Airbnb is worth more than the world’s top three hotel chains combined, with over 150 million users spanning 200 countries. But before the company made its three founders the first-ever sharing economy billionaires, they were broke. Weathering rejections from investors and narrowly avoiding eviction.
If you don’t recognize the name Fritz Pollard, you’re not alone. Pollard was the first Black player in the NFL, the first Black quarterback in the NFL and the first Black head coach of an NFL team. And yet, in 2020 – the NFL’s 100th birthday – the league referred to Pollard as “A Forgotten Man.”
Jesus Christ Superstar is one of the most successful musicals of all time, grossing over $230M worldwide. But before composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Tim Rice launched their technicolour dream careers, the pair was told their proposal of a Christ-themed musical was “the worst idea in history.”
In Part Two of Rejecting Mad Men, the series finds a home that can’t find financing. A struggling unknown actor named Jon Hamm auditions for the lead – and goes to the bottom of the list. Christina Hendricks’ agent drops her for accepting the pilot. And Matthew Weiner writes a whole new story.
According to Rolling Stone, Mad Men is the fourth-greatest television show of all time – bested only by Breaking Bad, The Wire and The Sopranos. But before Sterling Cooper ever opened its doors, Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner was rejected by every major network. Including HBO, FX and Showtime.
Kentucky Fried Chicken is the most popular chicken chain of all time, with 25,000 locations in 145 countries. But before the world tasted Colonel Sanders’ secret recipe of 11 different herbs and spices, the Colonel was broke. At 65. Driving around the South pitching his recipe to restaurant owners and weathering over 1000 rejections. Then he got some unbelievable news.
When Rent premiered in 1996, it became a runaway smash hit. The venue sold out for months on end. Lines stretched around the block. People pitched tents in order to secure rush tickets. Celebrities were photographed under the marquee. But, what many people didn’t know, was that over the previous 15 years, writer and composer Jonathan Larson faced nothing but rejection.
Chrissy Metz is Kate Pearson. No, really. When the script for This Is Us crossed her desk, she couldn’t believe the similarities. Naturally, she was cast and the series became a runaway smash hit – catapulting Metz to stardom and an Emmy nomination. But before landing the role, Metz was an agent in Hollywood watching her clients land part after part while she struggled to make rent.
South Park was named one of Rolling Stone’s greatest TV shows of all time. The animated series earned four Emmys and a cult-following, catapulting its creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone to billionaire status. But rewind 25 years, South Park was rejected.
Misty Copeland made history as the first Black female principal dancer with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre. But along her incredible journey to the front of the stage, Copeland was told she had the wrong body for ballet. That she was too curvy, too short, too old, that her skin colour ruined the “aesthetic.”