14 Celebrity Careers Worth Copying

Hollywood might be filled with a bunch of self-absorbed, fame-whoring, talent-deficient “celebrities” these days, but just do your best to ignore them. If you focus on the talented, proven individuals who never had to work on stretching their 15 minutes, there are a lot of positive lessons about success we can extract from their careers.

Celeb or not, no matter what you’re doing for work, YSN Self Assessment resultsmake sure it’s something you really enjoy, or get a strong sense of fulfillment or purpose from. Every so often, ask yourself “why” you do what you do. Are you there for experience, money, status or because you love it? What’s important to you? To help answer those questions and many more, take the FREE YSN Self Assessment and start sculpting your own ideal career path and putting these lessons to good use!

Persistence pays off… and often requires humility: They may not have won at last week’s Academy Awards, but octogenarian actors Ruby Dee and Hal Holbrook worked hard for 83 years before getting their first Oscar nods. The next time you need a little inspiration for your career, take heart in knowing that Whoopie Goldberg once put makeup on corpses at a funeral home, Chris Rock was a server at Red Lobster and Brad Pitt donned the costume of the El Pollo Loco chicken.

Sometimes starting a company is the easiest way to get a job: In a television interview, actress Drew Barrymore said she hated the auditioning process so much that she opened her own production company so she could just hire herself. Think she was kidding? Her company Flower Films produced Never Been Kissed, both Charlie’s Angels movies, Fever Pitch, 50 First Dates and Music & Lyrics – all of which Drew starred in! Also, when Jay-Z first started out, he made the decision to start his own record label instead of signing with an established label like most musicians. The decision paid off and his Roc-A-Fella label became very successful.

Take your success to the next level by constantly improving your skills: Why do movie stars like Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington and Billy Crystal forgo their million dollar salaries to give their regards to Broadway? Many consider performing the same lines in front of a live audience for weeks at a time as the ultimate test of an actor’s strength. Also, Madonna took singing lessons when she was cast in the film adaptation of the musical Evita, despite already being the Material Girl. The payoff? She won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical in 1997.

True success comes from helping others achieve their dreams: Ben Affleck and Matt Damon became stars by winning an Oscar for writing Good Will Hunting so they founded Project Greenlight to help aspiring screenwriters jumpstart their careers. And among her philanthropic achievements, Oprah opened a leadership academy for girls in South Africa, and created the Oprah Winfrey Foundation to support programs for women and children. What good is having money if you don’t use it to benefit others?

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Jovie Baclayon is the editorial director for YSN.com and an expert in the experiences faced by emerging adults. To learn more, check out Jovie’s YSN portfolio and feel free to e-mail her! She blogs every Wednesday and Friday on Waste Time Wisely.