Blog 22-Girls & Women, Who Were Great But Late…

Mysterious as the dark side of the moon

“What makes talent bloom? Ask what makes a tree blossom. They are the same. It is not unfathomable. It only takes concentration. Concentration of energies is what makes a tree flower. Not bigger, not faster, not taking up more space. Rather, less space. Density. Pressure in hard places. Often, in the dark. Relentlessly. Freely. For as long as it takes. Hold faith, a gestation can go long and for good reason, and nothing much shows above ground. But then, one day…” —Clarissa Pinkola Estés, PhD

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The Ultimate Blooming Takes Time
Although we are each created with countless gifts to share in this lifetime, no one is born in full development, begins Dr. Estés. The Late Bloomer—the one at the verge of tipping forward into her creative powers—speaks to all of us who sense within “great talent untapped … touchingly wondrous yet wounded or held back by fate in some way.” Meet the wise old woman in the form of The Late Bloomer in her many guises, as she beckons us to ignite the creative fire of the interior life, to burst into bloom time and again.

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Step Forward into Your True Shape
Dr. Estés asks, “What is your reason for being here on earth? What are the promises you made to Creator before you came? That is your original shape—the holy shape of how you are meant to go in life, regardless of all crosswinds.” The old woman as the wise Late Bloomer calls us to “step forward into our true shapes, and to step onto the open road and blue sky… where we can be born into New Life again

Many girls and women come into their own later in life. I know I earned my high school equivalency degree in my late 50’s.  You need to stop comparing your life’s results with other girls or women. This article shares proof of very successful late blooming women.

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Is there a set age you should expect success to happen in life? At what point should you stop trying and realize that your dream may be over? Never. Just like there’s no one-size-fits-all doctrine for the right age to start a business, there is no set timeline for when success will strike.

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For most of us, our 20s are a blur of job-hopping and career mistakes. And while it certainly doesn’t feel like it at the time, those years can prove to be crucial to building a successful future.

Just because your career doesn’t happen by the time you’re 35 doesn’t mean it’s over—quite the contrary. There are many wildly successful women who have found their calling later in life and are living proof that success has nothing to do with age. For these women, it’s all about hard work, timing, and a little bit of magic. So, don’t stress if you didn’t make the Forbes 30 Under 30  list this year, because your time is coming. And trust us—it will be worth the wait.


To prove it, I have found incredibly talented ladies who were late bloomers in their career. These women demonstrate how hard work, passion, and grit go a long way in making your dreams come true.


You might think that “coming from nowhere with no connections” might stack against you, but you could say it worked in Jessica Chastain’s favor. While she wasn’t sure how to get there or what the path would look like along the way, she always knew where it would lead. How? From a young age, Chastain recognized that she wanted to be an actress. “I always knew. As soon as I knew it was a profession, I knew that it was mine,” she told Off Camera with Sam Jones.

“I didn’t ever have to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up. … For me, I just knew I wanted to be an actor.” At age 31, the theater actress had still never been in a film, and after countless rejections, she was finally cast in widely successful films including Tree of Life and The Help—both of which earned her an Oscar nomination. It didn’t happen for the now 37-year-old actress overnight, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I would have been a disaster,” she told Glamour. “If I was 19 and I had the attention that I’m getting now, I would have just said stupid things. I would have partied more. All these expensive dinners and people giving me champagne? All these stupid things that we criticize 19-year-olds for doing when they’re famous, I would have done.”

Then, just as her career was starting to take off, Chastain turned down Iron Man 3 (and the big paycheck) for her Broadway debut as the lead in The Heiress. “What’s rare here is to have an actress at the peak of her career say, ‘Stop, I’m going to do Broadway,’” veteran Hollywood producer Paula Wagner told Vanity Fair. Now Chastain has no shortage of Hollywood scripts or luxury beauty campaign offers being sent her way. In fact, she’s now the face of Yves Saint Laurent’s Manifesto fragrance, so we imagine there will be more endorsements in her future.

Our Takeaway: Everything happens for a reason. Don’t force something to be when it’s not ready to be. If you have the will and work hard for it, it will happen when the time is right.



Kerry Washington first landed on our radar for her role as the powerful Olivia Pope in the hit TV series Scandal. This Hollywood ingénue landed the lead role at age 35, and now 40, she admits that she’s still blooming—and not about to rest on her laurels anytime soon. Her patience, grit, and determination have been key to her success. “I don’t think I’m even close to fulfilling my potential,” she told AskMen. “And I think also that, unlike a pianist or a flutist, an actor has an instrument that is constantly changing.”

Our Takeaway: Every day is an opportunity to learn something new. Even when fame and success arrive, know that there is always more to master.



Before she was one of the world’s most famous bridal and fashion designers, Vera Wang was a competitive figure skater (she was even inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame) and a journalist. After graduating with a degree in art history from Sarah Lawrence College, she worked at Vogue, where she became senior fashion editor at 23 years old. After working at the magazine for 15 years, she spent a short time as accessories design director at Ralph Lauren. Frustrated by the lack of chic bridal options available while planning her wedding, Wang, then 40, entertained the idea of becoming a bridal designer. She is now globally renowned for leading a major fashion and bridal label.

Our Takeaway: Don’t be afraid to switch up your career. Gone are the days of staying in one job for the rest of your life. Just be flexible and take new opportunities as they come.



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Despite playing almost every leading female Shakespeare role during her 30-year stint at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Judi Dench didn’t star in a leading theater role until she reached 34 years old. Her career in the UK continued to take off on screen and on stage, with 26 BAFTA nominations to prove it. But it wasn’t until her 60s that she graced our screens in the U.S. as James Bond’s boss in the 1995 film GoldenEye. Then at 64 years old, Judi won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love.

Our Takeaway: Take the time to really hone your craft so you’re ready for the opportunity when it comes.



Viola Davis is one of the most hardworking, talented actresses of our generation. After graduating from the prestigious Juilliard School in New York City, Davis made her Broadway debut with a starring role in Seven Guitars. She went on to receive a Tony Award for her performance in the drama King Hedley II and then took on smaller roles in hit TV shows like City of Angels and Law & Order. But it wasn’t until she landed a role opposite Meryl Streep in the 2008 film Doubt that the world started to take notice of the then-43-year-old. Davis received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for the film, followed shortly by a Best Actress title for The Help. At age 49, she became a household name thanks to her leading role in the ABC series How to Get Away with Murder—which led her to become the first African-American actress to win an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.

Davis’s childhood explains a lot about her work ethic today. Growing up in poverty, she often faced hunger—even resorting to digging through dumpsters to find food. But she didn’t let this crush her. In fact, it fueled her and pushed her to do better for herself. “I tell my daughter every morning, ‘Now, what are the two most important parts of you?’ and she says, ‘My head and my heart.’ Because that’s what I’ve learned in the foxhole. What gets you through life is strength of character and strength of spirit and love,” she told Glamour. We can’t wait to see what Davis does next.

Our Takeaway: Never take anything for granted. Perseverance, passion, and love will make it happen if you really want it.



Christina Hendricks is proof that your 20s are the building blocks to a great career and, in her case, the time when you develop a thick skin. “I’ve been to a million auditions and have been rejected a million times,” she told Flare. “It’s something that I’m used to. You’re either right for it, or you’re not right for it. You could leave thinking you had the best audition in the world, and they say, ‘You don’t look like the person I imagined.’ It has nothing to do with your talent. Someone could have just broken up with a redhead the other day and not want to hire me.” Someone did eventually hire Hendricks, casting her in the “life-changing” role of Joan Harris in the award-winning television drama Mad Men. Now, at age 39, her life has “pretty much changed in every single way,” she told People. “Except for my friends and my family.”

Our Takeaway: Don’t let other people’s opinions of you drag you down. Learn how to develop a thick skin. Shrug it off and keep your chin up, with your eyes firmly on the prize.



Jane Lynch certainly wasn’t a stranger to the screen before landing her big break on the hit TV show Glee. In fact, most of Lynch’s breakout roles came to her while she was in her 40s. Before she was cast as Sue Sylvester on Glee at age 51, she appeared in films including Best in Show and the 40-Year-Old Virgin. And she’s very happy about the timing too. “If you were to tell me five years ago that this would have happened for me, I would have told you that you were lying. But it just feels so right and so wonderful,” she told USA Today. “I think if this had happened for me younger, I would be so unstable in my energy—fearful that it would all be taken away.”

Our Takeaway: Trust the process, and when you finally get to touch your dreams, hold on tight and don’t let go.



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You might remember Connie Britton from her small recurring roles on The West Wing and Spin City, but it wasn’t until Friday Night Lights that she really lit up our TV screens.

Before she was cast as Tami Taylor on Friday Night Lights at age 39, Britton experienced her fair share of “heartbreak” from roles that got away—including missing out on the female lead in Jerry Maguire to Renée Zellweger. She never let that stop her though. With a positive “everything happens for a reason” attitude, Britton accepted the role as the football coach’s wife on the hit network series. The role quickly turned her into a “40-something sex symbol and role model,” redefining what it meant to be an actress in her prime. We agree with The New York Times: “Jerry Maguire may have been the best thing that never happened to her.”

Our Takeaway: Even when everything doesn’t, go your way there’s a reason. Be open and embrace change.



It’s hard to believe that one of America’s most iconic TV chefs and authors didn’t even learn to cook until she was 36 years old. In fact, Child originally had plans to be a novelist and reportedly wrote plays and short stories, which she submitted to The New Yorker but were never published. After moving to France in 1948, she adopted the country’s sophisticated cuisine and altered it to the American palate for her book Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Her world-famous cookbook was a best seller for the next five years. At 40 years old, Child became a TV icon on the TV show The French Chef, which aired on WGBH and was then syndicated to 96 stations.

Our Takeaway: Stay curious. Your new passion just might become your new career.



Despite a notable career as a stylist in New York, it wasn’t until Patricia Field opened her Greenwich Village boutique that doors started opening for her in television and film. In 1995, at age 54, she met Sarah Jessica Parker during the filming of Miami Rhapsody. From there, Field’s career really took off. The creative duo worked together on outfits for Parker’s character in Sex and the City, which went on to become one of the most iconic television shows of the late ’90s. Since then, the stylist has been nominated for five Emmys (one of which she won) and six Costume Designers Guild Awards. She’s also worked on numerous shows and films, including Ugly Betty and The Devil Wears Prada.

Our Takeaway: Never stop networking. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. You never know who you will meet.


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This blog’s content was copied from the article listed below. 

Article Title: 14 Wildly Successful Women Who Were Late Bloomers

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Written By: by SACHA STREBE

  • Clarissa Pinkola Estes, PHD

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