What do Sharon Stone, Ashton Kutcher, and Cameron Diaz have in common? Besides being huge movie stars, they earned their livings as models before they got their big break in Hollywood. A lot of famous faces have established themselves in the modeling world, well before they started appearing in movies and television. In some cases they used their modeling prominence to get them in the door to the acting world.
It helps that models are usually beautiful, photogenic people, and that those qualities definitely won’t hurt your chances of becoming a movie star. Not all models are capable of acting, however, which is its own unique skill-set. Nevertheless, we’ve rounded up a few notable names who made the jump from one medium to another.
Here are 12 Great Actors Who Began Their Careers As Models.
12. Jamie Dornan
People flocked the theaters to see Dornan and Dakota Johnson bare it all in Fifty Shades of Grey, but Dornan fans could have seen “the Golden Torso” during his successful modeling days. Dornan, who gained recognition as Christan Grey in the film adaptation of the famous BDSM-themed novel, started his modeling career for Abercrombie and Fitch in 2003. He then modeled for Hugo Boss and Armani.
Dornan’s most successful campaigns were for Dior and Calvin Klein. With the recognition he received for Fifty Shades, the 33-year-old Irish actor has a promising film career ahead of him. His days of modeling are probably over for good.
11. Cara Delevingne
After starring in last summer’s Paper Towns, Cara Delevingne is quickly becoming an actress to look out for. Her appearance in this summer’s Suicide Squad should confirm that she’s on her way to the A-list.
Until recently, Delevingne has been mainly known for her modeling career. Her first modeling work was for Vogue Italia at the age of 10. She appeared on the catwalk for Burberry, Jason Wu, and Dolce and Gabbana, and was even named the “Model of the Year” during the 2012 and 2014 British Fashion Awards ceremony. In 2015 she cut ties with her modeling agency Storm Modeling Management to focus on her acting career. Goodbye catwalks. Hello, Hollywood.
10. James Marsden
James Marsden has had a real solid career. Though he might not be a household name, everyone can probably recognize his face from one movie or another. Marsden has done it all. He’s a go-to guys for romantic movies (Notebook, The Best of Me), he’s done horror (Straw Dogs, The Box), but he’s still most notably known for playing Cyclops in the X-Men movies.
Long before he starred in those movies, however, Marsden was a successful Versace model. Ultimately, he made the decision to leave the modeling world behind and head for Hollywood, and it’s paid off since then.
9. Milla Jovovich
Most recognize Jovovich as Alice from the Resident Evil movies. She’s had a long acting career with her breakthrough role coming in The Fifth Element, alongside Bruce Willis and Gary Oldman. Before that, Jovovich had a very accomplished modeling career that started at the age of 12. She was part of huge campaigns for Banana Republic, Versace, Gap, DKNY, Christian Dior, Coach, Giorgio Armani, H&M, and Calvin Klein, just to name a few. Jovovich has also been a spokesmodel for Revlon and L’Oreal cosmetics.
In 2004 she was listed as one of Forbes Magazine’s “Richest Supermodels in the World.” after reportedly earning over $10 million. It’s safe to say Jovovich has conquered both the modeling and acting world.
8. Josh Duhamel
We know him as Captain William Lennox from the Transformers movies, as well as a slew of romantic comedies. Josh Duhamel has a similar career to that of James Marsden. Before Duhamel started his career in soap operas, and on NBC’s Las Vegas, he was selected as the next big thing in the modeling world.
In 1997, Duhamel had been named as the “Male Model of the Year” at the International Modeling and Talent Association (IMTA) competition. Coming in second in that competition was Ashton Kutcher! Duhamel’s modeling isn’t talked about much, as he’s firmly established and known for his acting work, as well as being married to pop star Fergie.
7. Sharon Stone
How can you not think of the interrogation scene in Basic Instinct when the name Sharon Stone is mentioned? Stone was a huge star in the 90s, starring in movies like Total Recall, Casino, and Basic Instinct. As acclaimed as her film career has been, she started out, like everyone else on this list, as a model. After being a strong candidate for Miss Pennsylvania, she moved to New York City to pursue a career in fashion and signed with the famed Ford Modeling Agency in New York.
She’s widely known for her acting career, but had it not been for her pursuit of modeling she probably wouldn’t have pursued work in Hollywood. Additionally she was also named People magazine’s one of 50 most beautiful people, and she also appeared in Playboy. She’s pretty much done it all.
6. Tyrese Gibson
Since his Fast & Furious series debut alongside Paul Walker and Eva Mendes in 2 Fast 2 Furious, Tyrese has been a staple of the franchise, but his breakthrough role was in John Singleton’s Baby Boy. Tyrese has also made a mark in the music world, and is a Grammy-nominated R&B performer. His albums have appeared on the Billboard charts many times.
But the movie and music careers came after he gained prominence as a model. Gibson’s modeling jobs included Tommy Hilfiger and Guess. There isn’t much Gibson can’t do, as his solid careers in music and acting have left modeling distant memory.
5. Gal Gadot
Apparently, the Fast & Furious franchise is the place to be for a former model that aspires to launch their film career. As in the case of Tyrese, Gal Gadot gained recognition in the series, playing Gisele in the fourth film, Fast & Furious, and continuing her role for the next two films in the hit series.
Gadot will be a household name by the end of 2016, after she takes on the role of Wonder Woman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but before she was starring in big blockbusters, she started out as a model. In 2004, she became Miss Israel and took part in the Miss Universe pageant. She’s appeared in campaigns for Captain Morgan and Jaguar (the car company) in addition to being featured in Maxim, FHM, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s recently become the face of Gucci’s Bamboo perfume. This stunning beauty also served in the Israeli Army for two years!
4. Rebecca Romijn
She used to be married to the ageless John Stamos, but Rebecca Romijn is known for a lot more than being his former wife. Romijn’s most prominent role was playing the shapeshifting Mystique in the first three X-Men movies, which opened doors to more TV and film roles. Her former modeling jobs included Victoria’s Secret and Miller Lite, as well as runway work for Giorgio Armani and Anna Molinari. She’s also appeared in many issues of Maxim and FHM, and even appeared in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.
3. Channing Tatum
Tatum’s rise to fame over the last few years has been extraordinary. People first heard of Tatum when he starred with Jenna Dewan (his future wife) in the 2006 dance drama Step Up. These days, Tatum is a legitimate A-list star, and has garnered some critical acclaim for his role in Foxcatcher. Before his modeling career took off, he was a local nightclub stripper known as “Chan Crawford.”
His modeling industry experience work consisted of Abercrombie & Fitch, Armani, Nautica, Dolce and Gabbana, and American Eagle Outfitters. Tatum had a modeling agent in New York and Milan, Italy. He ultimately made a right decision to pursue acting. Tatum’s career is ascending, and this year he will take on the role of Gambit.
2. Cameron Diaz
Cameron Diaz is a huge movie star and one of the highest paid actresses in the world. Diaz has starred in box office hits such as The Mask and There is Something About Mary, but before she became a household name, Diaz started out as a model. She was signed by Elite Model Management at the age of 16 and even graced the cover of Seventeen Magazine in 1990.
Her modeling work took her around the world, where she modeled for companies such as Levi’s and Calvin Klein. With supermodel looks, it’s no surprise Diaz started out doing modeling, but those days are long behind her.
1. Ashton Kutcher
Funnyman Kutcher rose to prominence as part of the Fox sitcom That ’70s Show before establishing himself as the king of romantic comedies in the 2000s, with movies such as Just Married, No Strings Attached, and What Happens in Vegas (starring alongside Cameron Diaz).
Kutcher got his start in modeling though. As a college student in Iowa he was recruited by a modeling scout to enter a modeling competition. Kutcher lost out to Josh Duhamel and placed second at the International Modeling and Talent Association competition, but he proceeded to sign with Next modeling agency in New York, which lead him to modeling work for Calvin Klein and Abercrombie.
In 2011 Kutcher became Charlie Sheen’s replacement on Two and a Half Men. It’s a gig that made him one of the highest paid TV actors of all time.
Do you agree with the choices listed? Share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section.