It’s hard to imagine that most world famous celebrities were once normal people working normal jobs and having the same aspirations as the rest of us. To many, it seems as if celebrities were born into their fame and their riches. But that is simply not true.
While some celebrities were indeed born into rich and famous families or actively sought to become famous by frequenting auditions and sending records to record studios, most celebrities were actually discovered by pure chance.
As hard as it may be to believe, most celebrities that are now extremely famous once led ordinary lives. However, their luck turned when they were discovered on the street or when they met the right person. Their lives suddenly changed and they were catapulted into worldwide fame. Some of the lucky celebrities still can’t believe their luck to this day.
15. Charlize Theron Was Signed After A Hollywood Manager Saw Her Arguing With A Bank Teller
The South-African born actress Charlize Theron is known worldwide, especially for her iconic roles in films such as North Country and Monster. However, if things had turned out differently she might have been a famous dancer instead.
As a child Theron was really interested in dancing and took ballet lessons. At the age of 18 Theron went to New York in an attempt to pursue a career in dancing. However, during dancing studies she suffered knee injuries which put a stop to her dancing career.
Theron then decided to give acting a go and moved to Los Angeles. However, her South African accent stood in her way of landing any roles. Theron’s situation seemed desperate. In 1994, Theron, now destitute, was arguing with a bank teller who would not allow her to pull funds from her South African account.
Luckily, the Hollywood manager John Crosby was at the bank at that exact same moment and he witnessed the argument. Crosby immediately offered to sign the young angry woman and soon enough Theron was starring in her first role.
14. Mel Gibson Gave His Friend A Lift To An Audition And Ended Up Getting The Main Role
When the Oscar-winning actor Mel Gibson was a child his father moved the whole family to Australia. As a teenager Gibson was interested in acting and went to the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney.
However, Gibson was not seriously interested in acting as a career and became an actor by pure chance. It all started when his friend asked Gibson for a lift to a film audition and Gibson agreed. The night before the audition Gibson went out, got drunk and got into a fist-fight.
Not wanting to break his promise, Gibson still gave his friend a lift to the audition. The director noticed Gibson and his disfigured face and told him to come back because the film “needed freaks”.
Of course, Gibson came back. By then his face had healed and he looked incredibly handsome so the director made him audition for the main character in Mad Max. Gibson got the part and the rest is history.
13. Rosario Dawson Was Practically Homeless When She Was Approached On The Street
The actress Rosario Dawson has appeared in countless of movies and TV shows, some of them better than others. So while she has starred in The Adventures of Pluto Nash and Josie and the Pussycats she has also appeared in Men In Black II and Rent.
Could Dawson have ever predicted her fame? Probably not. Until the age of 17 she was practically homeless and it was while she was sitting outside her apartment (which was abandoned before her mother broke into it and made it a home) that the photographer Larry Clark and the screenwriter Harmony Korine spotted her. They told her she’d be the perfect fit for one of the characters in their new screenplay.
The screenplay did not seem great – it was about teenagers getting high and having intercourse. Dawson decided to star in it anyways. The movie ended up being called Kids (see a screenshot of the film above, Dawson is on the left) and launched Dawson’s career.
12. Jennifer Lawrence’s Mom Gave Her Number To A Guy Who Approached Them On The Street
When Jennifer Lawrence was 14 years old her mother took her to New York City. There, they were approached by a man from a modelling agency who asked if he could have Jennifer’s number. Her mother agreed.
Lawrence has said – “My mom gave him her number because she didn’t know that was potentially dangerous and creepy, and then he called and said modelling agencies wanted to meet me. And I made up my mind in the cab ride, I was like, ‘well, I’m only going to sign with a modelling agency if they’ll let me act.’ Which came out of nowhere… I was already negotiating.”
11. Keira Knightley Got Her Big Break After Playing A Body Double
The actress Keira Knightley was working in films and commercials from a very young age. However, it was pure accident that turned the unknown actress into an acclaimed actress.
In 1999, Knightley was cast in Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. However, you probably don’t remember her in it. Knightley was cast due to her physical resemblance to Natalie Portman who played the role of Princess Amidala.
Knightley played the role of Sabe who was a decoy for Princess Amidala and who helped save the planet Naboo. Knightley’s dialogue was even dubbed over with Portman’s voice.
10. Pamela Anderson Became Famous After She Was Accidentally Shown On The Big Screen Of A Football Game
Pamela Anderson is probably best known for her role in Bay Watch as well as for her impressive breasts. But how did Anderson end up where she is today?
As a young woman, Anderson became a fitness instructor. Since she was clearly into sport and fitness, Anderson attended a Canadian Football League game where she was shown on the large-screen TV wearing a Labatt (beer company) T-shirt. Anderson was brought down to the football field where she got a huge ovation from the crowd for her good looks.
Labatt immediately signed Anderson as a model and soon enough Hugh Hefner was asking the blonde beauty to pose for his magazine.
9. Kate Moss Was Spotted By A Modelling Agency Owner After Having Been Stranded In An Airport For Three Days
Like many models before her, Kate Moss was discovered by pure chance. She was discovered by a woman named Sarah Doukas who was at one point a model herself and who eventually started her own modelling agency called Storm.
Doukas looked for girls everywhere and often found them simply on the street – “Wherever I was going I was looking. I found a great girl outside a garage in Battersby, in her school uniform.”
Doukas worked with her younger brother Simon Chambers and the two were flying back home from a scouting trip when they spotted a young Kate Moss at Kennedy Airport.
The 14-year-old Kate Moss and her travel agent father had been stranded at the airport for three days. Luckily, Doukas was on the same flight as Moss and her father and convinced Moss to come to the agency. And then Doukas made Moss into a superstar.
8. Johnny Depp Accompanied A Friend To An Audition And Landed A Role
Johnny Depp is probably one of the best actors in Hollywood known for his iconic roles such as Jack Sparrow and Edward Scissorhands. He clearly has enormous talent so you’d think that he knew that he wanted to be an actor from a young age, right? Wrong.
When Depp was just a kid his mother gave him a guitar and Depp decided that he was going to become a rock star. He performed in various obscure bands that never made it. Depp’s music career was clearly going nowhere.
But then one day Depp decided to accompany his friend to an audition for the horror movie A Nightmare on Elm Street. The director Wes Craven spotted Depp and asked if he could read the part of protagonist’s boyfriend. As you can imagine, Depp read the part really well and went on to become a huge movie star.
7. A Record Executive Overheard Toni Braxton Singing At A Gas Station
The American singer Toni Braxton has an amazing voice. However, believe it or not, she never auditioned or sent tapes to recording studios. Instead, her enormous talent was discovered by pure chance at a gas station.
One day, Braxton was getting gas at an Amoco gas station. Refuelling your car is a boring task so Braxton decided to pass the time by singing to herself.
Luckily for Braxton, a record executive overheard her singing and decided that the young woman was incredibly talented. Thus, he went up to her and casually asked her if she was interested in a career in music. Braxton obviously was interested and the two ended up working together.
6. Marilyn Monroe Was Spotted Working At A Munitions Plant By A YANK Magazine Photographer
The actress Marilyn Monroe has by now become a worldwide icon. However, it is worth remembering that as a young woman Monroe had a very difficult life and that her fame was completely accidental.
Born Norma Jeane Mortenson, she spent her childhood years moving from one orphanage to another. As a young adult, Monroe was employed at a munitions plant where she was spotted by a photographer for YANK, a magazine whose purpose was to boost the morale of American soldiers overseas.
The photographer snapped a photo of Monroe for the magazine’s cover and told the young woman that she was incredibly beautiful. This prompted Monroe to pursue a career in acting and ultimately become a legend.
5. Justin Bieber Was Noticed After He Put Up A Homemade Video On YouTube
The singer Justin Bieber is famous worldwide but it was pure chance (and YouTube) that led him to his fame. At the mere age of 12 Bieber started posting homemade videos of himself singing on YouTube. Now we all know that you can either become really famous on YouTube or go completely unnoticed. Luckily, the former scenario applied to Bieber.
Bieber has said – “It had a hundred views, then a thousand views, then ten thousand views, so I just kept posting more videos and more videos. Eventually, I got found by my manager who flew me to Atlanta to meet Usher.”
4. Evangeline Lilly Was Spotted By A Recruiter From Ford Modelling Agency On The Streets Of Her Canadian Town
The Lost star Evangeline Lilly could have never in her wildest dreams imagined that she would end up famous. Resigned to an ordinary life, Lilly was working as an air hostess for Air Canada. One day she was walking down the street of her Canadian town when she was approached by a recruiter from Ford Modelling Agency.
Suddenly, Lilly went from being an air hostess to a model. And then, just as suddenly, she went from being a model to an actress – “I didn’t become an actress because this is the ultimate career goal of my life. I became an actress by accident. I was doing a psychological exercise with myself, challenging myself, by going to auditions. I had no idea that it would connect to a job. I had no intention for it to connect to a job. I was doing it as an exercise. So when I got a job, I, in that moment, had to sit down and go, “Do I want to be an actor?”
3. Harrison Ford Landed The Role Of Hans Ford Thanks To His Job As A Carpenter
Harrison Ford moved from Chicago to Hollywood in the early 60’s in the hopes of making it in the film industry. However, despite his good looks and obvious talent Ford did not manage to land any big roles. So he decided to become a carpenter instead.
But Ford’s luck was about to turn. A young director named George Lucas hired Ford to install cabinets in his home. After the job was done, Lucas invited Ford to audition for his film. Ford did just that and snatched the role of Bob Falfa in American Graffiti (see image above).
Next year, Francis Ford Coppola hired Ford to enlarge his office and Ford once again landed a role, this time in The Conversation. Then, sometime later, George Lucas was looking for an actor to play the role of Hans Solo in the Star Wars franchise. And of course, he thought of Ford.
2. Oprah Winfrey Got A Job In A Radio Station Thanks To Her Unconventional Answer At A Beauty Pageant
When Oprah Winfrey was 17 years old a Nashville radio station entered her in a local beauty pageant due to her fieriness in a radio interview. The pageant was called Miss Fire Prevention and Winfrey was the only black girl among girls with red hair. She thought she had no chance of winning.
When Winfrey was asked what she would do if she won a million dollars, she said – “If I had a million dollars, I would be a spendin’ fool. I’m not quite sure what I would spend it on, but I would spend, spend, spend. Spendin’ fool.” When asked what she would like to do in life, Winfrey said she’d like to be a journalist. She won the contest.
1. John Wayne Had To Give Up Football Due To An Injury And Went On To Acting
The American actor John Wayne, nicknamed ‘The Duke’, was the original Hollywood badass. He is best known for starring in westerns and war movies, such as True Grit and The High and Mighty. Over 50 years, Wayne appeared in 171 movies.
As a teenager, Wayne had great athletic ability and played football for his high school team. He won a football scholarship to the University of Southern California but ended up injuring himself during bodysurfing and had to drop out of school because he lost his scholarship.
Wayne needed a job so he got a job at a props department at Fox. And he often played extras because the studio would just grab anyone that was around. Through work Wayne became friends with the director John Ford who got him Wayne his first movie role and then a few others after that. Before long, Wayne was a star.
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