Inspiration, Lifestyle

4 Celebrities Who Had to Learn English as a Second Language

Per Aspera ad Astra! This popular Latin phrase means “through hardships to the stars”. Having talent is great but...

Avatar Written by Emi Ilievska · 2 min read >
Fashion stylists with model

Per Aspera ad Astra! This popular Latin phrase means “through hardships to the stars”. Having talent is great but many times it isn’t enough or crucial to succeed in fulfilling your dream. You need to work hard and learn about everything that can help you to be one step closer to your goal. Have you ever wondered how many celebrities have had to learn English as a second language on their way to fame?

We look upon them, admire them, and want to be like them but frequently we don’t realize the efforts they made to learn something new so that they can achieve their dreams and conquer the world. The first step to conquer the world and also the first step to a new life and a highly successful career for them was to learn English.
Find out more about celebrities who learned English as a second language…

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Mr. Olympia, a Hollywood actor, governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger was born in 1947 in Austria. He hardly spoke English when he moved to the United States at the age of 21.
Whenever he wasn’t working out and competing, he immersed himself in studying English. His goal was to be understandable, not lose his original accent, which is just as well, because his accent is instantly recognizable and imitable like the famous catchphrase “Hasta la vista, baby” from the film ‘Terminator 2’. You can hear him talking about it in the 60th episode of the Podcast – The Tim Ferriss Show, which can serve as motivation for all of us non-native speakers to strive for fluency, not obsess over perfect pronunciation. You can listen to that episode here and the relevant part is at 39:10.

Penelope Cruz

She is the first Spanish actress to win an Oscar for her English-speaking supporting role in the movie, ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’. Penelope was born and raised in Madrid and she knew little English when she first moved to the US.
She started from the bottom of the ladder in the United States and the only English she spoke was pretty much her movie lines. For her, that was really frustrating, especially when she had rehearsals. She would hide in the bathroom and cry to release that frustration. You can listen to her talking about the hard times learning English here. But hey, she has overcome these obstacles, and now she is a successful actress.

Jackie Chan

We could say that laughter is a universal language and Jackie speaks it very well making us laugh in many comedy action films. In Jackie’s earlier movies his voice was dubbed over in English. But still, Jackie had to learn English so he could fully express himself.
Born and raised in China, he was a movie star long before he made his way to the United States. On his way to success, Jackie Chan even met the Queen, the occasion which he describes in The Graham Norton Show. He was really nervous and insecure about his English, but look at him now.

Anya Taylor-Joy

The ‘Queen’s Gambit’ star, also known for acting in the fantasy-adventure drama series ‘Atlantis’ and horror film ‘The Witch’. She lived in Buenos Aires until the age of six when her family moved to London. That had such a strong effect on Anya that she refused to speak English for two years because she believed this would force her parents to move the family back to Argentina. But with the little help of her uncle, she would sit down with Harry Poter books and learn English from them.

Books, movies , and celebrities can be very inspirational and give you the motivation to learn English. All of them had to learn English as a second language. So, what are you waiting for, let’s conquer the world!

Written by Emi Ilievska
Emi is the Communications and Community Manager at English Forward. She has a Bachelors degree in e-Business and has been working in the eLearning industry for three years. She has previously managed social media for various brands from diverse industries, including health, technology, coaching, and education. Profile