By Grace Gavilanes
Nov 19, 2014 @ 7:15 am
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Happy birthday, Meg Ryan! The star rings in her 53rd year today. Ryan, who is best known for starring in some of our favorite romantic comedies of all time (When Harry Met Sally! You've Got Mail! Sleepless in Seattle!), was surprisingly never that fond of being referred to as America's Sweetheart, a term that was coined by Nora Ephron, who wrote the screenplay for When Harry Met Sally. "…I understood it was a compliment about being lovable…but it also felt like ideas were being projected onto me that had nothing to do with me," Ryan candidly tells InStyle. The girl next door to what? I never felt like a very conventional person."

PHOTOS: The Best Movie Makeovers

The actress worked hard to shed her good girl image by taking on dramatic roles in films such as In the Land of Women and the thriller In the Cut. It's been a long road for Ryan, who has transformed from a fresh-faced up-and-comer to a timeless leading lady. Click through our gallery to see her changing looks through the years, from donning a crop of tight curls and soft waves, to a sleek bob.

PHOTOS: Meg Ryan's Standout Hair Moments