When we see successful women shining on the red carpet, it’s hard to believe that some of them have come from very difficult childhoods with no resources, money or support. Here are 5 strong women who fought hard for their success to remind you that you’re not alone.
Did you know that Charlize Theron grew up in an abusive home in Benoni? She moved to New York at an early age to pursue dancing, but when her knees gave out she was stuck without money, living in a friend’s basement. That’s when she decided to make a plan and chase success instead of giving up and coming back home. She recalls feeling depressed at this stage of her life, but she pushed through it and got her big break as an actress soon after.
*"We don't go through life with it all being smooth sailing. ... We all understand situations where you know it's swim or drown. It's a choice you have to make, and sometimes we surprise ourselves, when we actually make that choice and start swimming, with how well we can do it.” *- Charlize Theron
Gabrielle Union recently opened up about a traumatic experience which happened to her when she was a teenager. Despite being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder because of this, she didn’t let this hold her back from pursuing her acting career and gaining worldwide fame. Today, she’s an advocate for assault survivors and speaks about the importance of getting support for your mental health.
"I was diagnosed with PTSD at 19 after I was raped at gunpoint and I didn't let it stop me. I didn't want it to define my whole life, and it doesn't have to.” - Gabrielle Union
The “queen of rap” shows such power when she’s performing on stage, but she came from a tough childhood. Her father was abusive, and addicted to drugs. She tried her hand at different things after high school, such as acting and other odd jobs. She was unsuccessful and fired from many of them, but that didn’t get in the way of her following her passion for rapping, and building an empire for herself. Today, she inspires millions of fans to get their education and follow their dreams.
*“I will not let anyone scare me out of my full potential.” *- Nicki Minaj
Actress, rapper and singer Queen Latifah is known for her warm, positive attitude. However, when she was a child, she experienced sexual abuse. Latifah was able to overcome her traumatic past with the help of therapy, and she went on to become one of the most loved and respected names in the entertainment industry. Her dark and painful past wasn’t able to dim her inner strength and shine.
"You can't let fear paralyse you. The worst that can happen is you fail, but guess what: You get up and try again. Feel that pain, get over it, get up, dust yourself off and keep it moving.” - Queen Latifah
We all love a good Lady Gaga jam, but her life hasn’t always been as upbeat as her songs. In 2018, she opened up about the sexual assault she experienced at the hands of a music producer when she was 19 years old. Her decision to open up about this publicly inspired other women in the industry to speak out as well.
“No one else knew. It was almost like I tried to erase it from my brain. And when it finally came out, it was like a big, ugly monster. And you have to face the monster to heal.” - Lady Gaga
Sometimes, life throws painful experiences our way when we’re young. It can be very hurtful and unfair, but it doesn’t have to define the rest of your life. You can overcome your past, just like these 5 women (and millions of others) have. Stay strong and remember that you are capable of achieving anything you set your mind to.
If you’d like to speak to us about anything, remember that you can do that privately on Ask CellCgirl.