The release of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides today marks former model Gemma Ward's third feature film. She famously left modeling three years ago in order to pursue acting. However, Ward is not the only recent convert. A new wave of models--Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Agyness Deyn and Natalia Vodianova--are looking to get their thespian feet wet, and if successful Hollywood will become that much more beautiful.
The transition from print to screen is a familiar path for many models. Some of have gone on to snag statues, while others have fallen slightly short (ok, a lot short) of the mark (Cindy Crawford in Fair Game anyone?). Here we'll take a look back at some of the success stories and their modeling careers before they were bitten by the acting bug.
Andie MacDowell This former Versace, Calvin Klein and Dior model spent a lot of time in front of the camera for photographers such as Richard Avedon, Herb Ritts, Bruce Weber and Patrick Demarchelier before her career as an actress took off.
Anjelica Huston Angelica's strong, sultry looks were tailor-made for the decadence of 70s fashion. She had regular stints in Vogue and listed Missoni and Valentino on her resume. Unlike others on this list, Angelica's acting and modeling career overlapped one another, perhaps, due in part to her close professional (Halston) and personal (photographer Bob Richardson, father to Terry) relationships.
Cameron Diaz Cameron defined the all-American girl as a teenager with her smiley Seventeen covers and Lee jeans ads in the early 90s. In 1991 that she told the teen mag that she would "probably model until I'm old and gray." Things turned out a little differently for the rom-com star.
Charlize Theron Charlize's blond hair and blue eyed good looks were often styled a la Marilyn Monroe during her stint as a commercial model. The comparison is apt, but Theron wiped away any trace of resemblance to Ms. Monroe to win an Oscar in 2004.
Diane Kruger Before Diane became Helen of Troy, she was gracing the covers of Elle and Vogue Paris while being the face of covetable brands like Chanel, Dior, Giorgio Armani and YSL. And though acting may be her primary pursuit these days, she hasn't left modeling behind completely having since added Lancome, L'Oreal and Calvin Klein to her list of clients.
Famke Janssen Famke's career as a face of Gianfranco Ferre, Victoria's Secret and Giorgio Armani helped pay her way through Columbia where she studied creative writing and literature. Several years after finishing school she moved to LA and began acting, and has since been able to use her Ivy League education, adding writer (as well as director and producer) to her list of credits.
Rene Russo Rene was the veritable cover girl during the mid to late 70s. Working with top photographers like Richard Avedon, Franscesco Scavullo and starring in campaigns for Versace, Chanel and Revlon kept her modeling through her 20s. It wasn't until Rene's early 30s that she began her career as an actress.
Uma Thurman Following in her mother's footsteps, Uma got an early start at modeling and was only 15 when she landed on the cover of British Vogue. It was only a few years later that she landed her first film role. Since, Uma has lent her image to Louis Vuitton, and has been the face of fragrances for Lancome and Givenchy.
Gemma Ward, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Agyness Deyn, Natalia Vodianova, Riley Keough, Lily Cole A fruitful modeling career does not always guarantee success onscreen, but these young women are giving it a go. Can these models of today become the successful actresses of tomorrow? Time will surely tell. Which model would you like to see on the silver screen?