Oftentimes life is divided into the earlier period when one expects the realization of one’s aspirations – and the later period when it finally dawns on one that the tide has turned and no glorious success is forthcoming. But this division is mendacious, for there is no set age for anything, and if you keep evolving, success may be waiting just around the bend.
Yes, it’s a bit disappointing if you haven’t achieved something spectacular by the age 35, but again, it doesn’t signify that the time is past. Check out some women who became famous quite late and make sure that while the going is good nothing is lost whatever the age!
From the start Vera Wang regarded herself as a figure skater, and by the end of the 1960s she (with her skating partner) had succeeded in winning U.S. National Championships. Wang’s choice of college was Sarah Lawrence College where she majored in art history and from which she graduated successfully, only to make up her mind to turn to fashion. Upon graduation she landed a job with the Vogue, and 15 years later, when she was only 23, got promoted to senior fashion editor. From there Wang switched on to work for Ralph Lauren as accessories design director.
Life seemed good enough, and when Wang turned 40 at 1989 she was hardly expecting any serious stroke of luck. She was just wondering why it was so difficult to lay her hands on a decent bridal dress option. Foiled, she set about designing a gown all by herself and came through with the project, obtaining a gown of her own for the sum of $10,000.
So, quite logically she was led to the idea of establishing a bridal boutique of her own. Having procured setting-up capital from Cheng Ching, her father, she started with a bridal boutique at New York’s Carlyle Hotel. It proved to be the first of many located in all parts of the world.
Oprah Winfrey had her own television show running for 25 years which was hailed as the highest-rated television program ever and bearing her name; but before she climbed up to the top she experienced dismissal from Baltimore’s WJZ-TV where she reported news.
Some local television producer declared that Winfrey – when she was the youngest news reporter – showed herself as “unfit for television news” for the sole reason of her strong emotional involvement in subjects of her reports. Well, her emotions eventually made her a billionaire.
Joanne Rowling had been having exciting ideas since she was well into her twenties, but it was about a decade before Harry Potter actually came to life. Her first Potter story hit the world when its creator was 32 years old and totally stranded. She found herself almost a down-and-out – divorced, dismissed, welfare-sustained single mom.
To reach where she is now, she had to go through the process of writing and then stand the pressure of being turned down. Her iconic book had numbered 12 rejections before it was finally accepted for publication.
Nobody can say Davis wasn’t trying. She was, having now achieved the status of the “Triple Crown of Acting” – but it was only in her forties that she gained the attention she deserved. At 43 the actress played in Doubt alongside Meryl Streep and earned the Best Supporting Actress nomination for the Academy Award.
That started her collecting awards, and in 2016 Davis grabbed a few of such for How To Get Away With Murder and Fences, making her the first Afro-American actress to win an Emmy as a leading actress in a series.
The British actress was quite successful for about 30 years with the Royal Shakespeare Company where she participated in almost all Shakespeare’s plays in leading roles; you could say it was all the success anyone would dream of – but there was more to come. At 34 Dench found herself playing leading roles in cinema. In Britain her career was going strong both on stage and on the silver screen, bringing in BAFTA nominations by dozens. But she had to turn 60 to get the U.S. big break in GoldenEye portraying James Bond’s boss – and went on to play in Bond movies for the next 17 years. In 1887, when she was 64, the award-collecting actress got her Best Supporting Actress Oscar for appearing in Shakespeare in Love as Queen Elizabeth I.
Kerry Washington was an active member of a youth theater at 13, and by the end of her teens had become an accomplished actress. After school she – apart from other things – studied performance at Michael Howard Studios.
Washington has been on movies since 2000, but she had to wait 12 years until her popularity was dramatically boosted when she appeared in the ABC’s Scandal as crisis management expert Olivia Pope. She was 35 at the time – 22 years’ wait.
By 71 Dame Anna Wintour has an enviable CV topped by her Vogue editor in chief stint. But it didn’t begin all that rosy. In her 20s she was working away at Viva, an erotic women’s magazine, holding a humbler position as a fashion editor. While the publication ranked with Penthouse as an adult-oriented product, it proved to be a suitable practice range for Wintour: she went into experimenting, some of that being large-scale photoshoots – rather an expensive hobby.
Then the enterprising journalist made a round of various magazines as well as various working roles (some of her stints taking her to New York Magazine and Savvy). But her career peak occurred in 1985 with the assignation of editor in chief with the British Vogue. Back then she was at the mellow age of 39.
The punk age’s preponderant fashion figure, Vivienne Westwood did a memorable job on The Sex Pistols when her then-partner Malcolm McLaren assumed the position of their manager. As her and McLaren’s design ideas became well-known by the beginning of the 1980s, her career went uphill. Yet Westwood’s work really gained the recognition it deserved when she was on the wrong side of 50 with the mini-crini skirt and other stuff. Approaching 80s, Dame Vivienne is referred to by the Independent as “the fairy godmother of the British fashion industry.”
Jane Lynch became one of Hollywood’s stars after portraying Sue Sylvester in the Fox’s Glee; she was 51 then, 21 years passing after landing her first small role in movies back in 1988.
The comedian is easily remembered for roles The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Role Models, The Three Stooges, but all these and her other significant jobs were performed after she had turned 40.