red carpet

Celebrities Who Faced Rejection Before Becoming a Household Name

It’s easy to gain a following these days. You have to have social media, look good, post a lot of content, get discovered, and voila: you could be a superstar. But before the age of Twitter and TikTok, becoming famous wasn’t easy, especially in a cutthroat industry such as show business.

Most of the stars who started their careers before the age of social media had to go to different casting, modeling, and advertising agencies to get to where they’re at now. They were not just people who had internet access and an Instagram account. Some of them even had to face several rejections before they got their first big break. Let’s take a look at some celebrities we admire whose rise to fame may be an inspiration to anyone who is facing rejections.

Previously Rejected Supermodels

The fashion world and the modeling industry are notoriously problematic, from the unrealistic body image they present to the public to the demands and expectations they have from their models. Here are some of the biggest names in this industry who once faced rejections:

  • Gisele Bündchen

Would you believe that Gisele Bündchen, one of the highest-paid supermodels in the world, was once rejected by 42 agencies when she first started going to casting at the age of 17? Neither do we. But it happened, for the superficial reason that her nose is too big and her eyes were too small to be a model. Look at her now; she’s one of the biggest models of our time. It looks like 42 agencies are regretting their decision.

  • Gigi Hadid

Bella Hadid’s sister had her share of rejection before becoming one of the biggest names in the modeling world. Victoria’s Secret fashion show said no to her twice before finally getting signed for a show. It wasn’t that bad, but can you imagine someone like Gigi Hadid getting rejected?

  • Kendall Jenner

As part of the Kardashians, one of the most famous families in reality TV, you’d think that Kendall Jenner would always get what she wants. Apparently, there’s more to life than just being a reality TV star because she faced multiple rejections before she finally made it into the modeling industry.

Previously Rejected Musicians


Just a disclaimer: this list might surprise you with the names we included. You would have never thought that they have gone through such rejections before making it big. Here they are:

  • Madonna

Before becoming the Queen of Pop, Madonna didn’t live in a material world. She was a high school dropout who worked and got fired from Dunkin’ Donuts. To top it all of, a recording label also rejected her. And 40 years and 266 awards later, she is still active in making music even at 63.

  • Lady Gaga

Whether you like her music or not, it’s undeniable that Lady Gaga is one of the biggest pop stars of today. But, before she became a household name, she dropped out of school to pursue a career in music, only to be dropped and rejected by a few record labels. Now, she’s a Grammy-winning artist regarded as one of the most influential women in music. That’s how you bounce back.

  • The Beatles

Yes, you read that right. One of the most influential bands was once rejected by at least four labels before a recording label signed them up. They are now known as one of the best-selling musicians, and to date, they have sold a total of 1 billion records, a feat not many artists have achieved.

Previously Rejected Actors

Now, let’s take a look at some Hollywood A-listers who were told “No” in different ways but were able to shrug it off and star in some of the biggest films of all time. Here we go:

  • Meryl Streep

So, yes, that same Meryl Streep who is the most nominated actress of all time with three Oscar wins for acting. Someone rejected her to play a part in the 1976 reboot of King Kong. The producer even said that she is an “ugly thing” in front of her. We all know who lost here. It’s not Meryl Streep.

  • Scarlett Johansson

Here we have another Hollywood A-list actress known so well for Black Widow in the Avengers film franchise and her other science fiction films. As a young actress Scarlett Johansson auditioned for Judy in Jumanji, a role that we all know Kirsten Dunst played. Well, it seems the rejection did not deter her since she has gone on to star in some of the biggest films of all time.

  • Brad Pitt

Before being crowned by various media as the sexiest man alive, Brad Pitt didn’t get a role he auditioned for in Backdraft. Since then, he starred in several notable films like Interview with the Vampire, Fight Club, Se7en, 12 Monkeys, and more, which cemented his status as one of Hollywood’s finest actors.

It might not be easy to wrap your heads around these names and what they had to go through before getting to where they are now. The truth is: everyone faces rejection, and it’s reassuring that even some people we look up to had that same experience.

Scroll to Top