50 Stunning Models Turned Actors

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley

The Model: Victoria’s Secret snapped Rosie up in 2006, and she landed her first British Vogue cover just two years later in 2008.

Acting Career: Michael Bay called Rosie in to replace Megan Fox when the latter was dropped from the director's third Transformers movie. Bay and Rosie had worked together previously on a Victoria’s Secret advert. Transformers: Dark Of The Moon is her movie debut.

More Than Set Dressing? It's safe to say her performance won't be troubling the Academy (hell, even Megan Fox won't be losing any sleep), but Bay's reason for casting her is clear from the way that his leering camera ogles her throughout.

Djimon Hounso

The Model: He didn’t become a professional model until he was 21, which in model years made him the footballing equivalent of Ryan Giggs.

Acting Career: Amistad made the world sit up and take notice of the Benin-born actor in 1997 and then Gladiator cemented acting reputation in 2000.

More Than Set Dressing? It’s been a fairly distinguished acting career for a former model, he’s been Oscar nominated twice, for In America (2003) and Blood Diamond (2006).

Kelly LeBrock

The Model: LeBrock once spoke the line “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful”, in a Pantene shampoo commercial. Long before Samantha Brick appeared in the Daily Mail with much the same sentiment.

Acting Career: Weird Scienc e is the 1985, John Hughes directed, cult favourite that made LeBrock the object of fantasy for not only the teenage boys in the film but adolescents worldwide. She’s also been in Hard To Kill with then-husband Steven Seagal.

More Than Set Dressing?
She’s never been hugely in demand as an actress; even at the height of her fame in the 80s she only made four films in seven years.

Famke Janssen

The Model: Though taller than most models (at 5ft 11in), Janssen landed a job with Elite Model Management and worked for Yves Saint Laurent, Victoria’s Secret and Chanel in her time.

Acting Career: Early work included a role in an episode of TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation , working alongside Patrick Stewart. The pair would work together again in the first three X-Men films, Janssen’s most high profile movie outings.

More Than Set Dressing? Janssen made for a killer Bond girl in GoldenEye , and played both wallflower and wicked in The Faculty . Definitely more than just a pretty face.

Rebecca Romijn

The Model: Romijn once joked that she was nicknamed the Jolly Blonde Giant thanks to her height (5ft 11in), proving she’s got a sense of humour to match that stature. She modelled for Sports Illustrated and, of course, Victoria’s Secret.

Acting Career: Romijn’s first big role came along with X-Men , in which she played blue mutant Mystique. She was asked back for both sequels, and even cameos in X-Men: First Class . Since then she’s turned up in TV’s Ugly Betty .

More Than Set Dressing? As Mystique, Romijn managed to perfectly balance vulnerability with scheming villainy. Brilliant.

Josh Duhamel

The Model: A proud achievement as a model must be that he beat Ashton Kutcher to win the International Modelling and Talent Association competition in 1997. Has also posed wearing nothing more than a smile for a photography book.

Acting Career: Rom-coms and Transformers movies have been his main-stay with little variation from that safe ground. Unfortunately he’s not picked his rom-coms well, the best of a pretty bad bunch being Win A Date with Tad Hamilton in 2004.

More Than Set Dressing? Sadly none of his performances have really demonstrated a quality that doesn’t make him instantly interchangeable with a raft of Hollywood pretty-boys.

Milla Jovovich

The Model: Jovovich began modelling aged just nine, signing to the Prima Modeling Agency. She went on to pose for covers of Vogue , Cosmo , Glamour and Seventeen .

Acting Career: Early roles included Lilli Hargrave in Return To The Blue Lagoon and its sequel. Jovovich really hit the big time with the Resident Evil franchise, playing tough heroine Alice.

More Than Set Dressing? Jovovich can play both tough and defenceless, showing she has more range than the average model.


The Model: An incredibly successful model of the 60s, Twiggy was famed for her androgynous looks and was named the face of 1966 by The Daily Express.

Acting Career: Not so much an acting career, more a dabbling, but The Boy Friend did well in 1971 and she had a cameo in Blues Brothers (1980).

More Than Set Dressing? Twiggy was never really known for her acting although she has trodden the boards a bit, and released a plethora of albums. Now she’s the face of Marks and Spencer, and makes semi-regular appearances on Loose Women – probably a career highlight.

Halle Berry

The Model: A successful pageant queen, Berry moved to Illinois in the late 1980s to become a model.

Acting Career: Lots of ups and downs. Halle won an Oscar for her devastating turn in Monster’s Ball , but made the classic mistake of going straight from that into an ill-advised dud – Catwoman . Better comic-book success came with the X-Men films.

More Than Set Dressing? She’s been a Bond girl and worn leather for X-Men , but Berry is at her best when she’s given some sinewy drama.

Charlize Theron

The Model: Theron signed a one-year modelling contract aged 16 after winning a competition in her home town. She then moved to New York and trained as a ballet dancer before injury forced her to seek out an alternative career.

Acting Career: Theron won an Academy Award for her mesmerising turn in Monster , in which she played real-life serial killer Aileen Wuornos. Subsequent films have been less successful, though a determined role in North Country is a highlight. Next up is Snow White And The Huntsman , followed by Mad Max: Fury Road .

More Than Set Dressing? Mostly. Theron’s ‘uglification’ process worked wonders for Monster , and there’s no denying she’s an amazing actress – sadly she just doesn’t get the right role very often.

Josh Winning has worn a lot of hats over the years. Contributing Editor at Total Film, writer for SFX, and senior film writer at the Radio Times. Josh has also penned a novel about mysteries and monsters, is the co-host of a movie podcast, and has a library of pretty phenomenal stories from visiting some of the biggest TV and film sets in the world. He would also like you to know that he "lives for cat videos..." Don't we all, Josh. Don't we all.