Runway to red carpet: Halle Berry, Charlize Theron, Cameron Diaz and more models who became actors

Charlize Theron
Charlize Theron
Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Good looks and an enviable figure are attributes that are needed to be a model and, of course, those things translate well on the big screen.

There's no shortage of fashion stars that have made very successful switches to Hollywood. Here's a look at actors who began their careers on the catwalk.

Cara Delevingne

Cara Delevinge

Cara Delevingne walks the runway during the Balmain Ready to Wear fashion show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2019 in Paris. ALL IMAGES BY GETTY

Cara spent much of her teenage years working as a runway regular for Burberry, Chanel, Victoria Secret and Balmain. The then 23-year-old quit modelling in 2016.

"I found myself surrendering to the industry's approval process. I felt like I needed validation from everyone. As a result, I lost sight of myself and what it meant to be happy, what it meant to be successful," she told Time.

Cara made her film debut in 2012 playing Princess Sorokina in Anna Karenina.

READ MORE: They say fashion week is better with a partner - stylish duos spotted at fashion weeks 

Halle Berry


Actress Halle Berry presents the award for Best Male Performance on stage at the 2004 MTV Movie Award on 5 June 2004 in Culver City, California.

The Oscar award-winning actress started her career in pageantry and, as reported by Teen Vogue, was the first black American Miss World contestant.

"I kept winning all the way until the Miss USA pageant where I did not win. I was first runner up to Christy Fichtner. And that ended my beauty pageant career," she told W Magazine.

READ MORE: Ready? Okay! Halle Berry, Chrissy Teigen, Kendall Jenner and other celebs who were once cheerleaders 

Cameron Diaz

Cameron Diaz was a teen model before she became an A-lister, landing a cover for Seventeen Magazine and many other campaigns. "I'll probably model until I'm old and grey. Actually, my ultimate dream is to be a zoologist," Cameron told Seventeen in 1990.

Her film debut came in 1994 when an agent at Elite Model Management got her the role of Carlyle in The Mask.   

Vanessa Williams

(Original Caption) Atlantic City, N.J.: Miss New Y

Vanessa Williams is crowned Miss America 1984 by Miss America Debra Maffett. She is the first black to be crowned Miss America in its 63 years of existence. 

Before her memorable role in Ugly Betty as Wilhelmina Slater, Vanessa Williams was known as the first woman of African-American descent to be crowned Miss America. Among these career successes, she has enjoyed a career as a singer.

Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron began her career as a runway model. At the age of 16, she won a local modelling competition in Salerno, Italy, which allowed her to move to the fashion capital, Milan. 

After her contract, the young actress moved to New York to pursue a career in ballet before injury forced her to turn to acting. Her first speaking role in a movie was Two Days in the Valley in 1996.  

READ MORE: 4 celeb women who've made amazing career comebacks 

Jaime King

NEW YORK - MARCH 1996: Model James King having h

Jaime King having her hair styled backstage at British fashion designer Alexander McQueens (1969 - 2010) first New York fashion show at a former synagogue on Norfolk Street in March 1996 in New York City, New York. Photo by Catherine McGann

Jaime King was a big-time runway model for Chanel and Christian Dior before she made her debut in Pearl Harbor in 2001. She was told she was insane when she quit because she was at the top of her modelling career and had a ton of contracts and campaigns. But that didn't stop her from following her heart and taking up acting.

Priyanka Chopra

Priyanka Chopra

Priyanka Chopra was crowned Miss India in her late teens and followed by taking home the Miss World title. Following these successes, she became a Bollywood star and became an international star following her role in Quantico. 

READ MORE: LISTEN | Miss Universe, Zozibini Tunzi urges us to start confronting our fears 

Uma Thurman

uma thurman,aktrise

Uma Thurman appeared on the covers of Vogue and Glamour as a model before she turned to acting. The actress landed her first major roles in the 1980s in Johnny Be Good and Dangerous Liaisons

Kate Upton 

Kate Upton rose to fame as a swimsuit model in Sports Illustrated. She first appeared on the cover of SI aged just 19, an experience she described as "very isolating".

She landed her first acting role in 2011 with a cameo in Tower Heist before securing bigger roles in The Other Woman and The Layover

Compiled by Phelokazi Mbude

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