Jennifer Garner is People Magazine’s most beautiful: ‘I was so not one of the pretty girls’

I have to give props to People Magazine for featuring older women as their “most beautiful.” That may sound like I’m exaggerating, but I remember when Rene Russo was considering old to be hot on Thomas Crown Affair in 1999 when she was 45. Things have changed since then. Last year Pink was People’s Most Beautiful, then 38, in 2017 it was Julia Roberts, 49, and in 2016 it was Jennifer Aniston, 47. So they’re featuring older women which is nice, although I would like to see more women of color. (Halle Berry, Beyonce and Lupita Nyong’o are the only three women of color I see on that list of 29 years.) I suspect People’s choices are influenced both by their editorial staff and the celebrity publicists. This year they’ve chosen Jennifer Garner, 47, who is beautiful for being a caring mom or something. I mean she’s lovely I’m not saying anything about her looks, I just question how she got picked for this. The excerpt they’re including online features Garner’s on-brand comments about how she goes out in workout gear and was a band geek in high school.

Garner insists her own style could initially be described as “band geek-chic,” she says, laughing. “I was so not one of the pretty girls that I just bypassed insecurity and didn’t see myself as attractive at all. It was not part of my life.”

Yet the actress was grateful to her family for keeping her so grounded. “I felt good about myself back then! That is the lucky trick,” she adds. “Looks weren’t a big deal in my family. I don’t think my parents ever said ‘You’re pretty’ and so we just didn’t think about it.”

When she doesn’t need to be red-carpet ready, Garner admits her “uniform” more often than not is workout clothes. “I try so hard to get out of [them],” she says. “But sometimes the day just doesn’t give you a break to shower and put on my other uniform, which is jeans, a sweater and sneakers.”

And don’t get her started about makeup. “Do I seem like someone who’s good at applying makeup?” she says, laughing. “I own the nicest brushes and I own contouring things. If I used it, I would just look bruised.”

Which is just fine with her three kiddos. Arriving home after a glam photo shoot, “I’ll feel like the best possible version of myself,” Garner adds. “They’ll look at me and say, ‘Can you wash your face? Can you put your hair in a ponytail and put your glasses and sweats on?’” she says, smiling. “And I see the compliment in that. They just want me to look like Mom.”

[From People]

In the intro to this piece, People mentions Garner’s work with Save The Children, and it’s true that she’s been a great ambassador for them for many years. It’s a cause that’s close to her as she saw a lot of poverty growing up in West Virginia. She does have that “every mom” kind of vibe and she’s leaned into that. It’s genuine and she’s used it as part of her public image. As I usually say, I wear makeup every day as I like it and am good at it. Some women aren’t and prefer to go without it and that’s ok too. I don’t think that matters when it comes to how we nurture our children, but it seems to always come up in stories about her. Garner does look so much happier and freer now that she’s rid of Affleck though. I wonder if there are any quotes in this piece about her boyfriend, John Miller.

On Easter Sunday she went to church with Ben and their kids.


Photos credit: Backgrid and via People

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

90 Responses to “Jennifer Garner is People Magazine’s most beautiful: ‘I was so not one of the pretty girls’”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Everley says:


  2. Becks1 says:

    I think she’s pretty, I definitely think she is one of those celebrities who is just average/pretty, but with some makeup and the right styling she makes the leap to gorgeous.

    But, let’s not act like these covers/lists aren’t the result of PR negotiations and tactics.

    • Redgrl says:

      @becks1 – agreed! And she hits People’s demographic square on the nose too.

    • lucy2 says:

      Ditto your whole post.

      Everything with People is PR spin, but especially these. It is nice it’s not just 20 somethings though.

    • Desical says:

      She was a hostess at a restaurant down the block from where I lived in NYC in the 90’s and she was definitely not average. Natural beauty.

      • BengalCat😻 says:

        I’ve seen her in person too, and you’re right, she’s beautiful!

      • Jb says:

        I’ve seen old pics of her and true she was/is not average or mediocre looking and quite the beauty. I’m sure all on here calling her blah are drop dead gorgeous. And yes she had some work done to her lips (perhaps some other things as well) but love that she doesn’t pretend the “I woke up like this” look. She seems genuinely fine and yea extra but the hustle is real in Hollywood…everyone knows most beautiful is a PR game but I see no problem with her being included

      • Original T.C. says:

        But she *is* doing the “I woke up just like this..and.. I’m sweaty and stink too!” There is nothing “natural” about her face on that cover. The combo of her Botox/face lift and photoshop makes her look like someone in their late 20’s. Someone else.

        The “older” women People are picking are all women who either through nature or medical help still look way younger than their age. So essentially they are still going with the youthful look.

      • anony7 says:

        Yep, beautiful skin and eyes.

      • justwastingtime says:

        Me too. Seen her in the Palisades, she is more than average pretty IRL. And, she complimented my daughter so I can’t say anything but nice things about her : )

    • Ramona Q. says:

      She was “so not one of those pretty girls” before she got her teeth fixed and lip injections is what she means.

  3. Mabs A'Mabbin says:


  4. ChocoChipDestroyer says:

    Who is that on the cover/ first photo? She doesn’t really look like Garner.

  5. SM says:

    Look at that. Another person titled as beautiful complaining about not being considered beautiful. And now we live in the world where Blake Shelton is sexy and Garner is the most beautiful. Ok…
    This is my second consecutive negative comment today. I must be just grumpy.

    • perplexed says:

      When she was on Felicity, she wasn’t that pretty. I vaguely remember thinking she looked “bad” next to Keri Russell. She suddenly became better-looking when she was on Alias. So I guess I kind of believe her when she says she was never one of the pretty girls.

      • SM says:

        I am not saying I don’t believe her. But that is beside the point. She lives a life where she gets public praise for being beautiful, so maybe at least some of them could appreciate that and acknowledge they get more that any other woman who was called not pretty enough (which my guess is most of womens’ experience at some point in their lives) and not recycle the image of a victim: “Oh but I was called ugly too. Relate to me”.

      • perplexed says:

        I think she has been called ugly in Hollywood though. Heck, I’ve heard regular people discuss her looks and there appears to be no consensus as to her actual attractiveness level. When she auditions she’s not being compared to regular people — she’s being put up against other people who look like Penelope Cruz or Charlize Theron. Haven’t a bunch of actresses been told that they’re. not “fu**able?” Ditto for men, I guess (Bradley Cooper said he was told this). Even Julia Roberts has been told she had to lose weight because she looked fat on camera. Within their world, there probably is a hierarchy of pretty and on a sliding scale of pretty I can see how she might be considered less beautiful. Even in this comments section some people are saying “I don’t get it. She looks plain.”

        I think over time she’s become prettier out of necessity (she has to get roles). But I think at some point I do think she was probably told to her face “Yeah, you’re not that hot.” I mean, her husband constantly cheated on her. If she doesn’t think she’s that desirable at times, I can kind of see why.

        Anyway, as some of the comments in this section indicate, there are people who appear not to think she’s pretty. So if she went around talking like she’s Charlize Theron (who outright has admitted she IS beautiful), we’d likely be going “Um, are you sure about that? Don’t you remember what your lips used to look like in your old band camp photo?”

        I also don’t think the praise around Garner’s looks is as exaggerated as it is around someone like Natalie Portman. I think her PR in terms of her looks has always seemed more measured. I don’t think I’ve seen as many superlatives around her.

      • Ader says:

        Reminiscing about Felicity = Fun!

        I remember being blown away at how gorgeous she was on Felicity back in the day. In fact, this headline made me think: “Yeah right! You blew everyone away on Felicity! Even Keri Russell!”

        Different strokes for different folks and all that. Just goes to show that beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. :-)

      • perplexed says:

        Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That’s why I don’t find it unbelievable that she herself might perceive herself a certain way. When it comes to looks, I don’t think most people are fake humble. I think a lot of women internalize criticism about their looks and don’t know that they might be prettier than the average population.

  6. LoonyTunes says:

    People must’ve run out of people to feature …

  7. anp says:

    Only in hollyweird.

  8. Kittycat says:

    Bless her heart.

  9. Seraphina says:

    I don’t fault her for saying what she said. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and standards change. Although, 20 some years later I find it funny to hear three high school freshmen state (including my son) that in order to be popular in school you need to be blonde and a cheerleader. But I digress.

    She never struck me with star WOW power and her acting isn’t very wide ranging. Also looks like she’s had work done.

    • Esmom says:

      That is funny to hear your son and his friends say that. I wouldn’t say my sons’ classmates have the same standard, I feel like popularity is less about looks and more about attitude, specifically one of entitlement for the most part.

      I remember my older son sort of lamenting about a boy, saying “Why is X so popular — he’s not smart, he’s not very good looking, he’s not very nice.” We talked about how this kid (and others) just managed to talk himself and everyone else into that place in the social pecking order. My sons found it all exhausting and thankfully were just happy to have their small circles of friends and no sense of FOMO.

      I’ve always had a soft spot for Garner because of Alias. I think she’s very pretty but this People cover does her zero favors. It’s baffling to me, actually, lol.

      • Seraphina says:

        Oh they get annoyed with the popular girls who they think are mean and shallow, I try to tell them life after high school is so much better. And that once in college all things change. I hope it sinks in by the time they decide on college. They don’t say much on the boys. But if they do bring one up, we tell them that life has a way of repaying those who never develop psychologically into well meaning, thoughtful, compassionate and caring people.

  10. lower case lila says:

    After the divorce ,Jennifer definitely has made a big U turn and worked on re branding herself.

  11. jules says:

    She used to be so badass in the Alias days. Guess she was just acting.

    • Esmom says:

      That was a long time ago, though. Although I think her badassery was more her character than her true self. She seemed pretty low key back then, too, minus the messy romantic entanglements.

  12. Lucia says:

    I think since Jennifer separated from Ben Affleck she looks a lot better. She doesn’t seem nearly as tense as she did during her marriage. When she was married to Ben, her smile seemed super fake and it seemed like she was carrying around a lot of baggage – by the name of Ben.

  13. Cat mom says:

    I love her. I don’t get all the snark.

    • paranormalgirl says:

      Me either. I think she’s just fine.

    • Mrs. Peel says:

      Me too – I think she’s genuine, unpretentious and a great role model. Plus, 13 going on 30 come on!

    • AryasMum says:

      I don’t get it either. I think she’s beautiful because she could not care less about putting on makeup when she’s out and about in the world.

    • FHMom says:

      I do think she is beautiful. I’m surprised that many people don’t. That said, People’s list has always been nonsense.

      • BayTampaBay says:

        “People’s list has always been nonsense.”

        No sh*t! People magazine went off the cliff and straight down hill about 20 years ago when they through in the towel competing with Vanity Fair started competing with US magazine.

    • judith reeder says:

      I agree, theres no rumors about her getting falling down drunk, or whoring around, I like her, and thinks shes very pretty!!

    • Usedtobe says:

      Agreed about the snark. She is a genuinely good person. Period.

    • Kitten says:

      People love to hate her. It’s always been that way around here.

      I liked what she said about looks not being a focus in her family and just bypassing the insecurity stage. I have friends that grew up like that and they all seem imbibed with a natural confidence that I really envy.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      I like her, too.

      Even though the People’s Most Beautiful seems to be an attempt by the magazine to give a star something positive, it seems like it always draws out negativity. You call someone beautiful, you get hordes of people saying why they don’t think they are attractive. Happens to the guys, too.

    • Summer says:

      She is absolutely harmless and doesn’t deserve the level of snark she receives here. Outside of this site, however, she is generally well liked, if not adored. Her taste in shoes and men is questionable, but her spunk makes me smile. We could use more JGs in this world.

  14. HELEN says:

    denise richards seems sweet on rhobh, but she is about a year older than jennifer garner but looks **so much older**. is it the sun? the work she got done didn’t settle in? she was and still is a gorgeous woman, nevertheless.

    • Kitten says:

      ITA. Denise is beautiful but she’s falling into the PS trap where she’s getting so many fillers that just make her look older. I also think being really stressed out and clearly underweight for so many years did a number on her, the poor thing. I hope she chills with the fillers because she really is a beauty.

    • JinnyBye says:

      Her plastic surgery hasn’t helped, but Denise Richards just has one of those faces that ensures she’ll always look older than she is. Even when she was in her early 20’s she could’ve easily passed for 35-40 with a few style adjustments.

      Garner has softer, more girlish look, so fillers have worked out better for her.

  15. prissa says:

    I actually think she’s very pretty and has a very natural aesthetic. She is beautiful to me. :)

  16. Mini says:

    “I just question how she got picked for this.” Same. She’s only relevant on Instagram and in the tabloids these days.

  17. Carolnr says:

    I think she looks great & most importantly happy & healthy! I think she truly loves her work with Save with Children & Once Upon a Farm & you can see how passionate she is about both! Sorry, for 47, I think she looks fantastic! ( work or no work) & is in a great place in her life!

    • Kitten says:

      Yes. I’m 40 so I’m always looking to women in their mid-to-late forties for inspiration. She’s had work done but she’s beautiful IMO.

      • LoveBug says:

        I saw Garner recently in person, face to face, with no make-up and with wet hair, there was maybe a step and a half between us.
        She has really, really great skin and bone structure, lovely eyes, truly good head of hair, thin, but healthy looking well toned body.
        ( TERRIBLE SHOES! )
        I saw a few wrinkles on her forehead, but no sun damage at all, for someone nearing 50 and living mostly in California it is pretty good, I would say.
        I have no idea what treatments and work she had done to her face, but she didn’t look at all plastic or fake, if she had work done, it’s well done.
        I’m 28 and have several girlfriends close to my age that don’t have even close to the quality of the skin Garner has.
        In my opinion, Garner is a very attractive woman and seems to be a kind person…most beautiful…I don’t think so.
        Although beauty is in the eye of the beholder and at least when I look at her it doesn’t scream Hollywood Fake, which is very common ( Nicole Kidman…

  18. banana_bread says:

    Ok, sure. As someone who was genuinely, factually NOT one of the pretty girls (and hasn’t become any more so with age) …this rubs me up the wrong way. Yeah I’m resentful that I fell out the ugly tree and hit most of the branches on the way down, and I know it’s not her fault that she’s a) beautiful and b) humble but it still kind of hurts.

    • Some chick says:

      Awww, boo. I bet you there are people who find you beautiful, whether or not you’d ever believe them.

  19. Case says:

    I think she’s beautiful because she kinda glows from the inside out. I know she isn’t the most popular around these parts, but I do think she seems like a good mom and a truly sweet, genuine woman.

  20. Mego says:

    Oh to live in a world without stupid lists like this. I mean no shade to JG just it’s so dumb and shallow.

    • Kitten says:

      Agree completely. There are people on this thread who are talking about what it feels like to be less than beautiful and shit like this does NOTHING to help them feel better. I don’t fault Jen for that but this Most Beautiful People stuff needs to end or at least be more inclusive & diverse in terms of how we define beauty. Nah. Cancel that. Just get rid of shit like this–forever.

  21. Angela82 says:

    I have no issue with People choosing older men and especially older women. BUT I just never thought JG was that beautiful. Pretty but plain. To each their own I guess.

  22. Ali says:

    I like her. We have a similar aesthetic. I have little to no fashion style and live in gym clothes and jeans. :) I like that she hustles in a way that isn’t gross. I get she’s a touch too Pinterest perfect for some people but I’ll always have a soft spot for her. Also, Daved Tennant likes her so yeah. :)

  23. Other Renee says:

    I’ve always found her to be really beautiful. She has a real inner glow that makes her way more attractive than someone considered drop dead gorgeous.

  24. mycomment says:

    nice to see she appears to have her original face.. no bj lips blown up to ridiculous proportions; her nose not sculpted down to a sliver; no cheek impants; her eyes that she can still see out of and not reduced to slits to barely peer thru…

    see Hollywood. it is possible for women to age without all of those procedures and still remain attractive.

    good for her.

    • Olive says:

      that’s because her lips are naturally quite big, her nose is naturally small like people get nose jobs to achieve, she has naturally high cheekbones and not much fat in her lower face, even her eyes are naturally small. most of the women getting procedures done DON’T have those natural features still at 47.

      • MM says:

        Her upper lip is not naturally big, it’s an implant. Sorry.

      • Olive says:

        @MM you don’t have to apologize, i’m not a fan of hers so you’re not breaking any hearts here with the knowledge that it’s not real lol

      • Tiffany :) says:

        I don’t know if it is an implant. I have kind of a similarly odd upper lip, too! Sometimes it tucks under when I smile, making it look tiny, and other times it pops out, making it look full. When I was a teen, I went through an unfortunate phase where I was trying to train my smile to always pop my lip out…and there are several photos where I just look like “DUR”.

        I think she has a full lip, but sometimes it tucks under when she smiles.

  25. claire says:

    She’s definitely a natural beauty and I’m impressed by her low maintenance attitude in terms of make up. Let’s not kid ourselves though – she’s had some non-invasive work done on her face (fillers?) and had breast implants. The latter is apparent from the fact that she lost a ton of weight everywhere else post pregnancy but boobs are actually bigger than before kids.
    Not judging or criticizing. I think she deserves the cover.

  26. KLO says:

    She is pretty when she is wearing heavy make-up. I will leave it at that. Her body, on the other hand, is pretty much perfect (or at least used to be). I dont know her as a person, so I know nothing about her personality or her inner beauty.
    I dont mind a mother of three being touted as a beauty though….so…

    • BayTampaBay says:

      She also wears clothes beautifully. When she was married to Benny Boy and attending the Oscars on a regular basis, she was always one of the most well-turned out attendees. She always looks good on the Red Carpet.

  27. Myrtle says:

    I call #TimesUp on this whole Most Beautiful feature. Let’s honor people of all genders for more meaningful qualities than their genetically blessed or cosmetic/surgically-enhanced looks.

  28. Adrien says:

    She is pretty. I was watching 13 going on 30 and can’t help but admire her features. Good choice actually.

  29. DiegoInSF says:

    JLo has also been rightly named Most beautiful and she is also a woman of color. Feel like a lot of people think WOV/POC=black

  30. Harryg says:

    I think she’s gorgeous.

  31. BANANIE says:

    I like that she’s not superior about not wearing makeup. I know not all women who go makeup-free are like this, but all the ones who run in my social circle (definitely the minority) look down on those who wear even mascara or eyeliner! “I don’t feel the need” or “who are you trying to impress?” Give me a break. To each their own.

    • Kitten says:

      That’s so stupid. I don’t fault any woman for not wearing makeup but you will pry my lipstick and mascara from my cold, dead hands.

  32. perplexed says:

    Magazines are expensive these days. I can see why they’d go with the people the public are more familiar with. Younger people are on social media — this magsxine is probably irrelevant to them.

  33. Gia Mia says:

    Fake modesty.
    You don’t get to marry a Hollywood A-lister unless you stand out as pretty and hunt him down.
    And yes, she has had the usual help by surgeons and by fillers (lips, girl).

    I wish she would do better movies. She might not be offered certain material but she should really give it a try. And relax the fillers as they start killing her mime.

  34. Kristen says:

    She is beautiful!
    I like her attitude, her down-to-earth persona and her natural vibe.
    Glad she got this, it’s perfect!

  35. Amelie says:

    I’ve always liked Jennifer though I do wish she had been a little more assertive when separating from Ben Affleck. I was a huge fan of Alias back in the day so I’ll always have a soft spot for her (though I still to this day blame Ben Affleck for ruining Alias since the reason the show ended in the first place was because Jennifer got pregnant with Violet). I can relate to her as I was not considered a pretty girl in middle/high school either. It’s so weird to me how the “pretty girls” in high school were actually quite average looking (the field hockey girls were considered the “popular” ones and looking back none of them were that great looking). I still don’t consider myself some amazing beauty, just average looking. And I was the same way with the way I dressed for a long time–sneakers, jeans, t-shirt, sweater. It was a very frumpy way to dress but I had a fashion awakening post-college. Still don’t wear much makeup either. I wish I was better and more knowledgeable about makeup but I’m so lazy about a lot of these things.

  36. Lflips says:

    I never saw the appeal with her – not aesthetically, physically, or as an actor.

  37. Kliving says:

    I get told that I look like Jennifer Garner A LOT, since Alias days. So I’m taking this as a compliment. Even though People mag is trash. 😜

  38. Pete Booty Jig says:

    The narcissism required to accept this ‘award’ or even a place on the list is breathtaking.