• Cindy Margolis took action to get what she wanted. She could not get a modeling agent, so she told herself, “I’m gonna do this myself.” She created her own greeting cards using herself as the model for the photographs. She admits that the greeting cards were “really, really cheesy,” and the photographs were really, really cheesecake. For example, one photograph showed her in a police uniform along with the slogan “Go ahead. Make my day.” She was successful, and America Online put her photograph online. AOL even told her, “You broke all these download records. Seventy thousand in twenty-four hours. Every ten seconds, someone was downloading you.” She has her own Web site, and mothers e-mail her to say, “Thank you for having a clean site. I don’t mind if my son comes to your site.” Ms. Margolis points out, “My site is completely PG rated. I’ve never posed nude. If they want a sweet, sexy girl next door, then they come to my site. Everything is 100 percent me.”
• Mariah Carey worked hard to become the major musical success she is. When she was a teenager, she got very little sleep. During the day, she worked in a restaurant, and at night she went to a music studio, writing and recording songs until 7 a.m. Then she slept for “a couple of hours,” she says, and woke up and did the same thing again. Some of her older musician friends were amazed at what she was doing. They would ask her, “Why are you working so hard?” Ms. Carey says that she knew that they were “loafing about in the middle of the day,” and she would think, “Because I don’t want to be like you.” Her first five singles all reached No. 1 in the United States. She has a bit of a reputation for being a diva, but she says, “I try not to be a jerk. I really do.” She also says that rumors about her are just that: rumors. For example, she says, “They said I wouldn’t come into a hotel unless there were petals on the floor. I’m like, do you really think at 3 a.m. I give a s**t what I’m walking on?”
• Moe Howard of Three Stooges fame knew at an early age that he wanted to be in show business. When he was 17 years old, he ran across an advertisement in Billboardfor an actor on a showboat. As part of the application process, he had to mail a photograph of himself. To improve his chances of getting a job, Moe did not use his own photo, but instead he sent the photo of a taller, more handsome friend. The plan worked—he got the job! Of course, the company manager who had advertised for the actor was surprised when Moe showed up—he did not at all look like the man in the photo he had mailed. But the company manager let Moe run errands for the actors, and when he did let Moe act in a few small roles, Moe was excellent.
• Screenwriter Dan Berendsen writes movies for the Disney Channel; his work includes The Cheetah Girls: One World, Twitches, and Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie. He actually started out as an insurance underwriter, but says, “After five years I thought I wanted to kill myself.” Therefore, he researched business schools, but came across an article about the graduate screenwriting program at the University of Southern California. He applied and became one of the 15 people accepted out of approximately 2,000 applicants. He sold his house, moved to Southern California, and wrote. Today, when he signs his autograph for a young person, he adds, “Follow your dreams.”
• While serving in the United States Army in Germany, Richard Peck noticed that the soldiers were bored by the chaplain’s sermon, so he wrote a sermon that he knew would address a topic that the soldiers were interested in, and he slipped it under the chaplain’s door. He was happy when the chaplain delivered it the next Sunday, so he wrote another sermon. This time, he made sure that he was caught when he slipped the sermon under the chaplain’s door, and he became the chaplain’s assistant. Not only did he write the chaplain’s sermons, but he also counseled the soldiers, an experience that helped him when he became an author of novels for young people.
• David Wolff, the manager of musician Cyndi Lauper, started his career as a musician, an insecure job that necessitated stints at ordinary jobs to get money to live on. Once, he needed a job as an exterminator. He knew that the person doing the hiring would not like his long hair, so he wore a short-hair wig when he interviewed for the job, which he got. However, on his first day on the job he did not wear the wig. The man who had hired him looked at his long ponytail and said, “You didn’t look like that yesterday. You better be real good at this.” Actually, Mr. Wolff quit after a month because he hated the straight job.
• Phil Schaap, a jazz disc jockey in New York, really knows his stuff. While he was in college, he auditioned to be a disc jockey at WKCR. Another student gave him a blindfold test, playing records for him to identify while he was blindfolded so he could not look at the album cover. Mr. Schaap quickly identified some famous pianists such as Count Basie and McCoy Tyner, so the student played someone who was not nearly as well known. Ms. Schaap immediately identified him: “That’s Richard Aaron Katz, born March 13, 1924, in Baltimore, Maryland.” The other student was impressed. By the way, the other student was Mr. Katz’ son.
• Action movie star Jean-Claude Van Damme worked for a while as a limo driver. Once, a customer—the publisher of a big magazine—asked him if he could drive from the airport to Malibu in 20 minutes. Mr. Van Damme did it, flooring the gas pedal and driving through red lights. When he got to Malibu, he opened the door for the magazine publisher, who told him, “You drive too fast”—and did not give him a tip.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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