On her way back from a family holiday, then 14-year-old Kate Moss was discovered by a modeling scout at JFK Airport. Two years later, the waifish British-born model landed a jeans campaign for Calvin Klein, which famously paired her with Mark Wahlberg, aka Marky Mark. Named Katherine at birth, the supermodel, who turns 50 on January 16, is an occasional singer and actress. She has played herself in a handful of movie roles, including “Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie” and “Zoolander 2.” She’s appeared in music videos for White Stripes, Elton John and Paul McCartney, among others, and has lent her voice to several songs by Oasis. Her 21-year-old daughter Lila Moss followed in her footsteps and has been modeling since age 14. The mother-daughter duo walked their first runway together for a Fendi campaign in 2021. Moss has launched four perfume lines, including “Kate Moss” and “Lila Belle,” and was recently named creative director of Diet Coke.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama was born Michelle LaVaughn Robinson and grew up on the Southside of Chicago in a one-bedroom apartment with her parents and older brother, Craig, with whom she shared the living room. She (and Craig) skipped second grade, learned to read by age four, and later graduated from Princeton University. A Harvard-educated lawyer, author, and Grammy winner (for narrating the audio version of her memoir, Becoming), the wife of the 44th President, Barack Obama, was the first African American first lady. At 5’'11”, Obama, who turns 60 on January 17, ties Eleanor Roosevelt as the tallest first lady. She and President Obama have been married since 1992 and are the parents of two daughters, Malia and Sasha. Recently, she was nominated for a 2023 Emmy nomination as executive producer of “The Light We Carry: Michelle Obama & Oprah Winfrey,” inspired by her bestselling 2022 book.
At age 13, Christian Bale was chosen from over 4,000 actors to star in Steven Spielberg’s 1987 WWII epic “Empire of the Sun.” The Welsh-born British actor, who turns 50 on January 30, started acting in commercials at age 9, performed on the West End at age 10, and moved to Los Angeles at age 12. Proving to be incredibly adept and committed to his craft, Bale has changed his appearance to portray different roles, gaining 40 pounds for “American Hustle” and “Vice,” and losing 63 pounds for “The Machinist.” The “Dark Knight” star won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in “The Fighter” in 2011. Bale became Gloria Steinem’s stepson following her marriage to his father in 2000. That same year, he married Sandra "Sibi" Blazić, a former model, in Las Vegas. They live in Los Angeles with their two children. He voices a character in the new Hayao Miyazaki film “The Boy and the Heron.”
Amazon and Beyond
Born Jeffrey Preston Jorgenson, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos was raised by his mother, Jacklyn, and stepfather (Cuban immigrant Mike Bezos) after his parents divorced when he was baby. His biological father was a circus performer. Bezos studied physics at Princeton University before switching to computer science. A self-described “Trekkie,” he played the role of an alien Starfleet official in the 2016 film “Star Trek Beyond.” In 2020, Bezos, who owns The Washington Post, Whole Foods, and Audible, among other companies, became the first person to accumulate a fortune of more than $200 billion. The following year, Bezos went to space in a rocket built by his space exploration company, Blue Origin. Bezos recently announced he will relocate to Miami, where his parents live. He has lived in Seattle since 1994 when he started Amazon out of his garage. Engaged to news anchor and TV personality Lauren Sánchez, Bezos turns 60 on January 12.
Though she was named Orpah Gail Winfrey at birth, people mispronounced it and “Oprah” stuck. In 1971, at age 17, Winfrey won the Miss Black Tennessee beauty pageant. Two years later, she started out as a part-time news reporter at a radio station in Nashville, Tennessee while she was 19, making her the youngest person to co-anchor the news and the first African American female anchor in Tennessee. She got a full scholarship to Tennessee State University, where she majored in speech communications and performing arts. The actress, talk show host, and Harpo, Inc. owner has been nominated for two Academy Awards, once for her performance in her debut film role, “The Color Purple” and, nearly 30 years later, for producing “Selma,” a Best Picture nominee. The media mogul, who is the first Black female billionaire and the richest African American woman, turns 70 on January 29. She recently produced a new adaptation of “The Color Purple,” and the award-winning “The 1619 Project.”
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