6 Celebrities who’ve had a major career change

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Success can come late in life – and sometimes from unexpected places.  Just ask these celebrities – all of them were at very different jobs before they hit the big time!



Fashion designer Vera Wang had a very different career trajectory planned for herself when she was younger.  She wanted to be an Olympic figure skater.  However, she didn’t get picked for the US Olympic team – forcing her to look for alternative careers instead.  She began working at Vogue as a journalist, where she stayed for 20 years.  It wasn’t until Wang hit her forties that she made her first move to becoming the successful fashion designer and businesswoman she is today.


Harrison Ford may be best known for his roles as Han Solo in the Star Wars movies and as the adventurer in the Indiana Jones movies, but before he got his big break on George Lucas’s 1973 film, American Graffiti, Ford was working as a carpenter.  Although he’d always hoped to be an actor, Ford retrained in wood working in order to support his family.  Prior to getting his big break, he had worked as a carpenter for 15 years.


Jeff Bezos is the richest person on the planet – worth an estimated $121 billion.  But before founding an online retail business that would amass such a fortune, the Amazon CEO worked in computer science on Wall Street.  He had worked at several different financial firms before the founding of Amazon and its subsequent domination of the e-commerce world.


Fashion designer Giorgio Armani made a name for himself in the 1980s with his unmistakable tailoring and fierce silhouettes. Few people know that the designer originally trained in medicine.  When he graduated from University in Milan, Armani joined the Italian army and worked at a military hospital in Verona.  When he left the army in 1953, Armani’s search for work led him to become a window dresser in the men’s department of a store in Milan.  Eventually, in 1975 he established his own fashion label.


Brigitte Bardot is probably best known for her acting roles in the 1950s.  The French former actress and fashion model was one of the era’s most iconic women and was known worldwide as a “sex symbol”.  Nevertheless, at the height of her career she left the industry and returned to France where she would turn her back on acting and became an animal rights activist.


Today, Brian Cox is one of the UK’s most recognisable scientists – presenting shows on space, the solar system and physics on the BBC. It might surprise you to know that before he became a scientist, Cox was a keyboard player in two pop bands in the late 1980s and 1990s: Dare and D:ream!  D:Ream’s  number one hit “Things Can Only Get Better” in 1994 was the soundtrack to the British new Labour government’s victory in 1997.  By that time, Cox had received a first-class degree in Physics from the University of Manchester.  He completed a doctorate in high energy particle physics at the University of Manchester in 1998 and is now professor of particle physics at the University of Manchester.