14 Models Who Turned Bollywood Actresses!!!

These actresses who made it from the runway to the big screen are an inspiration to us.

Written by Jyotsana Rao, BE
Edited by Madhumati Chowdhury, MA (English Literature)
Fact-checked by Bhumika Daga, MA (English)  • 

Bollywood has welcomed many new talents as actresses who were initially models. And these models who turned Bollywood actresses have made sure they ace modeling and become phenomenal actresses, too. In this article, we introduce you to some of the top names that took the plunge and ended up making it big in the film industry.

Often these actresses are written off, as people think they do not have acting skills. But it is not true. Apart from maintaining a good body, they have also inspired many upcoming actresses. With fit bodies and superb acting talent, these actresses — who came from the modeling world — have set the bar quite high for many.

Like they rocked the ramp walk, they showcased how real acting is done. So, if you are curious to know about these actresses, you have landed in the right place. Below, we have a list of these talented artists that you must check right away. Scroll down to learn more about them!

14 Beautiful Models who Turned Into Successful Bollywood Actresses

The transition from aspiring model to renowned Bollywood actress requires hard work, dedication, and perseverance. These wonderful ladies have reached peak stardom, success, and recognition after facing difficult challenges by staying up-to-date on the latest social media and fashion trends and taking up lucrative opportunities and endorsements. Their glitz and glamour mesmerized their followers, turning these models into successful brand ambassadors for major international companies. Here is a great list of model-turned-actresses of our very own B-Town.

1. Aishwariya Rai

I don’t even need to introduce our Ex-Miss World, Aishwarya Rai. Those beautiful eyes, that stunning beauty does a lot more than just making her look good. This lady is one of the most beautiful models in the world and one of the finest actresses that Bollywood has, even today! She also happens to be one of the few Bollywood actresses to have acted in Hollywood movies.

2. Bipasha Basu

Our very own Bong bombshell Bipasha Basu can get any man go weak on his knees. Her super sensuous looks and body is perfectly complimented by her natural acting skills. Trust her to woo you each time whether she walks the ramp or acts in the movie.

3. Deepika Padukone

Deepika Padukone is one of the rare model-turned-actresses who can dazzle any outfit, literally. She obviously is gorgeously stunning. But what makes her even more attractive is her natural acting skill. She is rightly the current favourite of the nation!


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Deepika began her career as a model for Kingfisher and was included in the company’s yearly calendar. Additionally, she won the 2005 Kingfisher Model of the Year award.

4. Dia Mirza

Dia Mirza makes me wonder if she is made of wax! That perfect body, flawless skin and graceful personality makes her charming. She is also known for her capability of making any character seem real on screen.

5. Katrina Kaif

Katrina Kaif’s babydoll looks make her look cute and pretty at the same time. The beauty doesn’t believe in adding too much drama to either her look or her acting. She has given some of the smashing hits for the industry and fans to love her more.

6. Anushka Sharma

Anushka Sharma is the perfect teen idol. She represents the youth of the country. Her ‘bindaas’ roles onscreen are nothing but an extension of her own self off screen. Trust her to rock any attire. She has redefined the new cool and sexy. She is even loved for her effortless acting skills and easy-to-carry style.

7. Lara Dutta

Lara Dutta, our very own sultry beauty, is one of those rare model-turned actresses to have earned critical acclaim of the audiences. She sure knows how to bring elegance to her looks. But what she does even better is bring in poised to every character she plays onscreen.

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After winning Miss Universe in 2000, Lara Dutta was named a UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador in 2001.

8. Neha Dhupia

Neha Dhupia is known for her bold avatar, both on and off stage. She dazzles the audience with her acting skills in both mainstream and off stream cinema. The lady also knows how to rock the ramp with flair and elan. This beautiful model does more than justice to her onscreen characters and has also won many hearts. Both within and outside the industry.

9. Preity Zinta

Our lovely dimpled beauty has always been bubbly and frank both on-screen and off-screen. Preity Zinta’s cute smile only adds more charm to her personality and looks. She is a seasoned Bollywood actress who has given us quite a few hits worth remembering. I would not mind watching her movies over and over again. Would you?!

10. Priyanka Chopra

What do we say about our Priyanka Chopra? She is a house of talent – a great looker, stunningly good actress and an equally talented singer. If you still feel models can’t act, go watch one of her movies!

11. Sushmita Sen

Sushmita Sen, our Ex-Miss Universe is a perfect blend of beauty with brains. Trust her to light up any environment with that dazzling smile. Her cheerful presence and matured portrayal of characters makes her one of my favorite model-turned-actresses.

12. Zeenat Aman

Old is gold – Zeenat Aman proves this saying true and how! The lady made every young man run for his money with her stunningly sensuous looks and super confident acting skills. To my opinion, she does it even today but with more grace now. She came into the industry at a time when skin show was really a big deal, but the lady always made it look classy, never cheap.

13. Juhi Chawla

Juhi Chawla in ethnic attire
Image: iamjuhichawla/Instagram

Renowned for her effervescent persona and expressive acting, Juhi Chawla became a prominent figure in Indian cinema. She carved a niche for herself by excelling in both light-hearted comedies and intense dramas. Beyond her acting prowess, she has embraced roles as a producer and an advocate for environmental causes, showcasing her multifaceted talents and commitment to social issues. Juhi Chawla remains an enduring icon in Indian cinema, celebrated for her grace, talent, and philanthropic endeavors.

14. Rakul Preet Singh

Rakul Preet in a salwar suit at a homely event
Image: rakulpreet/Instagram

With her charm, versatility, and dedication, Rakul Preet captivates audiences across different film industries, cementing her place as a talented actress in Indian cinema. Rakul Preet Singh is celebrated not only for her acting skills but also for her dedication to fitness and wellness, making her a perfect role model for health enthusiasts. She made a remarkable transition from her successful modeling career to a sought-after talent in Bollywood and the South Indian film industry.

Infographic:Top 6 Model-Turned-Bollywood Actresses

While many stars jumped right into the film industry, the majority of Bollywood actresses graced the ramp before working their magic in movies. With stunning stature, drop-dead gorgeous looks, and impeccable acting skills, these top 6 model-turned-actresses make us thankful for their presence in the acting industry. If you are someone who does not follow Bollywood news and has no idea about these actresses’ past, this one’s for you. Check out the infographic below for the top 6 actresses who started their modeling careers before joining Bollywood.

top 6 model turned bollywood actresses (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Get the high-quality PDF version of this infographic.

Download Infographic in PDF version

There are many prominent faces in Bollywood known for their exceptional acting. But many of these people were models who turned into Bollywood actresses. These people proved that models can be exceptional actors as well. Aishwariya Rai, Bipasha Basu, Deepika Padukone, Zeenat Aman, Sushmitha Sen, Preity Zinta, Priyanka Chopra, Lara Dutta, and Anushka Sharma are some of the Bollywood models who turned actresses. These actresses are loved by many, and they also inspire many young talents to step into the industry and follow their dreams!

Frequently Asked Questions

What skills do models possess that help them succeed in the acting profession?

The most useful skills that models with acting aspirations possess is their impeccable body language, their knowledge of fashion and beauty, and the way they carry themselves with grace and poise. These qualities make for an amazing onscreen presence. However, being able to act is a different skill altogether that requires additional training.

How have models contributed to the evolution of Bollywood’s beauty standards?

Models are more organic in their understanding of beauty and fashion as opposed to the set standards in an industry like Bollywood. They bring a fresh charm to the screen and use their fame to share their real-life experiences with their fans.

What are some of the most successful movies featuring models-turned-actors?

There are many model-turned-actors, such as Aishwarya Rai, Deepika Padukone, and Priyanka Chopra, who have acted in movies like Ponniyin Selvan, Padmaavat, and Bajirao Mastani. They have also made a name for themselves internationally.

What are some notable differences between the acting styles of models and those of traditional actors?

Models have a refreshing screen presence. They may not have a polished air about themselves as trained actors, but their grace and charm is refreshing to watch. This means that they inevitably need to put in more hours to execute top tier performances, but they are used to a competitive professional field as models and know how to persevere. Models also make the industry seem more accessible as they come from varied social backgrounds.

Can modeling experience help actors with a successful career in Bollywood?

Modeling experience surely makes Bollywood more accessible but a successful career is not guaranteed unless they get to work with big names in the industry. Also, at the end of the day, acting is a non-negotiable skill in Bollywood. If a model is not able to perform well onscreen, their popularity will die down soon with their chances of succeeding as actors.

Did you know that models make great actresses too? Check this video for the top 10 models who claimed their place in Bollywood! See how they made it and what it takes to be there!

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