Behind the Success: How 8 Stars Got Their Big Breaks

Ever wonder how stars get their start in the Hollywood industry? Well, we have the back story for some of your favorite celebs! From Adrienne Bailon to Shakira, see how 8 Latino stars got their big breaks:

1. big break slide 01 Adrienne Bailon

Adrienne Bailon

While performing with her church choir in Madison Square Garden, Bailon gained the attention of one huge Latin pop star – Ricky Martin! Along with four other choir singers, the 30-year-old Puerto Rican and Ecuadorian belleza was chosen to be a back up singer during Martin’s concert later that night. After this performance, Bailon was approached by a producer and asked to be part of girl group, 3LW.

2. big break slide 02 Sofia Vergara

Sofia Vergara

A photographer discovered the 41-year-old Modern Family star as she was taking a walk along a beach in Colombia. Soon after, she began receiving offers to do modeling and TV commercials. Vergara made her TV debut at the age of 17 in a Pepsi commercial that was broadcast throughout Latin America.

3. big break slide 03 Ricky Martin

Ricky Martin

Martin and his father came across a newspaper advertisement listing auditions for upcoming commercials. By the age of nine, the Puerto Rican singer was appearing in numerous commercials for fast food restaurants, soft drinks and even toothpaste. This small amount of fame led Martin to audition for Menudo, and although he was rejected twice, by the third time he was officially a member.

4. big break slide 04 Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez

The 44-year-old mega estrella had a passion for dancing. In 1991, she was selected to be a backup dancer for New Kids on the Block, and even performed with them at the 8th Annual American Music Awards. Shortly after, she became a Fly Girl on the hit TV show, In Living Color.

5. big break slide 05 Christina Aguilera

Christina Aguilera

Although Aguilera had appeared on The Mickey Mouse Club for two years, it wasn’t until 1998, when she sent a demo to Disney, that she got her big break. Her demo landed her the opportunity to appear on the soundtrack for Mulan and also caught the attention of RCA Records producer and label executive Ron Fair. Fair offered Aguilera a contract with RCA and the following year, she released her self-titled debut album.

6. big break slide 06 Marc Anthony

Marc Anthony

The Boricua salsa crooner got his start as a session vocalist for freestyle and house music acts in New York. This led to Anthony later landing an opportunity to work as a songwriter and backing vocalist for several pop groups, including Menudo.

7. big break slide 07 Shakira


The 36-year-old “Addicted to You” singer was 13-years-old when she impressed a local theater producer by the name of Monica Ariza during a performance at an event in Barranquilla, Colombia. While traveling to Bogota, Ariza spoke with a Sony Music Colombia executive and convinced him to give Shakira a chance to audition for him. She performed three songs, and they were so blown away by her talent, that Shakira was signed on to the label to record three albums. Her debut album was released in 1991, when Shak was 15-years-old.

8. big break slide 08 JoAnna Garcia Swisher

JoAnna Garcia Swisher

Once Upon a Time’s Ariel has always loved performing arts. When she was 10-years-old, she auditioned for a part in a local theater production and was offered the lead role. Once she entered high school, she continued acting in local plays and one day was discovered by Nickelodeon. This landed Garcia Swisher a part in Nickelodeon’s TV series, Are You Afraid of the Dark?