Some people in life just have it easier than others. As much as it sucks to admit it, they do. A prime example of these fortunate individuals are children of celebrities. Imagine it: growing up on movie sets, backstage at Fashion Week, or in music studios, mingling with Hollywood’s elite so often you refer to Naomi Campbell as your aunt or Tom Hanks as your uncle because they’re practically family.
These children who are raised in and around show business will probably have their careers handed to them on a silver platter — growing up as they live it up, not really having to work for anything.
However, there are a handful of celebrity children who have rejected the very thought of a career based on nepotism alone, and feeding on the success of their parents. Instead, they have worked to either separate themselves from the careers of their parents and hustled to establish their own name, or completely deviated from their parents' occupation and forged their own path to success.
Passion, paired with determination and hard work, has got them to the point of success — so much so, they have out-shined the careers of their celebrity parents.
To find out exactly who these 20 celebrities are, keep on reading.
20 Ansel Elgort Is Ascending The Hollywood Ladder
The reason why Ansel Elgort is such a great actor may come down to the fact that he was raised in front the camera lens of his famous photographer father Arthur Elgort whose “work with Vogue gained notoriety, which gave him the opportunity to shoot for Vogue’s international counterparts, as well as many other top fashion magazines,” according to his personal website.
Compared to other actors in his age group, Elgort has not been acting professionally for very long. He made his professional acting debut in an off-Broadway play called “Regrets”. In 2013, Elgort appeared in his first film, the remake of horror film Carrie. Soon after, he was cast in the movie adaptation of the popular book written by John Green, The Fault In Our Stars in which he would play one of the main characters. Elgort then received a role in Divergent. Those two films alone were enough to launch Elgort’s, once non-existent acting career into something real.
19 Olivia Jade Giannulli, The Young YouTube Sensation
Olivia Jade Giannulli may have grown up with Full House star Lori Loughlin and designer Mossimo Giannulli as parents, as Famous Birthdays reports. Neither fashion nor acting were in the cards for her. Instead Giannulli accidentally found success on YouTube, a passion that is now her full-time job.
Like almost all YouTubers, Giannulli did not anticipate any of the fame that she now has when she started her Youtube channel “Olivia Jade” in August of 2014. In fact, Giannulli lived a fairly normal life. Like a regular teenage girl, she attended a private high school in Los Angeles, and despite the rising success of her YouTube channel, she attended school like an ordinary student, even having recently graduated in 2018.
From 2014 up until now, Giannulli has over 2 million subscribers, as Nail Buzz reports, becoming a bona fide YouTube sensation.
Giannulli talks about all things girly like makeup, fashion, and lifestyle, including regular weekly vlogs of her life.
She has made videos with her mother, as well as other YouTubers like David Dobrik, Emma Chamberlain and Caspar Lee.
18 Ben Stiller's Still Got A Lot More To Give
Ben Stiller is one of the most iconic actors of this generation, much like his father Jerry Stiller who was an acting and comedic icon of the previous generation. Stiller has made quite a name for himself in Hollywood, accumulating quite the extensive list of films such as Zoolander, the Madagascar series, the Night At The Museum series, as well as making several appearances in television shows like Friends, Phineas and Ferb and Freaks and Geeks.
Despite Stiller being an immensely talented actor and comedian, he also lent his experience and talent to other portions of the film industry.
Stiller has put on the producer’s hat, working behind the scenes for a number of projects. Stiller produced Megamind, Why Him? and the Golden Globe-nominated Escape at Dannemora, which he also directed. Stiller even directed a few of his own films like Zoolander 1 and 2, as well as The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
17 Emma Roberts May Rob Her Father And Aunt Of Their Fame
America’s sweetheart and favourite girl-next-door, Emma Roberts, comes from an acting family. Roberts is actually the daughter of actor Eric Roberts, despite the fact that she is most commonly associated with her aunt, actress Julia Roberts.
Though Roberts may have never had a personal connection with her father, they do share the same acting talents. From a young age, Roberts had small and supporting roles in various films and television shows, but in 2004 she played the lead character in a television show called Unfabulous which aired until 2007. In 2006, Roberts scored her first major movie role when she starred in Aquamarine opposite JoJo. A year later she would play the titular role of Nancy Drew, the clever she-sleuth on the big screen. She went on to star in movies like Valentines Day, The Art of Getting By, Nerve, the television shows Scream Queens and American Horror Story.
Roberts also had a budding musical career in 2005, when she released her debut album called “Unfabulous and More” in conjunction with her show Unfabulous.
16 Stella McCartney's Golden Global Fashion Empire
Stella McCartney is primarily known as a top designer whose brand appeals to fashion lovers around the world. But if her surname sounds familiar, that is because she is the daughter of music legend and Beatles member, Paul McCartney.
McCartney began her fashion career as the creative director of fashion brand Chloe in 1997. Then in 2001, McCartney got a joint venture with Gucci Group that enabled her to have her own label, as Biography reports. She's launched many different products, from organic skincare and perfumes to lingerie and eyewear.
She has 51 stores globally in locations such Los Angeles, London, Milan and Tokyo, as her website states.
In addition to her standalone stores, McCartney’s brand distributes to over 70 countries, as Goop states.
15 Patrick Schwarzenegger Is Governing His Own Career
Patrick Schwarzenegger may not have inherited the physique or political drive of his father Arnold Schwarzenegger, but he did inherit Arnold's and his mother actress Maria Shriver's flare for acting. The outcome? A rising star in the making.
Aside from a very small role in Benchwarmers as Jock Kid Game #3, Schwarzenegger’s first real acting job was in the film Stuck in Love, where he had a small part. In 2015, Schwarzenegger took up a role in a different setting. Rather than acting on a movie set, he took his talent to the set of singer Ariana Grande’s music video for her song “Right There“ featuring Big Sean, as AXS reports. The video’s premise surrounded the classic love story of Romeo and Juliet, with Grande playing Juliet and Schwarzenegger playing Romeo.
He continued to appear in small roles in various projects, like an episode of the television show Scream Queens, the film Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, and Dear Eleanor. In 2017, Schwarzenegger scored his first lead role in Go North and soon after, landed another lead role opposite Bella Thorne in Under the Midnight Sun.
14 Alexander And Bill Skarsgård Are Becoming Hollywood's "It" Brothers
While there are a few famous sibling duos dotted around the Hollywood scene, there are few that manage to surpass the limelight level of their celebrity parents. Alexander and Bill Skarsgård, sons of actor Stellan Skarsgård have managed to outshine the acting career of their father.
Alexander, the eldest of the brothers, got started in the acting business slightly ahead of his younger brother Bill, allowing time to accumulate acting credits in multiple projects such as Zoolander 1 and 2, Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” music video, The Legend of Tarzan, Big Little Lies, as well as a handful of projects in his native Swedish language.
While younger brother Bill has fewer credits to his name, the select projects he has worked on have been nothing short of successes. He has been in films like Anna Karenina, Atomic Blonde, the remake of Stephen King’s It, and television shows like Hemlock Grove. Much like Alexander, Bill has also taken part in some Swedish film. Needless to say, both brothers have made it on the big and small screens.
13 Scott Eastwood Is Sending Clint's Career South
With Scott Eastwood being the son of legendary actor and director Clint Eastwood, acting and theatrics surely runs in his blood. With his charm and natural talent, he has taken the acting industry by storm, understandably so.
In 2006, Eastwood’s onscreen debut came in a film directed by his father titled Flags of Our Fathers in which he had a small role.
He continued to appear in films like Gran Torino, Invictus and animated film, The Lion of Judah, until he landed his first lead role in 2011’s Enter Nowhere. From there, Eastwood’s career began to pick up speed, with bigger roles in films like Texas Chainsaw 3D, The Perfect Wave and The Longest Ride. Eastwood also had roles in Fury, The Fate of the Furious and Pacific Rim: Uprising.
Along with films, in 2017 Eastwood also tried his acting abilities alongside singer Taylor Swift in a music video for her song “Wildest Dreams”, where they played love interests, as Cosmopolitan reports.
12 Billie Lourd Is Carrying A Heavy Legacy
Just a few years ago, Billie Lourd was known simply as the daughter of Carrie Fisher, if at all. However, since her first breakout role in Scream Queens, Lourd has catapulted her budding acting career into one that her mother, who has passed on, would be extremely proud of.
Having made her acting debut in 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens as Lieutenant Connix, it was her role as Chanel #3 in the television show Scream Queens in 2015, created by the famed Ryan Murphy, that launched her career.
A few years later, Lourd would go on to reprise her role as Leiutenant Connix in Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi, as well as snag a role in the highly anticipated Billionaire Boys Club. Lourd later worked with Murphy again in FX’s American Horror Story.
11 Lily Collins Is Creating A Career Path Of Her Own
Despite the fact that Lily Collins is the daughter of singer Phil Collins, she in no way let her father’s fame or her name alone get her to the point of success she has reached today. In fact, it is know that Collins and her father did not have a very personal relationship, most likely due to him dealing with substance abuse and going through multiple divorces. Collins openly forgave her father in her book Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me which was named an international bestselling book.
Collins’s first interaction with the acting industry was when she had a two-episode reoccurring role on the television show 90210 in 2009. Her first main movie role came when she was cast in The Blindside. Since then, her acting roles have been coming at a constant and steady pace. In 2011 she starred opposite Taylor Lautner in Abduction, and in 2012 she portrayed Snow White in Mirror Mirror. She also played the main role in Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, a movie based on the novel by Cassandra Clare.
She was nominated for a Golden Globe in 2017 for her work in The Rules Don’t Apply, as Golden Globes reports.
10 Dakota Johnson Doesn't Need Mom Or Dad
If you haven’t heard of Dakota Johnson, you may know her as the daughter of actor Don Johnson and actress Melanie Griffith.
However, most people recognize Johnson from her breakout role as Anastasia Steele in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie series.
Johnson began her acting career in 1999 when she made an appearance in one of her mother’s movies, Crazy in Alabama. She began to pick up small roles in well-known movies like The Social Network and 21 Jumpstreet. However, it was in 2015, when she landed the coveted role of Anastasia Steele in the movie adaptation of E.L. James’s novel Fifty Shades of Grey, that she became a star.
The film was a success, which led to a three-part movie series that would follow the book series’ plot line. Those films would propel her career and led her to land roles in How to Be Single, Suspiria, as well as Bad Times At The El Royale.
9 Zoë Kravitz Is Climbing To The Top
Lenny Kravitz is famous for his music career, while Lisa Bonet is well-known for her work on The Cosby Show, which makes it no surprise at all that their daughter Zoë Kravitz is also a well-received member of New Age Hollywood.
Kravitz began her acting career in 2007 when she played a small part in the romantic comedy film No Reservations. Over the years, she continued to receive smaller parts in films like The Brave One, The Greatest and Twelve.
In 2013, Kravitz received her first starring role in Treading Water, just after she played Angel in X-Men: First Class. In 2014, she got cast in the Divergent series and went on to portray her character Christina in the series’ following two films, Insurgent and Allegiant.
Kravitz has also been in Mad Max: Fury Road, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them as well as Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. She also more recently had roles in the Golden Globe and Emmy-winning television series Big Little Lies, as well as the Golden Globe-winning animated film Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse.
8 Rashida Jones Is Jumping Ahead Of Her Famous Folks
As daughter of musician Quincy Jones and actress Peggy Lipton, Rashida Jones is no stranger to the working world of Hollywood, where she has not only worked as an actress, but a producer, writer as well as director. Despite the fact that her mother became an instant success through her television show The Mob Squad, Jones has worked long and hard to become the established star she is.
Jones’s first acting credit came when she appeared in an episode of The Last Don in 1997. A few years later she had a larger role in the film East of A, and also appeared in an episode of the popular television show, Freaks and Geeks.
Over time, she continued to appear in various projects, including The Office, but none that launched her career until she landed a role in the show Parks and Recreation.
Since then, she has been featured in tons of projects, like the animated movie Inside Out, Zoe and the animated adaptation of The Grinch.
Along with that, she even made appearances in Jay Z’s music video for his song “Family Feud” featuring Beyonce, and Drake’s music video for his song “Nice For What”.
7 Lily-Rose Depp Depends On No One
When you are the child of two famous celebrities like Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis, it can be hard to make a name for yourself rather than be known as the child of Hollywood royalty. Luckily, Lily-Rose Depp has had no trouble in the slightest when it comes to marking her own territory in Hollywood. Depp’s arsenal of talent is pretty much limitless, considering both her father and mother are both actors, musicians and model
s. Depp has undoubtedly inherited the triple threat gene. Depp has long been a brand ambassador for the luxury fashion and beauty brand Chanel, and she's posed on the covers of multiple issues of Vogue and other magazines like V Magazine, Love magazine and Glamour France.
She recently began dabbling into the world of film. Her first major role was in the film Yoga Hosers that featured her parents, as well as a slew of other talented actors like Austin Butler, Ashley Greene, Tyler Posey and Justin Long. Though she currently only has a handful of acting credits to her name, Depp has a few upcoming projects set to come out soon, including a Netflix film called The King, the story of King Henry V of England.
6 Brooklyn Beckham Is Thriving Behind The Scenes
Brooklyn Beckham, the first child of soccer star David Beckham and singer-turned-fashion designer Victoria Beckham, could have easily taken the sports or fashion world by storm, following in the footsteps of either one of his parents. However, Beckham instead decided to pave his own way in Hollywood, where he decided to work behind the lens rather than in front of it.
Though Brooklyn is passionate about soccer just like his father, he opted to go a different route. He took up photography, and quickly developed a passion for it. In January of 2016, Beckham was recruited by luxury brand Burberry to photograph a perfume campaign, as Vogue reports.
In June of 2017, he published a photography book entitled What I See that received both positive and negative feedback from critics. However, Beckham’s photography skills were good enough to land him a spot at Parsons School of Design, In New York City, where he later moved in September of that same year. However, about a year later, it was reported that Beckham had dropped out of his program at Parsons due to homesickness. Later, these rumours were said to be false, rather that he had deferred for a year to do an internship in the UK.
5 Jaden And Willow Smith Are Making Music For Millions
For Jaden and Willow Smith, it may be hard to find some sort of anonymity when pretty much everyone knows them to be the children of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith.
Luckily for them, they have had no trouble harnessing that genetic star power and turning it into a career that may have people turning their attention away from their parents, and towards them.
Jaden Smith, like his father and mother, spent the bulk of his Hollywood career focusing on acting. From 2003 to 2006, Jaden had a minor role on the television series All of Us, appearing in six episodes. Soon after, he appeared in The Pursuit of Happiness, acting alongside his father. He also snagged roles in The Day the Earth Stood Still where he starred opposite Keanu Reaves and Jennifer Connelly, as well as the re-adaptation of The Karate Kid, a film he is most widely known for. In 2016, Jaden starred in the Netflix series The Get Down as well as the animated series Neo Yokio. Jaden has also long pursued music in conjunction with acting, and released an album entitled "The Sunset Tapes: A Cool Tape Story" in 2018.
Willow Smith began her career most notably as a musician, and in 2010 released what would be her most known song to date: “Whip My Hair.” When Willow released a song called "Fireball" with Nicki Minaj, it underperformed and did not chart like it was expected to. In late 2015, Willow’s music career would make a resurgence when she suddenly dropped her first album “ARDIPITHECUS,” followed by her second album, “The 1st” in 2017.
4 Kaia Gerber Kissing Cindy's Career Goodbye
Kaia Gerber is a carbon copy of her model mother, Cindy Crawford, one of the biggest supermodels to come from the '90s. But as famous as Crawford was, Gerber is wiping away her mother’s traces and leaving her mark in the modelling world.
Though she is still a teenager, and her career is only just beginning, Gerber has managed to reach some goals that other models would have to work years to achieve.
At just 10 years old, she modelled for a Versace campaign, The Daily Mail reports. She continued to model for high-end brands of that nature as she got older. Gerber has since worked with and modelled for brands like Saint Laurent, Prada, Valentino, Chanel, Fendi and Calvin Klein. Gerber has also been featured on the cover of several fashion magazines like Love magazine, as well as Vogue.
In 2018, the British Fashion Council honoured Gerber's achievements in modelling when she received the award for Model of the Year, as The Evening Standard reports, beating out the likes of Winnie Harlow and Bella Hadid. At the young age of 16, Gerber went on to partner with designer Karl Lagerfeld to create a collection entitled “KarlxKaia”—her first collaboration with a designer brand, as reported by InStyle.
3 Nicole And Sofia Getting Richie On Their Own
Nicole Richie grew up a wealthy socialite, and in 2003 joined the reality television show The Simple Life with friend and heiress, Paris Hilton. Along with reality television, Richie did experiment with real acting, guest-starring in shows like Eve, American Dreams, 8 Simple Rules and the film Kids in America.
As Richie got older, she focused her career on fashion, launching a jewellery line called House of Harlow 1960, naming it after her daughter. Eventually, the brand expanded and now produces accessories and shoes in addition to jewellery.
Richie and House of Harlow 1960 even collaborated with popular online fashion retailer Revolve for a joint collection, as WWD reports. Because of the collection's massive success, they later expanded with a swimwear collection.
As for Sofia, she too is involved in the fashion world, but rather than creating clothes, she models them. Not only has she modelled for brands like Jeremy Scott, Philipp Plein, Tommy Hilfiger, Dolce and Gabbana and Chanel, she has also graced the covers of fashion magazines such as Wonderland magazine, Vogue Japan, L’Officiel Singapore, W Magazine, and Galore. Sofia also has achieved socialite status, posting daily to her four million Instagram followers about her day-to-day activities.
2 Gigi And Bella Hadid Just Doing What They D0 Best
Bella and Gigi Hadid may have reached a stratospheric level of fame, but they are sure to remember where they came from. Making time for family is a staple rule in the Hadid family, as displayed on their Instagram pages. But when you come from a set of famous parents like model Yolanda Hadid and celebrity luxury real estate developer Mohamed Hadid, it’s kind of hard to forget your roots.
Aside from modelling for Baby Guess when she was a toddler, Gigi’s modelling career only truly started after she graduated high school. In 2013, Gigi moved from California to New York City to study Criminal Psychology at The New School as well as work on her modelling career. She later dropped out as her modelling career began to pick up and could not accommodate her work schedule to fit her class schedule. After Hadid signed with IMG that same year, she walked her first New York Fashion Week show for Desigual and her career has been soaring sky high ever since, working with brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Victoria’s Secret, Prada, Stuart Weitzman, Versace and so many other iconic brands.
Much like sister Gigi, Bella also had a fairly normal upbringing. In fact, Bella primarily focused on athletics and planned on going to the 2016 Olympic Games for Equestrianism until she had to stop training due to her battle with Lyme disease, The Daily Mail reports. Bella moved to New York City mainly to study photography, but signed as a model with IMG. Bella’s early modelling days go back to 2013 when she shot campaigns for luxury brand Chrome Hearts. Since then, Bella has shot and modelled for Versace, Dior, Moschino, Off-White, Oscar De La Renta, and so many more.
1 Kate Hudson Can Hold Her Own – No Help Needed
Acting must run in the family for Kate Hudson, as she is the daughter of famed actress Goldie Hawn. However, rather than knowing Hudson for her Hollywood-famous mother, most people know her for her own incredibly successful acting career, in which she has racked up many credentials over the years, in movies like Almost Famous, How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days, and the Oscar-nominated Deep Water Horizon.
Along with her acting career, Hudson collaborated with the founders of online retailer JustFab, creating and designing her very own line of active wear, branded under the name Fabletics, advertising fashionable, high-quality athletic wear at an affordable price, according to the website.
Additionally, Hudson is also an author with her first book Pretty Happy: Healthy Ways To Love Your Body, reaching the New York Times bestselling list. In 2017, Hudson released another book entitled Pretty Fun: Creating And Celebrating A Lifetime Of Tradition.
References: Goop, Cosmopolitan, Vogue, The Daily Mail, InStyle, Fabletics, WWD