazine. “I’ve seen so many shots of me looking like I want to marry him.” Even though he’s dreamy and darling these days, Egerton was quite the little terror back when he was a kid. He even posted a picture from his tot days where he’s flipping the camera the bird. Apparently, he had an authority problem back then too.