If you watched The Wolverine this weekend, you may have seen a familiar face on screen—Tao Okamoto, who plays Hugh Jackman’s stunning love interest—without realizing where you’ve seen her before. That’s because Okamoto’s part of a tribe of famous, incredibly accomplished models venturing into acting, tackling everything from meaty dramatic roles to lighthearted comedic fare.
Models To Movie Stars: 12 Beauties Who Made The Leap
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While some are newcomers (Kate Upton and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley), and others have already established a strong foothold in films or television (Jaime King and Amber Valletta), these beauties are taking their talents beyond the runway—and who wouldn’t? After all, the camera already loves them! Click through our slideshow to see 12 models making the leap.
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The British stunner traded her Victoria’s Secret Angel wings for explosions and robots in Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon. Catch her next in the fourth installment of the post-apocalyptic Mad Max franchise, Mad Max: Fury Road.
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The Japanese model will tackle her very first film opposite Hugh Jackman in The Wolverine (lucky girl!). But though she’s a newbie in films, Okamoto’s walked the runway for esteemed fashion houses like Chanel and served as the face of Zac Posen.
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Cole, a renowned British model who has scored coveted campaigns with Chanel and Hermes in the past, landed her first leading role in the Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. Most recently she tackled the fantasy film Snow White and the Huntsman alongside Charlize Theron (who, coincidentally, also started off as a model).
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A few highly memorable Sports Illustrated Swimsuit covers (and a viral video of her dancing to “Teach Me How To Dougie”) catapulted Upton to fame. Now the blonde bombshell, who appeared in The Three Stooges and Tower Heist, is donning a bikini on screen for her role in The Other Woman (scheduled for release in 2014), alongside Cameron Diaz.
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You might know Iman from her extensive modeling career or even her cosmetics line, but she also has quite a few film and television appearances under her belt, most notably L.A. Story back in 1991. Talk about triple threat!
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Bundchen has one of the most recognizable faces in modeling: she’s snagged the cover of countless—and we mean countless—magazines, ranging from multiple Vogue and V covers. But the Brazilian bombshell has also lit up the big screen in Taxi and The Devil Wears Prada.
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Ward is a seasoned runway model, whose otherworldly look, specifically those wide-set eyes, made her an industry favorite. You may have caught the Australian beauty in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides or The Great Gatsby.
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Schiffer, one of the original ‘90s supermodels alongside peers like Linda Evangelista and Cindy Crawford, has appeared in Zoolander (playing herself) and Love Actually (as Liam Neeson’s love interest).
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During Brinkley’s decades-spanning career, she appeared on several Sports Illustrated Swimsuit covers and served as the longtime face of CoverGirl. Most recently, she’s popped up in the popular TV series Parks and Recreation.
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Before she scored bigger roles in Battleship and What To Expect When You’re Expecting, Decker—another Sports Illustrated Swimsuit veteran—had small roles in TV shows like Royal Pains and Ugly Betty. Now the actress is about to hit a career high note in next year’s action comedy Stretch, also starring Chris Pine and Jessica Alba.
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Who could forget Valletta’s turn as the heiress with a heart of gold in Hitch? Since then, the model (who memorably co-hosted MTV’s House of Style in the mid-‘90s) has racked up an impressive resume, most recently appearing as a regular on the hit series Revenge.
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King has come a long way since her first major film role in Pearl Harbor. She had a breakthrough role in 2005’s Sin City, and we’re eagerly anticipating watching her on the third season of Hart of Dixie (she plays Southern belle Lemon Breeland).