Failing Better: 5 Female Celebrities Who Failed Before They Succeeded

Think things not working out is the end of the road? Not hardly – take a lesson out of these A-listers' books.

female celebrities who failed before they succeededIn our December issue (out now! €1.95!) we have a feature on dealing with a detour – what to do when live gives you lemons, essentially. In it, two women describe how two different life events transformed their lives. Awful as they were at the time, both gals are glad of the experience now.

The point is, failure, though extremely tough while we’re living it, can inform what comes next. That was certainly the experience of the women STELLAR spoke to, who both used the lessons they’d learned to move forward in their lives.

And it’s not just us regular peeps who fail from time to time either. Nope, you might be surprised to hear that celebs aren’t always quite as go-getting as we might imagine. Here are five who might just make you feel a little better about things.

J.K. Rowling

She’s been vocal about how difficult it was to get the first Harry Potter book accepted by a publishing house – “The first agent I ever queried sent back a slip saying ‘My list is full. The folder you sent wouldn’t fit in the envelope. I really minded about the folder, because I had almost no money and had to buy another one.”

Finally, after 12 more publishers rejected it, it found a home at Bloomsbury, and the rest is (nearly) history. Much later, when she was hugely well known, Rowling decided to go incognito and publish a book of crime fiction under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, and that was rejected too. “First publisher to turn down Harry also sent @RGalbraith his rudest rejection. They don’t even want me in a beard.”


She’s the head of her own media empire, covers her own magazine monthly and is so famous she doesn’t need a surname. Now worth around €2.5b, she was actually fired from her first TV gig on WJZ-TV in Baltimore for getting too emotionally invested in her stories. Take that, TV channel.

Carey Mulligan

You know, the ingenue actress famous for her star turn in The Great Gatsby? Well, Carey was rejected from every drama school she applied to and was told she’d be better suited to being a kids TV presenter instead. “They were like, ‘Go home! Or at least experience something other than boarding school,” she’s said of the experience. But she didn’t let it stop her – and look at her now.

Lady Gaga

Dropped by her first record label, Def Jam, after just three months back in 2006, it shook her confidence. “I was pretty devastated. I know what it’s like being on a label when they don’t quite get it,” she said, but she forged ahead and is now a global superstar, multiple award-winner and activist.

Lisa Kudrow

Initially cast as Roz in Frasier, Lisa Kudrow was devastatingly dropped in favour of Peri Gilpin, who went on to play the radio producer and bessie of Frasier in the eventual show. “After two days of rehearsal, I got fired. I got fired from Frasier, the one everyone knew was going to be a hit, and it was …,” Lisa said, but there were good things ahead for her – a year later, she was cast as Phoebe in Friends, and the rest is history.


Have your say

More like this