Starting out a model is one of the most common ways to young actresses to get exposure, and some of the biggest stars have first tried their hand at modeling before discovering their most important talent.

Discover 10 celebrities who started out as models, but left the runway and the photo shoots behind to pursue a different kind of career, that ultimately proved the right choice for them.

Angelina Jolie

Even before graduating high school, Angelina Jolie had pursued a career in modeling. The star didn’t just do work in Los Angeles, she also traveled to New York and London to see where modeling took her. After a while, Jolie went back to theater studies, but she’s one of the biggest celebrities who started out as models. Even her acting choices were influenced by modeling: Jolie won a Golden Globe award in 1999 for her portrayal of 80s supermodel Gia Carangi.

Jennifer Lawrence Modeling Career

Jennifer Lawrence

Abercrombie & Fitch worked with many models who later found success in Hollywood, but Jennifer Lawrence wasn’t good enough for them. Even though she was part of an A&F photo shoot, her pictures were never used. Lawrence explained that her downfall in the modeling world was her dedication during a football themed shoot. “I realized that they were model footballing and I was really playing football,” she said on Conan.

Charlize Theron Modeling Career

Charlize Theron

At the age of 16, Charlize Theron won a one-year modeling contract and moved from South Africa to Milan. She’s one of the celebrities who started out as models, even though her interest for the industry didn’t last. She trained to be a ballerina in New York before heading to Los Angeles hoping to start an acting career.

Amanda Seyfried Modeling Career

Amanda Seyfried

Before getting her first role at the age of 15, Amanda Seyfried had already modeled for 4 years. As a child model, she did both print ads, usually for clothing brands, and was also a cover model for books. Eventually, she stopped modeling completely by the time she turned 17.

Sienna Miller Modeling Career

Sienna Miller

After signing with Select Model Management London, English actress Sienna Miller really turned modeling into a career. She appears in Italian Vogue, but also did commercial work for Coca-Cola and even had a two-year contract with Pepe Jeans. As one of the more daring celebrities who started out as models, she also modeled topless in the 2003 Pirelli Calendar and in the Abercrombie & Fitch Summer Quarterly.

Rebecca Romijn Modeling Career

Rebecca Romijn

Moving to Paris to pursue modeling is a big risk, but it paid off for Rebecca Romijn, who worked with Victoria’s Secret. The blonde spent the next two years dedicated to modeling and she modeled on the runway for Armani and Anna Molinari, before appearing multiple times in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

Uma Thurman Modeling Career

Uma Thurman

Few celebrities who started out as models have the cover of British Vogue on their resume, but Uma Thurman had one of the most accomplished careers in modeling before making her acting debut. Signer with Click Models at the age of 15, Thurman also appeared in Glamour magazine before giving up modeling for a Hollywood career.

Halle Berry Modeling Career

Halle Berry

Winning Miss Ohio USA was Halle Berry’s big break, but before she was cast in a TV show she actually modeled for a while in Chicago. Unfortunately, her career in modeling didn’t really pick up, despite finding work in commercials and print ads, and she moved to New York to focus on acting.

Cameron Diaz Modeling Career

Cameron Diaz

Few celebrities who started out as models have had a career as long as Cameron Diaz. The blonde actress signed with Elite Model Management when she was only 16 and pursued a modeling career for 5 years after finishing high school. Her modeling resume includes the cover of Seventeen magazine, along with campaigns for Calvin Klein, Coca-Cola and Levi’s.

Martha Stewart Modeling Career

Martha Stewart

The Queen of Lifestyle also started out as a teenage model. At the age of 15 she was already doing commercials and during her college years she also modeled for Chanel. Unlike most celebrities who started out as models, she didn’t pursue an acting career, focusing instead on her true calling which helped her create a business empire.

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