In the imaginative world of television, it’s easy to find characters in shows that we find admirable. Whether it’s who they’re playing, or how they look, there’s something about certain characters that we as viewers and fans cannot help but be drawn to. Sometimes, we can see a little bit of ourselves resembled in these characters, reminding us that these individuals are in fact humans themselves. Though we may have an idea of who these people really are in the real world, you may end up surprised when you finally see for yourself.
The characters we see on television oftentimes contrast the individuals they are in real life. Whether it’s by appearance or their personality, it’s likely that the character they are portraying on television isn’t much like who they really are off-screen. You may, in fact, find that they don’t resemble the character they play on-screen at all, which is all a part of the art of acting and portraying a television character.
In this series of photos comparing on-screen television characters to their real-life selves, we get an idea of just how much their personas contrast. Here, we take a look at some of our favorite television characters and just how different they look when they’re away from all the lights, camera, and action.
1. Games Of Thrones: Daenerys Targaryen (Played by Emilia Clarke)
The renowned star of the hit HBO series Game of Thrones plays Daenerys Targaryen, who is widely known for her striking white hair. Debuting at the age of 25, she played Daenerys who is roughly 17 years old in the first season of the show. The Mother of Dragons is an immensely popular character, who taught the actress to embrace feminism, and showed her what it’s like to be a strong woman that fights inequality. Aside from her major role in Game of Thrones, Emilia Clarke can be found in Terminator Genisys where she plays Sarah Connor, and in Me Before You, where she plays Lou Clark in the romantic film, both of which heavily contrast her television character, and furthermore her real-life look, where she has brown hair and an entirely different style.
2. Game Of Thrones: Varys (Played by Conleth Hill)
Originally cast for the part as King Robert Baratheon, the 53-year-old actor instead took on the role of Varys. Sporting a bald look in the hit television series, actor Conleth Hill has a full head of hair in real life. He wasn’t opposed to shaving his head for the show, although you’ll find that he looks much different off the air.
3. The Big Bang Theory: Leonard Hofstadter (Played by Johnny Galecki)
One of TV’s favorite astrophysicists and on-screen nerds heavily contrasts who he is in real life. Having slicked back hair, a clean shave, and specks, he plays a science and comic-loving geek on the show, whereas in reality his style is much different, and he rocks a beard. Galecki almost ended up playing Sheldon, but he decided to take on a role that would include some romance, involving co-star Kaley Cuoco, who plays Penny.
4. The Big Bang Theory: Amy Farrah Fowler (Played by Mayim Bialik)
In one of the more striking transitions, Mayim Bialik plays a neurobiologist who is new to the world of romance. Though she’s a neuroscientist in real life and finds herself to be just as honest and upfront, her look is far different than the Amy we know on Big Bang Theory. For one, she doesn’t wear glasses, which you’ll find already makes a difference in her overall look, and unlike Amy, she dabbles with makeup when making public appearances.
5. Modern Family: Alex Dunphy (Played by Ariel Winter)
Playing a character that’s essentially the same age as her, the Modern Family actress is far different in appearance than the girl we know her as on television. She plays the intelligent sister of the family who’s a bit on the nerdier side, however in real life she did also get accepted to the University of California, Los Angeles to pursue a degree in Law or Political Science. Dressed very conservatively as Alex Dunphy, she has been seen wearing revealing outfits off-air, and a style that heavily contrasts her on-screen character.
6. Grey’s Anatomy: Meredith Grey (Played by Ellen Pompeo)
Starring on the hit television series Grey’s Anatomy, Ellen Pompeo plays one of TV’s most famous and favorite surgical interns. Recently turning 48, she has been on the show for an impressive 14 seasons already, first debuting in March of 2005. Today, she’s one of the highest paid actresses on TV, getting her big break at the age of 33, where she felt her time was ticking in Hollywood. Away from the scrubs, she’s a stylish mother of three with a very memorable smile, who lives an adventurous life.
7. Orange Is The New Black: Suzanne (Played by Uzo Aduba)
The entertaining inmate on Netflix’s special Orange Is The New Black is known as “crazy eyes”. The 36-year-old actress has already won two Emmys for her role as Suzanne, playing the lovable, mentally ill character that fans have grown to love. She was originally only cast for two episodes, but upon impressing producers, is now one of the more prominent figures in the series. Straying away from the twisted dreads and short-haired, no makeup look, Uzo Aduba is a fashionable woman with who puts herself together quite glamorously off-set in her public appearances.
8. Vikings: Floki (Played by Gustaf Skarsgard)
Playing the ‘religious zealot’ Floki in Vikings, Gustaf is part of a long line of actors in the family of Skargards. The Swedish native admits that his new life in Hollywood is more liberating than when he was back home. In Hollywood, the bigger you are, the better it is, whereas in Sweden you get cut down in pop culture when you rise to fame. Unlike Floki, where he’s bald and has eye makeup with head tattoos, along with a Viking wardrobe, he sports a cleaner look in reality, with a trimmed beard and a short head of hair.
9. Shameless: Fiona Gallagher (Played by Emmy Rossum)
The main star of Shameless, the story of a dysfunctional Chicago family, is played by Emmy Rossum, who is also a singer-songwriter. Playing the big sister, and taking on the motherly role of the house, she is far too busy to put herself together, and often sports a no-makeup look, with very casual attire. Off-air, Emmy puts herself together quite elegantly and certainly is found smiling a lot more than the troubled Fiona, on Shameless.
10. Suits: Mike Ros (Played by Patrick J. Adams)
Known by fans of Suits as a smart and unlicensed lawyer, the Canadian actor is also a talented photographer in reality. The photos hung up in his colleague Rachel’s office on the show are actually taken by Patrick. The creator admitted to the public that he cast Patrick for his “very intelligent eyes”. Though he had a series of smaller roles prior to the hit show, he is now widely recognized as his character on Suits. He sports a more laid back look in real life, away from the suit-and-tie clean up that he dons in the television series.
11. The Handmaid’s Tale: Offred (Played by Elisabeth Moss)
Earning an impressive 8th Emmy nominations for her role as Offred in The Handmaid’s Tale, Elisabeth was skeptical and took her time prior to signing on to the show, both as the star and executive producer. She wanted to be sure that her vision was much like what everyone else wanted and expected of the show, and wanted everyone to be on the same page. Moss wanted to give the original book justice, with a flare of humor and entertainment for television. A citizen of the totalitarian society of historic America, she has a very vintage appearance like Offred, whereas in reality, she has a vibrant style, hair-do, and modern look.
12. The Crown: Queen Elizabeth II (Played by Claire Foy)
Playing the important role of Queen Elizabeth II, the English actress put a lot of work into perfecting her impression of the Queen. She had to nail the precise dialect that the Queen spoke as a young woman, to perfectly capture her. Netflix employed a series of fact-checkers, dialect coaches, and jewelry experts to perfect her role as the illustrious Queen. Though she’s already captured a Golden Globe for her role, she only signed on for two seasons and will be replaced by a new actress at the end of the current season. Of course, in reality, Claire appears as a modern British woman of our time, with a lovely hair-do and modern style.