15 Hollywood Actors That Actually Got Started in Modeling

Channing Tatum, Tyrese Gibson
Hollywood is filled with attractive and good-looking people. But, do you know that some of today’s top actors and actresses once walked on catwalks and posed for major fashion brands in magazines and commercials? Here is a list of actors, who surprisingly, started out as models:

1. Milla Jovovich

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When hollywood actors Milla Jovovich was eleven, she shocked photographers for her mature poses. After the shoot, the photographer took her to Prima Modeling Agency in Los Angeles and upon arrival, she was signed to the agency directly. A few days following her shooting test in the agency, her photos were shown to Herb Ritz, who immediately noticed her beauty and appeal. She was then booked for the covers of an Italian magazine and a magazine out of London, Lei and The Face. Her appearances on the covers jumpstarted her modeling career and soon after, famed photographer Richard Avedon booked her for the American Edition of Mademoiselle. However, the magazine knew of her age and refused to have Mila on the cover. Avedon wasn’t pleased, so he threatened to stop shooting for the publication. Because of the efforts of Avedon, the eleven-year-old Milla became the youngest model to appear on the cover of an American Women’s Fashion Magazine. Acting as head of marketing for Revlon, Avedon chose Milla to appear on Revlon’s advertisement, Most Unforgettable Women in the World, along with Alexa Singer and Sandra Zatezalo. Since then, the young Milla has been featured on over 100 magazine covers, including Vogue and Cosmopolitan. She also appeared in the campaigns of famous fashion brands Banana Republic, Calvin Klein, Coach, Christian Dior, Damiani, Donna Karan Gap, Giorgio Armani, H&M, Revlon and Versace. She also became the international spokesmodel for L’Oreal cosmetics. In 2004, she topped Forbes magazine’s Richest Supermodels of the World, with a net worth of $10.5 million. Milla made her first big screen appearance on the film Return to the Blue Lagoon, where she played Lilli Hargrave. She also starred as Alice in the Resident Evil franchise in which she received critical acclaim.

2. Halle Berry

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hollywood actors Halle Berry, an actress and a former fashion model, was once a successful pageant queen. Now, she is making a name for herself on the big screen, winning the Academy Award for Best Actress for her outstanding performance in the 2011 romantic drama Monster’s Ball. As of 2014, she is the only considered the first African-American to win an Oscar for a title role. During the 2000s, Halle was involved in the production of numerous films, making her one of the highest paid actress in Hollywood. But, before she turned to an actress, she has joined several beauty contests, winning as 1st runner-up in the prestigious Miss USA Pageant in 1986. In the same year, she also landed 6th place in the Miss World Pageant. After participating in the pageant, she became a model. As a model, she easily landed her first weekly TV series, Living Dolls. Here, she gained a reputation for her onset tenacity as she preferred to stay in character even when the cameras stopped rolling. Her major breakthrough role was in the rom-com Boomerang in which she starred with Eddie Murphy. The film’s success led to more roles in films, including The Flintstones, Bulworth and Introducing Dorothy Dandridge. In addition to her high-profile roles, she also starred in the X-Men film series as Storm.

3. Charlize Theron

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As a dancer, hollywood actors Charlize Theron has joined and won lots of dance competitions, including a local competition in Salerno, where she won a one-year modeling contract. Charlize spent a year modeling in Europe and after that, she moved to New York City with her mother. When she was in New York, she was trained as a ballet dancer at Joffrey Ballet School, however, in 2008, she has had a knee injury, prematurely ending her career as a dancer. When she was 19, her mother bought a one-way ticket to Los Angeles for her to pursue a career in the film industry. Upon arriving, she went to a bank to cash a check her mother had sent her for her rent. The teller refused to do so, and Charlize went on in a shouting fightwith him. A talent agent witnessed the incident and handed a business card to her. Subsequently, she was introduced to casting agents and was enrolled in an acting school. Her film debut was in a horror film, Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest, where she had a non-speaking role. Bigger roles followed and her career skyrocketed in 1990. She starred in box-office films, such as The Devil’s Advocate, Mighty Joe Young and The Cider House Rules.

4. Cameron Diaz

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At the age of 16, hollywood actors Cameron Diaz joined Elite Model Management, where she picked up modeling gigs for Calvin Klein, Levi’s and Seventeen. Now, she is one of Hollywood’s highest paid actresses. Cameron began her fashion modeling career with Elite Modeling Management. After she signed with them, she has travelled throughout the world to model for major companies like Calvin Klein and Levi’s. In 1991, she went to Australia to shoot a commercial for Coca-Cola. Her agency suggested her to audition for The Mask as the film’s producers were searching for the lead star and luckily, she was cast. Since she had no acting experience, she had to enroll in acting lessons. The film became one of the highest grossing films of the year, making her a famous sex symbol. She went on for more films and tried romantic comedies and offbeat drama. With her bubbly and personality, she never fails to light up a movie. She proved the world that she can also rock with the biggest stars in Hollywood when she starred with Lucy Liu and Drew Barrymore in the Charlie’s Angels movies.

5. Mark Wahlberg

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hollywood actors Mark Wahlberg, an actor, producer, former rapper and model, spent his early years modeling for Calvin Klein. Now, this model-turned-actor is a successful producer and an Oscar nominee. Also called Marky Mark, he began recording with dancers and rappers – Scott Ross, Anthony Thomas, Terry Yancey and Hector Barros. Together, they formed a group, Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. Their debut album was called Music for the People, with their hit single Good Vibrations. It was in the music video of Good Vibrations when Wahlberg first showed his fit body. From then on, he appeared in a series of underwear ads for Calvin Klein. He was also featured in magazine and TV adverts with model Kate Moss. He later transitioned into acting, so he dropped his name Marky Mark and used Mark Wahlberg instead. In 1995, he made his first appearance when he starred with Leonardo DiCaprio in The Basketball Diaries. Since then, he has earned many positive reviews. Wahlberg’s most recent films include the action comedy The Other Guys in 2010, the war film Lone Survivor in 2013 and the sci-fi action film Transformers: Age of Extinction in 2014.

6. Julia Roberts

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Born in Smyrna, hollywood actors Georgia, Julia Roberts came from a family of actors and actresses. Her parents were one-time actors and performers, while her niece, Emma Roberts and her sister Lisa Roberts Gillan are also actors. As a child, Julia never thought of getting into the world of acting as she wanted to be a veterinarian. But years later, she headed to New York to follow her siblings. She then found herself pursuing a career in acting and attending acting classes. While in New York, she signed with Click Modeling Agency to pay for her other bills. This American actress came into the spotlight after starring in the film Mystic Pizza in 1988. She kept on rising with more films, including Ocean’s Eleven, Notting Hill, Runaway Bride, Eat Pray Love and Mirror Mirror. Julia became one of the most successful actresses in terms of box office sales and topped The Hollywood Reporter’s list of top-earning female stars from 2005-2006.

7. Ian Somerhalder

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Before he became known as hollywood actors Damon Salvatore in The CW’s hit TV series, The Vampire Diaries, Ian Somerhalder worked as a male model in Milan and in New York City. Born and raised in Louisiana, Somerhalder embarked on a modeling career at the age of 10. As a young model, he posed for the likes of Nautica and Versace. By the age of 17, he transitioned to acting. Though it was short-lived, Somerhalder starred in WB’s Young Americans, where he played the role of Hamilton Fleming. In 2002, he played the character of Paul Denton in The Rules of Attraction, along with Jessica Biel, Shannyn Sossamon and James Van Der Beek. Two years later, he got his first major role in the hit TV series, Lost. Even if his character died, he went back for seven more episodes. Because of his acting prowess and undeniable charisma, he was noticed and was cast in The CW’s The Vampire Diaries. Somerhalder’s performance received a positive response from the audience and he became a recipient of many awards from Teen’s Choice Award and People’s Choice Award.

8. Channing Tatum

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Before hitting it big with Step Up, Channing Tatum worked for Abercrombie & Fitch and Armani. hollywood actors Tatum was a Ford model, who walked on designer runways and made appearances in TV commercials and music videos. He also appeared for Abercrombie & Fitch’s ad campaigns. He soon appeared on TV commercials for Mountain Dew and Pepsi. Aside from modeling, Tatum has innate dancing skills. He auditioned in Florida for Ricky Martin’s She Bangs’ music video and was cast as a dancer. He was only paid $400 for that job. His modeling career helped him a lot in his life. Through this, he was able to go out, see the world and see all the things out there. It even opened him opportunities to play minor roles in movies like Coach Carter and War of the Worlds. His breakthrough role was in the 2006 film Step Up, which made him known to a wider audience. He was then cast as Duke in the action film G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and its sequel. Though the film received negative reviews, it still grossed more than $300 million.

9. Diane Kruger

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After an injury put an end to her ballet career, hollywood actors Diane Kruger turned to modeling. Since then, she has already worked with the biggest fashion names in the likes of Armani, Yves Saint Laurent and Dior. As a child, Diane wanted to become a ballerina, so she auditioned for the Royal Ballet School in London. Although she was successful, she had an injury that ended her ballet career prematurely. She was forced to move to Paris and practiced modeling instead. Diane was chosen to represent Germany in 1992 in the Elite Model Look. From then on, she honed her modeling skills and went on appearing in advertisements of the biggest names in the fashion industry – Yves Saint Laurent, Salvatore Ferragamo, Chanel, Giorgio Armani, Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and Jil Sander. Aside from gracing the runways for D&G, Marc Jacobs and Sonia Rykiel, she made appearance on the covers of magazines like Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan and Vogue Paris. Diane gradually stopped modeling after she thought of pursuing a career in acting. This former fashion model is best known for her role in the epic war film Troy.

10. Ashton Kutcher

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hollywood actors Ashton Kutcher, best known as a Calvin Klein model, was once signed with Next Modeling Agency in New York. With them, he made appearances in different campaigns of the biggest names in the world. Though he wasn’t that successful in Milan and Paris, he did land a commercial for Pizza Hut. In 1998, he joined the International Model and Talent Association competition, where he won second place. Shortly thereafter, he was cast as Michael Kelso in That 70s Show. Now, he is the highest-paid TV actor, for his recurring roles in Two and a Half Men. In recent years, Ashton has been in plenty of romantic comedy films like New Year’s Eve, Killers and No Strings Attached. He has been busy working behind the camera as well. He is the writer and producer of the prank show Punk’d. Beyond acting, Ashton has invested in several high technology startups, including Foursquare, Skype, Fab.com, Path and Airbnb. He was even hired by Lenovo in 2013 as a product engineer.

11. Brooke Shields

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Even before she was a year old, Brooke Shields already appeared in an advertisement for Ivory Soap. She was 11-months old then. As a child model, she became the protégé of the founder of Ford Models, Eileen Ford. At age 14, she became the youngest model to ever grace the cover of Vogue magazine. Later that year, she appeared in a controversial advertisement for Calvin Klein jeans. Brooke Shields became a teen star and starred in Blue Lagoon. After that, she left the industry to study at Princeton University. At the age of 16, she was already one of the most recognizable faces in the world. This was because of her career as a controversial child actress and a provocative fashion model. Upon her return, she starred in numerous films, including Suddenly Susan, The Middle and Army Wives.

12. Alex Pettyfer

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I Am Number Four star, hollywood actors Alex Pettyfer was a child model for Ralph Lauren. He was also the face of Burberry. Born in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, Pettyfer was brought to Berkshire to start his child modeling career. At the age of 6, he already had his first commercial gig. One year after, he modeled for Gap and did several advertisements for yogurt brands. Other than modeling, Alex performed in plays in school. He played the role of Willy Wonka in a school production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He was also part of the play Jack and the Beanstalk and The Adventures of Robin Hood. In 2005, Alex ended his modeling career, making a professional acting debut in Tom Brown’s Schooldays. He received positive reviews playing the title role as Tom Brown. In the same year, he was cast in one of his biggest role so far. He was a teenage MI6 spy in the film Stormbreaker. Alex later starred in a number of films, including I am Number Four and Beastly. He also starred in Magic Mike and played a supporting role in The Butler.

13. Emma Roberts

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The American actress, singer and model, Emma Roberts, was only 14 when she first posed for Abercrombie & Fitch’s advertisement in 2005. Emma Roberts rose to prominence in the Nickelodeon TV series Unfabulous. She played the role of Addie Singer, for which she was nominated for Young Artists Awards and Teen Choice Awards. Years after her first modeling gig, she played the lead role in Nancy Drew and Wild Child. Since she wanted more mature roles, she was cast in the movie Valentine’s Day with her aunt, Julia Roberts. She also landed title roles in the films, Scream 4, We’re the Millers and Polo Alto. In 2013, Emma returned to TV and appeared as witch Madison Montgomery in the 3rd season of American Horror Story: Coven. She is also in the 4th season of the show, where she plays as Maggie Esmeralda.

14. Leighton Meester

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As a young girl, Leighton Meester signed with Wilhelmina Models and modeled for Limited Too and Ralph Lauren. Originally from Marco Island, Florida, Meester went to New York City to attend the Professional Children’s School. Here, she began working as a model and was booked for a campaign shot for Ralph Lauren. She also appeared in numerous commercials for Clearasil and Tamagotchi. Meester also posed for Limited Too’s ads, along with Amanda Seyfried. This actress made her small screen acting debut on an episode of Law & Order in which she acted as a murder victim’s pal. Other than acting, she also ventured into music. She collaborated with different artists, but was notably featured in Cobra Starship’s Good Girls Go Bad. Meester supported the campaigns of many charities as well. She became the spokesperson of Sunsilk’s Life Can’t Wait campaign, where she motivates and empowers women to pursue their dreams. In 2009, she worked with Reebok and modeled their Top Down sneakers.

15. Jamie Dornan

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Before Jamie Dornan was cast as Christian Grey in the erotic film, Fifty Shades of Grey, he appeared in the ads of Calvin Klein and Armani. He was also a part of several TV series, including The Fall and Once Upon a Time. As a model, Dornan posed for Calvin Klein with Eva Mendes and Kate Moss. He was also among the many faces of Dior, Armani and Aquascutum. In 2009, he appeared in a drama film, Shadows in the Sun, where he starred with three-time Academy Award nominee Jean Simmons. He also played the title role in Beyond the Rave. For eight times, this Calvin Klein model appeared in ABC’s TV series Once Upon a Time, for which he played the role of Sheriff Graham. Though he was killed here, he said he will be returning for the series’ season finale episode entitled, A Land Without Magic. In an Irish drama series, Dornan stars with Gillian Anderson, playing a serial killer named Paul Spector. Last 2013, he was cast as Christian Grey in the upcoming film adaptation of E. L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey.   At one point, these stars left the modeling world to pursue a career in acting. Although they are a loss to the modeling industry, they still found success on TV and films. Nonetheless, we all enjoyed watching theses stunning models turned actors star in big Hollywood films and popular TV series.