Celebrities who beat the odds

Jodi Jill’s ‘Must-read’ story in the January issue tells how she overcame a troubled upbringing in a storage unit and managed to build a normal life for herself. There are a number of famous faces who, just like Jill, went from  harsh experiences to extraordinary lives. Here are a few for inspiration.

Jim Carrey

One of Hollywood’s funniest men came from the humblest of beginnings. Growing up in Canada, Jim Carrey and his entire family worked in a tyre factory after his father lost his job. Their employers allowed the Carreys to live in a small building near the factory. At 16, Carrey left school and moved to Los Angeles to give comedy a shot,  a move that eventually led him to a career as a comedic star.

Hilary Swank

The Million Dollar Baby spent a poor childhood in a trailer park on the edge of a lake. Feeling alienated from her peers, Swank often found some form of acceptance through reading and acting. When she turned 16, she and her mother made the move to Hollywood , living out of their car while Swank went to audition after audition. Her big break finally came when she landed a role in The Next Karate Kid.

Christopher Gardner

This man’s extraordinary life story is well known, thanks to the Will Smith movie The Pursuit of Happyness. As a child he was constantly in and out of foster care. During the 80s, he was a single father without a home, sleeping in public spaces with his young son. During this time, Gardner took a trainee position at a brokerage firm. He soon became a top banker and in 1987 he started his own firm.

 Natalia Vodianova

The Russsian supermodel, nicknamed “Supernova” by Mario Testino, was raised in the poor city of Gorky. Her father having left when she was just a toddler, Natalia sold fruit on the streets to help her mother and two siblings. At 15 she joined a modelling academy and learnt to speak English before moving to Paris. She has since appeared on 175 catwalks and modelled for Givenchy, Calvin Klein and Yves Saint Laurent campaigns.

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise’s life was marred by an abusive father, bullying  in school and a learning disability. Cruise focused all his attention on sports but was forced to abandon them when he suffered a wrestling injury. In search of something else he could commit to, he turned to acting. After high school, he went to New York to establish an acting career. With the help of  classes and after constant auditioning, Tom Cruise grew to become one of Tinsel Town’s most famous leading men.

Chisanga Mukuka, CT intern