10 celebs who found success later in life

As these late bloomers can tell you, slow but steady wins the race

10 celebs who found success later in life
10 celebs who found success later in life
18 Aug 2017

10 celebs who found success later in life

We’ve all heard of the perils of showbiz – there are the lucky few which become the apple of the public’s eyes right from the start, but the reality is that many fade into oblivion after years of training and dreaming of superstardom.

In the middle of these two extremes are a very special group of celebs, who, through a combination of hard work, perseverance, and of course, luck, manage to turn heads later on their careers.

And as you know what they say – a year can be an eternity in showbiz, with many who don’t make a big enough splash in the early days of their careers could very well be relegated to the benches for the rest of their careers, or even decide to bow out of entertainment entirely if the circumstances (such as the lack of income or parental pressure) call for it.

For heartwarming stories that remind you that sometimes being slow and steady does win the race, which includes those from Nicky Wu, Jeremy Chan and Song Ji Hyo, click on for more.

NU’EST
NU’EST
18 Aug 2017

NU’EST

Debut year: 2012

Breakthrough year: 2017

2012 was a bumper year for K-Pop (over 50 solo and group acts) debuted that year, and there was one clear group that stood out from all of them - EXO. Just about everyone else took a backseat as compared to the S.M. Entertainment boyband, and NU’EST, like many other groups, struggled to find their footing in the competitive landscape.

Fast forward five years later, and despite the initial outrage at existing idols competing in what was assumed to be a trainees-only show, Produce 101 Season 2, all four members did well and one, Minhyun, ultimately made it to the final lineup for the programme’s project group, Wanna One.

After the finale of Produce 101 Season 2, more than five of NU’EST’s previously released songs rose rapidly on the music charts, with ‘Hello’ remaining among one of the top 10 songs on numerous charts.

More recently, ‘If You’, released by NU’EST W (the group will be promoting without Minhyun, who will be promoting with Wanna One until December 2018) to thank their fans for their support, peaked at the number two position on music charts despite the group not promoting it actively.

This momentum is expected to carry forward as NU’EST W has set their sights on getting their first-ever music show win this year, and have thanked their fans for staying by their side through leaner times.

Photos: Pledis Entertainment, YMC Entertainment

Jeremy Chan
Jeremy Chan
18 Aug 2017

Jeremy Chan

Debut year: 2006

Breakthrough year: 2017

Jeremy Chan has come a long way since his singing days, after being eliminated from Project SuperStar Season 2, and will be headlining a drama for the very first time this year.

Known to be more of a variety star, his acting roles thus far have been mostly comical in nature but things will change in the upcoming Channel 8 drama, My Teacher Is A Thug, where viewers will see him take on a more serious role for the first and definitely not the last time.

Another noteworthy career milestone: Getting confirmed as the lead in upcoming Toggle Original My Agent is A Hero (working title), in which he will be paired with Carrie Wong. Other confirmed cast members are Andie Chen and Kate Pang.

Acting endeavours aside, Jeremy also returned to his singing roots and has released an OST, ‘Do Re Mi’ for My Teacher Is A Thug with co-star Bonnie Loo.

My Teacher Is A Thug debuts August 28, 9pm on Channel 8.

PSY
PSY
18 Aug 2017

PSY

Debut year: 2001

Breakthrough year: 2012

PSY is no stranger to attention – right from the start, his blunt (and sometimes borderline offensive) lyrics and unique dance moves caused him to register on the radar. His albums have sometimes been rated suitable only for those aged 19 and above.

Despite releasing quality tunes such as ‘Champion’ during his early career, his two military service stints (he had to re-enlist in 2007 when state prosecutors declared that he neglected his first service by promoting actively as a singer) caused him to live out of the public eye for a number of years.

It was only after joining YG Entertainment in 2010 and releasing worldwide viral hit ‘Gangnam Style’ in 2012 that he was catapulted to international fame, and later signed with Scooter Braun’s Schoolboy Records.

While his follow up titles, such as ‘Gentleman’, ‘Hangover’ and ‘I LUV IT’ have not made as much of an impact as ‘Gangnam Style’, PSY has built up a steady base of fans, and travels the world to share his music globally.

Photos: YG Entertainment, TPG/CLICK PHOTOS

Nicky Wu
Nicky Wu
18 Aug 2017

Nicky Wu

Debut year: 1988

Breakthrough year: 1994

Career reboot: 2011

Nicky debuted as part of the Little Tigers Team alongside Julian Chen and Alec Su in 1998 but disbanded in 1995. While he released solo musical efforts, it was only after he spent more time on his acting projects that his fame really took off.

In 1994, his role in romance movie The Lovers saw him catapult to even greater levels of fame. The film was also well regarded by critics, and received a number of gongs at the 14th Hong Kong film awards.

Nicky only started taking on more drama roles in 1999 and eventually got married to his first wife, Ma Yashu. Things went downhill for him after he was saddled with a mountain of family debts to clear and he eventually divorced from Yashu in 2009. Nicky’s fate and fortune was turned around when he took on the role of the 4th prince in Scarlet Heart. He bounced back , married his co-star Cecilia Liu, and is now the boss of his own production company.  His star is nowhere close to fading anytime soon.

Photos: TPG/CLICK PHOTOS

Shaun Chen
Shaun Chen
18 Aug 2017

Shaun Chen

Debut year: 2002

Breakthrough year: 2014

Shaun has never been hesitant in sharing the struggles he went through during his early years in the business – and what a long road it has been for him.

While he started getting more public recognition after his stint in Holland V, he quickly lost his footing when he was axed during SPH MediaWorks’ merger with Mediacorp in 2005.

Thankfully, he persevered and has made it to the A-list in recent years. The Dream Makers in 2013, along with The Journey: Tumultuous Times a year later have seen him expand his legion of fans and find mainstream success. He also received his first Best Actor award in 2015 for his role in The Journey, along with a Rocket Award and his very first Top 10 Most Popular Male Artistes gong.

Song Ji Hyo
Song Ji Hyo
18 Aug 2017

Song Ji Hyo

Debut year: 2001

Breakthrough year: 2010

Prior to becoming an actress, Song Ji Hyo was a model. While she was regarded as a competent actress and was even nominated for a number of awards, she was not regarded as one of the top actresses. Even after her stint in hit drama Princess Hours and Jumong, she continued taking on supporting roles.

She starred in controversial movie A Frozen Flower alongside Jo In Sung and Joo Jin Mo, in which scenes of her performing sexual acts were aplenty. Even with that, it was only after she joined the permanent cast of variety programme Running Man that she really found her footing as a variety star.

While juggling filming and overseas activities for Running Man, Ji Hyo has also taken on a number of other projects, including the lead role in Emergency Couple opposite Choi Jin Hyuk, and being paired with Chen Bo Lin in reality programme We Are In Love.

Photos: SBS, TPG/CLICK PHOTOS

Chen Tian Wen
Chen Tian Wen
18 Aug 2017

Chen Tian Wen

Debut year: 1984

Breakthrough year: 2015

For those who have been avid fans of local television since the 1980s, Chen Tian Wen would definitely be a familiar face – he was then regarded as the go-to guy for all things action and martial arts-related, but his popularity waned in the 1990s and stayed that way – until 2015.

He starred in the viral hit track ‘Unbelievable’ for Channel 5 series Spouse for House, in which the hilarious lyrics and old-school music video struck a chord with viewers around the world. The song was such a success that it even spawned a movie of its own in the same year, Mr. Unbelievable.

Since then, he’s taken on more roles in dramas, such as 2016’s Hero and upcoming drama Mind Matters. He’s also been a familiar face in cinemas and has played a diverse range of characters such as the flamboyant villain in Take 2 and the not-as-spectacular-as-Brad-Pitt Brad Pit in Lulu the Movie.

Rainie Yang
Rainie Yang
18 Aug 2017

Rainie Yang

Debut year: 2000

Breakthrough year: 2005

Rainie debuted as part of a girl group, 4 in Love, which disbanded two years later. She played numerous supporting roles, including the leading lady’s best friend in hit series Meteor Garden, but struggled to remain relevant.

It was only in 2005, where she landed the lead role in Devil Beside You opposite Mike He and released her hit song, ‘Intuition’ (or ‘Ai Mei’ in Chinese) where she finally found herself in the spotlight.

Since then, not only has she headlined numerous films and dramas, she has also gone on a number of concert tours. These days, however, fans are more concerned about when she will settle down with boyfriend Li Ronghao. Another question on everyone’s mind is whether or not she will continue to remain in showbiz after getting married, but only time will tell.

Photos: Rainie Yang/Facebook

Rebecca Lim
Rebecca Lim
18 Aug 2017

Rebecca Lim

Debut year: 2006

Breakthrough year: 2010

When you mention Rebecca’s early years in showbiz to her, chances are she’d tell you that it was pretty terrible. Back then, she confessed that she thought of herself as a great actress, when in reality she had lots to brush up on – especially her Mandarin.

Getting told off by the production crew was nothing out of the ordinary, and it was only after her stint in 2010 Channel 5 drama The Pupil did her career really take off. Following which, she worked hard at improving her Mandarin and finally found her breakthrough in 2012 with Unriddle S2. These days, you’d be surprised if you watched her old dramas as Rebecca now converses in both English and Mandarin effortlessly.

Joe Chen
Joe Chen
18 Aug 2017

Joe Chen

Debut year: 2001

Breakthrough year: 2005

Like Song Ji Hyo and many other actresses, Joe started off her career as a model and stepped into the world of acting afterwards.

She filmed her first drama in 2002 and quickly moved on to become the leading lady in 2003 in 100% Senorita opposite Wallace Huo. In 2005, she starred in The Prince Who Turns into a Frog opposite Ming Dao, which catapulted her career (after all, it’s not every day that a drama could beat Meteor Garden’s ratings) and eventually earned her the title of the Queen of Idol Dramas.

Case in point – she has taken on roles in a number of runaway hits since, including Fated to Love You, in which she starred alongside Ethan Ruan.

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