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    People Are Talking About Young Actors Who Are Not The Product Of Nepotism, And It's Honestly Eye-Opening

    Barry Keoghan spent most of his childhood in 13 different foster homes.

    Although nepotism exists in every industry, Hollywood is pretty notorious when it comes to powerful and famous people giving a leg up to their children and/or relatives in order to more easily succeed in the biz.

    And while many popular actors working today have found success due to nepotism, there are actually still a number who got to where they are without favoritism from influential family members. So, when Reddit user u/PM_me_Thor_nudes posed the question, "Which currently popular actor/actress is NOT a product of being well-connected and/or rich?" to the r/Movies community, they came back with some really strong examples. Here are the top-voted responses:

    1. Elijah Wood

    Elijah Wood smiling on the red carpet with short hair and a button up shirt and casual jacket
    Santiago Felipe / Getty Images

    "Elijah woods parents ran a restaurant in Iowa city and weren’t particularly wealthy."


    According to the LA Times, when he was 8, Wood had been "modeling in Cedar Rapids and came to Los Angeles for a convention." A talent manager spotted him at said convention, asked if he was interested in acting (obviously, the answer was yes), and then he and his family packed up and moved out to LA permanently one week later.

    2. Daniel Kaluuya

    Kaluuya holding an oscar statuette
    Abc / ABC via Getty Images

    "[He] grew up on a council estate."


    According to the New York Times, "Born to Ugandan parents, Mr. Kaluuya grew up with his mother and an older sister on a council estate, the British equivalent of a housing project, in north London. (His father lived in Uganda, he said, and he didn’t connect with that side of his family until he was 15.) Although his mother wasn’t particularly interested in the arts, a primary schoolteacher noted that he was a 'very busy' child and recommended acting as an outlet.'"

    3. Dev Patel

    Dev Patel on the red carpet, smiling with long hair and a beard
    Dave J Hogan / Dave J Hogan / Getty Images

    "Dev Patel grew up literally around the corner from me, definitely just your average family from North West London."


    Patel's father, Raju, is an IT consultant and his mother, Anita, a care worker. And, according to the New York Times, "Patel was a hyperactive child, and his parents signed him up for years of martial-arts classes to channel that excess energy. Still, he always had something more to give, and when his mother saw a casting advertisement for Skins, a teen drama that would supercharge the careers of young actors like Nicholas Hoult and Daniel Kaluuya, she prodded him to audition for the role of sex-crazy Anwar."

    4. Jessica Chastain

    Chastain dressed in a black suit jacket and white shirt on the red carpet
    Amanda Edwards / Getty Images

    "Grew up in a low-income family and could only make it through Juilliard thanks to a scholarship (actually awarded by a foundation led by Robin Williams, if I'm not mistaken)."


    Chastain's mother is a vegan chef and her father is a fireman. After being awarded the scholarship to Juilliard, she became the first person in her family to go to college. According to the Independent, "At a Juilliard showcase, she was signed to a 12-month holding deal by TV super-producer John Wells, which led to her first screen credit, a small role in an episode of ER."

    5. Channing Tatum

    Tatum at the Met Gala ball in a tuxedo with a shaved head
    Taylor Hill / WireImage

    "Grew up in Alabama and Mississippi, he basically only got into showbiz by being signed as a dancer, and he was only a dancer because he used to be a stripper."


    According to a 2009 article from Elle, "The Tatum family [was] based on a farm in Alabama, but his parents, Kay and Glenn (she worked for an airline, he in construction), moved Tatum and older sister Paige to Tampa, Florida [...] He got a football scholarship to Glenville State College in West Virginia but dropped out and found himself ­doing everything from framing houses to working as a mortgage broker. He moved to Miami and was discovered on the street by a model scout, leading him to videos and commercials."

    6. Awkwafina

    Awkwafina attends the 10th Annual LACMA ART+FILM GALA presented by Gucci at Los Angeles County Museum of Art wearing a sparkly dress
    Amy Sussman / WireImage

    "She grew up in my hometown in Queens and went to school with my sisters. Seemed she had a tough home life and used to eat my little sisters bento when the group hung out. Nice person though, but definitely self made. We’re really happy to see that she made it for a lot of reasons!"


    According to The Guardian, "Born Nora Lum in 1988, to a Chinese American father and South Korean immigrant mother, she grew up in Flushing, Queens. Her early years were marked by tragedy. Her mother was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension shortly after Lum’s birth. 'It was a very slow illness and she lived for four more years.' [...] After majoring in journalism and women’s studies, she went to China to study Mandarin, then worked at a video rental store, an air-conditioning company and finally a publishing company."

    7. Adam Driver

    Adam Driver attends the UK Premiere Of "House of Gucci"
    Samir Hussein / Samir Hussein / WireImage

    "I have a lot of respect for Adam Driver. He was the only main actor on Girls who didn't come from privilege or didn't have a parent who was already in the industry. Not surprisingly, he was the most successful actor after Girls ended."


    According to Vulture, Driver "Grew up in Mishawaka, a town in northern Indiana, where he landed lead roles in school plays, though his mother, a paralegal, pulled him if he didn’t make honor roll. After high school, unsure what to do, he sold vacuums and was a telemarketer for a waterproofing company. Acting seemed more appealing, so in 2001 he tossed his possessions into his Lincoln Town Car and set off for the City of Angels, but he was broke inside a week." Driver continued and said, “I got a brochure for the Marine Corps and threw it in the trash. In the heat of an argument, my stepdad said, ‘I want you in the Marine Corps. And I was like, ‘No — uh, maybe.’' He continued, "I figured if I was going to go into the military, I might as well choose the toughest path.”

    8. Simu Liu

    Simu Liu attends Sony Pictures' "Spider-Man: No Way Home" Los Angeles Premiere
    Albert L. Ortega / Getty Images

    "He was an accountant for a brief amount of time before becoming an actor. I'm sure he didn't get rich being an entry level auditor."


    Liu was raised in Erin Mills, Mississauga, Ontario after immigrating to Canada from Harbin, China at the age of 5 with his parents. According to, "He studied accounting at University of Western Ontario and worked on Bay Street after graduating. But, he said, his heart wasn’t in it and, when he was laid off, he decided to explore his passion for film and television. A posting on Craigslist led him to extra work in the Guillermo del Toro movie Pacific Rim being filmed at Pinewood Toronto Studios."

    9. Richard Madden

    Richard Madden attends the "Eternals" UK Premiere in a suit
    Mike Marsland / Mike Marsland / WireImage

    "The UK actor thing is very real and kind of crazy when you look into it. But there are some exceptions. Richard Madden’s parents were a school teacher and a firefighter, for instance."


    According to The Guardian, "The middle child of three, with an older and a younger sister, he grew up in a small town in the west of Scotland. His father was a firefighter, his mother stayed home until Madden was 11, when she got a job as a teacher in his old primary school. [...] He got into acting aged 11, when he joined a class to help with his shyness. One of his first jobs was a TV adaptation of Iain Banks’s novel Complicity."

    10. Jonathan Majors

    Jonathan Majors arrives at Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hal
    Steve Granitz / WireImage

    "Son of pastor mom and Air Force father."


    According to The Hollywood Reporter, "Born in Lompoc, California, to Texan parents, Majors spent his early years growing up with his older sister, Monica, and younger brother, Cameron, on the Vandenberg military base, where his father was in the Air Force. And then his world turned upside down. 'Our father, who loved us dearly, just kind of disappeared one day,' Majors says. 'And he resurfaced 17 years later.' His mother moved him and his siblings back to Dallas, and raised them while putting herself through divinity school (she is now a pastor)." Through a troubled youth that involved getting caught for shoplifting, suspension from school, being thrown out of his home, and living in his car while working two restaurant jobs, Majors was able to stick with acting in theatre and eventually attended the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and then the Yale School of Drama.

    11. Taron Egerton

    Taron Egerton poses on the red carpet upon arrival at the BAFTA British Academy Film Awards
    Tolga Akmen / AFP via Getty Images

    "Taron Egerton's mother worked in social services and I think raised him as a single mother."


    According to the Hollywood Reporter, "Egerton grew up in a working-class family. His father ran a bed-and-breakfast near Liverpool, his mom worked in social services. When they split, Taron moved with his mom to Wales. 'Growing up, we never had space, we never owned places. We always rented.' For his audition to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, he sang Elton John’s 'Your Song.' Not long after he graduated with honors in 2012, he was landing gigs on British TV, doing small roles on a detective show called Lewis and, later, on a firefighter drama called The Smoke."

    12. Olivia Cooke

    Olivia Cooke is seen during the Paris Fashion Week in a plaid suit
    Arnold Jerocki / GC Images

    "Olivia Cooke is from the same town as me (Oldham, Lancashire) and it is a really poor, miserable place so you are spot on with her. I was genuinely shocked that she could be from there and become so successful but that just shows you how talented she is."


    In Interview Magazine, Cooke said, "My dad’s an ex-policeman and my mum is a sales representative and they haven’t got the acting bug. Bless them. I did ballet and gymnastics and then I started acting when I was eight — just doing amateur theater at a place called Oldham Theatre Workshop in my hometown. My first big role was when I was 17 and I got the part playing Maria in West Side Story in my school production. That was my major one. Then, at Oldham Theatre Workshop, they finally realized that I could be of use and then instead of the ensemble, they cast me as the lead in this remake of Cinderella called Prom: The Musical. That was my first and last main part there because then I left to do TV work after that."

    13. Anna Kendrick

    Anna Kendrick attends the TTribeca Fall Preview: "Love Life" in a pink dress
    Rob Kim / Getty Images

    "Anna Kendrick is one of the prominent ones I can think of. No show biz parents, got her start in theater as a kid."


    According to the Sydney Morning Herald, "Her parents, while not technically gifted (her father was a history teacher before joining her mother in finance), heavily promoted the arts within the family pile in Portland, Maine. A career in accounting evidently wasn't on the cards. Kendrick started her career on Broadway, landing a supporting role in the musical High Society at the age of 12.

    14. Jodie Comer

    Jodie Comer attends "The Last Duel" New York Premiere at Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Frederick P. Rose Hall in a black satin suit
    Arturo Holmes / Getty Images

    "Her Scouser accent threw me for a loop the first time I hear it; I'd only seen her in Killing Eve, I'd assumed she'd have the same Oxbridge accent as everyone else in British showbiz!"


    "Her dad is a massage therapist at Everton Football Club and her mum works at a travel agency. Yep, she's a good fit for this thread!"


    According to The Mirror, "Jodie grew up in the Childwall suburb of Liverpool with mum Donna, dad Jimmy – who is a masseur at Everton FC – and her younger brother Charlie. Her first paid job was a Radio 4 play. Then she had bit parts in Holby City and Waterloo Road."

    15. Kelly Marie Tran

    Kelly Marie Tran arrives at the Star Wars:The Rise Of Skywalker European premiere in a red ball gown
    Future Publishing / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

    "She was a 'nobody' whose parents were Vietnam refugees. She did College Humor videos before Rian Johnson cast her in Star Wars."


    Tran explained in an interview with BuzzFeed News, "My dad was a street kid for seven years — he was homeless. [...] I could have had this life,” Tran said, holding out one hand, “and now I have this one, and it’s purely because my parents dropped everything and moved to a country where they didn’t know the language [and] didn’t have any opportunities. I very much have felt this whole time that I’ve been living for multiple generations of life.”

    16. Leslie Grace

    Leslie Grace attends The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures Opening Gala in a satin dress
    David Livingston / Getty Images for Fashion Media

    "Leslie Grace (In the Heights, the new Batgirl) is the daughter of a hair salon owner."


    Grace was born and raised in the Bronx, and then relocated with her family to South Florida at 10 years old where her mother ran a salon. In an interview with ABC News, Grace said, "She [her mother] doesn’t run a salon anymore, but she has been a real-life salon lady all her life." And, according to Ocean Drive, at 14 "she recorded a Christian CD that her father would keep in his car to hand out to anyone he could. Two years later, he got it in the hands of a big music producer who had the connections she needed for professional success. Her career quickly took off in 2013 when a bilingual cover of 'Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow' from her self-titled album reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Tropical and Latin Airplay charts."

    17. Barry Keoghan

    Barry Keoghan attends the "The Eternals" UK Premiere in a brown retro suit
    Karwai Tang / WireImage

    "Fantastic Irish actor known for Killing of a Sacred Deer, “Druig” in Eternals, Green Knight, Dunkirk."


    According to the Irish Independent, "Barry's childhood in Dublin's north inner-city has been well documented. His mother died of a heroin overdose when he was small, and after a period in foster care (13 different foster homes to be exact), Keoghan was taken in and raised in Summerhill by his maternal grandmother, and his aunt. At 18 he made his professional debut in Fair City, and the same year made a memorably twitchy appearance in Mark O'Connor's inner-city crime drama Between the Canals."

    18. Mila Kunis

    Mila Kunis attends the 2020 Sundance Film Festival in a casual black long sleeve shirt
    Neilson Barnard / Getty Images

    "Mila Kunis used to work at the store her mom worked at even while she was staring on That '70s Show to not let it go to her head."


    Kunis and her parents emigrated from Ukraine to the US when she was just 7 years old. Speaking with Yahoo in 2012, she explained, "It was a new life for all of us but being in America was a dream for my parents and being Jewish is very hard in Russia. They wanted to make a new life for all of us and they’ve worked very hard to give us a good life. My dad still drives a cab in L.A. and my mom runs a pharmacy. They’re both hard workers and I’m very close to them. I see them every week and I only live a short drive away." And, according to the Independent, "Her father enrolled her in an acting class when she was nine, and she started acting professionally three years later."

    19. Michael B. Jordan

    Michael B. Jordan attends the "A Journal For Jordan" World Premiere
    Michael Loccisano / Getty Images

    "Michael B. Jordan is the son of a caterer and a teacher."


    In an interview with Ellen, Jordan said, "My mom and my dad, they had a home-catering business [when I was] growing up. So, as soon as I was old enough to see over the counter, they had me to work just prepping and helping and stuff like that." And he was not initially interested in acting as a kid. He explained to, "I started off modeling. I was modeling for local companies like Model’s and little department stores here and there. My manager asked me if I wanted to try something new, like acting. I said, 'Sure, why not?' I was around 10 or 11 at the time. I went on a couple of auditions. I went for about a year and a half with no call backs, no jobs, not anything. 'Maybe I’m just not cut out for this,' I said to my mom. I thought about sticking with modeling and working. On the last audition I had, I got a call back and went on another audition, and got the job."