No Stranger to Cameras: These Actors First Started as Models

It’s not uncommon for celebrities to get their start in the entertainment industry as a model. Getting noticed is half the game, and there’s no better way for an aspiring actor to do this than by having their photographs sprawled all over numerous magazines. Modeling can lead to commercials which can then lead to appearances on sitcoms or in films, and before they know it, they have an acting career.
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You may have known about some of the celebs on this list, but likely many will come as a surprise. Check out these celebrities who were models before they became famous.

Jennifer Lawrence

Actress Jennifer Lawrence was just 14 years old when a talent scout approached her while on a family vacation in New York City. Her mother allowed her to take on some limited modeling gigs, including a short-lived stint with Abercrombie & Fitch.


Determined to make it as an actress, Lawrence dropped out of school and moved to New York. After several guest appearances, she snagged a recurring role on the sitcom “The Bill Engvall Show,” winning her a Young Artist Award for Outstanding Young Performer in a TV Series in 2009. Soon, she became the big star we all know and love today!

Marilyn Monroe

Before Marilyn Monroe became so iconic, she signed on to Blue Book Model Agency in 1945. Modeling under the name Jean Norman, she was deemed too curvy to appear in fashion photos. Instead, Monroe was often featured in men’s magazines as a pinup model and became an instant hit. She appeared on 30+ magazine covers in her first year.

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In 1946, she was given a screen test with 20th Century Fox, after which she became destined for stardom. Working under the name Marilyn Monroe, her modeling career was quickly left behind in favor of work on the big screen.

Katherine Heigl

Katherine Heigl was signed to Wilhelmina Models at nine years old and often appeared in ads for Sears and Lord & Taylor. Her modeling career helped her snag some commercial gigs, the first one being for Cheerios. It wasn’t long before she started getting film roles.

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Heigl dropped out of high school after her sophomore year to pursue her acting career. In 1999, she landed a starring role in the television drama “Roswell.” The role earned her a spot on Maxim’s “Hot 100List.” Heigl’s career peaked in the early 2000s after gaining fame on “Grey’s Anatomy” and in a few Blockbuster movies.

Angelina Jolie

Surprisingly, Angelina Jolie didn’t do so well as a model. She modeled for several teen brands in the ‘90s and even appeared in a JC Penney’s catalog showing off that year’s collection of prom dresses.

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Jolie began acting at a young age, appearing in several of her brother’s films as a teenager. She also starred in a few music videos including Lenny Kravitz’s video for “Stand by My Woman” in 1991 and Meat Loaf’s video for “Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through” in 1993. She starred in her first Hollywood movie, “Hackers” in 1995, and quickly rose to stardom.

Sofia Vergara

It should come as no surprise that the gorgeous Sofia Vergara was once a model, however, that’s not how she got her start in the entertainment industry. She was discovered while walking on the beach in Colombia and went on to star in a Latin American Pepsi commercial. Vergara was later featured as the face of a Miller Lite ad campaign.

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Once she moved to the States, her career took off. In 2009, she became a household name starring as Gloria Pritchett in “Modern Family.” The show’s popularity led to roles in films such as “New Year’s Eve”.

Sharon Stone

After graduating from high school, Sharon Stone won the title of Miss Crawford County and was a candidate to become Miss Pennsylvania. She moved in with her aunt in New Jersey and pursued a modeling career. Soon, she was signed to the Ford Modeling Agency in New York City.


Despite her global standing as a model, Stone wanted to pursue a career in acting. She soon had Hollywood under her thumb as well, and just a year later she was starring in Woody Allen’s film “Stardust Memories.” Since then she has appeared in films like “Basic Instinct,” “Casino,” and more.

Jennifer Connelly

Jennifer Connelly’s face was just about everywhere in the ‘90s. In addition to appearing on the cover of Seventeen Magazine a couple of times, she also recorded two Japanese pop songs for a Japanese record label.

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By the time Connelly was 12 years old, she had already managed to start her acting career. She was cast in her first movie to play Elizabeth McGovern’s role as a child in “Once Upon a Time in America.” She has since gone on to become a household name in Hollywood.

Brigitte Bardot

Parisian Brigitte Bardot was interested in ballet before she started modeling. She was hired by the director of “Elle” and “Le Jardin des Modes” magazines as a junior fashion model, and her career quickly took off. After several runway shows and fashion magazines, Bardot was sent to Hollywood by French director, Roger Vadim.

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Despite her parent’s disapproval, Bardot started acting. She fell in love with Vadim and married him after she turned 18. She starred in films like “And God Created Woman” and “The Truth.” Several decades (and husbands) later, Bardot quit acting and became an animal rights activist.

Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron was discovered through a modeling contest. The South African actress wound up traveling to Milan to model at just 16-years-old. After winning the International New Model Today competition, her career expanded into dance. Unfortunately, a knee injury ended her dream of becoming a dancer and she fell into acting.


Theron was approached by talent agent John Crosby after he overheard a theatrical argument between her and a bank teller. Crosby got her into acting school. From there, her career took off and she went on to appear in films including “Monster,” “North Country,” and “Mad Max: Thunder Road.”

Brooke Shields

Brooke Shields started her modeling career when she was still in diapers. Over the years she appeared in Got Milk? ads as well as spreads for Calvin Klein, Colgate, and Ivory Soap. At 14 years old, Shields became the youngest model to be featured on the cover of Vogue. As she got older, she became one of the most recognized faces in the modeling industry.

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Shields was only 12 years old during her first film role in the controversial “Pretty Baby.” In fact, she was often cast to portray sensual, older characters, and raise further debates and controversies.

Kim Basinger

After getting her start in pageantry, Kim Basinger snagged a modeling contract and appeared in hundreds of ads. Despite making an average of $1,000 a day, Basinger didn’t enjoy modeling. She was exhausted by the constant focus on her appearance and quit after just five years. It was then that she moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting.

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After making small appearances in shows like “McMillan & Wife” and “Charlie’s Angels,” Basinger got roles in “Katie: Portrait of a Centerfold,” “9 ½ Weeks,” “Batman” and even became a Bond Girl in “Never Say Never Again.”

Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston is known for her incredible voice, but few know she got her start as a model. In the early ‘80s, she appeared in teen magazines like Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and Young Miss. Houston made history when she appeared on the cover of Seventeen. Eventually, she began singing backup and lead vocals on tracks for other artists, and as they say, the rest is history.


Houston’s first recorded song was a duet with Teddy Pendergrass titled “Hold Me.” Her debut album was released the following year. She soon became an international household name. Years after her death, Houston remains an idol.

Mila Kunis

Mila Kunis first started acting in commercials and print ads. Despite her modeling career being short-lived, her commercial work helped her to land her first big acting gig. She made appearances in shows like “Days of Our Lives,” “Baywatch” and “7th Heaven” before making the transition into film.

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At just 14 years old, Kunis landed the role of Jacki Burkhart on “That ‘70s Show,” changing her life forever. Since then she has become a major celebrity, starring in films like “Bad Moms,” “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” and “Black Swan.”

Victoria Beckham

Before she was a Spice Girl, Victoria Beckham went to school to study acting and modeling. She was inspired by the movie “Fame,” deciding right then and there that she was going to shoot for stardom. As it turned out though, modeling wasn’t her thing and she decided to pursue music instead.


In 1994, Beckham responded to an ad for girls who could sing and dance and nailed the audition. She became a Spice Girl, encouraging “Girl Power” all over the world. Beckham later recorded a solo album and started her own fashion label as well, adding to her multi-million dollar empire.

Reese Witherspoon

Before Reese Witherspoon was tearing up the big screen, she was a child model. At just 7 years old she was chosen to model for a local florist’s ads in Tennessee. The experience inspired her to attend an acting school, which proved to be a good call.

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She starred in her first film, “The Man In The Moon,” and never looked back. Her reputation steadily rose. Witherspoon is best known for her roles in “Cruel Intentions,” “Legally Blonde,” and “Sweet Home Alabama.” Most recently, she has been doing work behind the camera as a producer for her many different projects.

Kirsten Dunst

Before Kirsten Dunst began her career as a child actress, she modeled children’s clothing. At just 3 years old, Dunst got her first gig and was signed to both Ford Models and Elite Model Management. After appearing in several commercials, Dunst soon found herself working in films.

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She made her debut in a Woody Allen short film called “Oedipus Wrecks.” It was several short years before she was cast in her breakthrough role. In 1994, she starred alongside Tom Cruise and Brad Bitt in the movie “Interview With The Vampire”. Dunst is best known for starring in “Bring It On,” “Mona Lisa’s Smile,” and “Spider-Man.”

Cameron Diaz

Cameron Diaz began modeling as a teenager, appearing in Seventeen magazine as well as in ads for Calvin Klein and Levi’s. She had almost no acting experience when she got her first movie role. Diaz was just 21 years old when she was cast in “The Mask” alongside Jim Carey.

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Her performance jumpstarted her career, leading to her becoming one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. She went on to star in “Charlie’s Angels,” “The Sweetest Thing,” and “The Holiday.” In recent years, Diaz has taken a step back from acting to focus on raising her son with her husband, Benji Madden.

Leighton Meester

Most people recognize Leighton Meester as Blair Waldorf from “Gossip Girl,” but before taking on this role she was a model. She appeared in ads for Jimmy Choo, Herbal Essences, Vera Wang, Ralph Lauren, and Limited Too. Meester also dabbled in acting as a child, appearing in commercials for Tamagotchi and Clearasil.

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Before her breakout role, Meester made guest appearances in “Law & Order,” “Veronica Mars,” “Entourage,” and more. While starring on “Gossip Girl,” Meester continued to do some modeling. During this time she partnered with Reebok, Nikon, and more.

Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow was born to appear before the camera. She started acting in films as a teenager but did some modeling as well. This included an ad for Esprit condoms, which seems to be right up the actress’s alley. Paltrow went on to appear in her first film, “High,” which was directed by her father.


She went on to appear in other films like “Hook,” “Se7en,” and “Shakespeare in Love.” Despite becoming a successful actress, Paltrow never stopped modeling. She became the face of Coach and Estée Lauder’s Pleasures perfume. Today, she mostly models for her lifestyle brand, Goop.

Olivia Wilde

Few people know that Olivia Wilde used to model for Abercrombie & Fitch. Her modeling career was short-lived, however, as she chose to pursue acting instead. When she began her career on television, she appeared on a show called “skins” under the name Jewel Goldman. She changed her name to Olivia Wilde after her favorite writer, Oscar Wilde.

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The actress made a breakthrough in her career after she earned a role on “The O.C.” and later on “House.” Wilde has also appeared in films including “The Change-Up,” “In Time,” “Butter,” and more. She hasn’t permanently quit modeling. In fact, she’s recently finished a five-year partnership with Revlon.

Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt used to serve as the face of Levi’s jeans, appearing in both print and commercial ads. His modeling career didn’t last long though, as his acting abilities quickly got him noticed by Hollywood. After several uncredited appearances on film, he earned his first major role on the NBC soap opera “Another World.”

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It wasn’t long before his acting career took off, and Pitt was everywhere you looked. His breakthrough was when he was cast in “Interview with the Vampire”. Now an award-winning actor, Pitt is best known for starring in “Ocean’s Eleven,” “Fight Club,” and “Inglourious Basterds.”

Mark Wahlberg

At the age of 13, Mark Wahlberg was one of the original members of New Kids On The Block. He left the group abruptly, however, to start his own group, Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. During this time he also did some modeling work and is best known for showing off his abs in an ad for Calvin Klein underwear.

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Wahlberg’s first acting gig was in the TV film “The Substitute,” inspiring him to change his name from Marky Mark to Mark Wahlberg. Since then he has appeared in many popular films including “The Departed,” “The Lovely Bones,” and “Daddy’s Home.”

Channing Tatum

Channing Tatum has been quite open about his humble beginning as a male dancer, even starring in the movie “Magic Mike,” which was loosely based on his experiences. Not everyone knows that Tatum also modeled early on in his career for brands like Abercrombie & Fitch and Nautica. His skills as a dancer ultimately led to his success, though.

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In 2006, Tatum took Hollywood by storm with “Step Up.” As one of Hollywood’s favorite leading men, he has since appeared in many other movies. He’s best known for his roles in “Dear John,” “The Vow,” “She’s the Man,” “The Dilemma,” and “White House Down.”

Chris Pratt

His character on “Parks and Recreation” has earned Chris Pratt the reputation of being a bit of a doof. But he certainly knows how to pose in front of a camera. Before his big break in acting, Pratt modeled for brands like Ralph Lauren.

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After receiving minor roles in shows like “Everwood” and “The O.C.,” Pratt ultimately landed his gig on “Parks and Recreation.” From there, his career took off and he’s now become a household name. He is most known for starring in films like “Jurassic World,” “Guardians of the Galaxy,” and “Passengers.”

Ashton Kutcher

Ashton Kutcher was discovered at a bar in Iowa where he was a college student. After competing and placing first in the “Fresh Faces of Iowa” competition, Kutcher was awarded a modeling contract. This led to his appearance in ads and commercials for Calvin Klein as well as walking runways in Paris and Milan.

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It was Kutcher’s success as a model that landed him his breakout role as Michael Kelso on “That ‘70s Show.” This experience led to several comedic roles in films like “Dude, Where’s My Car?,” “Just Married,” etc. He continues to work in television as well.

Taylor Swift

Before Taylor Swift and her guitar produced multiple hits, she used it as a prop while modeling for Abercrombie & Fitch. Her modeling career didn’t last long though and was a publicity stunt arranged by her talent manager at the time. She and her family moved to Nashville to push her musical career.

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With the help of her father, Swift’s career in the country scene took off. She has since released numerous hit albums, transitioning from country to pop over the years. In addition to a music career, Swift also has dabbled in acting in films like “The Giver,” and “Cats.”

Penn Badgley

Before Penn Badgley was stirring up trouble as Dan Humphrey in “Gossip Girl,” he was trying to make it big in Hollywood. In addition to making appearances in shows like “Will & Grace,” “What I Like About You,” and “The Young and the Restless,” Badgley did some modeling for Abercrombie & Fitch.


Badgley’s first major role was in “John Tucker Must Die,” helping him gain the recognition to earn his role in “Gossip Girl.” Despite never having actually gone to high school, the actor spent most of his youth portraying high school students. Today he’s best known for starring in the Netflix original “You.”

Robert Pattinson

Robert Pattinson got started in Hollywood modeling at just 12 years old. He was the face of Dior for a short period, crediting his “androgynous look.” As he got older, however, he no longer had the look brands desired, putting an end to his modeling career.


Pattinson’s transition into acting included work in the theater. He landed small roles in productions of “Guys With Dolls,” “Macbeth,” “Anything Goes,” and “Tess of the d’Urbervilles.” His breakout role as Cedric Diggory in “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” launched his career. Pattinson is best known for starring in “Twilight,” “Remember Me,” and “Water For Elephants.”

Lindsay Lohan

Lindsay Lohan was thrown into the spotlight at just 3 years old. She appeared in ads for Calvin Klein Kids and Abercrombie, Pizza Hut, Wendy’s, and more. At 11 years old, Lohan earned her famous role in the Disney film “The Parent Trap.”

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As Lohan got older, she landed roles in teen movies like “Get a Clue,” and “Freaky Friday.” During this time she was also working on a music career and recorded several songs for Disney. At the peak of her career, Lohan took on more serious roles in films like “Mean Girls,” and “Bobby.” Unfortunately, substance abuse issues have since hindered her career.

Scott Disick

“Keeping Up With The Kardashians” star Scott Disick, also known as Lord Disick, might be the king of reality television, but once upon a time, he was just an awkward teenage model. He appeared on the cover of several young adult novels by Lauren Brooke. Set on a horse ranch, Disick dressed the part wearing a rancher’s jacket for the cover, something he wouldn’t be caught dead in today.

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Since then, Disick’s career has largely revolved around his ex-girlfriend, Kourtney Kardashian, and her family. The on-again, off-again couple largely make a living in reality television and have several kids together.

Jamie Dornan

Before Jamie Dornan became known as Christian Grey, he was modeling alongside Kate Moss and Eva Mendes. He started modeling when he competed in the British reality show “Model Behaviour” in 2001. Even though he lost the competition, he still nabbed a modeling contract.


Dornan later appeared in ads for Calvin Klein, Armani Exchange, Hugo Boss, Abercrombie & Fitch, and more. He also appeared in an issue of Vogue Paris in 2011. Dornan’s first acting role was in “Marie Antoinette” in which he played Count Axel Fersen. He became a household name when he landed the lead role in “Fifty Shades of Grey.”


Zendaya actually started out as a child model, appearing in ads for Macy’s, Mervyns, and Old Navy. She also worked as a backup dancer and appeared in the background of a Sears commercial featuring Selena Gomez and in a Kidz Bop music video.

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Zendaya broke into acting after landing a role on the Disney sitcom, “Shake It Up” alongside Bella Thorne. After a brief musical stint, she transitioned into film with her first Disney movie, “Frenemies.” Today, Zendaya is best known for starring in “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” “The Greatest Showman,” and “Euphoria.”

Emma Roberts

Emma Roberts got her a role in her first film at the age of nine. Despite getting started in acting at a young age, Roberts dabbled in modeling for a bit. In 2005, she appeared in a print ad for Abercrombie & Fitch.


Her breakout role came in 2004 when she starred in the Nickelodeon series “Unfabulous.” After appearing in several teen films, she began to take on more series roles. In addition to her lead roles in “Scream Queens” and “American Horror Story,” Roberts is best known for films like “Valentine’s Day,” “We’re The Millers,” and “Little Italy.”

Freida Pinto

Freida Pinto started modeling after graduating from college. It was then that she joined Elite Model Management India and appeared in both television and print ads for major brands like Wrigley’s, Visa, and eBay. It was her modeling agency that ultimately sent her to audition for her breakout role in “Slumdog Millionaire.”

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Pinto’s performance won her several awards including the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. She has since appeared in several other films including “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger,” “Miral,” and “Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle.”

Tyrese Gibson

Tyrese Gibson started out as a model often used in ads for Guess and Tommy Hilfiger. His music career took off after he was featured in a Coca-Cola commercial in which he sang their slogan, “Always Coca-Cola.” Gibson was signed to RCA Records, under which he released hit songs like “Nobody Else” and “Sweet Lady.”

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Around the same time that his music career took off, Gibson started getting into acting. His breakout role was in “Baby Boy” in 2001 alongside Snoop Dogg. He then went on to star in “Four Brothers” and “Death Race” before earning a major role in the Fast and Furious franchise.

Gal Gadot

Before Gal Gadot was portraying Wonder Woman on the big screen, she was taking on the pageant circuit by storm as 2004 Miss Israel. This led to a career in modeling and appearances in international ads for brands like Captain Morgan, Gucci, and Jaguar.

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Gadot has been featured on the cover of many magazines including Cosmopolitan, Glamour, and Bride Magazine. An audition as a Bond girl ultimately led to her breakout role in the Fast & Furious franchise. She has also had smaller roles in films like “Triple 9,” “Criminal,” and “Keeping Up with the Joneses.”

Alexis Bledel

After being scouted in a local mall, Alexis Bledel started modeling as a child. She appeared in ads for Naturistics lip gloss, Scunci headbands, and more. Around the same time, she was working in community theater as a way to overcome her shyness. She had roles in local productions of “Our Town” and “The Wizard of Oz.”


In 2000, Bledel landed her breakout role on The WB’s “Gilmore Girls.” The show went on for seven seasons and has since become a cult classic. Since then, Bledel has starred in “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “The Good Guy,” and “The Conspirator.”

Joy Bryant

Actress Joy Bryant got her start in modeling back in the ‘90s. She appeared in ads for major brands such as Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Gap, and Victoria’s Secret. During this time she graced the cover of Teen Vogue, Complex, Lonny, Domino, and Rolling Out.


Bryant later made her film debut in 2001 with a small role in “Carmen: A Hip Hopera” starring Beyonce. She landed her breakout role several years later in the movie “Antwone Fisher.” Since then she has appeared in movies like “The Hunting Party,” “Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins,” and “Will Do.”

Josh Duhamel

Josh Duhamel used to walk the runway at numerous fashion shows. He also won the title of Male Model of the Year in an International Modeling and Talent Association competition in 1997 against Ashton Kutcher.

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During his transition into acting, Duhamel took a job as an extra in Christina Aguilera’s “Genie in a Bottle” music video which ultimately led to a role in “All My Children.” In 2004, he starred in “Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!” and his career quickly took off from there. He’s best known for his roles in “When in Rome,” “11.22.63.,” and “Love, Simon.”

Eddie Redmayne

English actor, Eddie Redmayne, got his start in the entertainment industry modeling for Burberry. He appeared in ads for the brand alongside other major celebs like Alex Pettyfer and Cara Delevingne. After a successful career in theater, he began to make appearances in films. It wasn’t until his role in “My Week with Marilyn” that he became a household name.

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The following year, Redmayne appeared in “Les Misérables,” solidifying his rise to fame in Hollywood. He is best known for starring in “The Theory of Everything,” “The Danish Girl,” and “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”

Jason Lewis

Before he was portraying Kim Cattrall’s on-screen boyfriend, Jason Lewis had an actual modeling career. It started in Paris and Milan in the late ‘90s. He appeared on the runway for brands such as Guess, Tommy Hilfiger, and Hugo Boss.


It wasn’t long after his modeling career took off that Hollywood came calling. Lewis landed his breakout role on “Sex and the City.” His character was also featured in both of the show’s on-screen adaptations. In addition to appearing in several other films, Lewis has also made guest appearances on shows like “How I Met Your Mother,” “CSI,” and “House.”

Suki Waterhouse

Suki Waterhouse was scouted as a model as a teenager while shopping in London. She has appeared in ads for brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Swatch, Lucy in Disguise, H&M, and Pepe Jeans. Additionally, she has walked the runway for Burberry, Alexander Wang, and Balenciaga. In 2016, she became the face of the French makeup brand Laura Mercier.


Her first major role was as Bethany Williams in the romantic comedy “Love, Rosie” in 2015. In 2016, she was cast in the Divergent franchise. She has also appeared in “The Bad Batch,” “Billionaire Boys Club,” and “The Girl Who Invented Kissing.”

Amanda Seyfried

Amanda Seyfried started modeling as a child, appearing in ads for clothing companies like Limited Too. Seyfried was also featured on the cover of three “Sweet Valley High” novels. She gave up modeling at 17 years old and began to transition into acting.

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Seyfried first began as an extra on the set of the soap opera “Guiding Light” and went on to earn roles on “As the World Turns” and “All My Children.” She rose to stardom after starring in the cult classic “Mean Girls.” Since then she has appeared in major films including “Mamma Mia!,” “Les Misérables,” and “Dear John.”

Chace Crawford

Before he portrayed Nate Archibald on The WB, Chace Crawford was working for Abercrombie & Fitch and modeling for Hollister. While he wound up going to college for journalism, he dropped out to focus on his career as an actor. His first role was in the 2006 horror film, “The Covenant.”


Just a year later, Crawford was cast as one of the leads in the teen drama, “Gossip Girl.” He later appeared in several more horror films including, “The Haunting of Molly Hartley,” and “Eloise.”

Brooklyn Decker

After being discovered by a talent scout at a local mall as a teen, Brooklyn Decker started modeling Mauri Simone prom dresses. She appeared in ads for The Gap, Intimissimi, and Victoria’s Secret and was featured in magazines like Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan, GQ, etc.

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While transitioning into acting, Decker starred in music videos for Jimmy Buffett and 3 Doors Down. Her career ultimately took off after she was chosen as the 2010 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover model. She got started in acting with appearances in “Battleship” and “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” You can find her on Netflix’s “Grace and Frankie.”

Jaime King

At just 14 years old, Jaime King appeared in major fashion magazines including Vogue, Mademoiselle, and Harper’s Bazaar. She appeared in ads for Abercrombie & Fitch, Revlon, and Rocawear. King also walked the runway in shows for Chanel, Alexander McQueen, and Christian Dior.


After transitioning into acting, King landed her first major role in the 2001 movie “Pearl Harbor.” She is best known for her roles in “White Chicks,” “Sin City,” and “My Bloody Valentine 3D.”

Mischa Barton

“O.C.” actress Mischa Barton has modeled quite a bit. She has appeared in print and television ads for brands like Calvin Klein, Bebe stores, Aéropostale, Neutrogena, and more. Clearly, she’s passionate about fashion, but acting is a close second.

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Barton started working in theater at a young age, first co-starring in the Off-Broadway premiere of the play “Slavs!” at 8 years old. She later transitioned to film with small parts in “Notting Hill” and “The Sixth Sense.” Most known for starring on the “O.C.,” Barton most recently joined the cast of the MTV reality show reboot “The Hills: New Beginnings.”

Ian Somerhalder

At just 10 years old, Ian Somerhalder began his modeling career. In addition to appearing in ads for Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, and Versace, he was the face of Guess for two consecutive years. By the time he was 17, he had decided to give up modeling and pursue acting full time.


Somerhalder’s first role was on The WB series “Young Americans,” however, the “Dawson’s Creek” spin-off didn’t last. He landed his breakout role several years later when he portrayed Boone Carlyle on “Lost.” Since then he has starred on The CW’s “The Vampire Diaries” and Netflix’s “V Wars.”

Kellan Lutz

If you’re a fan of the “Twilight” movies, then you’re familiar with Kellan Lutz. He’s best known as Emmett, Edward’s older “brother” in the Cullen clan. Before he joined the series and switched to acting, a nineteen-year-old Kellan appeared in an ad for Abercrombie & Fitch.

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While he hasn’t exactly taken Hollywood by storm, he’s still successful and has had a number of roles, even outside those that involve sparkling vampires. He’s appeared as two classic male icons, Tarzan and Hercules. He’s also still signed with Ford Models. His most recent movie role is 2019’s “What Men Want.”

Uma Thurman

At the tender age of thirteen, the world got its first taste of Uma Thurman — she signed with Click Models and started appearing on the cover of “Glamour” magazine and the British edition of “Vogue.” Nowadays it’s hard to find even a casual movie fan that doesn’t know about this classic actress.

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She’s been in Quentin Tarantino classics like “Pulp Fiction” and “Kill Bill,” and has made her mark on Gotham as Poison Ivy in “Batman & Robin.” Her list of roles continues to grow even now, with new projects still in production. She’s recently made the jump to limited-length television series such as “Imposters,” “Chambers,” and “Suspicion.”

Rebecca Romijn

Rebecca Romijn was plenty used to showing off her physique when she signed on to act as Mystique in the 2000 “X-Men” movie. By that time, she had already posed for the “Sports Illustrated” swimsuit issue. She had also hit the runway as a tried-and-true supermodel for both Giorgio Armani and Victoria’s Secret.

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While her most well-known role is probably the blue mutant, Romijn has also been in several series such as “Eastwick,” “King & Maxwell,” and “Ugly Betty.” She will join the storied Star Trek franchise as “Number One” in “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds,” which comes out in 2022.

James Marsden

James Marsden has an enviable six-pack and a chiseled, lantern jaw. It’s come in plenty handy, since he’s played one of the leading members of the X-Men, Cyclops, and plenty of other heroic characters. He’s also appeared in “Superman Returns,” “Hairspray,” and is one of the lead characters in the recent miniseries for “The Stand.”

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Before he made the jump to movies and TV, Marsden modeled for Versace. In recent years he’s put in a lot of time helping out small, independent movies. Examples include “Into the Grizzly Maze,” and “The D Train.” He’s also applied his voice to a few projects.

January Jones

Before she appeared on “Mad Men” as Betty Draper (who was also a former model, now that we think about it,) Jones was an Abercrombie model, wearing a high-collared jean jacket and some big earrings. She got her start in acting with the pilot of “Get Real” in 1999, but her big break came five years later when she appeared in the “sequel” to “Dirty Dancing.”

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From 2007 to 2015 she was Betty Francis / Draper before moving on to “The Last Man on Earth” and “Spinning Out.” She’s also been in a few big movies, like “X-Men: First Class” and “Unknown.”

Djimon Hounsou

Homeless, down on his luck, and looking for anything, it was then that Djimon Hounsou met fashion designer Thierry Mugler, who got him to take a step into the modeling world. He was living in Paris at the time and spent plenty of time showing off chiseled features before moving to America and trying his hand at acting.

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He had a few roles on “Beverly hills, 90210” and “ER” before earning a Golden Globe nomination in “Amistad.” He’s now been in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, voiced a character from the DC universe, and is set to star in “A Quiet Place Part II.”

Justin Chambers

Before he became a worldwide heartthrob on “Grey’s Anatomy,” Justin Chambers had been found by a modeling scout. Some of his clients before he made the step to the screen include Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, and Calvin Klein in the nineties. He appeared on the soap operas “Another World” and “Four Corners” before jumping to movies.

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He was in “Liberty Heights” in 1999 and “The Wedding Planner” in 2001, but he still hadn’t made it big. That would come in 2004 when he got the part of hunky Dr. Alex Karev next to Patrick Dempsey and Ellen Pompeo.

Eric Winter

Getting his start late in the nineties, Eric Winter was still able to snag modeling jobs with Tommy Hilfiger, and even landed a commercial for a fragrance that was part of the Britney Spears line after the turn of the millennium. He decided just looking pretty in front of a camera wasn’t enough for him, so he made the switch to acting.

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While he hasn’t reached A-list status yet, he’s been on plenty of shows, including “The Mentalist” from 2012 to 2013, and “Witches of East End” in 2013 and 2014. Since 2018 he has been one of the lead characters on “The Rookie.”

Mehcad Brooks

The number of actors and actresses who got their start modeling underwear for Calvin Klein is unbelievable. Add Mehcad Brooks to that list. Brooks made the jump to acting when he appeared on “Desperate Housewives” in 2005.

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His character lasted for a few seasons, and then Brooks was on to bigger and better things. These things included “True Blood” for a few seasons, “Glory Road” in 2006, “Necessary Roughness” from 2011 to 2013, and then as Jimmy Olsen in “Supergirl” from 2015 to 2019. He’s also playing Jax in the latest installment of the Mortal Kombat franchise.

Boyd Holbrook

Walking major runways and landing huge campaigns before the movie-going public even knows your name: the Boyd Holbrook story. This model-turned-actor was discovered by a modeling scout while working as a carpenter at a theater.

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He was working with designers like Gucci, Jean Paul Gaultier, Moschino, and Marc Jacobs before he decided to turn his charms toward the camera. His first acting role was in the 2008 movie “Milk,” but he didn’t become anything close to a household name until his role in the Netflix series “Narcos” in 2015. He’s also been in “Logan,” “The Predator,” “The Host,” and “The Sandman.”

Tyson Beckford

As a famous model for Ralph Lauren in the nineties, Tyson Beckford had his beautiful mug all over the place. He’s become one of the most successful male models ever, and it wasn’t long before Hollywood came knocking.

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His first film appearance was as himself in “Zoolander,” and then he got to do a little bit more fiction in films such as “Biker Boyz” and “Into the Blue.” He grew his brand with spots on reality TV, such as on “America’s Next Top Model.” He also hosted Bravo’s “Make Me a Supermodel” for a pair of seasons.

Antonio Sabato Jr.

Early in his career, Antonio Sabato Jr. landed one of the most sought-after jobs in the modeling industry — underwear model for Calvin Klein. Once he had grown his brand and gotten people to know his name, he pushed into a low rung of the television industry, appearing as Jagger Cates on the daytime soap opera “General Hospital.”

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He made his next move up the ladder on “Melrose Place” during the nineties as Jack Perezi. He’s continued to find success on TV and on soap operas. His most notable other role was as Dante Damiano on “The Bold and the Beautiful” in the first decade of the new millennium.

Tom Welling

Famous people are discovered anywhere and everywhere, and Tom Welling is the proof. He was working a menial construction job when a modeling scout happened upon him back in the nineties. He wanted to pursue acting from the get-go, but in the meantime, he landed gigs for Tommy Hilfiger, Abercrombie & Fitch, and everyone’s favorite, Calvin Klein.

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He got his breakout role in 2001 as none other than the hero himself, Superman (though when he was just Clark Kent) on “Smallville.” He reprised the role in a 2019 episode of “Batwoman.” He later for recurring character roles on “Lucifer,” and “Professionals.”

Shemar Moore

If you’re into television, you probably know Shemar Moore as his role on the long-running FBI procedural “Criminal Minds.” He got his start looking good for the camera by honing his skills in the modeling world before moving on to the role that got him his first dose of wide-spread fame, that of Malcolm Winters on the daytime soap “The Young and the Restless.”

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He stuck with the part from 1994 to 2005 before he joined the fictional version of the behavioral science unit. He went back to his original character in 2014 and 2019. He’s now the lead character on the television show “S.W.A.T.” since 2017.

Gabriel Mann

Gabriel Mann was a runway model for a long time before he moved on to acting. In his mid-twenties, he got a few roles, in the films “Parallel Sons” and “Stonewall,” credited as Gabriel Mick.

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He’s best known for playing the main character Nolan Ross in the show “Revenge,” but he’s also been in “The Blacklist,” and has appeared on Netflix’s “What/If.” He’s also co-starred in films like “The Life of David Gale,” “The Bourne Identity,” and “The Bourne Supremacy.” Since 2019 he has been Tommy Elliot and (spoilers) Hush in “Batwoman.” He’s actually been in quite a lot of superhero shows, whether in person or with his voice.

Hayden Panettiere

Long, long before she won the hearts of America and the world as the cheerleader Claire Bennet on the show “Heroes,” Hayden Panettiere was already used to the camera. As the image shows, she was modeling before she could even drive.

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Look close enough and you can see a little bit of early photo magic — there are strings holding up the edges of her skirt and the ends of her pigtails to make it look like she’s sliding across the floor. Panettiere’s other big roles include the lead in “Nashville,” the voice of main character Kairi from the “Kingdom Hearts” series, and the voice and mocap of main character Sam from the video game “Until Dawn.”

Nikki Reed

Just like her real-life husband Ian Somerhalder, Nikki Reed got her start as a model before the Twilight series started. She was a teen model for Abercrombie & Fitch. “Twilight” wasn’t her first acting role — that was back in 2003, on “Thirteen.”

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She had a six-episode spot on “The O.C.” and then hit it big with her role as Rosalie on “Twilight.” In 2014, she met Somerhalder and the two got hitched after Reed’s divorce from Paul McDonald in 2015.

Milla Jovovich

“Seventeen” magazine really knew how to pick them. Even back before she was kicking zombie butt as the lead character from the “Resident Evil” movies, or adding her charm to “The Fifth Element,” she had the pout and look of a star. Even so early in her career, she had plenty of pre-teen sass to pass around.

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Since the series of video-game-inspired movies ended in 2016, she’s been in “Shock and Awe,” “Future World,” “Paradise Hills,” and more. She loves her action, hero, thriller flicks, though she’s also spread out to period films.

Victoria Justice

That’s Victoria Justice on the right there, smiling under her knit cap for Guess Kids. Not sure who her friend is, but she might be pleased to know that Justice went on to appear in numerous Nickelodeon shows, starting with “Zoey 101,” and later as Tori Vega on “Victorious.”

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She’s been in “The Boy Who Cried Werewolf,” “Fun Size,” “The First Time,” and “Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List.” She’s also gotten into music, singing on the soundtracks of some of her shows, and she’s also released a few of her own pop albums.

Keanu Reeves

He’s gone from teen hunk to gritty action star and plenty of other places, but innocent kid model Keanu is a new side of the famous actor. His pretty-boy looks helped him get roles in movies such as “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” and “Point Break” before he became a worldwide star in “The Matrix.”

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From there, he’s done it all — a quick-thinking cop in “Speed,” an unstoppable assassin in the “John Wick” series, a master combatant in “Man of Tai Chi,” and a dangerous alien in “The Day the Earth Stood Still.” His most recent big appearance was the voice and model of Johnny Silverhand in the video game “Cyberpunk 2077.”

Tyra Banks

This one is only really going to be a surprise if you know nothing about Tyra Banks. Banks’ incredible career began when she signed with Elite Model Management, and she is often said to be the first black woman to appear on the covers of publications like “GQ” and “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit.”

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She now runs the incredibly successful show “America’s Next Top Model,” and she’s even written a novel. Tyra has been attacking barriers since she was back in her teens, and she shows no signs of slowing down. Keep after it, Banks.

Cara Delevingne

Her first big break, “Suicide Squad,” might have been dead on arrival, but Delevingne wasn’t going to let a single bad project stop her. She started modeling for Vogue Italia at the age of ten and went on to appear on the catwalk for Burberry, Jason Wu, and Dolce & Gabbana. She won Model of the Year during the 2012 and 2014 British Fashion Awards.

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It’s been said that she quit modeling because she had forgotten what it was like to be happy. After starring in “Paper Towns,” Cara has demonstrated she has what it takes to make it big as an actress, and she’s focused on her Hollywood career with all her intensity.

Lucille Ball

It’s almost impossible to think of Lucille as anyone other than the ditzy and lovable Lucy from “I Love Lucy,” but as a teen, this famous actress worked in New York as an in-house model for fashion entrepreneur Hattie Carnegie. She got Lucille to bleach her brown hair blonde.

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Lucille once said that “Hattie taught me how to slouch properly in a $1,000 hand-sewn sequin dress and how to wear a $40,000 sable coat as casually as rabbit.” How much would such a coat be worth now? Approximately $634,000! Assuming the coat was originally made in 1930, at least. It could be worth even more.

Rene Russo

Russo became a leading fashion model at the age of eighteen when a scout discovered her at…a Rolling Stones concert. She was a leading model from 1972, the year of the concert, until the early eighties. She decided to take up acting, starting with small roles in Los Angeles.

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Her feature film debut came in 1989 with the comedy “Major League.” From goofy action flicks like “Lethal Weapon 4” to thrillers like “Ransom” and “Nightcrawler,” Russo has demonstrated an incredible ability to be much more than just a pretty face. If you’ve watched some of the movies from the MCU you’ve seen her playing Frigga, Thor’s mother.

Cybill Shepherd

As the winner of the 1966 Miss Teenage Memphis contest, Shepard had been modeling for several years before director Peter Bogdanovich spotted her on the cover of “Glamour” magazine. He called her up and cast her in his 1971 film “The Last Picture Show,” and the rest is history.

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She appeared in plenty of famous flicks, including “Taxi Driver” and was the lead role on “Moonlighting.” She’s spent plenty of time on the small screen apart from that, with roles on shows like “The L Word,” “Eastwick,” “Cybill,” and “Psych.” She’s still acting, appearing in movies and shows.

Ali MacGraw

Immediately after leaving college, Ali MacGraw became an assistant to legendary fashion editor Diana Vreeland. From there, she had an easy route into doing her own modeling. She appeared in “Vogue” and a number of other magazines. Her first acting credit was back in 1968, playing a bit part in “A Lovely Way to Die.”

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She quickly moved on, appearing in plenty of famous films of the era, such as “Goodbye, Columbus,” “Love Story,” “The Getaway,” and “Convoy.” Aside from acting, she’s been a producer for “Ali MacGraw: Yoga Mind & Body” and has even contributed to a soundtrack of “Voices That Care.”

Grace Kelly

She would eventually become Princess Grace thanks to the Monaco royal family, but before she was even one of the era’s most famous actresses, Grace Kelly spent some time as a model. The image we see here is of her demonstrating a Remington Rand typewriter in 1950, while she was attending a Catholic girls’ school in Philadelphia.

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Soon after the cameras turned her way, she began acting, beginning with “Fourteen Hours” in 1951. She moved away from acting after only a few years in order to assume her duties as a princess, which does take up most of a person’s time.

Monica Bellucci

After signing with Elite Model Management in the 1980s and moving to Milan, Monica Bellucci posed for designer brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, as well as magazines such as “Elle.” In the early nineties, she started acting.

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Her first role was in the TV movie “Vita Coi Figli” in 1990, but someone with her looks and charm wasn’t going to stay down there for long. Due to her location in Milan, she’s been in plenty of Italian films, but she moved to Hollywood before long. The role that put her on the map was as the titular character in “Malena.” She got even more attention after her eye-candy role in the two Matrix sequels.

Geena Davis

While she was modeling with the Zoli Agency, Geena Davis appeared in pictures wearing everything from ski wear to lingerie. The shift from still images to on-screen roles came in 1982 when she played April on “Tootsie.”

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More roles followed, including in “The Fly,” “Thelma & Lousie,” “A League of Their Own” alongside Madonna, and “The Long Kiss Goodnight.” From “Doc McStuffins” to “The Exorcist” to “Grey’s Anatomy,” Davis has proved that versatility is a trait she can rely on, even when she isn’t modeling. We’ve seen the skiwear pictures, and continuing after that takes grit.