Celebrities demonstrate versatility when they reinvent themselves. Their career might have hit a wall, or they’re bored with the way things are, so they change things up so their careers can continue to excite them. To keep up with the times, they have to change their image and outlook. Sometimes, it works and reignites their careers once again. Other times, fans don’t connect with the new personalities, and the artists fall farther into obscurity. Here are ten celebrities whose transformation shook pop culture.
1. Brie Larson
Before American actress Brie Larson won an Oscar or put on a suit to save the world in the Marvel movies, she was a singer. Her first album was released on October 18, 2005, featuring 13 tracks. Her single “She Said” peaked at number 31 on the Billboard Hot Singles Sales chart. She gained wider recognition playing Kate Gregson in the 2009 Steven Spielberg series United States of Tara. From there, she moved on to other roles and found her footing in acting.
2. Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie used to have married men as lovers and struggled with drug addiction. There was also an awkward moment at the Oscars when she kissed her brother, and she used to have a necklace she wore that contained her husband’s blood. The controversies surrounding her were wild, even though Jolie seemed to live through them with an authentic disposition. Recently, she’s taken to humanitarian work and focuses more on her children. This change may have come with age and a reflection of her life, but today’s Angelina Jolie knows is quite different from the one that existed two decades before.
3. Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr. may have begun his acting career as a five-year-old playing in his dad’s film Pound in 1970, but his career suffered a lot of hiccups along the way. It wasn’t until he played Tony Stark in Iron Man 35 years later that the world fully accepted him. Part of his woes were of his own making, as he struggled with drug addiction and was in and out of jail for substance abuse. After his last arrest in 2001, he said, “You know what? I don’t think I can continue doing this.” So he reached out for help and ran with it. That decision changed his life.
4. Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger went from bodybuilder to actor, then to politician. He kept challenging himself to fit into different roles. His bodybuilding earned him popularity, which he leveraged to get roles like Conan the Barbarian. He reinvented himself and went deep into method acting for the Terminator franchise. He dropped all that and sharpened his oratory skills to become the governor of California from 2003 to 2011. He has also dabbled in business and filmmaking, and many would agree he has lived a very interesting life.
American singer Pink’s first album, Can’t Take Me Home, brought her to the limelight as an R&B singer. Despite the album’s success, selling over 2 million copies in America alone, Pink was uncomfortable with being marketed as an R&B singer. It wasn’t the type of music she wanted to do. For her second album, Missundaztood, she collaborated with pop/rock singer Linda Perry, and though her label didn’t want it, she insisted, and the album was a global success. If she remained an R&B singer, she wouldn’t have become the pop/rock queen fans love today.
6. Kim Kardashian
Kim Kardashian went from a reality TV star swimming through the murky puddles of scandals to a high-fashion businesswoman. She even recently bagged a law degree, guaranteeing her a place in the corporate world. Many may not like her, but they can’t deny her transformation has brought her much more success and recognition.
7. Robert Pattinson
Robert Pattinson first came into the limelight after playing Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. He gained worldwide popularity after starring in a lead role in the Twilight Saga. After that, he moved into the indie movies scene, featuring in a slew of movies and earning the admiration of indie fans. He’s come a long way from the shiny vampire everyone knew and recently donned the Batman suit in Matt Reeve’s movie, The Batman.
8. Kirk Cameron
Kirk Cameron started out playing Mike Seaver on the ABC sitcom Growing Pains. The role helped him get two Golden Globe nominations and made him a teen heartthrob. But over the years, he has reinvented himself to become an evangelist and television host, mostly making movies about Christianity.
9. Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift began her career as a country music singer, releasing six studio albums in the genre before moving on to synth-pop in 2014. She officially moved to pop in 2012 with her album Red, and since then has also touched on alternative rock with her 2020 albums Folklore and Evermore. Though her main shifts happened between her country music good girl days and her pop icon transformation, Swift is well known for her versatility and ability to slide into different genres and still create beautiful music.
10. Ronald Reagan
Before he became the 40th President of America, Ronald Reagan had a strong career in the movie industry. His first film, Love is on the Air, was released in 1937, after which he featured in 30 other films and television. After his time as the president of the Screen Actors Guild, he went on to rebrand himself as a mainstream politician. He campaigned for Governorship under the Republican party, which he won, becoming the 33rd Governor of California.
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