7 women who have smashed their careers from nothing

The rags to riches stories of the powerful women of today

Written by Liv Grady

March 2, 2021

babezine women smashing their careers nicki minaj

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we wanted to take a look at some amazing women that have built inspirational careers from difficult beginnings. We have highlighted 7 women, all of which have made big waves in their industry, from actors to entrepreneurs. These are the real ‘rags to riches’ stories of the women who beat the stereotypes and managed to make careers from nothing.

Remember you don’t have to have made it as a millionaire tech mogul or an award winning actor to be a success in your career, you just need to be happy and fulfilled in what you are doing. You spend more hours at work than anywhere else, so a key to success should really be your happiness.

Successful women that built careers from nothing

  1. Nikki Minaj
  2. Oprah Winfrey
  3. Sarah Jessica Parker
  4. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez
  5. Leighton Meester
  6. Celine Dion
  7. Selena Gomez

1. Nikki Minaj

nicki minaj

Before Nikki made her name as one of the most famous female rappers ever, she grew up in a family that REALLY struggled financially. Originally born Trinidad and Tobago, she moved with her family to New York, when she was 5 and her father faced serious drug addiction and inflicted violence on her family.

2. Oprah Winfrey

oprah winfrey

Now aged 65 Oprah is one of the richest women in America. The billionaire had to wear potato sacks when her family couldn’t afford to buy her new clothes. Her mum was a teenage housemaid in Mississippi and was mainly raised by her grandma, who frequently beat her. She worked hard in school and landed a scholarship, soon going on to be a news reporter and that’s when it all began.

3. Sarah Jessica Parker

sarah jessica parker

The queen of New York did not always enjoy the luxury lifestyle of Sex and The City. She grew up in a poor family and missed Christmas and birthdays most years. She experienced the electricity going off constantly and faced bullying for the stigma associated with being a ‘welfare’ student.

4. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez


Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez or AOC as she is known, went from bartender to lawmaker in the space of a year. She grew up in the Bronx, New York. When she was at college her father died and her mother struggled to support the family on the wage of a housekeeper. After she graduated AOC moved back to the Bronx and started working for charities during the day and supporting herself with night shifts at bars. She is now one of the most influential and outspoken congresswomen the US has ever seen.

5. Leighton Meester

leighton meester

A far cry from the life and luxuries of the Upper East Side. Leighton Meester (Bair from Gossip Girl), she was born in a Texas prison where her mother was incarcerated on a drugs charge. Leighton was raised by her grandmother in a poor household until her mother’s release from prison.

6. Celine dion

celine dion

Celine Dion was brought up in a family with 14 siblings, leaving them incredibly poor. She made ends meet by singing in local bars and busking on the streets. Little did she know that she would soon become one of the world’s most renowned singers.

7. Selena gomez

selena gomez

Selena may have found fame at a young age, but she struggled as a child. Selena’s mum was just 16 when she was born and her parents soon after divorced. As a single parent, her mother worked multiple jobs, often struggling to put dinner on the table.

Missguided X Prince’s Trust

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we have teamed up with The Prince’s Trust to support their Women Supporting Women campaign, in order to help young women across the UK rebuild a life for themselves.

Text donation

Help us support the cause further by texting: DONATE to 70140 to donate £1 directly to The Prince’s Trust, you can text as many times as you’d like to support women in underprivileged and challenging situations. T&C’s apply and can be found here each text will cost £1 plus your standard rate (UK).

Missguided is now an official brand partner of The Prince’s Trust and will continue to support them throughout 2021.