Reality competition shows like "The X Factor" and "America's Next Top Model" make it clear that sometimes even the most talented performers just need a break. But that doesn't mean some celebrities didn't get their foot in the door out of sheer dumb luck.
Flip through our gallery below to read about the chance meetings that carved out new destinies for stars from Ashton Kutcher to Jennifer Lawrence and Channing Tatum to Chloe Sevigny.
Originally from upper-crust Connecticut, Chloe Sevigny was 17 years old and skateboarding in Manhattan's East Village when a fashion editor from Sassy magazine happened to pass by. She asked Sevigny to model for the mag, then made her an intern. Two years later, in 1994, Sevigny was cast in the cult indie film "Kids," and The New Yorker published a seven-page article on Sevigny titled <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/archive/1994/11/07/1994_11_07_182_TNY_CARDS_000368200" target="_blank">"Chloé's Scene" </a>.
Kutcher was studying engineering at the University of Iowa when a recruiter at a bar encouraged him to enter a modeling competition. He went on to win and compete in the International Modeling and Talent Association competition in New York in 1998, but lost to -- who would've guessed -- Josh Duhamel.
Natalie Portman was eating pizza at a restaurant in New York when a Revlon agent approached her. Eleven-year-old Portman passed on the modeling gig but pursued acting instead -- landing an agent that led to her breakout role in 1994's "The Professional."
At age 14, the "Hunger Games" star was on vacation in New York with her mother when a talent scout approached her in Union Square. "It wasn't creepy, he didn't ask to take me anywhere, he just wanted to take a picture. And then all these agencies started calling and then we just kind of went (to do cold readings) out of boredom," <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv-movies/hunger-games-star-jennifer-lawrence-discovered-talent-scout-walking-union-square-article-1.1041471" target="_blank">she told the New York Daily News</a>.
The future "Community" star made his name doing sketch comedy work on the Internet while at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv-movies/donald-glover-graduated-writing-30-rock-acting-community-article-1.415694" target="_blank">Tina Fey had picked up on the buzz</a> surrounding Glover, and eventually offered him a role writing for "30 Rock."
Already an aspiring model from South Africa, Charlize Theron got her lucky break at age 19 in Los Angeles when she freaked out on a bank teller. Standing behind her in line? Talent agent John Crosby, who became her manager.
The "Magic Mike" star and one-time real-life stripper was <a href="http://www.people.com/people/channing_tatum/" target="_blank">discovered by a modeling scout </a>in Miami. Shortly thereafter, he was paid to flex for the likes of Nautica and Abercrombie & Fitch.
The actress's aunt allegedly thought a 9-year-old Katherine Heigl would make a good model for a hair-care product she was trying to sell. She was right: The photos landed Heigl early television commercial work.
Looks like the former "Lost" star was always sexy: Lily was spotted by a scout for Ford modeling agency while studying at University in Kelowna, British Columbia.
Born and raised in the Lower East Side, a 15-year-old Dawson was allegedly just hangin' on her front porch when Larry Clark and Harmony Korine noticed her and talked to her about doing a role in their upcoming film. That movie would become "Kids," in which Dawson starred with Chloe Sevigny.
Also on HuffPost: