How To Become an A-List Star: How Celebrities Were Discovered

The making of a star is a mysterious business, it can happen as the end of a long way to stardom, yet it can equally well transpire overnight. Stars can rocket from the street, through a chance meeting, at one wondrous moment when a director is struck by a sudden inspiration at the sight of a face or a figure. And lo, a man or a woman who was totally unknown is hailed globally in a very short time.

Are there many who have risen in such a spectacular way? What conveyance proved to be lucky for them on the way to the A list?

Will Smith

Actually, Will Smith was quite a success with his “Summertime” and other rap hits, but he went really big time following a chance encounter in a Universal Studios parking lot. It was Benny Medina, a Warner Bros. executive, who got fired up by the idea to give Smith the lead in the NBC’s The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, a serial based on Medina’s life which proved to be a success and made Smith’s reputation.


Did Rihanna dream of superstardom when at school? She must have, for she rounded up two classmates to found a vocal group – that proved to be her highway to popularity. In 2003 the group was invited for an audition to producer Evan Rogers. According to the producer, as soon as his eyes lighted on Rihanna, he saw no-one else but her.

She was then invited for a solo audition where she gave a rendering of Emotion. Rogers was so impressed that he issued an invitation to Rihanna’s parents to go over to the US to enable her to record demo tapes. Interesting how the other two girls from the school group fared?

Chris Pratt

Pratt was an actor from the start, but a very small-time one, making his living serving as a waiter in Maui. In this place, the Bubba Gump, he was spotted by a director who was attracted to his personality, thought him cute and invited him to come to Los Angeles to act. It proved to be his point of no return.

Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt came along with his then-friend wish to accompany her to an audition and be a lover to her female protagonist – and though she was supposed to be the star performer, the agent appreciated Pitt’s piece of acting more than his friend’s. He thought it over, decided to give it a try – and we know that he succeeded like no-one else!


Shawn Carter, known as JAY-Z, found in rap music vent from squalor and violence abounding in his native district, housing estate Marcy Projects. When he turned 20, he released the track The Originators featuring the talent of the more experienced rapper Jaz-O. Later the song appeared on Yo! MTV Raps, bringing the artist attention and respect in rap community.

Channing Tatum

Channing Tatum is now known as an actor, producer, and dancer, but there was a time when he was stranded in Miami doing bits of work here and there. He ran into a talent scout who advised him to try his worth in modeling, and filming on TV commercials; then he appeared on a Ricky Martin video. Then came parts in indie films. He became more noticeable on 21 and 22 Jump Street, strengthened his reputation on Magic Mike and it sequel, and thus made his way to the A-list.

Jennifer Lawrence

Nowadays Jennifer Lawrence is picking up awards so quickly that she may not even remember how many she already has. Yet she never thought about it until, at 14, she was approached by a talent scout while on a family outing: an agent got the permission to take her picture and took her mother’s phone number. On the very next day she turned up at a test and parts in commercials began pouring in from MTV. She didn’t have to wait long before more serious engagements replaced the humble beginner’s ones.

Marilyn Monroe

A girl still in her teens but already married, absolutely unknown Norma Jean Dougherty grew to become the world’s sex symbol and Hollywood’s brightest star of her time. It came about due to a photographer who chanced to visit the munitions factory she was toiling at. Her husband was somewhere in the South Pacific doing his marine duties. When he came back, Norma’s photos ha already turned her into a successful model, soon to become the glamorous Marilyn Monroe.

Zac Efron

Nothing in Efron’s background suggested acting, but he was pulled in that direction, and when he was not yet out of school his drama teacher advised him to try auditioning. This was the turning point, and he flashed into television series. According to the famous actor, his performance is his addiction, he thrives on laughter and applause. And when he appeared in High School Musical, he received plenty of that and more.

Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp started off as a musician but got put off badly when his combo disbanded. Then his current wife took him to meet Nicolas Cage, and that meeting resulted in Depp going to see Cage‘s agent. From then his career started off at a tangent, placing him in memorable movies like Edward Scissorhands. Depp looks wonderful in blockbuster roles as proven by the hugely popular Pirates of the Caribbean.

Natalie Portman

Portman’s breakthrough came at the age of 10 due to her predilection to pizza. After her dance class she persuaded her mother to stop by a pizza eatery also patronized by a certain employee of a modeling agency. Funnily enough, the pre-teen refused to be impressed because she didn’t want to be appreciated for her face only. She got herself upscaled to an acting agent, and displayed her abilities to get her enviable engagements.

Eva Mendes

Little Eva aspired to grow to become a nun, later she turned her attention to marketing, and nobody knows where she would have landed had a talent agent not chanced upon her photo in a house next door to where she lived. She went through a succession of roles in the 90s before rising in Training Day alongside Denzel Washington.

Nick Jonas

While his mom was having her hair attended to in the hair salon, little Nick Jonas cheered himself up singing. It only required an attentive talent agent to come by, and one did, got duly impressed, and signed up NJ for a Broadway rendering of A Christmas Carol. Then, of course, he and his brothers banded up to make their notch in music, and now this phase of his life is through, Jonas combines his efforts in both music and movies.

Vin Diesel

Chucking college, Vin Diesel got engaged as a bouncer and set about writing and producing his own movies. One of those, depicting an aspiring multiracial actor, Multi-Facial, drew a lot of attention and found its way to the Cannes Film Festival. There it caught the eye of Steven Spielberg who rewrote parts of Saving Private Ryan especially to get Diesel in. Now he has one of the highest career-film grosses.