The ability to reinvent oneself is a celebrity’s best and worst tools. Some celebs like Madonna can reinvent themselves to the betterment of their careers while others like Lindsay Lohan do so to their detriment. There have been numerous celebs who have switched gears mid-career for better or for worse…
When she first stepped on the scene in 2005, Rihanna was known as teen pop princess. Her music was uptempo and clean cut and at one point she was negatively criticized for being too similar to Beyonce Knowles, who she counted as one of her influences. Then, with the release of her third album, aptly titled Good Girl Gone Bad, Rihanna adopted a much more dark and edgy persona, chopping off her long locks for an Aeon Flux inspired bob and singing about disturbia. Now, she’s known for reinventing herself with every album, sporting a myriad of different hairstyles and fashion choices. She’s become a provocateur with her overtly sexual lyrics, minimal clothing, open use of profanity and kush intake.
It’s hard to remember that Lindsay Lohan was once a Disney darling, with a wholesome, sweet image as the star of The Parent Trap. Even when she began to take more mature roles like Freaky Friday and Mean Girls, LiLo’s Hollywood star seemed on the rise, but the fiery redhead opted for a party lifestyle, becoming a fixture in the tabloids for her wild behavior, driving woes and alleged drug use. Her career took a backseat to her antics, and a once promising movie actress was relegated to Lifetime original-movie-status.
Those who thought The Rock was just another charismatic pro wrestling meat head were sadly mistaken when the WWE superstar left the world of profoessioanl wrestling at the top of his game to pursue a career as a movie star. The move upset WWE fans around the world, but proved to be an inspired choice when he successfully crossed over, becoming one of biggest action movie stars in the world, commanding hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office. In 2013 alone, Johnson has five films releasing.
With the release of the song “There You Go” in 2000, most radio listeners assumed that strong soulful voice was coming from an African-American singer. They couldn’t have imagined that it belonged to a hot pink-haired Caucasian woman sporting a pixie cut. Pink entered the music arena as a pop/R&B artist. Her first two singles were top ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100. Her debut album Can’t Take Me Home went two times platinum, but Pink wasn’t satisfied with her image. Wanting to be taken more seriously as a singer/songwriter she took her music in a more artistic direction. Her sophomore album Missundaztood marked a departure from R&B/soul into alternative/pop/rock territory where she has remained since.
As Tom Hanson on 21 Jumpstreet, Johnny Depp had the ladies wishing he would book them for a little private interrogation. His dark chiseled features made him a bonafide heartthrob, but Depp wasn’t keen on being a sex symbol, and set out to detract from his supernatural good looks by taking acting roles that disguised him. The first was the 1990 commercial and critical smash Edward Scissorhands which rendered him nearly unrecognizable. Depp has since become known for playing oddball, costume-laden characters, though, we all know what beauty hides beneath!
Though Disney refused to severe its ties with its
cash cow High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens, her wholesome image was all but done away with when nude photos taken by the actress herself leaked onto the Internet. Following the last HSM film the young starlet made the leap into much more adult roles, starring as a gun wielding sex slave in Sucker Punch, drug-addicted club dancer Mimi in a production of Rent and a wild spring breaker who has a threesome with co-stars Ashley Benson and James Franco in the 2013 film Spring Breakers.
It’s been a minute since Jesse McCartney released any new music but the last time he did, it was a complete departure from his previous sound. McCartney started off in the mildly successful boy band Dreamstreet when he was just 12 years old. Thanks to the help of Disney, he launched a solo career as a pop artist with hints of urban influence. By the time his third album was released, McCartney had reinvented himself into an urban contemporary artist with much more heavy hip-hop/R&B influences in the vein of Justin Timberlake. The album, appropriately titled Departure, featured rappers T-Pain and Ludacris, while his singles received heavy rotation on urban radio stations.
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Pitted against her former Mickey Mouse Club co-star, Britney Spears, for the title of reigning pop princess, Christina Aguilera traded in her bubble gum persona for a more raunchy image. The first single, “Dirrty,” from her fourth album provoked a mass amount of controversy for the star, garnering much negative criticism for being inappropriate. The album, titled Stripped, was a much more artistic and personal venture for the singer, who now went by the monicker X-Tina. Her move to the provocative clearly delineated her from her clean cut counterpart Britney Spears.
This Austrian muscle man went from being Mr. Universe to becoming an unstoppable killing machine in The Terminator. In 2003, Schwarzenegger transformed from the Terminator into the Governator. His biggest role to date was being the Governor of California from 2003 to 2011.
Drizzy Drake is one of the hottest rappers in the game now, but back in 2001 he was Aubrey Graham, a teen actor playing a disabled high school student in a wheelchair on the hit Canadian show Degrassi: The Next Generation. Drake played Jimmy Brookes on the show until 2009. It was that same year that his third mixtape So Far Gone dropped to high critical praise, making him one of the most famous and successful unsigned artists ever. It was a surprise to many Degrassi fans that he had made such a leap into rapping and a shock to many Drake fans that he was once a teenybopper actor.
It was a grave disappointment to many American Idol fans when powerhouse singer Jennifer Hudson was booted from the season three of the competition. Fans could only hope that one day Hudson would make it in the music business, but when she reemerged in 2006 it wasn’t just for singing, it was for her grand acting performance as Effie White in Dreamgirls, which won her the Oscar for best supporting actress. J-Hud is now a notable actress and an acclaimed powerhouse singer, though her solo music career has not fared s0 well.
Kal Penn was one half of everybody’s favorite stoner duo in the Harold and Kumar films (he is Kumar) and a cast member on FOX’s hit medical drama House until he ditched the movies for a position as an Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Engagement under the Obama Administration in 2009.
Mr. West began his career as a producer, pumping hits for big name artists like Jermaine Dupri, Jay-Z, Mos Def, T.I., Ludacris and DMX. He was in demand as a producer but had aspirations to step out as a rapper. His dreams were met with dismissal and skepticism by his industry colleagues. West sure showed them when he became one of the most popular, successful and in demand rappers of all time.
Miley Cyrus exchanged her hokey image as a Disney teen pop star for a scant wardrobe, kush love, a music collaboration with Snoop Dogg and a possible future as twerk dancer.
Many may not know that Katy Perry was born to two Pentecostal pastors. As such she began her music career singing gospel music. The young singer was signed to Christian music label Red Hill at the age of 15 and recorded her first album Katy Hudson (her real name) before the label shut down in 2001. Perry began working with mainstream songwriter and producer Glenn Ballard at the age of 17. Over the years she filtered through several record labels before breaking through as a provocative secular musician signed to Virgin Records in 2008, singing “I Kissed A Girl.” If that’s not a career 360, we just don’t know what is!