Many celebrities have a carefully curated image that they’ve been cultivating long before they had their name in lights. However, this doesn’t mean they’re immune to awkward old photos that they might want to keep hidden from the public eye. In this collection of rare celebrity snapshots, we’ll be able to see the degree of change they went through.
Did your favorite actor or actress already look every bit a celebrity even back then or did they have an ugly duckling phase, too? Join us for a quick trip down memory lane and guess who among our list really made it big.
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson
Dwayne has gone through a number of transformations throughout his time in the spotlight. He started out as a professional wrestler, earning many fans in the process with credit to both his prowess and showmanship. Even now that he’s a full-time actor, his moniker ‘The Rock’ is still deeply associated with his persona.
Few people know that before he was a wrestler, Dwayne was a well-known college football player for the University of Miami. Their team won the national championship back in 1991. The actor dreamt of a professional football career and even entered the 1995 NFL draft, but ended up undrafted.
The vocalist and lead of the legendary band Nirvana Kurt Cobain has been featured on Twitter, but this time, it’s a photo of him as a toddler. Cobain sports a blonde bowl cut, a purple striped vest on top of a black turtleneck, and topped with a mischievous smile. The young Kurt Cobain was too innocent back then to understand the kind of influence he’ll have in music when he grew up. How he would eventually take credit for being the “voice of a generation”. We can’t deny that he’s always radiated such positive and warm energy—even as a child!
This handsome young gent is none other than The Late Show host, Stephen Colbert. Whilst most audiences know him as the suit-wearing comedy genius, back when he was much younger, Stephen looked more like a rockstar than a budding TV host. We have to say, the long hair and scruff isn’t a bad look on him!
During his early years, while studying for his drama degree at the Northwestern University, Stephen developed a keen interest in improvisational theatre. He even did professional work as an understudy for Steve Carell. These days, they’re industry colleagues and have achieved similar levels of success.
This dapper young man is none other than Billy Joel, one of the most influential and best-selling artists of all time. He might be trying to appear tough in this photo, but we know him best as a charming crooner. The Long Island native dropped out of high school early on in order to pursue his dreams. To his credit, it certainly paid off.
Aside from music, did you know that the beloved Piano Man also took up boxing? He even fought in the amateur Golden Gloves circuit, winning a total of 22 bouts before throwing in the towel after getting his nose broken.
Before he became part of the Avengers, Chris Evans portrayed bit roles in a number of different productions. Such is the case with 2001’s Not Another Teen Movie, where he played the stereotypical high school jock. This photo proves that even back then he’s got that All-American good looks, which likely factored into him landing the eponymous Captain America Role.
Aside from Cap, however, Chris has also played another Marvel Superhero. Does anyone remember The Fantastic Four films? In these movies, he portrayed Johnny Storm aka the Human Torch. Now that Cap’s retired, which new superhero will this talented actor gain credit for?
Whenever we think of Bruce Springsteen, the image that comes to mind is that of the confident rockstar who can easily take control of the stage. Of course, that degree of expertise only comes with years of experience! While this photo was taken long before his Glory Days, his gentlemanly charm is already unmistakable.
The Jersey Shore native is one of the country’s most successful artists. He has sold over 30 million albums worldwide and has countless chart-toppers to his name. Needless to say, his shy demeanor in this photo was a Brilliant Disguise for the fiery rocker he’s hiding inside.
It’s always fun looking back at younger photos of our favorite athletes and Tom Brady is no exception. Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. was born in San Mateo California to Galynn Patricia and Thomas Brady Sr. He is the youngest of four kids and has three older sisters.
Before getting into the NFL, Tom had a reputation for being an excellent baseball player during his high school days. He was even drafted during the 1995 MLB Draft by the Montreal Expos. To Tom’s credit, he may have ended up playing for a different sport but he still managed to excel at it.
The multi-talented singer and songwriter practically grew up in front of our eyes. From the sweet southern belle who serenaded us with her catchy country songs, Taylor’s music has matured just as she has. So throwback photos such as this one are always a lovely reminder of how she used to be—without all the glitz and the glam, just confidently strumming her guitar.
Taylor has weathered a lot of controversy since she debuted and to her credit, she’s still standing tall to this day. Not just as a Fearless musician, but also as an inspiration to many young women all over the world.
Nineties Brad Pitt made many a young girl’s heart swoon and he hasn’t stopped eliciting the same reaction to this day. Of course, it’s only normal to assume that even a guy like him would have gone through an awkward phase. However, this yearbook photo is proof of the contrary—Brad has always been quite the looker.
That isn’t his only admirable quality, though. Aside from being a talented actor and director, he is a generous philanthropist and advocates for many global causes. Given the degree of influence he has in the entertainment industry, we can’t think of a more worthwhile use of his platform.
Love her or hate her, the infamous Kim Kardashian has certainly come a long way from being Paris Hilton’s personal assistant. For that, we give her much credit. Sure, the manner in which she gained public recognition was unorthodox, but we cannot deny her business savvy and the success she has built upon that reputation. Something that wouldn’t have been easy to achieve, given how the public tends to vilify her for even the smallest of things.
These days, Kim K. is busy running her empire. From fashion, cosmetics, and even mobile games! Keeping up with the Kardashians will certainly be quite the feat.
Hollywood is filled with plenty of unique and colorful personalities. Individuality is often prized just as much as it is criticized, so managing a successful career despite producing content that doesn’t always cater to the masses is an achievement in itself.
Just take filmmaker Kevin Smith as a prime example. He’s the man behind gems such as Chasing Amy, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Yoga Hosers, and Dogman. A lot of his work went on to become cult favorites, with credit to his skillful storytelling. This candid photo of the director just gives us another look into his off-beat humor!
Beyoncé Knowles – Carter
Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Beyonce has always been performing—even as a young girl. She joined different singing and dancing competitions, which led to her being scouted by famed dance instructor Darlette Johnson. She even used to be a member of an all-girl group, a gig she auditioned for at eight years old! This would be a short-lived venture, however.
It wasn’t until Destiny’s Child that Beyonce really gained the public’s recognition. Even after the group went their separate ways, she managed to maintain her success. These days, Queen B is given credit for being one of the most influential artists in music.
This one’s quite a throwback, and it shows just how far the actor has come. From portraying Andy Dwyer in the highly successful sitcom, Parks and Recreation, the actor has gone on to land roles in The Magnificent Seven, Guardians of the Galaxy, and the Jurassic World franchise.
Did you know that before becoming one of Hollywood’s highest-paid actors, he worked as a daytime stripper and discount ticket salesman? He even once ended up homeless in Hawaii! Needless to say, he may have struggled back then, but Chris has made a success of himself with credit to his hard work and talent.
We wonder what Tyrion Lannister would’ve thought of this mullet— not quite the lion he was hoping for, we assume. Kidding aside, this candid of the actor is definitely one for the books. Before he reached global success with credit to his stellar performance on Game of Thrones, Peter performed in various amateur stage productions while attending college. He made his debut in Living in Oblivion.
His breakthrough role didn’t come years later, through the 2003 film The Station Agent. Since then, he’s appeared in many blockbusters, including Avengers: Infinity War, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and Missouri, which won him his first SAG award.
Marshall Mathers Aka Eminem
The young man in this yearbook photo may not know it yet, but he’s set to become one of the most influential rappers in hip hop. Marshall Mathers, better known as Eminem, is given credit for helping break down racial barriers and allowing for more acceptance when it comes to white rappers in pop music. Sure, his early beginnings were controversial, but that only helped propel his career forward.
All his hard work wasn’t for naught, either. He is regarded by many as one of the greatest rappers of all time and is recognized for his lyricism, as well as his fearlessness in pushing boundaries.
Smiley Miley, as she is affectionately called by her family and some fans, grew up in the spotlight. Her father is the country singer Billy Ray Cyrus who taught her how to play the guitar and would often take her along during concerts.
Even as a young girl, Miley showed star potential, so it isn’t too surprising that she was the top choice for portraying Disney’s Hannah Montana. The cherry atop this cake? She got to work with her father on the show. Now all grown up and following her own creative path, Miley has established herself and receives much credit as a multi-genre artist
Tina Fey seemed set for the entertainment industry even at a young age. She recalls, in some interviews, how she would watch Saturday Night Live with her parents, which gave her early exposure to the world of comedy. At age 11, she read Joe Franklin’s Seventy Years of Great Film Comedians for a school project. She also cited Catherine O’Hara as her role model and grew up watching Second City Television.
This passion for the industry continued all the way until college. She studied acting and play-writing at the University of Virginia, and eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in drama.
He has been named Sexiest Man Alive by People Magazine—twice. That certainly says a lot when it comes to George Clooney’s allure, but we can’t help but do a double-take when it comes to this adorable photo of him as a young boy. Check out the choppy bangs!
We wonder, did he ever imagine himself being as successful as he is today? Not just in the realm of movies, but in various social causes as well. After all, he has received much credit for his economic and political activism, on top of being a UN Messenger of Peace since 2008.
This youngster is none other than John Lennon. The snapshot captured the hearts of many after it was posted on Twitter. Taking credit as one of the most popular singers and musicians ever, he made many fans, both young and old, swoon. The little schoolboy sporting the adorable hat had no idea that he would eventually become a music legend. The Beatles were a band that made music history and today, they are still being listened to. This photo is sure to take us back in time, and into the intimate parts of our favorite icon’s childhood. What a cute little thing!
Who knew that the 44th president of the United States of America used to be a cool kid in college? Sporting a trendy windbreaker jacket and an afro, seeing Barack Obama as a teenager is definitely an interesting photo. The young adult takes us back to the ‘80s and shows us what being cool was truly about. For sure, he didn’t know at that point in time, the degree of influence he would have in his country and the entire world later in life. Needless to say, he did become a man that is not only inspiring but also life-changing to many.