Eight Celebrities Who Worked for Their Success

Have you ever wondered which celebrities actually earned their success?


Evan Agostini - AP News

Nicki Minaj poses with her VMA award.

Ashley Bendorf, Reporter

“Nepotism babies” are one of the hottest topics in pop culture today. Stars like Lily-Rose Depp, Hailey (Baldwin) Bieber, and more have been accused of having special privileges in entertainment due to their high-status parents. With nepotism being so prevalent, one may question whether any celebrities truly worked for their positions. In this article, I will examine eight “reverse-nepotism babies” to prove that there are still hard-working stars in the entertainment industry.

Leonardo DiCaprio at the Oscars. (Getty Images)

#1: Leonardo DiCaprio

Leonardo DiCaprio is considered to be one of the greatest actors of his generation. Just a few of his accolades include multiple Oscar nominations (and one win!), two Critics Choice Awards, and three Golden Globes. DiCaprio’s net worth is estimated to be around $260 million. But he did not always live a life of luxury. He was surrounded by drugs and violence due to the rough neighborhood he lived in. Fortunately, his parents were loving and supportive. They kept him on the right track. He worked hard and took every acting job he could. He is now one of the most successful actors today. 

Tom Cruise poses on the red carpet. (Getty Images)

#2: Tom Cruise

The star of hits like Top Gun and Risky Business hasn’t always been so wealthy. His father was abusive and he was raised in a very poor household. His family often moved around a lot due to his father’s inability to hold down a job. Cruise picked up odd jobs around his neighborhood at eight years old like being a paperboy. His parents split up when he was twelve, creating more of a financial burden on his mother. His mother encouraged him in his passion for acting, and Tom Cruise is now one of the world’s highest paid actors. 

Mila Kunis posing for pictures. (Getty Images)

#3: Mila Kunis

Mila Kunis was born in Chernivtsi, Ukraine and immigrated to the United States at the age of seven. She did not speak a word of English and neither did her parents. Her mother was a successful physics professor in Ukraine, but she was reduced to housekeeping jobs in the U.S. Her parents supported her dream of becoming an actor, and her father enrolled her in an acting class. She did many small roles in commercials, TV shows, and anything that could provide money for her family. When she got her big break as Jackie in That ‘70s Show, she finally could give back to her family. Kunis and her husband, Ashton Kutcher, are very passionate about charity work and have raised more than 34 million dollars in humanitarian aid for Ukraine. 

Ashton Kutcher smiles for the photo. (Max Nash – Getty Images)

#4: Ashton Kutcher

Ashton Kutcher may have played a rich businessman in his latest movie, Your Place Or Mine, but the actor has had his fair share of hard work. Ashton Kutcher grew up in a small town in Iowa. He was raised in a blue-collar, lower class family. Before he starred as Michael Kelso in That ‘70s Show, Kutcher held many odd jobs. He studied biochemical engineering at the University of Iowa and had to fund his own education. He worked as a janitor, a butcher, and even a sweeper at a General Mills factory. He also sold his blood plasma to make extra cash. After being scouted by a modeling agent, he moved to New York, where he started his career in acting. Kutcher recounts the day he arrived in New York, saying that he had “a Boy Scouts duffle bag and $100” to his name. After landing his iconic sitcom role, Kutcher became a very successful, and eventually, a venture capitalist. 

Dolly Parton stuns in a red dress at the Grammys. (David Crotty – Getty Images)

#5: Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton was born and raised in the Great Smoky Mountains in eastern Tennessee. She is one of twelve children. Her father paid doctors in cornmeal, since they didn’t have money to spare. The family house was nowhere near any roads, hospitals, or any town. Parton attributes her love of music to her mother and her uncle. She knew at a young age that she wanted to be a performer, and her dreams came true with hard work and determination. Dolly Parton is now a successful singer-songwriter, philanthropist, actress, and a national treasure. 

Nicki Minaj poses with her VMA award. (Evan Agostini – AP News)

#6: Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj, born as Onika Maraj, was born in Trinidad and moved to Queens, New York at the age of five. She was raised in a violent household, due to her abusive and drug-addicted father. She often created fantasies for herself to escape her troubled home life. She wrote her first rap at the age of twelve. Minaj was discovered by Lil Wayne and has since become one of the most successful female rappers of all time. Many consider her to be the queen of rap. 

Mark Wahlberg at the Transformers premiere. (Agency Animal Picture)

#7: Mark Wahlberg 

Mark Wahlberg grew up in a family of nine children and a broken household. He was exposed to drugs and violence at a very young age. His parents’ divorce had a huge impact on his childhood. He was arrested at the age of sixteen for attempted murder. This was the wake up call Wahlberg needed. He decided to turn his life around and entered the music industry as the lead singer of Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. He later became a successful actor and has starred in many hit movies such as Ted, Daddy’s Home, and Father Stu. 

Selena Gomez looks gorgeous at the Golden Globes. (Christopher Polk – Getty Images)

#8: Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez starred in the Disney Channel hit, Wizards of Waverly Place, but her life wasn’t always so magical. Her mother had her when she was only sixteen, and her parents split up soon after. Being a young, single mother created a lot of financial problems for the family. Gomez grew up in a low-income neighborhood. Her mother was desperate for a way to make money, so Gomez began acting. She starred in Barney & Friends and became a Disney Channel icon. Gomez has since released music and her own makeup brand. Selena Gomez is the most followed woman on Instagram. 


Nepotism may be rampant in the entertainment industry, but there are plenty of hardworking people out there. These examples are just a few of the many driven celebrities that worked their way to the top. These celebrities prove that it takes determination and hard work to make it in the world, and anything is possible. 


Works Cited

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