Over a million American high school students drop out of the academic system each year, and while the overwhelming majority don’t even come close to earning a million, there are a few famous trailblazers that have defied the odds. Some are musicians and filmmakers who followed their dreams instead of their educations, while yet others are business-savvy billionaires who built entrepreneurial empires without a single qualification. Here are 20 high school dropouts who didn’t make the grade but still made a million; in fact, much, much more than that.
20. Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino has claimed that history was the only academic subject he liked because “it was kind of like the movies.” The Oscar winner dropped out of high school at 15 to study acting, supporting himself working at an adult movie theater and later at a video store. After writing scripts throughout his twenties, then, he got his directorial big break with Reservoir Dogs. Today, he’s worth around $100 million.
19. Gisele Bündchen
Gisele Bündchen was just 13 when a talent agent discovered her chowing down on a burger from across a food court. Elite Model Management eventually persuaded the teen to put down the burger, and her books, and take up modeling. Today, the Brazilian beauty is the world’s top-paid fashion model with a net worth of $150 million.