6 celebrities who were discovered in malls

As the institution of the shopping mall gradually falls out of favor, a number of once-iconic things are going with them: Department stores, toy stores, and budget shoe stores.

Another thing that could vanish along with malls? The potential to be “discovered” by a talent scout while walking from a Brookstones to an Auntie Anne’s pretzel stand and being thrust into a lengthy modeling and/or acting career.

That’s what happened to Alexis Bledel and Karlie Kloss, anyway.

Here’s their story, plus those of a few other celebrities who were discovered in malls and stores.


Karlie Kloss was scouted to walk in a charity fashion show.

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Karlie Kloss started modeling when she was 13 years old.
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Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

In a vlog posted on her YouTube channel, Karlie Kloss revealed her modeling career began when she was spotted by a talent scout while walking through a mall in St. Louis when she was 13. The scout asked her to walk in a charity fashion show, and her career took off from there.

“My mind was focused on sports and school and ballet,” she said in the video. “And this whole other world opened up for me that day at the mall.”


Alexis Bledel was recruited to be a model before she started acting.

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Alexis Bledel is known for roles on “Glimore Girls” and “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
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John Shearer/Getty

According to Biography.com, Alexis Bledel was recruited to attend a modeling school in Houston at a shopping mall when she was a teenager.

She went on to appear in campaigns for Scunci and Naturistics before getting into acting and booking the “Gilmore Girls” role that would make her a household name.


Adriana Lima was spotted in a mall before becoming a Victoria’s Secret Angel.

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Adriana Lima was Victoria’s Secret’s longest-running model.
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Ian Gavan/GettyImages

As Insider previously reported, Victoria’s Secret Angel Adriana Lima was scouted at a shopping mall when she was 13. She won Ford’s Supermodel of Brazil competition two years later, which catapulted her into a long, successful career.

But after the 2018 Victoria’s Secret runway show, Lima announced that she was retiring from the lingerie catwalk. The mother of two is still modeling, and recently became the face of BCBGMAXAZRIA.


Charlie Hunnam met a production manager while shoe shopping.

On a recent appearance on “Live With Ryan and Kelly,” Charlie Hunnam said he was scouted while shoe shopping (after a few drinks) in his hometown of Newcastle upon Tyne, England on Christmas Eve.

A woman, who happened to be a production manager of a TV show that shot in the area, was at the store with him too.

“I was a little drunk and so I just blew her a kiss,” he said. “She sort of smiled a little and then she just came up and said ‘Have you ever thought about acting?'”

He has since starred on FX’s “Sons of Anarchy” and in “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” with Jude Law.


Haley Joel Osment was discovered in an Ikea.

“Sixth Sense” star Haley Joel Osment inadvertenly began his career when he encountered a casting booth at an Ikea in Burbank, California.

“They took a Polaroid and nobody thought anything of it until we got called to do a cattle call at one of those kids’ commercial things,” he told Vulture. “We went, and from that audition, within a couple of weeks, I was doing a Pizza Hut commercial for Bigfoot pizzas, a promotional pizza they had.”

He booked “Forrest Gump” after the Pizza Hut commercial, and as Osment put it, “it all kind of snowballed from there.”


Jourdan Dunn was discovered in a Primark as a teenager.

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In February 2008, Jourdan Dunn was the first black model to walk a Prada runway in over a decade.
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Getty/ Frederick M. Brown

Supermodel Jourdan Dunn was spotted in a Primark store in London when she was 16 by an agent from Storm Management, according to The Guardian.

Since her discovery, Dunn has appeared in campaigns and shows for Calvin Klein, YSL, Burberry, Victoria’s Secret, and more.