Started From The Runway Now They’re Here: 9 Celebrities Who Got Their Start As Models

July 23, 2013  |  
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Before these individuals were winning Academy Awards and starting major businesses, these ladies and gents were using their good looks to get ahead. Literally. They started out as models who would eventually have a passion for acting (or at least just a decent interest in it all) and before their big breaks, they were striking a fierce pose and giving a flawless face. Here are 9 celebrities who got their start vogueing for the camera before they were being taken seriously as actors and actresses in Hollywood.

Tracee Ellis Ross

Before she was Joan Clayton on Girlfriends, and even before a majority of us knew she was Diana Ross’ daughter, Tracee Ellis Ross worked as a fashion model after graduating from college. She often posts old pictures from her days as a model on her Instagram, and we can’t help but love this pic alongside her mom.

Cameron Diaz

Now a go-to actress who can do comedy as well as she can do drama, in the beginning, Diaz was getting her start as a model for Elite Model Management when she was only 16 years old. At 17 she was on the cover of Seventeen, and also was doing ad campaigns for Calvin Klein and Levi’s.

Djimon Honsou

Benin-born Honsou actually got his big break after meeting a photographer out of the blue who introduced the gorgeous man to designer Thierry Mugler. Of course, Mugler encouraged Honsou to do some modeling, and after blowing up in Paris, he moved to the United States in the early ’90s where he went on to star in Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up” video and Janet Jackson’s “Love Will Never Do (Without You).”

Halle Berry

After graduating from high school in Ohio and winning both Miss Teen All American and Miss Ohio USA in the mid-80s, Berry traveled to Chicago to start a modeling career. She did some print ads and some commercials before moving to New York to finally get her big break on-screen on the short-lived television series Living Dolls on ABC.

Carla Hall

With a business degree from Howard University and years working at Price Waterhouse, The Chew co-host Carla Hall shocked her people when she gave up her accounting work to try her hands at a career in modeling. By 1988 she had started a successful career modeling all over Europe. In Paris, while she was supposed to be focusing on striking a pose, she acquired her love for food and ended up switching her career focus again so that she could work in food for good and be a chef.

Ashton Kutcher

The man who is getting a lot of buzz over his complex role of playing Steve Jobs in a biopic on his life was once just another lanky but cute model trying to compete for face time. Kutcher, who would later really get his face noticed by playing Michael Kelso on That ’70s Show, was signed with Next modeling agency in the late ’90s and did work for Calvin Klein.

Boris Kodjoe

The very fine (but very married) Boris Kodjoe was once a major tennis ace, getting a tennis scholarship to go to college and eventually making history for doubles wins and single wins while at Virginia Commonwealth University. Though he had what was needed to be the black Andre Aggasi, Kodjoe’s professional tennis aspirations were sidelined by a bad back injury. With his good looks and height, he decided to move on to modeling (including appearing in TLC’s “Red Light Special” video) before eventually settling on acting.

Angelina Jolie

Though she has an Academy Award now, back in the day, Angelina Jolie and her pronounced pout were modeling as a young teen in LA, New York and in London. She was doing this while she allegedly aspired to be a funeral director of all things. Though she definitely had the look to be a successful model, she became a depressed teen and dropped out of the fashion model scene. Coincidentally, one of her first major roles was portraying the late supermodel Gia Carangi, whose career ended fast after she suffered from drug addiction and died of HIV. The role won Jolie her first Golden Globe award.

Martha Stewart

Daaaamn! Martha had body! But seriously, doesn’t she look good? Back before she was teaching us how to plan parties and make cupcakes, Martha Stewart was a modeling teenager. She was appearing in commercials for Unilever at 15 and would have her face in many an advertisement as the years passed for magazines and modeling for Chanel when she was in college. The change from then to now when it comes to the Queen of Decorating is a pretty drastic one, especially when you consider that at first glance, most folks probably wouldn’t even realize this is her…

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