17 Actors You Had No Idea Started Out as Models
Models are more than just pretty faces — sometimes people get into modeling as a stepping stone to becoming an actor. Some of your favorite movie stars used to model, and a few have made it from selling clothes to winning Oscars. From embarrassing childhood photos to campaigns for high-end designers, these 17 celebrities have some interesting back stories.
Ashton Kutcher intended to be a biochemical engineering major at the University of Iowa, but he dropped out after winning the Fresh Faces of Iowa modeling competition. In a talk at Colgate University, Kutcher said, “Hey, listen. I was a college dropout. Then I became a male model. Then an actor, and a film producer and TV producer. Then an entrepreneur. I didn’t know what the f–k I was doing!” It doesn’t matter where you start, you can still make it work and reach your goals.
Charlize Theron’s mom Gerda encouraged her to enter a modeling competition in Johannesburg, South Africa at age 15. She won first place and went on to represent her country and ultimately win the International New Model Today contest. This experience could explain why so many top fashion designers have asked her to model for their campaigns. Oh, and the fact that she’s insanely gorgeous.
Back in 1997, Josh Duhamel won the Male Model of the Year title. He beat Ashton Kutcher, who placed second in the contest. Duhamel said that it felt like “the happiest moment of my life.”
Jennifer Lawrence started off with modeling before she crossed over into acting. She even had a brief stint with Abercrombie & Fitch — very brief. Lawrence told Conan O’Brien, ”I did stuff for Abercrombie & Fitch, but you’d never know because none of my pictures ever got released.” But of course the photos were released after she hit super stardom years later.
Ian Somerhalder had an illustrious career as a teen model. The Vampire Diaries star modeled for big fashion brands like Calvin Klein, Versace, and Nautica.
Before she stole our hearts in the Parent Trap, Lindsay Lohan was a very successful child model. She modeled for Abercrombie & Fitch (like pretty much everyone else, apparently) and even appeared on a shopping bag. She also posed for Calvin Klein.
Robert Pattinson’s mom worked at a modeling agency so it’s no shock that he started modeling at the young age of 12. However, his success started to wane and he explained in an interview with Closer years later: “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 modeling career.” I think his manly looks are doing very well for him at this point in his life — clearly.
Before getting nominated for Academy Awards, Djimon Hounsou was an international fashion model. Hounsou was noticed by a Paris photographer who invited him to audition for famous French designer Thierry Mugler and the rest was history.
Alexis Bledel was the epitome of a ’90s girl back in her modeling days. She was the face of sparkling lip gloss, headbands, and another lip product called “Sweet Treat Lip Gloss.” Those pictures will never get old — well, maybe for Alexis Bledel herself.
Before melting our hearts as a charming actor, James Marsden was a Versace Model. Marsden has attempted to down play his good looks, telling Out, “I’m actually less comfortable being the smoldering hot guy. I’d rather play a goofball or a rube than a steamy leading-man role.” I’ll watch him in any role, to be honest.
Angelina Jolie had plenty of fashion modeling gigs, but she also appeared in a bunch of music videos for artists including Meat Loaf and Lenny Kravitz. It’s crazy to think that she went from being a young model to a famous movie star and philanthropist.
Most of us were extremely awkward tweens, but Amanda Seyfried was an exception as tween model. She appeared in ads for the store Limited Too and on the cover of three Sweet Valley High books.
Of course, I had to include this one. This may not be the biggest “surprise” on the list, but come on, you know you just Googled ”Mark Wahlberg Calvin Klein.” You’re welcome.