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How Did Celebrities Rise to Fame?


Many celebrities like Brad Pitt, Harrison Ford, and Chris Pratt are now household names and celebrities we recognize anywhere, but how they achieved success is lesser known and even surprising. Celebrities who have now been nominated for Emmys, Grammys, top motion picture awards, and best-selling albums started as regular people just trying to get by. The stories of their early success may surprise you!

Brad Pitt is considered an A-list celebrity today. He came on the scene at the age of 23 when he guest starred on the hit show 21 Jump Street with Johnny Depp. Now known for his roles in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Fight Club, the beginning of his career was filled with small roles in indie films and television series. To help pay the bills, he took odd jobs on the side. One of those jobs was dressing up head to toe in a chicken suit to promote El Pollo Loco on Sunset Boulevard. In addition to this, he worked as a driver for strippers for two months and as a furniture mover. His big break came with a small but memorable role in Thelma & Louise in 1991, which showcased his charm and set him on the path to stardom. 

Thanks to his roles in “Jurassic World” and “Guardians of the Galaxy,” Chris Pratt is an international action movie star. His journey to becoming a big-screen star might surprise you. In his earlier life, Pratt was in high school plays and community college acting classes but quit when nothing came from them. He then moved to Hawaii and lived in a small motorhome. He worked several jobs, one as a waiter at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. While working at the restaurant, he was discovered by actress and filmmaker Rae Dawn Chong. She cast him in the short horror film Cursed Part 3 at only 19. From there, he got a role as a series regular on Everwood and later on Parks and Recreation. His portrayal of Andy Dwyer made him a fan favorite and led to his huge success in theaters and people’s hearts.

Lady Gaga is a pop culture queen known for her distinct look and strong vocals. Before Gaga’s fame in music and on-screen, she was a teenager named Stefani Germanotta. At only 17, she attended the Tisch School of Arts in New York but left to focus on her music. Before becoming an independent artist and skyrocketing to fame, Gaga wrote songs for artists, including Britney Spears, Fergie, and the Pussycat Dolls. From there, she was signed by the singer Akon and Interscope Records and produced her first hit called The Fame.

Harrison Ford is the leading man in numerous films and an American icon best known for his roles in Star Wars and Indiana Jones. His journey to fame is one of the most surprising and successful. Before stardom, he was simply a struggling actor who worked as a carpenter to support his family. Even with his small roles, he was not finding successful roles in Hollywood. However, his luck changed when he was hired to build cabinets at the home of George Lucas who cast him in American Graffiti and his groundbreaking role as Han Solo in Star Wars. The success of these films led to a lifelong career as an actor, including multiple Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for his more serious roles.

It may seem that celebrities are born famous, but these stories prove that most stars must work their way to the top. Whether they get a big break or have family connections, it still takes a lot of hustle and hard work to make it to the A-list. Today, there are future celebrities just waiting to be discovered as they work regular day jobs.


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About the Contributor
Imme Warner, Writer
Imme Warner is a freshman at Forest Grove High School. She likes hanging with friends, playing piano, and cooking.

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