50 Stunning Models Turned Actors

Cybill Shepherd

The Model: Shepherd won Miss Teenage Memphis in 1966 when she was 16 and two years later won a Model of the Year competition, making her a big name in fashion at the end of the 60s.

Acting Career: It’s been a long and illustrious, with roles in The Last Picture Show and Taxi Driver before the popular TV series’ Moonlighting and Cybill.

More Than Set Dressing? Certainly. Three Emmy’s and four Golden Globe awards back her up on that. Her looks and quirky charm has kept her on our screens for over 40 years.

Uma Thurman

The Model: Uma was a fashion model at the age of 15, appearing on the cover of British Vogue.

Acting Career: Quentin Tarantino has cited her as his muse, so much did he enjoy working with her on Pulp Fiction in 1994. But she does have an unfortunate tendency to build up her acting reputation only to dash it on the rocks with clangers like 2006’s My Super Ex-Girlfriend.

More Than Set Dressing? Usually yes, but let’s not talk about Poison Ivy in Batman and Robin or the dismal comedy Motherhood which made £88 on its opening weekend in the UK.

Diane Kruger

The Model: Injury put a premature end to her ballet career so she turned to modelling and has worked with a long list of fashion names, including Yves Saint Laurent, Armani and Dior.

Acting Career: Another former model whose career has benefited from Mr Tarantino, her biggest role to date was Nazi-killer Bridget Von Hammersmark in Inglourious Basterds.

More Than Set Dressing? She showed a steely determination for revenge in Inglourious Basterds, and received critical praise for her Marie Antoinette in 2012’s Farewell My Queen

Tom Welling

The Model: His modelling talents were discovered while he was in a bar in Nantucket. Which sounds like the beginning of a very naughty limerick.

Acting Career: Millions know him as Clark Kent in TV series Smallville . Two Installments of Cheaper By The Dozen haven’t killed his career so perhaps being among an all-star cast in Draft Day next year will make him a Hollywood player.

More Than Set Dressing? Ten years in Smallville haven’t given him the chance to play many roles outside of Clark Kent. But, then again, if he was on an acting-par with Danny Dyer, Smallville wouldn’t have lasted ten years.

Elle Macpherson

The Model: The success of Macpherson’s modelling career earned her the nickname ‘The Body’ and she holds the record for cover appearances on the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, with five.

Acting Career: Has never really set the world alight with her acting abilities in the same way she did as a model. Sirens in 1994, with Hugh Grant and Sam Neill was her debut, and she had a five episode stint in Friends as Joey’s housemate.

More Than Set Dressing? Acting-wise probably not, but she has received numerous awards for her entrepreneurial abilities as a highly successful businesswoman.

Raquel Welch

The Model: In 1958, an 18 year-old Raquel won the Fairest of the Fair beauty pageant at the San Diego County Fair. While trying to break into acting she worked as a model and cocktail waitress.

Acting Career: Her role as Loana in One Million Years BC in 1966 made her one of the pinups of the decade, and the iconic poster allowed Andy Dufresne to tunnel for freedom in the Shawshank Redemption.

More Than Set Dressing? More than held her own alongside Dudley Moore in 1967’s Bedazzled, and with James Stewart and Dean Martin in Bandolero! in 1968.

Ashton Kutcher

The Model: Kutcher Was best known as a Calvin Klein model. In 1998 he came second in an International Modelling and Talent Association competition to Josh Duhamel.

Acting Career:
That '70s Show gave him a chance to work his goofy charm and Dude, Where’s My Car? paired him up with Seann William Scott.

More Than Set Dressing? He's been more busy behind the camera than in front of it in recent years, as writer and producer for prank TV show Punk'd , and producer of Beauty and the Geek . A return to TV stardom beckoned by replacing Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men , and he's kept a movie career bubbling away with sub-par rom-coms like Killers, New Year's Eve , and No Strings Attached.

Agnes Deyn

The Model: Deyn appeared on the cover of American Vogue in 2007, with a group of supermodels all being proclaimed as the next big thing.

Acting Career: In 2010 she was cast as Aphrodite with an ensemble cast of Brits and is gradually moving away from modelling. Last year she appeared in the remake of Pusher with Richard Coyle.

More Than Set Dressing? She’s been appearing in a steady stream of indie Brit-flicks and has got herself a part in Sunset Song, a film currently in development with Terence Davies (Deep Blue Sea) directing and Peter Mullan co-starring.

Freida Pinto

The Model: After college, Pinto joined a modelling agency and appeared in adverts for variety of products, including Wrigley’s chewing gum.

Acting Career: She couldn’t have asked for a much better screen debut than Slumdog Millionaire, playing Lakita, whom Dev Patel’s Jamal eventually falls in love with. The film was an Oscar success and she won the Breakthrough Permformance award from the Palm Springs International Film Festival.

More Than Set Dressing? To use a phrase that has been used to describe many a young star in the making, she won the hearts of millions in Slumdog Millionaire. Pinto has since been putting in steady if unspectacular performances in hits such as Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Brooke Shields

The Model: Brooke Shields’ modelling career began when she was 11 months old (!) and carried on throughout childhood, appearing in slightly creepy TV ads for Calvin Klein jeans when she was 15.

Acting Career: Her debut was in 1978, in Pretty Baby, where she played a child prostitute at the age of 12. Among her three Golden Raspberry awards is one for worst supporting actor, for Sahara, in which she disguises herself as a man.

More Than Set Dressing? As an adult she has largely been restricted to minor supporting roles, and her career has gone straight-to-DVD of late.

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.