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Lifestyle and Travel

Inspiring Rags To Riches Stories: Rich And Famous People Who Were Once Homeless

It is true that some people started building their professional lives from scratch. Others started from even lower. The definition of their starting point is the “bottom”. There are times when this impersonal, dangerous, and nightmarish noun can with a little luck and a lot of patience develop into a personal, harmless, and dreamy success.

Definitely, living on the streets is a traumatic experience that can damage a person’s physical and emotional health, but these successful people did not let the misfortunes stand in the way of their accomplishments. The list below includes some successful people who started their career as a homeless:

  1. John Paul DeJoria: The Greek-Italian from Kavala- Greece, John Paul Dejoria, founder of tequila maker Patron Spirits Company and co-founder of hair care company John Paul Mitchell Systems and ROKiT Phones, was once homeless. His childhood was divided into foster families, sleeping in a car, selling Christmas cards from door to door “just to pay for food”. However, as the years passed, he proceeded fearlessly.

    Christmas cards turned into encyclopedias and shampoos. Dejoria learned a lot about shampoos because he had worked for Redken and Fermodyl Hair Care and when he was fired he considered that he could start his own company. In 1980, Dejoria and his old friend, hairdresser Paul Mitchell, set up a company for just $700. The company was named John Paul Mitchell Systems (JPMS) and became one of the strongest in the field of hair care. Today, his fortune is estimated at $3.1 billion.

  2. Daniel Craig, aka James Bond, once had to sleep on park benches in London: Daniel Craig, who became globally known as James Bond, firstly, moved to London and studied at the National Youth Theater and graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1991. Before taking his first big-screen role in 1992, he was hardly trying to keep himself financially safe but at some point, he ended up being homeless and sleeping on the benches of a park in London. The 007 actor made his theatrical debut in 1993 at the Royal National Theater in the Angels in America. Three years later, he appeared in the drama Our Friend in North, and in 2001 made his Hollywood debut in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. From 2005 until now he is globally known as James Bond.

  3. James Cameron lived out of his car: When Director James Cameron was writing “The Terminator,” he was “barely making ends meet, even living in his car for a time.” When Cameron pitched “The Terminator” at meetings, the production companies said they liked the script, but they didn’t like the idea of him being in charge. He persevered and partnered with producer Gale Anne Hurd, who bought the rights to the screenplay for $1 and named Cameron the director. The film went on to make $78.3 million worldwide. James Cameron is known for Avatar (2009) and Titanic (1997).

  4. Chris Pratt lived out of a van in Maui, Hawaii: At age 19, Chris Pratt accepted a one-way ticket to Maui, Hawaii, from a friend and set up a humble abode in a flea and mice-infested van — a setup that he told The Independent was “pretty awesome.” “We just drank and smoked weed and worked minimal hours, 15-20 hours per week, just enough to cover gas, food, and fishing supplies,” Pratt said. “You know it was a charming time.” Chris Pratt rose to prominence for his roles, Andy Dwyer in the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation; Peter Quill / Star-Lord in the Avengers: Endgame, Guardians of the Galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and Avengers: Infinity War; Owen Grady in the Jurassic World and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom; and Justin DEVGRU operator in the Zero Dark Thirty.

  5. Jim Carrey once lived out of a VW camper van and in a tent on his sister’s front lawn: Jim Carrey dropped out of high school and lived in a VW bus with his family parked in different places throughout Canada. They eventually moved into a tent on his older sister’s lawn and parked the van in the driveway. Jim Carrey is known for Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994), The Mask (1994), Dumb and Dumber (1994), Liar Liar (1997), and The Truman Show (1998).

  6. Halle Berry once stayed in a homeless shelter in her early 20s: When Halle Berry first moved to New York to become an actress at age 21, she ran out of money, during this period, the actress said she stayed in a homeless shelter. Halle Berry is known for Boomerang (1992), The Flintstones (1994), Bulworth (1998), Swordfish (2001), Monster’s Ball (2001), and Die Another Day (2002), where she played Bond girl Jinx.

  7. Jewel Kilcher (singer), after being fired, she was homeless for a year: Multi-platinum singer Jewel Kilcher once lived on the streets after her boss fired her. “I ended up homeless for a year,” she says. “I kept writing songs, and started singing in a local coffee shop called The Inner Change Cafe. I developed a loyal following. No one knew I was homeless.” She ended up securing a recording contract with Atlantic Records and making an album (Pieces of You) that sold 12 million copies, released on February 28, 1995. She has received 4 Grammy Award nominations.

  8. Jennifer Lopez: When she was 18, Lopez insisted on becoming a dancer, while her mother wanted to send her to college. As a result, she left her house and started sleeping on a couch at the dance school she was attending. She was homeless, but she told her mother that, that was what she had to do, the singer admitted that personally in an interview. A few months later, she found a job as a dancer in Europe. In May 1999, she released her first single entitled “If You Had My Love”, which became No. 1 on the Billboard chart and went platinum with over a million sales and a month later, she released her first album “On the 6”. From then her career remains globally on top. Forbes estimates the singer, actress, producer, and designer made $47.5 million in the past year.

    Jennifer Lopez

  9. Hilary Swank lived in a car with her mother while they saved up for an apartment in Los Angeles: Academy Award-winning actress Hilary Swan moved to California with her mother as a teenager to pursue a career in acting. Before landing roles, she and her mom lived in a car and stayed in an empty house for a few months. She went on to win 2 Oscars, 2 Golden Globe Awards, and a Screen Actors Guild Award.

  10. Shania Twain slept in a homeless shelter with her mother and siblings: Before going on to win 5 Grammy awards, Shania Twain was homeless. According to Time, she grew up in an abusive household and spent time in a Toronto homeless shelter, along with her mother and siblings.

  11. Kelly Clarkson slept in her car: Before she became America’s first Idol, before the record deals, three Grammys and hit daytime talk show, Kelly Clarkson was a broke cocktail waitress in Los Angeles trying to make ends meet. After just 18 months in L.A., Clarkson’s apartment complex burned down, forcing her to sleep in her car for a few days until she made enough money to drive back home to her childhood home in Burleson, Texas. It was then that Clarkson finally got her big break.

  12. Khalil Rafati: Hakil Rafati was a homeless, heroin-addicted guy living in the infamous Los Angeles area, Skid Row. Rafati started making natural juices and smoothies for the inmates of the Riviera Recovery Center detoxification center, which he opened in Malibu in 2007 and their impact was so great that ordinary people visited his center to taste them.

    Seeing the success, Rafati set up his first SUNLIFE Organics store, whose “mission” was love, healing and inspiration. Today, he is a millionaire. Malibu’s “guru”, also known as the owner of the SunLife Organics chain, which serves natural juices and protein smoothies by promoting a healthy lifestyle, took their own lives.

  13. Dani Johnson: In the early 1990s, Dani Johnson, then 21, was a homeless, desperate. In the back seat of her car, among all her belongings in the world, there was an old weight loss program that she had bought many years ago. She looked at the manufacturer’s details, called to see if she could start selling the door-to-door product, but her plan fell apart immediately as the manufacturer told her she needed to get a license in advance. She did not have money.

    With some money left, she called a small telecommunications company asking them to open a voice mail service, which she would pay by sending them a $ 15 check. Three hours later, she had already 25 orders. She made $250,000 in her first year and was a millionaire in the second year! Until she sold her business in 1996, Dani Johnson had 18 weight loss centers across the country. Today Dani Johnson is a multi-millionaire many times over, runs five companies and spends her time jetting around the world, giving back through her various charities.

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CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - Lifestyle and Travel - Inspiring Rags To Riches Stories: Rich And Famous People Who Were Once Homeless
Antonia Maria Markou
Antonia Maria Markou is a staff writer at CEOWORLD magazine, who sometimes dips her hand into the honeypot of news. She adores finding organic editorial gems while working to grow the CEOWORLD magazine brand. Connect with her on LinkedIn. Got a story idea? Email her: