Nerdy child stars who grew up gorgeous

By Melissa Platero, CCNN Writer

Emma Watson
Emma Watson… is that really you? I guess she really can do magic!

If you’ve heard the story before about the ugly duckling that grew up to become a beautiful swan, then take a look at some of these heartthrob celebrities who were once geeky ducklings.

20-year-old Dakota Fanning, the adorable little blonde who’s warmed our hearts in flicks like I am Sam, Charlotte’s Web, and The Secret Life of Bees, has grown up into a stunning beauty, which you may have begun noticing in her role as Twilight’s evil Jane Volturi. When Fanning was 7 years old, she became the youngest person ever to be nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award after playing the daughter of a mentally-challenged father in I am Sam, opposite Sean Penn.

Emma Watson, meanwhile, went from nerdy Hermione in Harry Potter to probably the most worshiped foxy crush in modern geek-dom. It’s no surprise, then, that Watson was voted most attractive movie star in a global poll conducted by Empire magazine recently, and she has modeled for Burberry, a British luxury fashion house.

As for the males, Nickelodeon actor Josh Peck from Drake & Josh went from chubby boyhood to, “Hey, how’s it going?” scruffy manliness. Since Peck suffered asthma during his childhood, he stayed indoors watching old sitcoms, which helped inspire him to become a stand-up comedian by the time he was 8 years old (even if it left him a bit chubby from being a couch potato!)

Then, multi-talented Gordon-Levitt evolved from a long-haired punk kid in 3rd Rock from the Sun to a dapper and charming-yet-serious gentleman who’s starred in major films like The Dark Knight Rises, Inception, and (500) Days of Summer. Gordon-Levitt isn’t just an actor, either, as he’s also a director, screenwriter, producer, and editor. His success with the movie Don Jon led Warner Bros. to make him a producer for a film adaptation of the mega popular graphic novel, The Sandman.

Images of Josh Peck courtesy of Josh Peck Facebook and Nickelodeon. Images of Emma Watson courtesy of Warner Bros. and Emma Watson Facebook. Images of Joseph Gordon-Levitt courtesy of Joseph Gordon-Levitt Facebook and NBC.  Images of Dakota Fanning courtesy of David Shankbone on Wikipedia, Paramount Pictures, and DreamWorks.