Singing, acting, filmmaking, and other avenues of entertainment may be a career of passion for these celebrities, but it is not their only livelihood. The following stars, from the Olsen Twins to Justin Timberlake, have businesses and side projects outside of what they are best known for that may surprise you.
The star of classics like Fight Club or Birdman seems to, usually, be at his best when playing really bad dudes. In real life, Edward Norton is one of the most charitable (and even heroic) people in Hollywood, especially when it comes to the environment. In fact, he made activism his second job as the co-founder of charity crowd-funding site CrowdRise.
The origins of CrowdRise date back to 2009 when Norton, producer Shauna Robertson, and entrepreneurs Robert and Jeffrey Wolfe needed to create a bespoke platform to raise money for the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust. Then, they decided to make it available for others to raise money for charitable causes. Since then, CrowdRise has been acquired by GoFundMe, one of the most profitable crowdfunding sites in the world.
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
You don’t see much of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen in the spotlight much anymore, which their sitcom family savagely commented on in the Netflix reboot, “Fuller House.” However, these days, it looks like America’s favorite twin child stars (before Dylan and Cole Sprouse entered the game) much prefer the world of fashion.
The Olsen Twins have been involved in the fashion industry since they were barely in their teens, signing a deal with Walmart to put their names on clothes marketed at young girls by their own designs in 1999. In 2006, they founded the The Row, their own brand of luxury clothes, followed by Elizabeth and James, named after their siblings, and the more casual-based line, Olsenboye.
Now, with three clothing lines in their name and awards for their work, the Olsen Twins have cemented themselves as major players in the fashion industry. There is no telling if you will ever see either of their names in a film credit again (in fact, their sister Elizabeth has proven to have more success in that game), but you might find them on your shirt.
Carmen Electra became a household name from starring on “Baywatch,” as a VJ for MTV, and for being a staple of the Scary Movie series and its spin-off spoofs, but she also started out as a backup dancer for Prince and can shred on guitar. She also keeps busy wearing multiple hats as an entrepreneur.
In addition to her line of perfume and lingerie, in 2008, Electra partnered with Peekaboo to launch "Electra-Pole," a fitness pole kit for women to use in their own homes. The kit came as a, sort of, spiritual extension to her successful series of exotic cardio DVDs.
She is one Hollywood’s most desirable, and versatile, actresses, having played in everything from superhero movies to comic book action noir, horror, and even slapstick comedy. Jessica Alba’s other full-time job is parenting, as a mother of three, which she channeled into the creation of her own company.
The star of "L.A.’s Finest" launched the Honest Company in 2012 to sell safe, eco-friendly baby products. While the company started off rising up with flying colors (even earning the title of a “unicorn start-up” for its initial billion dollar value, it suffered from drops in profit, lawsuits, and product recalls, before making a steady comeback in 2018.
Drew Barrymore was just 7 years old when her performance in Steven Spielberg’s E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial kicked off one of the most endurable careers in Hollywood. The Golden Globe-winning actress has also worn the hat of director and producer, but her most intriguing side project is in the world of glamour.
In 2013, the former Santa Clarita Diet star launched Flower Beauty Cosmetics with the intention of creating a makeup line to help women improve their self-image without being too pricey, with each tube of lipstick or tub of eyeshadow costing no more than $20. As Barrymore told Business Insider, “I think there’s such a crucial necessity for positive messaging so that women feel empowered and are not making themselves up to be something else… Who you are inside and your joy levels and a smile is better than any lipstick. It’s sort of anti-makeup messaging, but I think it’s more human-messaging and the rest will fall into place.”
Barrymore expanded Flower Beauty Cosmetics to Mexico, its first foreign market, in 2017. Since, it has also become an ecommerce platform.
A pioneer of gangsta rap since his days in N.W.A., Dr. Dre is one of the most groundbreaking hitmakers of the music industry as an artist and producer. The most profitable venture of his career, however, is not the music he makes, but designing the technological means of how people listen to his music.
Along with record producer Jimmy Lovine, Dre (née Andre Young) founded Beats Electronics, now a subsidiary of Apple that focuses primarily on the manufacturing of Bluetooth compatible headphones and speakers. One of Beats’ most striking products is the Pill, a portable wireless speaker that takes its name from its
Long before Clint Eastwood was winning shootouts in the Spaghetti Westerns or directing Oscar-winning films, he was a golf caddy at age 13. That turned out to be just the first step of a business venture that celebrates his passion for teeing off.
In 1998, the Dirty Harry star built Tehàma Gold Club in Carmel, California. As Eastwood told Architectural Digest in 2005, he and his architect, Jay Moorish, treated the creation of the picturesque, 18-hole course with the same enthusiasm of his filmmaking career by incorporating a few simple words of wisdom: “don’t screw it up.”
You might be expecting beloved funnyman Steve Carell to invest in something like a paper manufacturer outside of his acting career. In reality, the Oscar-nominee is the owner of a business much simpler than his “Office” counterparts line of work.
In 2009, Carell and his wife, Nancy, purchased Marshfield Hills General Store, a historic shop located in the town of the same name in the actor’s home state of Massachusetts. At the store, visitors can purchase various food items, fun gifts, and, as you could have guessed, official merchandise inspired by NBC’s “The Office.”
Academy Award-winner Paul Newman was an icon of cinema, best known for playing the title roles in Cool Hand Luke and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and voicing Doc Hudson in Pixar’s Cars. His likeness is also guaranteed to show up in your local grocery store on the labels of various food items.
With his friend, author A.E. Hotcher, the actor founded Newman’s Own in 1982, a food company that specializes in frozen pizza, salad dressing, snack foods, and more. While Newman passed away in 2008 at 83, the company still goes on, committed to using 100% of its profits for charitable causes.
As of 2019, rapper Jay-Z is one of a handful of entertainers with a net worth of more than $1 billion. How does he do it? Certainly not just from dropping sick rhymes.
Along with his record label Roc Nation, Jay-Z, real name Shawn Carter, has made a fortune in countless business ventures, such as adult beverages, his Rocawear clothing line, music streaming service Tidal, a luxury sports bar chain, a sports agency, and investing in a variety of companies, like Uber. According to Forbes, his personal art collection is worth about $70 million alone and that is just the tip of the iceberg.
Jay-Z and Dr. Dre are just a few rapping entrepreneurs, however. His friend and frequent collaborator Snoop Dogg has a few interesting ventures on the side.
Snoop, born Calvin Broadus Jr., gets roughly $30,000 in weekly sales from his app Snoopify, has a footwear line called Snoop Dogg Slippers, produces his own jewelry called Jungl Julz, and even invests in Reddit. As for the rapper’s least surprising business venture, in 2015, he became the first major celebrity to market his own brand of legal marijuana products with “Leafs by Snoop.”
It should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Quentin Tarantino that the Academy Award-winning filmmaker behind Pulp Fiction and Inglourious Basterds, to name a few, is deeply passionate about movies. To cinephiles like him, there is no better way to watch movie than on a big screen with the sound of a flickering projector in the background.
As owner of the New Beverly Theater in Los Angeles, Tarantino is able to make that experience possible for himself and movie-loving patrons all the time. The theater, which often shows double features of classic films on 35 mm print, is a historic landmark, dating back to the 1920s and was even an adult film theater in the ’70s, a fact that Tarantino makes reference to in his 2019 tribute to cinema Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood.
She plays the CEO of tech company Stark Industries, Pepper Potts, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In real life, however, Academy Award-winner Gwyneth Paltrow is founder of a company that puts health and wellness as the main focus.
Goop was first launched by Paltrow in 2008 as a weekly newsletter providing subscribers with healthy lifestyle tips before expanding to ecommerce. While the company has faced speculation over the legitimacy of the products its sells and treatments it promotes (such as eggs inserted where the sun don’t shine), as of 2018, it is valued at $250 million.
In 2010’s The Social Network, musician Justin Timberlake played Sean Parker, the first person to serve as president of Facebook. In reality, the former N’Syncer invested in one of the social media giants underdog competitors.
In 2011, Timberlake bought $35 million worth of Myspace as part of a joint purchase with marketing company Specific Media Group. As of 2016, the much forgotten social media site is owned by Meredith Corporation, but we’re sure JT enjoyed owning the site while it lasted.
The model-turned-actor is best known for his flawless portrayals of dimwitted characters, especially Michael Kelso on That ’70s Show. However, Ashton Kutcher’s off-screen reputation is proof that his intellectual shortcomings are just good acting. Not only did he graduate from the University of Iowa with a degree in biochemical engineering, he is a key component in the development of several successful companies.
Kutcher co-founded the tech-based media company, A Plus and investing firms A-Grade and, later, Sound Ventures with partner Guy Oseary. The goal of the venture capital firms, which have invested in such companies as Spotify, Uber, Airbnb, Shazam, Couple, and SoundCloud to name a few, is to help solve common issues and break boundaries.
Kutcher has also put his technological ventures into more humanitarian efforts. The father of two, with wife Mila Kunis, is an outspoken activist against human trafficking, as show in his emotional testimony in front of Congress in 2017. In 2009, he and ex-wife Demi Moore founded the DNA Foundation, later renamed Thorn in 2012, to combat the human trafficking epidemic.
Thorn is an organization built on the sole purpose of creation digital tools to prevent the exploitation of children. Since its creation, it has helped recovery of thousands of young victims of trafficking and identified just as many predators. It is impossible to see Michael Kelso in the same light after seeing what Kutcher has achieved.
Obviously, you would not want to tell these stars to quit their day job. On the other hand, it is amusing to know that even they have the time and motivation to pursue prospects outside of the main spotlight.