Oprah Winfrey didn’t become the Oprah we know now until she was 32 when The Oprah Winfrey Show debuted. The media mogul is firm reminder that not all your success should have happened by the time you’re 30.
Jay Z is an inspiration for all of those twentysomethings who worry that they haven’t made their mark yet. The Brooklyn rapper was 26 when his first album Reasonable Doubt dropped and blew up after years of grinding.
Taraji P. Henson is enjoying international success with Empire but she didn’t land her breakout role in Baby Boy until she was 31. She snagged one her biggest roles in Benjamin Button when she was 38 and landed Empire when she was 44.
Samuel L. Jackson first appeared on our radars in Jungle Fever at the age of 43. Jackson, one of the world’s highest paid actors, didn’t score his breakout role in Pulp Fiction until 1994 at the age of 46. Since then he’s appeared in over 100 films.
After making her acting debut in 2008 with short film East River and going on the star in Kenyan television series Shuga in 2009, Lupita Nyong’o scored her breakout role and won an Academy Award for her performance in 12 Years a Slave at the age of 31.
Phylicia Rashad is a staple in the entertainment business. First making her mark on Broadway, it wasn’t until 1984 at the age of 36 that she landed the role of a lifetime as Claire Huxtable on The Cosby Show.
Morrison earned her master’s at Cornell after graduting from Howard with a B.A. in English.
Ava Duverney decided to switch gears from running her own successful public relations firm to film and never looked back. In 2008 the then 35 year old debuted her first documentary This is The Life and worked her way up to directing the highly acclaimed Selma released in 2014 when she was 42.
Kerry Washington has appeared in several different roles including fan favorites like Save the Last Dance, however her breakout role didn’t come along until she was 35 and took on the role of Olivia Pope in Scandal.
It may seem like he’s always been around but the truth is that we weren’t really introduced to Morgan Freeman until he was 52 and starring in 1989’s Glory as Sergeant Major Rawlins.
Viola Davis was an extremely accomplished actress prior to her role of Professor Annalise Keating in How to Get Away With Murder. However, it is this role that has made her a household name and the first African American to win a Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series at 49.
Jussie Smollett is back like he never left with his role as Jamal Lyon in Empire. He first hit the scene as a child star snagging roles in films like The Mighty Ducks, and made a comeback worth noting at 31.
The leading lady of Shondaland worked on several successful projects after a short bout of unemployment right out of college but she came into her own with the release of Grey’s Anatomy at the age of 35.
Following the death of her father during the first year of college, Regina Hall decided to make sure she chased her dreams. In 1997 she booked her first commercial at the age of 26, two years later at 29 we were introduced to the young star when she played Candy in The Best Man.
Uzo Aduba is a Hollywood darling who didn’t get her big break until she was 32 and took on the role of “Crazy Eyes” in Orange is the New Black.