The stunning transformation of Brie Larson

Brianne Sidonie Desaulniers was born in 1989. She grew up in Sacramento, Calif., raised by a single mom. She was homeschooled as a child, but Desaulniers always knew she wanted to perform.

Desaulniers may not be a familiar name to us, but what about Brie Larson? That's exactly who this young girl grew up to be. Larson is an actress, singer and direcitor who always knew she wanted to work in the entertainment business. But even she likely didn't predict the success she's earn, all while maintaining her values and standing up for what she believes in. 

Though she's known for her Oscar-winning performance in Room, Larson has had quite a history in acting and singing that many aren't familiar with. She worked hard to be where she is today, so let's take a look at her stunning transformation from Brianne Sidonie Desaulniers to the fabulous Brie Larson.

Breaking her way into the industry

Brie Larson knew she wanted to be in the entertainment business since she was a little girl. In a 2004 interview with Scholastic, she shared that she told her mom she wanted to act when she was very young. Though she was very shy, her mom put her in acting classes for a year, and that was when Larson started to shine. And even at 15 years old, the young starlet knew she had big plans for herself. "One of my goals is to get every kind of award possible — Golden Globe, Oscar, Grammy, you name it. There's only one other person that's done it and I want to be the second," she said.

She recorded an album in her teens

Though she's known for her work as an actress, Larson also started her entertainment career in music. She released her debut album in 2005, and even as a teen, Larson stayed true to herself as she got started in the industry. She discussed her music with Kidz World and described how its inspiration came from her own life: "I think that I write about stuff that others don't write about. I don't have a bunch of love songs 'cause I don't really have much boy experience. I just write about what I am actually going through in my real life."

But even at a young age, Larson saw the tough part of being in the industry. During the interview, she discussed the difficulties she faced, from the focus on her image to comments about her being too bright, saying, "The one that really bugs me is that I'm told I'm too smart to make it in this industry. It can be hard sometimes to hear stuff like that." With all of that talent and wit, we have no doubt Larson could become an EGOT winner one of these days.

She has always aimed for perfection

As she continued to gain recognition, Larson was still seeking perfection in her work. Around the age of 18, she described this side of herself in an interview with Stylus Magazine, saying, "My experiences haven't shaped me all for the good; I'm much more hard on myself when I write — but I strive for perfection. I look at songs like 'Famous Blue Raincoat' by Leonard Cohen and want that for myself. I want brilliance."

Larson didn't just want brilliance in her music, but in the legacy she hoped to leave. During an interview with The Glam Guide, she described her goal for her future, and it may not be quite what you'd expect: "For me, I would love to have a stamp. I know it's a weird answer, but I was at the post office and saw all the people who had stamps: Elvis Presley and Mother Theresa. Everyone changed the world in some way through music, movies, or even charity. I think it would be awesome to have a stamp because you know you did something to change the world and change people's opinion or mind."

She took on a challenging character

Larson has always loved a challenge, so it makes sense she has also always enjoyed playing characters who are very different from herself. In 2010, the then 20-year-old was interviewed about her character Kate in United States of Tara. She told Collider, "I do enjoy it because I never was a teenager like Kate was. I was homeschooled, was always very close with my mom, and was very straight-laced and square. I was never the rebellious one, and I never threw hissy fits. I was the type of person that would show a Powerpoint presentation about why I should do something versus crying and screaming over it."

While she loved taking on someone so different from herself, she also enjoyed the challenge of bringing a bit of herself into her characters as well. In the interview, she continued on to say, "It was fun to delve into that and be that terror that I never was, but it's also nice, at the same time, to bring a little bit more of me back into it and surprise people a little bit, with the way this teenager acts."

She skipped the high school experience

In 2012, Larson took on a big role in the film remake of 21 Jump Street. It was a role that gave Larson even more notice and reinforced the fact that all of her hard work was worth it. As she was starring in a movie about high school, it was common for Larson to be asked about her own experience during interviews. Having been homeschooled, the then 22-year-old may have not had the classic high school experience, but she was happy she had always gone after her goals. 

She spoke with Collider about this fact, saying, "I never thought that I missed out on anything. I never really wanted any of that. I wasn't interested in going to the school dances. I wasn't interested in going to the football games. What I wanted was to be in my room painting my walls and doing weird stuff." The actress has never been afraid to be open and to be herself. She broke it down even further to MTV, saying, "I guess I was always an outsider and some kind of anarchist."

She was broke but refused to sell out

Larson keeps it real when it comes to the less glamorous side of Hollywood. In 2013, the then 24-year-old opened up to The Guardian: "I have no problem talking about how hard it's been, how broke I've been, and how broke I was not even that long ago … I was freaking out around this time last year because I thought, 'This is it. I've really screwed myself because I did three independent films. I didn't do anything for money, and now I don't have anything.' I was eBaying stuff for Christmas presents."

Even though that nerve-racking feeling can be overwhelming, Larson made it very clear she would not take on a role just because of the money. So what goes through her mind during those tough times? She explained, "I won't do things for money. I can't … So I'll hold out and say, in my mind, 'There's a really cool diner down the street from my house. They make really good pancakes. I'd be happy doing that. I'd certainly be happier doing that than I would be on a set trying to be, you know, a sexy football coach.' That means some really frugal years, but I don't have kids and I'm fine eating cereal if that's what it takes."

She stayed grounded

"To find the courage to do what I want to do for myself has been hard … We're both [Brie Larson and Shailene Woodley] trying all the time to be truthful. And that can be exhausting." Larson shared this thought with Vulture in 2014. At 24 years old, the actress was not interested in the fashion and glam that came with her fame and recognition; if anything, it made her uncomfortable. 

She addressed this pressure from the industry, saying, "I wanted to feel safe …Too many times, I've put on the dress and the heels and tried to be this person that they want me to be, and I can feel myself getting itchy. Photos are taken at these events, and those photos are just another thing for women to compare themselves to and feel put down. I know that I can start going off in my brain about silly things like, 'Why is Cate Blanchett's skin so perfect?!' And I need to stop myself." Larson was becoming a star who loves her craft for what it is and, refreshingly, worked to avoid getting caught up in the flashy side of the business.

She put everything into her Oscar-winning role

2015 was a big year for Larson, as the film Room came out, which the actress starred in and would later win an Academy Award for. In this intense role, Larson completely put herself into the space of her character's mind. NPR spoke with the actress about this process, esplaining how she trained her brain in certain ways. "For instance, with Room, as I was prepping in those eight months, things like my wrists had to be sore. And so I started wiring my brain to think that my wrist was sore, so that by the time we started shooting, I didn't have to remember, 'Oh, my wrists are sore; I can't do that.' I almost felt it like a phantom pain in my wrist."

This star has a dedication to her work, and it's easy to see just how passionate she is about it. But at the same time, she's learned to quickly move from one project to the next. As she said, "When the movie is done you have to clean house and rewire your brain again."

She had to step out of her comfort zone

As a new year began, Larson's fame grew even more. She received more awards for her great work in Room, and it was announced she would next star in Kong: Skull Island. All signs were pointing up for Larson, but she had to work to feel comfortable with this amount of attention. She described these feelings to The Hollywood Reporter, saying, "I can't help but trip out about how similar my life is to Room … It's me wanting to stay in my own little bubble and remain anonymous and invisible and at the same time needing to step up to this hand that I've been given."

She went into detail about all of these new experiences the past year had brought and how each really pushed her outside of her comfort zone. She doesn't only take each new role seriously, but also all of the interviews she does in support of them. She continued on to say, "When I leave an interview I learn whether I feel, 'Oh, that was nice, or that made me feel like a little piece of me was taken.' It's a line that is always on the edge of being crossed, and once you cross it, what's next?"

She will let her voice be heard

Larson is known for her honesty — and sometimes her face reveals what her mouth doesn't say. At the 2017 Oscars, fans and press noticed her less-than-thrilled reaction to Casey Affleck's win as she awkwardly presented his Academy Award for best actor. Affleck was previously accused by two women of sexual harassment.

Her silence didn't last long. In an interview with Jane Fonda for Net-a-Porter, Larson talked about the deep impact of playing two characters who were sexually abused. This ignited a spark in her to speak up, but she explained, "It can get wild… especially on social media." She elaborated that she started "getting a lot of backlash" and people telling her she doesn't know what she's talking about. "When so many people tell you that, it's easy to start believing it." But she refuses to back down. "I'd put it all on the line and be an activist for the rest of my life," she said, "because it doesn't feel right to me to be quiet."