In the walks of life, there are opposites. While some people are perceived as beautiful, others are perceived ugly. The latter makes for a character who can't get the girl or has no chance of being asked to prom by the hunky quarterback. Fortunately, fiction has a cure that's sure to turn heads.
Beautiful All Along - (mistaken for The Glasses Come Off) A character, initially portrayed as ugly, plain, or homely, who undergoes a metamorphosis that turns them into the most beautiful or handsome of all.
While it sounds like a shallow plot element, its continued use suggests that the idea of becoming beautiful or desired is, in itself, attractive. There are plenty of examples with various executions, such as:
Hermione Granger - who would suspect that Hogwarts' buck-toothed and frizzy-haired know-it-all would become the main eye-popper at the Yule Ball?
Nothing grungy about this Granger!
This trope is typically used with female characters (but has a special place for male characters in comics - often involving genetic mutation over a salon makeover).
Ain't that right, Mr. Rogers?
Closely associated with this trope is She's All Grown Up, when a childhood friend matures and becomes someone you start thinking of as ... more than friends.
"More isn't always better, Linus ..."
In That Touch of Mink, a character toyed with this trope by asking his secretary to let down her hair and take off her glasses. She does, but he looks at her, unimpressed. "Gee ... it always works in the movies!"
In Howl's Moving Castle, the main character doesn't think highly of her appearance. Being changed into a granny certainly sent her low self-esteem for a whirl.
This trope isn't going away anytime soon. Good thing writers keep coming up with new ways to use it. Like an age-old fairytale, Beautiful All Along is a classic trope and always will be, so long as audiences desire the feeling that their characters portray. Like in this clip:
Do you have a Beautiful All Along character? Guy or girl? What kind of makeover did they have?
I'm David, and I sure could use a haircut!