15 Creative People Who Achieved Success After 40

I may call myself a “failed fashion blogger,” but that doesn't mean I've stopped trying. We all fail many times in our lives, and thank goodness for that, because that's where our best lessons come from.

When you're pursuing a creative career, that big break can often seem elusive. So I've gathered a list of actors, writers, designers, and painters and more who did not see major success until after their 40th birthday. I'm hoping this post can inspire other women over forty, especially those who are interested in starting a blog, YouTube channel or social media account.

Creative People Who Achieved Success After 40

If actress Kathryn Joosten hadn't gotten divorced, she probably never would have won two Emmys. If it weren't for arthritis forcing Grandma Moses to give up embroidery, she never would have started painting. It's often a lifetime of small successes and perceived failures that build up to what the rest of the world perceives as success.

This post is devoted to creative people who didn't see success until a bit later in life. With our country's youth culture obsession, sometimes we forget that life after 40 can not only be productive, but downright glorious. Just check out this awesome list of 40 fashion bloggers over the age of forty.

Without further adieu, here are fifteen people who didn't achieve creative success until after the age of forty…

15 Creative People Who Achieved Success After 40

  1. Not that Vera Wang wasn't successful before 40—she was a figure skater, Vogue editor and stylist when she was younger. But she didn't launch her eponymous brand until she was in her 40s.
  2. Mother Theresa was 40 when she founded Missionaries of Charity, the organization that led her to winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 at age 69.
  3. Samuel L. Jackson's first big role was in 1991 in the film Jungle Fever when he was 43 years old. He has now appeared in more than 100 films.
  4. Kathryn Joosten started her acting career at 42 as a Disney street performer, and went on to win two Emmy's for her roles in The West Wing and Desperate Housewives at 63 and 66.
  5. Charles Darwin published his smash-hit Origin of the Species in 1859 when he was 50 years old. He also get the best beard award.
  6. Julia Child published her first cookbook when she was 50.
  7. Henry Ford was 45 when he created the Model T in 1908.
  8. Betty White didn't become a household name until she joined the Mary Tyler Moore show at 51 in 1973.
  9. Laura Ingalls Wilder didn't publish her first “Little House” book until she was 65.
  10. Anna Mary Robertson Moses, a.k.a. Grandma Moses, didn't start painting until she was 78.
  11. Harry Bernstein's first successful book, a memoir called “The Invisible Wall: A Love Story That Broke Barriers,” was published in 2007 when he was 96.
  12. Martha Stewart published her first book, “Entertaining,” at 41.
  13. Joy Behar of The View didn't launch her TV career until she was 40.
  14. Song of Solomon was Toni Morrison's third book, but it was her first really successful one. She published it when she was 46.
  15. The first season of I Love Lucy aired when Lucille Ball was 40 years old.

Do you have any role models or people you look up to for inspiration that achieved success after 40? Comment below with your favorites!

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About The Author

In addition to being editor at IFB, Kristen writes for Forbes, Eat, Sleep, Denim, and her own blog, Stylenik. Previously, she served as the San Francisco editor for Racked, covering the intersection of retail, fashion, and technology. She has written about everything from human cloning to luxury shopping for publications including Wired, Gizmodo, Refinery 29, and the San Francisco Chronicle. She lives in a '70s house in '70s clothes on the Northern California coast. 

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5 Responses

  1. Carine

    Great article! This is exactly what happened to me. Three months before my 40th birthday, I decided to file for divorce and started a new life. I organized a beautiful party with the people I wanted to be with. I hadn’t celebrated my birthday for years !

    Since I’ve never felt so good and so young in and out. I take some time for myself. Now aged 42, I can shine. Everyone keeps telling me ! I launched a lifestyle blog where I share style ideas and all kinds of things that inspire me.

  2. Kara Allan

    My name is Kara Allan, and I a Celebrity Wardrobe Stylist and Makeup Artist. I help busy people get dressed with less stress. My site is KaraAllan.com. I used to be a tomboy with no style and now I love helping people change their lives by changing their wardrobes. I trained under Stacy London and one of my most famous clients was Leonardo DiCaprio! I am now 44 and a GlamMa. From the age of 15 and not having a drop of style til now, I never dreamed life would be like this!

  3. Meghna

    Truly amazing..and here I am. Thinking if starting a blog. Wanting to start a blog .. but have no faith in my abilities.. gutless.. and 38 yrs.
    This feature really inspired me !

  4. Nattalia

    Of all these names what I like most is Henry Ford, I love his story and it’s very inspiring.