You look at celebrities and famous people and you think – what wonderful lives they must lead! So many privileges, so many amazing things at their disposal! But then again, we only see what we want to see, and we remain blissfully unaware of what it took them to get where they are today – the hurdles they’ve crossed, the things they have experienced.
Maybe these 15 facts about famous people will give you some perspective. But more than that, what it will do is inspire you, and push you to never, ever give up hope.
1. The King of Rock and Roll was told to stick to driving a truck because, he was told, “you’ll never make it as a singer.”
Before he was the legend he is now, Elvis Presley was just another boy with big dreams to be a singer. Along with his many attempts at landing a professional, he worked as a truck driver. During this time, he met a fellow musician, Ronnie Smith, with whom he had worked briefly before, and who was a member of a professional band at 16. He put Elvis in touch with the band’s lead Eddie Bond, who was looking for a singer; Elvis was asked to audition, and he turned up at a club called the Hi Hat, where he performed a couple of songs for Eddie onstage. He was turned down, with Eddie claiming that Elvis will “never make it as a singer”, and that he should just stick to driving a truck. Later, Eddie claimed that he was asked by the club to reject Elvis.
A few months after this debacle, Elvis recorded “That’s All Right” for Sun Records – a song that became a massive hit in Memphis. Eddie Bond got then got Ronnie to ask Elvis whether he would be interested to sing with them – an offer that Elvis politely refused.(source)
2. While in school, Shakira’s music teacher thought she sounded “like a goat”, and rejected her from the school choir.
Before Shakira was the FIFA-official-song-singing, belly-dancing diva we know now, she was just a 7-year-old girl with a dream to become a performer, but rejected for her school choir owing to her strong trademark vibrato. However, the exact words used by her teacher, and the reason behind the rejection was – she sounds “like a goat”. But she was a performer all the way through, singing and dancing for her schoolmates and teachers since a very early age.(source)
3. Absolute penury had reduced Jim Carrey and his family to live out of a van. Then 15, Jim quit school and took up a job as a janitor to support his family.
His father, a musician, worked “regular” jobs to support the family of six, and when he lost that job, Jim was forced to quit school and work as a janitor. In his own words – “I’d have a baseball bat on my janitor cart because I was so angry I just wanted to beat the heck out of something.”(source)
4. In 1994, J.K. Rowling, besides having just got divorced, was on government aid and could barely afford to feed her baby.
In fact, she was so poor that during the writing of the first Harry Potter book, she couldn’t afford to get the 90,000-word novel photocopied, much less buy a computer. And so she manually typed out each copy, sending them to prospective publishers, all of whom rejected it, until Bloomsbury, a small London publisher, gave the book a second chance after the CEO’s 8-year-old daughter became absolutely besotted with it.(source)
5. Oprah Winfrey was raised amidst startling poverty, and was raped continually since she was 9. She ran way from home when she was 13 and, at 14, gave birth to a son who died soon after.
She had a childhood fraught with crippling poverty: she lived with her maternal grandmother for about six months while her mother worked, and circumstances were so dismal that she wore potato sacks for clothes – something the local children mocked her for. Later, after suffering years of being molested by her cousin, an uncle and a family friend since she was 9 years old, Oprah ran away from home at the age of 13, and bore a son a year later, who died soon after. She stated that even later, her poverty was a subject of ridicule among the other children. But then again, through sheer will-power and determination, Oprah Winfrey, rising above her past, became the first African-American woman to become a billionaire.(source)