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10 Celebrities Who Never Thought of Rejection as an Obstacle to Fulfilling Their Dreams

We’ve all had someone tell us “you can’t do that” or something similar when we share our wildest dreams with others. And, as it turns out, these kinds of experiences have not been unfamiliar to some celebrities. Most of them have had to deal with multiple rejections from movie studios, one after another — and one successful singer had to endure criticism from her teacher who compared her singing to that of a goat. Still, life and their persistence launched them into stardom.

This time, Bright Side shows you how 10 celebrities managed to turn their story of failure into one of resounding success.

1. Lady Gaga

Before Stefani Germanotta, better known today by her stage name Lady Gaga, was at the height of her fame, she was used to receiving great amounts of criticism and rejection. What’s more, when she was at New York University, a group of classmates even went to the extent of creating a Facebook group titled “Stefani Germanotta, you’re never going to be famous” where they made fun of her and told her she didn’t have a shred of talent.

Oh, how wrong they were... From 2004 onward, the success of her albums The Fame and The Fame Monster, made Lady Gaga world-famous, which left us wondering whether or not those NYU students still have their Facebook group or not.

2. Arnold Schwarzenegger

The Austrian-born American actor did not have an easy road to fame. For starters, he was born into a poor family. However, his father was an athlete, and that motivated Schwarzenegger to start training in weightlifting with a very well-defined dream in mind: moving to the United States to continue his career as a bodybuilder.

In 1968 he finally arrived in Las Vegas, the perfect place to start building a network in the entertainment business. In fact, after a while, in the gym where he trained, he met some of the biggest celebrities in professional wrestling. He then entered one of the most important bodybuilding contests, Mr. Olympia, and won. This was actually one of his greatest victories. In 1980 he started his career as an actor in Hollywood with Conan the Barbarian.

3. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

“MIAMI — CIRCA 1992-94: Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) #94 of the University of Miami Hurricanes runs upfield to make the stop at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida.”

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is at the top of Hollywood’s highest-paid actor’s list for the second year in a row. But even if that’s the case now, his story does not have a happy or easy beginning. The actor himself says he went through many hardships during his youth. You might find it hard to believe now that he’s one of the richest men in Hollywood, but he even had to live on the streets and watch his dreams of being a football star go up in smoke.

After having to go through a very rough depression because he had lost everything he thought he had, Johnson decided to turn his life around and start training to enter the world of wrestling. To do so, he convinced his father to help him get started. As we now know, he made the right call since later on he managed to jump from the ring to the big screen.

4. Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph

In 1997, Reed Hastings came up with an interesting business model. His idea was to let people rent movies on a monthly subscription basis. That way, instead of having to pay per rental you’d have a base fee and you could get as many movies as you want. Hastings then teamed up with Marc Randolph and the 2 eventually developed an in-home DVD rental platform with this business model. That’s how Netflix was born.

In the early years of the new millennium, Hastings and Randolph offered to sell Netflix to Blockbuster, a provider of home movie and video game rental services. However, the movie rental giant rejected the offer without even considering it, because they didn’t see the potential. Still, the tables turned for Netflix, which in 2007 became the first online streaming platform, while Blockbuster announced its closure in 2010, barely 3 years later.

5. Kate Winslet

After winning a BAFTA award for Best Supporting Actress in 2016, Kate Winslet said that she wanted to dedicate the statuette to all women who were doubting themselves. During the event, she gave a speech in which she revealed how a drama teacher at her school told her that she could do a great job in any play where they needed “fat girls.”

So if she had even just had the initiative to only perform these types roles, everything still would’ve worked out for her. However, her career is filled with great and diverse characters, like her parts in Mildred Pierce (2011), The Dressmaker (2015), and Collateral Beauty (2016). And let’s not forget about her upcoming role in Avatar 2, which is set to be released in 2022.

6. Meryl Streep

One of the most renowned actresses from Hollywood and a multiple Academy Award winner Meryl Streep went public with a rejection story from her early career on the Graham Norton Show that proves even the most talented celebrities have had to learn how to deal with failure.

In 1977, Streep auditioned for a role in the King Kong movie that was about to be shot. After her audition, the producers, who were Italian, started whispering to each other and commenting on her performance. Streep could hear them say that “she was too ugly for the part” but they didn’t know that she spoke any Italian. Streep, who’s fairly witty, replied to them saying, “I’m so sorry I’m not beautiful enough to be King Vaca.”

7. Shakira

During an interview with 60 Minutes, Shakira confessed that when she was a child, she was not allowed to take part in the children’s choir because the teacher did not like the way she sang. In fact, she used to say that she sang “like a goat.”

The Colombian-born singer-songwriter confessed that she used to get back home and be very discouraged after her lessons, because her classmates made fun of her singing. However, it was her father who encouraged her to not lose hope. Her father knew that her way of vocalizing was special and insisted that she continue to work on it and develop her unique style. Today, her vibrato is her hallmark and she’s known as one of the most famous singers in the world.

8. Steven Spielberg

There’s hardly anyone today that hasn’t heard of Steven Spielberg. But that wasn’t the case back when he was just starting his career in the movies. The acclaimed filmmaker applied to get into the University of Southern California School of Theater and Film, but was rejected. In fact, that didn’t happen once, but 3 times and he was rejected all 3 times. Because he was so determined to work in the industry, he took a job as an unpaid intern at Universal Studios, where his career did nothing but skyrocket to success with his 1968 short film Amblin’, which gave his production company its name.

9. Alfonso Cuarón

Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón is known today because he directed blockbusters like Children of Men, Gravity, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and most recently Roma. He went to the Centro Universitario de Estudios Cinematográficos (CUEC) of the Universidad Autónoma de México (UNAM) in Mexico City. However, he was unexpectedly expelled when he showed his dislike toward the school’s approach to filming.

After that, Cuarón decided to try his luck in the United States and Hollywood seemed like his best shot to really become a successful director. The success of A Little Princess released in 1995 marked the beginning of his journey that, as we know, ended in success.

10. George Lucas

After the amazing success he found with American Graffiti back in 1973, the young George Lucas had something big in mind, in fact, it would turn out to be his most ambitious project. It involved a story of warriors that fought with laser swords and mystical powers in a “galaxy far, far away.” Of course, you can probably now tell that we’re referring to one of the most famous franchises in the history of cinema: Star Wars.

Lucas first presented the project to several production companies, but they continually rejected it because they didn’t see the potential of this sci-fi movie. It wasn’t until 20th Century Fox decided to finance it that the project took off, but they did so only with a very low budget for that time. Since the astonishing success of Star Wars: A New Hope in 1977, Lucas developed the special effects department Industrial Light & Inc., and from there onward the franchise did nothing but travel into hyperspace with series, books, comics, etc.

Do you have someone you admire? How do you cope with failure? Do you think it’s important to be persistent and keep fighting to make your dreams come true? Or are you more of a “realistic” person? Tell us an inspirational story that you think others should hear!

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