Modeling is an industry that has the potential to make someone extremely famous. But it can also end up being nothing more than the occasional low-profile modeling gig. The entertainment industry is fickle, and you have to be good at marketing yourself, creative enough to come up with your own projects, and if you're lucky, have a talent beyond looking attractive on camera.
Some celebrities started out as models before quickly transitioning into music or acting. A modeling career can start pretty early in life, and give someone the exposure, contacts, and confidence to pursue something else. Whether modeling was their ultimate goal or not, it is a great way to break into the industry. Check out these before-they-were-famous shots of some of your favourite celebrities.
15 Taylor Swift
Even today, Taylor Swift has a relatively wholesome image. So it's no wonder she modeled for Abercrombie & Fitch as a teenager. She grew up in Pennsylvania on a Christmas Tree farm and started getting interested in pursuing a career in music when she as nine years old. After participating in A&F's "Rising Stars" campaign, she signed a artist development deal with RCA records and her family moved to Tennessee so she would be able to travel back and forth to Nashville more easily. She became one of the first artists to sign to Big Machine Records and released her first self-titled album in 2006 when she was only 16.
14 Jennifer Lawrence
Clearly Jennifer Lawrence was meant to be an actress. She's already won one Oscar, been nominated for two more, and had roles in huge blockbuster franchises like The Hunger Games and X-Men. But when she was first starting out, she did some modelling for brands like Abercrombie & Fitch. Her very first acting job was in an MTV promo for My Super Sweet 16 which she mentioned during her acceptance speech for her SAG Award for Best Actress in Silver Linings Playbook.
13 Channing Tatum
Channing Tatum is not only a former exotic dancer, but he also did quite a bit of modelling before breaking into acting. He appeared in ad campaigns for Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle, Nautica, Dolce & Gabbana, and also walked in numerous runway shows. He started acting in commercials, and eventually landed a part in the 2005 film Coach Carter. His big break came when he was cast in the dance movie Step Up in 2006, and he's still well known for his dancing skills which he's put to good use in Magic Mike and Magic Mike XXL.
12 Lindsay Lohan
A fresh-faced Lindsay Lohan started out her career as a child model for brands like Calvin Klein and Abercrombie & Fitch. She was signed to Ford Models when she was only three years old, which helped her land roles in over 60 commercials. She even did an ad for Jell-O opposite Bill Cosby. When she was 10 she was cast in the soap opera Another World. Her film debut came a year later when she played the two leads in Disney's remake of The Parent Trap. At that point she was considered a bona fide child star, and we all know what happened after that.
11 Jamie Dornan
Most people know Jamie Dornan as the star of the big screen adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey. He portrayed millionaire playboy Christian Grey, and he'll be returning for the second and third adaptations in the trilogy. He's also one of the stars of the BBC show The Fall which is working on a highly anticipated third season. But before acting, Dornan was a pretty successful model. He worked on campaigns for Calvin Klein, Dior Homme, and Hugo Boss. The New York Times even nicknamed but "The Golden Torso". His first acting role was in Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette opposite Kirsten Dunst.
10 Taylor Kitsch
British Columbia-born actor Taylor Kitsch moved from his hometown to New York City when he was offered a chance to model with IMG. He studied acting in his downtown and also managed to find work as a nutritionist and a personal trainer. He was even homeless for a short time, and had to sleep on subway trains. But in 2004, he moved to L.A and booked some high profile jobs for Diesel and Abercrombie & Fitch. His breakout in acting came when he was cast in the show Friday Night Lights which ran for five seasons. He recently made a return to TV in the second season of HBO's True Detective.
9 Dakota Johnson
Now most famous for portraying Anastasia Steele in the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise, Dakota Johnson did some modelling at the beginning of her career. The daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson, Dakota had been exposed to the entertainment industry from a young age. She first became interested in modelling after participating in a photo shoot for Teen Vogue along with other children of famous actors. She was only 10 when she made her film debut, but she's done some modeling for brands like Mango (pictured above) in between minor acting gigs before finally landing the role of Ana.
8 Jennifer Connelly
When she was 10, Jennifer Connelly was signed to Ford Model Management in New York. She started off in print advertisements, but quickly transitioned to TV commercials. She appeared on the cover of Seventeen magazine a few times in the late 80's, and eventually started pursuing more acting opportunities. Her first role was the part of an aspiring dancer in Once Upon a Time in America when she was 14. She was successful as a child actor, although she has said that being a famous actress was never a goal for her. Despite that, she's been extremely successful and even won an Oscar for her role in A Beautiful Mind.
7 Kellan Lutz
Best known for his role as Emmett Cullen on the Twilight franchise, Kellan Lutz started of his career as a model. Like many other stars on this list, he's appeared in campaigns for Abercrombie & Fitch and Calvin Klein. He landed some small parts in TV shows like CSI, The Bold and the Beautiful, and Six Feet Under before getting his big break with Twilight. Although his focus is on his acting career, he's still signed to Ford Models, and he was part of Calvin Klein's 2010 underwear campaign.
6 Brooke Shields
When Brooke Shields was only five days old, her mother had already decided that she was going to be a star. So with her mother's help, Brooke booked her first modeling job before she was even one years old. Eileen Ford (of Ford Models) has stated that she started the children's division of the agency just for Brooke. She was 12 years old when she made her film debut in the role of a child prostitute in Pretty Baby. Only two years later, at 14, she became the youngest model ever to appear on the cover of Vogue. That same year she appeared in a Calvin Klein commercial saying the famous line "You want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing."
5 Martha Stewart
Nowadays we all know Martha Stewart as a lifestyle and homemaking guru. And who could forget her stint in prison for insider trading? But in her teen years, Martha did some modeling which helped her pay for college. She appeared in various commercials and counted Chanel as one of her clients. She'd always enjoyed organizing parties, and she impressed one publishing exec so much that he offered her a deal to develop her own cookbook, entitled Entertaining, which was released in 1982. That led to her own magazine, Martha Stewart Living, and eventually her brand, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.
4 Norman Reedus
Norman Reedus has millions of fans thanks to his role as Daryl Dixon on AMC's The Walking Dead. Before that, he had a cult following thanks to his role in Boondock Saints. Before acting, and throughout his career, Reedus has modeled for brands like The Gap (pictured above), Prada, Levi's, and Lexus. He also made appearances in music videos for R.E.M, Goo Goo Dolls, and and Radiohead. He dated supermodel Helena Christensen for five years, and they have one son together.
3 Ashton Kutcher
With a face like that, it's no surprise Ashton Kutcher started out his career as a model. But unlike his most famous role of Michael Kelso on That 70's Show, he's a lot more than a pretty face. He planned to study biochemical engineering at the University of Iowa, but left after he was approached by a model scout to enter a modeling competition. He placed first and won a trip to NYC to participate in an International Modeling and Talent Association competition. He lost to Josh Duhamel, but decided to pursue a career in acting as a result. His first audition landed him the role of Kelso, but he's also an extremely successful investor, with stakes in companies like Airbnb, Skype, and Foursquare.
2 Robert Pattinson
British actor Robert Pattinson gained world wide fame as Edward Cullen in the Twilight franchise. Before that he had the role of Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Pattinson told GQ Germany, "When I first started I was quite tall and looked like a girl, so I got lots of jobs, because it was during that period where the androgynous look was cool. Then, I guess, I became too much of a guy, so I never got any more jobs. I had the most unsuccessful modelling career." At least all the brooding practice prepared him for his role as a vampire with feelings.
1 Josh Duhamel
Josh Duhamel has that all-American boy next door look, and it helped him win the title of Male Model of the Year at an International Modeling and Talent Association competition in 1997. Ashton Kutcher came in second place. His role on soap opera All My Children kicked off his acting career, which was a critical success. He then moved on to NBC prime time show, Las Vegas for five seasons. He's appeared on the big screen a handful of times, most notably in two installments of the Transformers franchise.