What happens when you reach the top of the Hollywood Hills? From the outside, it seems like making it in the movie business is the happy ending, where all your creative and financial dreams come true. The reality is somewhat different. Many movie stars have interests and passions outside of acting, which they often turn into side careers that can subsidise or even overtake their income.

In the modern age, it’s simply the next step of celebrity, where being famous means wearing many hats. Whether it’s a passion that becomes a profession, or an interest that leads to investment, the propensity for actors to become all-encompassing brands means that becoming a movie star is often just the beginning.

Scarlett Johansson: Singer 
It’s not uncommon for movie stars to wander into the music business – everyone from Keanu Reeves to Kate Winslet has dabbled with the pop charts at some point. Scarlett Johansson would not even be the only Avenger to do so, with Robert Downey Jr. and Jeremy Renner both releasing albums in the past. What makes Johansson different is her musical influences, choosing avenues that are more esoteric and less pop-focused. Her 2008 album Wherever I Lay My Head was made up entirely of Tom Waits songs, with input from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and David Bowie. The following year, she would release an album with indie rock star Pete Yorn. Her musical output hasn’t matched the heights of her film success, but it demonstrates a passion for music that goes beyond the mainstream.

Shah Rukh Khan: Sports Supremo
For the “King of Bollywood”, becoming the owner of a successful sports team seems to be about fulfilling a dream. Shah Rukh Khan was reportedly an excellent sportsman in his youth, apparently keen on pursuing a career as an athlete before injury halted that dream. So he created another: becoming one of the most successful actors in the world. With that fame came the opportunity to become part owner of the Indian Premier League cricket team Kolkata Knight Riders, as well as a team in the Caribbean. Having played in friendly cricket matches in his role as team owner, it’s clear that, while his life may have taken a different route, his passion for sports never went away.

Gwyneth Paltrow: Wellness Guru
It has been very easy for many commentators and comedians to poke fun at Gwyneth Paltrow for what many see as her fad-driven lifestyle. However, her interest in wellness and lifestyle trends led to the success of Goop, her brand that she grew from a simple newsletter to a multifaceted company incorporating everything from fashion to fitness. Alongside her acting in the Marvel Universe, Paltrow has hosted TV shows and seminars about various wellness topics, becoming as well-known for her lifestyle tips as she is for her cinema adventures.

Snoop Dogg: Tech Mogul
Yes, you read that right. The Doggfather seems to have a passion for tech. To date, he has launched two apps as well as his own eSports gaming league. Oh.. and he also owns a stake in Reddit! The rapper and actor who has appeared in hits Starsky and Hutch as well as Training Day, was one of many investors in the social media platform, alongside fellow actor/musician Jared Leto. Seeing potential in numerous start-ups around the globe, the 49-year-old clearly keeps himself at the cutting edge.

Dolly Parton: World Saviour! 
We all know Dolly Parton as the star of movies such as 9 to 5 and Steel Magnolias, in addition to being a record-breaking singer and even a producer (she helped create Buffy the Vampire Slayer!). However, it recently emerged that donations from her foundation aided in the development of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, meaning she’s been using her resources to help protect millions. In the US alone, 300 million doses have been ordered, with many more administered around the world. In addition to her decades of supporting children’s literacy, that makes her a hero in our book!

Ken Watanabe: Philanthropic Café Owner
While you won’t see the legendary Japanese actor making coffee at K-Port, his café in the coastal city of Kesennuma, his heart is very much in it. The region was hit heavily by the earthquake and tsunami of 2011, and the actor created the café both as a means of creating jobs and a place for the community to connect. Far from being an absent celebrity owner, Watanabe writes a daily letter to customers, which is featured in K-Port’s menu. A personal touch that underlines his commitment to where he came from.

Idris Elba: Rapper
As well as being a Golden Globe and SAG Award winning actor, Idris Elba can also rap! Collaborating with the likes of Jay-Z, Cypress Hill and Macklemore, he has even opened for Madonna on tour and performed at Coachella. As owner of his record label, 7Wallace Music, the multi-hyphenate British star keeps as busy in the music studio as he does on set.

Ryan Reynolds: Comedy CEO
Ryan Reynolds could very well be considered King of Side Hustles, with many ventures outside of his acting in films like Deadpool and this summer’s Free Guy. For example, he’s the owner and face of Aviation Gin, as well as telecommunications firm Mint Mobile, and he recently bought Welsh soccer club Wrexham with friend and fellow actor Rob McElhenney. Reynolds often brings his own brand of humour to commercials for his companies, including this Mint ad where he brings another famous Canadian back to our screens.

Geena Davis: Olympic Level Archer
Some people discover new interests after finding fame. Oscar-nominated star Geena Davis, for one, became an unlikely Olympic hopeful in the late ‘90s after picking up archery. She only just missed the cut for the US Olympic team in the lead up to the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and at one point she was considered the 13th best archer in America. While the A League of Their Own actor poked fun at her hobby in a video for Funny or Die, it’s easy to see that her skills are nothing to laugh at.

David Arquette: Hardcore Wrestler
This is one of the more peculiar Hollywood stories. At the peak of his stardom in the late ‘90s, Scream star David Arquette became a wrestler with successful federation WCW. Initially designed to promote a movie, Arquette became an unlikely World Heavyweight Champion in 2000 and was reviled by fans who saw it as a mockery of their beloved pastime. Almost two decades on, Arquette came back to the ring to clear his name, and has earned some respect fighting in gruesome ‘death matches’ across LA.

Ken Jeong: Doctor
It might sound odd to call saving lives a ‘side hustle’, but the man known for causing chaos in The Hangover and Crazy Rich Asians was actually a medical professional – and technically still is! Years before he was a judge in The Masked Singer, Jeong had his own medical practice which he eventually gave up when his stand-up career led to TV appearances. Though initially reluctant to leave such a prestigious career, in the end he followed his dream – but he still holds a medical license and has assisted with on-set emergencies in the past.

Seth Rogen: Smoking Paraphernalia 
If you’re familiar with the films of Seth Rogen, you’ll know that marijuana features not-so-subtly in movies such as Pineapple Express, Sausage Party and Your Highness. A connoisseur of the stoner lifestyle (which is legal in his native Canada and many parts of the US), this year Rogen unveiled what he describes as his “life’s work” with Houseplant, selling strains and accessories that seek to legitimise what can be seen as an unseemly world to some. Rogen himself has input into the products, which include a weighted table lighter that’s designed never to be lost.

Photo at top: Harald Krichel/Wikimedia Commons

Help Shape Your Amex Essentials

Please take a moment to answer two short survey questions. Your feedback is valuable in helping us tailor our content to best suit you and your interests.

[os-widget path=”/jie2/amex-essentials-travel-survey-2021-eng-poll-2″]

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Related Articles