We all know a 14-year-old Instagram influencer who is making more money than their teenage angst knows what to do with. While the rest of us are adulting to the best of our abilities, it seems more and more common to find “young millionaires” in our generation. Even childhood stars who begin acting before they know how to drive seem like they already have achieved ultimate fame and greatness. This can be quite discouraging for the rest of us who are still figuring out how to budget their caffeine addiction (just me?).
We often see our role models as people who had success thrust upon them at a young age but never really understand their timeline of success. Get ready to be encouraged AF because you are about to see some of the most successful and well-known actors and businessmen and women who didn’t achieve success until much later in life.
Can you even really appreciate success when you’re young? Like a fine wine, success tastes sweeter when it has taken some time. Not every actor got started on Disney Channel as a kid and not every successful entrepreneur’s first idea was their best idea.
The beloved comic book creator, who you can find cameos of in Marvel movies, didn’t catch his big break until he was almost 40 years old. His first comic book hit was The Fantastic Four and well, you know the classics after that.
The famous fashion designer had a few careers before she found the one that she truly loved and loved her right back. Before she was making runway outfits and stunning wedding dresses, she was a figure skater and a journalist. Is there anything this woman can’t do?
Vera Wang was 40 when she finally entered into the fashion industry, and aren’t we all forever thankful for that?
This is the woman who stole your heart on Britain’s Got Talent in 2009. She was 47 when she auditioned and left even Simon Cowell stunned and amazed with her beautiful singing voice.
She went on to sing all over the world and prove to everyone, no matter your age, it’s never too late to be a star and chase your dreams.
Seriously, her audition is amazing…
You have to watch her audition. Really. It is truly inspiring. She is just a confident, sassy woman and completely shocks the audience and crushes her performance.
I can’t imagine the film industry existing without Samuel L. Jackson’s talent and creativity, but it wasn’t until he was 46 years old that he finally got a starring role in Spike Lee’s movie Jungle Fever.
He later went on to be in hit movies such as Die Hard With a Vengeance, Star Wars, Pulp Fiction, and Django Unchained, just to name a few.
Most of us know and love him as he famously played the role of Snape in the Harry Potter films, but it wasn’t until he was 41 when he landed the role in his first movie Die Hard with Bruce Willis.
He died in 2016 at the age of 69 and forever left his mark not just on Harry Potter fans, but the film industry as a whole.
“Built Ford Tough”, the now-famous slogan of Ford, would not exist if it were not for Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Company. After being an engineer for most of his adult life, he finally found success with the Model T Ford, released in 1908 when he was 45 years old.
It’s starting to sound like your 40s might be the most successful age. Who knows, you might do something crazy like, I don’t know, invent the car?
Does this name ring any bells? Think middle school science class and pictures of monkeys.
Charles Darwin was 50 years old when he published “On the Origin of the Species” which shaped the subject of evolution forever. His discoveries and theories are still considered to be some of the most profound in the history of science.
The famous chef turned her hobby into an amazing career, but it took her a while to get there. After working in media and advertising, she decided to try and learn to cook after moving to France. She published her first cookbook when she was 50 years old then later turned into a celebrity chef by having her own TV show.
She became the first woman to be inducted into the Culinary Institute of America’s Hall of Fame because she’s a boss with an apron on.
Also, if you haven’t seen Julie & Julia you are missing out. This woman’s story is amazing and Meryl Streep is obviously incredible in this movie, no shocker there.
This power couple has serious relationship goals. They were both 42 years old when they decided to quit their jobs as attorneys in order to pursue their restaurant review business.
They founded Zagat Restaurant Surveys which has set the bar for quality culinary experiences.
In 2016 The Founder was released, a film retelling the incredible story of Ray Kroc who is known for founding McDonald’s.
He was 53 years old when he started working with restaurant owners and 59 when he bought his first McDonald’s, and people are still lovin’ it.
Donald and his wife Doris founded The Gap when he was 41 years old. It’s now just referred to as Gap and is a multi-million dollar franchise.
All I can see in my head is its cheesy yet classic commercials of people twirling in jeans and white tee shirts or polos smiling way too big. But thank you to Doris and Donald for selling me a good, reliable pair of jeans.
Laura is a boss and didn’t let her age stop her from chasing her dreams of writing. She published her first book in 1932 when she was 65 years old. Little House became a hit for children. She turned her books into a series which were later used as the storyline for the beloved Little House on the Prairie.
Yeah, she’s a big deal.
Okay I owe this man a lot. Harland Sanders is famous for creating Kentucky Fried Chicken. He was 62 years old when he franchised KFC and our lives were never the same.
Can you imagine how weird it would look if Colonel Sanders was a 20 something man on the bucket of your chicken wings? He needed that beautiful white hair as the face of this fantastic fried franchise.
Anna Mary Robertson Moses
You might know her as Grandma Moses, or you might not know her at all, but she was an artistic genius. She started painting at the beautiful age of 78. Her paintings were featured on postage stamps (that was a big deal in the 1940s) and in 2016, one of her paintings sold for over $1 million.
Also, she lived to be 101 so it sounds like it only got better as she got older.
Ok grab your tissues. Sweet Harry Bernstein published his memoir called “The Invisible Wall: A Love Story That Broke Barriers” at the age of 96. The book is about his childhood, his relationship with his mother and his alcoholic father. He went on to write two more books.
Is this getting anyone else very excited to be old and full of stories and still be chasing your dreams?
The man behind Wal-Mart, Sam Walton founded the successful chain of stores when he was 44 years old. I bet he never imagined how many amazing GIFs and weird tweets would come from his store. I am eternally grateful.
Martha is an American legacy who is continuously thriving and moving up in her career, besides a few minor setbacks (let’s not talk about her time in prison).
Martha achieved her own personal success at the age of 41 when she published her book Entertaining. Now we all know and love her for her cooking shows, home decor, crafts and hilarious friendship with Snoop Dogg.
Yes, you hear that right! Snoop Dogg.
Really, though. Look at this friendship. Where would we be without this cooking show?
Martha is older and wiser and Snoop Dogg is just, well he’s Snoop.
Okay, I seriously love her and now that I know her story, I love her more if that is even possible.
It was until she was 34 that she finally, after being rejected many times, was cast to be in the major motion picture, The Help. Now she has built up quite a reputation and has graced us with her beauty and grace, on and off the screen.
Viola is a queen and I cannot imagine my life without her. Okay, that’s dramatic but I seriously love her. She made small TV appearances and even performed on Broadway but it wasn’t until she landed a role in Doubt where she worked next to Meryl Streep that people took notice of her; she was 43 at the time.
Now we know and love her for her bad-ass role of Annalise Keating in How To Get Away With Murder. She was 49 when she started the show.
Another absolute queen. She made lots of small cameos in TV shows and movies, but it wasn’t until she was 36 years old when she became the famous Olivia Pope in the hit TV show Scandal.
Part of me thinks she was born to play this role.
Sorry I just had to interrupt our regularly scheduled writing to take a minute and appreciate when these two had a crossover with their TV series. I was living for this historical moment.
Okay once you’re done staring at his perfect face…
Jon Hamm was waiting tables until he was 29 years old, taking small parts in TV shows and being the voice of some animated characters while he waited for his big break. He was 36 when he beat out 80 other actors for the lead role of Don Draper in Mad Men.
It seems like the later years of Jane Lynch’s life are possibly the best years. Many of her lead roles were given to her when she was in her 40s and she is said to have felt like she is just getting started.
The world needs her humor and I’m pretty sure she just gets funnier as she gets older.
J.K. Rowling was 36 years old when the first Harry Potter book was published and suddenly everyone in the world was desperate to be a wizard.
Can you imagine where we would be without Harry, Hermione and Ron?! Just the thought of a Harry Potter-less world makes me feel a depth of sadness I did not know existed.
Ava was 32 years old when she decided to drastically change her career plans, and everyone needs to say thank you for eternity to this woman.
After working in the world of journalism and public relations, she didn’t know that film was her calling until she picked up a camera to make a few short films. This led her to her role as the director of A Wrinkle in Time.
She is also the first African-American woman to direct a film with a budget over $100 million.
If this doesn’t encourage the absolute heck out of you, I don’t know what will. Our best days are ahead, everyone.
Share this with someone to tell them that 40 is the new 20.