From day time talk show hosts to politicians, some of Hollywood’s biggest names got their start in pageants. If you have a winning smile, a personality to match, a competitive spirit and a presence that can’t be ignored, you may be able to follow in the footsteps of A-lister’s like Oprah Winfrey, Diane Sawyer and Halle Berry.
Forget where you come from or what your name is; the following celebrities prove that with little exposure and the determination to succeed, anything is possible.
Scroll below for seven notable stars who got their big break as a child pageant star. – ruthie hawkins/@ruubabie
Vanessa Williams: The biggest pageant winner of the bunch picked up three titles at the 1984 Miss America Pageant for the preliminary talent, swimsuit contest and the biggest award of them all: the crown. Today, Williams is a successful actress and recording artist.
Sharon Stone: This star launched a successful modeling career with Ford Models after winning the Miss Pennsylvania crown. In the ’80s Stone branched into film. She is best known as the sexy seductress in Basic Instinct.
Arnold Schwarzenegger: Surprisingly, the former actor and governor of California won seven Mr. Olympia and five Mr. Universe titles for his work as a bodybuilder.
Halle Berry: This Revlon model and Academy Award winning popular film actress shot to stardom after wining the fourth runner up spot at the Miss World pageant in 1986.
Oprah Winfrey: Without a doubt one of our generation’s most influential talk show hosts and humanitarians, in 1971 Winfrey won the Miss Fire Prevention contest where she would represent a local radio station in Nashville, Tenn. The station was so impressed with her work that they offered her an on-air spot delivering afternoon headlines. From there, she went on to win the Miss Black Tennessee pageant in 1972. At the tender age of 19, Oprah became a news anchor for WTVF-TV in Nashville, launching her current worldwide stardom.
Jeri Ryan: Known for her sexy role in Star Trek: Voyager, Ryan began her road to stardom as a runner up in the Miss Illinois pageant. She did, however, walk away with the swimsuit competition title.