20 Stars Reveal How They Got Their SAG Cards

Jennifer Lawrence, Anne Hathaway and more stars recall their landmark roles

01 of 20

PADMA LAKSHMI

Padma Lakashmi, Tim Allen , Martin Short
Padma Lakashmi/ Instagram

"This is how I first got my SAG card by playing a glorified extra on the film 'Jungle 2 Jungle,'" the Top Chef star began her Instagram post, which detailed her SAG story.

"I was credited as 'The Snake Lady' because of a snakeskin coat they made me wear 🐍 ," she continued.

"Also, who says I don't like Republicans? 😂," she joked about posing alongside comedian-actors Tim Allen, who previously compared being a Republican in Hollywood to 1930s Germany on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in 2017, according to EW, and Martin Short.

02 of 20

JENNIFER LAWRENCE

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Steve Granitz/WireImage

"I earned my SAG card — when I was 14, I did an MTV promo for My Super Sweet 16," Lawrence recalled in her 2013 Screen Actors Guild Awards best actress acceptance speech. "I remember getting [the card] in the mail and it being the best day of my entire life because it officially made me a professional actor — which put me in a category with all of you. And now I have this naked statue that means that some of you even voted for me."

03 of 20

ANNE HATHAWAY

BLINGED OUT & BRIDAL
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"I got my SAG card when I was 14," Hathaway said during her 2013 best supporting actress speech. "It felt like the beginning of the world. I have loved every single minute of my life as an actor. And I have been the recipient of so much kindness and support from actors in this room and out of it."

04 of 20

KIERNAN SHIPKA

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Steve Granitz/WireImage

Shipka might be the proudest card-carrying SAG member, ever. "It was probably a commercial," the actress said of how she earned her card. "I was definitely very tiny. It was all a blur. I knew about SAG, though. I was definitely pro-SAG since [I was] a young child. I carry the card with me! Any time you ask, I've got my SAG card on me. I can just bust it out."

05 of 20

KERRY WASHINGTON

CRAZY FOR CROP
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"The ABC Afterschool Special Magical Makeover is what earned me my SAG card, and I'm back here at ABC still," Washington said. "I think I was a cheerleader in it."

06 of 20

SOPHIE TURNER

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Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

"Game of Thrones," Turner told Elle. "I felt really great. It felt I was actually a real actress. I was part of something, finally. I don't actually know where it is — I think I lost it. But it means so much to me! I keep it in my heart."

07 of 20

BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH

Benedict Cumberbatch, BFI London Film Festival Portrait Studio, October 8, 2014.
Gareth Cattermole/Getty

"I bribed a senator, that's how I got it," Cumberbatch joked. "I can't remember when I got it. I got it [in 2013] at some point."

08 of 20

SARAH PAULSON

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Jason Merritt/Getty

"I got my SAG card in 1994 doing an episode of Law & Order, which is a rite of passage for any American actor, I think, or any actor of any kind," Paulson said. "It was called 'Family Values.' "

09 of 20

NEIL PATRICK HARRIS

SPEAK EASY
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"I got it on a TV show called Throb," Harris told TV Guide. "I played a little kid who was stalking Jane Leeves."

10 of 20

BETTY WHITE

LOVE OF A 'LIFETIME'
Phil McCarten/Reuters/Landov

"Fran Van Hartesveldt, a commercial agent in town, explained to me that to get a SAG card, I needed a job and to get a job, I needed a SAG card," the late icon recalled to TV Guide in 2011. "He had pity on me and gave me one line in a show called The Great Gildersleeve. Years later, when I got my own show I hired Fran as one of my writers."

11 of 20

ALISON BRIE

Alison brie
Alison Brie. jimmy Kimmel live/ youtube

"It was an anti-drug PSA," Alison Brie told TV Guide. "This was the first thing I ever auditioned for. They didn't pay me to do the commercial, but they gave me my SAG card."

12 of 20

CHRIS COLFER

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How's this for good fortune? "For Glee, because it was my first job ever," Colfer said of earning his SAG card. "Amazing, right?"

13 of 20

LAURA PREPON

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"I was doing this MCI commercial when I was 17," Prepon said. "I think that made me eligible and then I got it on That '70s Show. I had no clue what it was because I had never acted before I got the commercial. It was one of those things that was like kismet — it kind of found me."

14 of 20

TY BURRELL

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Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Modern Family star Ty Burrell got his start on Law & Order — but he joked he was so "unmemorable" that he got away with playing different characters on different episodes: "Nobody noticed that now I was playing an assassin."

15 of 20

SAMIRA WILEY

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Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan/Sipa

"The first movie I ever did was with Jonah Hill," Wiley told Elle, adding, "Method Man played my boyfriend. It was called The Sitter. That's how I got my SAG card. It felt unreal. It was something I'd always heard about and felt like I was going to work my entire life to get. It was like a dream come true. I don't know why I keep it in my wallet, but maybe in case someone is like 'Are you?' and then I can be like 'Yes' and pull it out. It's like a detective badge: 'SAG, please step aside.' "

16 of 20

LAVERNE COX

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Jason Merritt/Getty

"I was eligible for many years before I actually joined. I had to join when I booked an episode of Law and Order: SVU," Cox revealed. "The episode is called 'Closet,' I think. I joined and I didn't have the money for the dues so they put me on a payment plan. I paid off my SAG dues in 2008 over a six-month period."

17 of 20

PETER FACINELLI

Filming Peter Facinelli's 'The Vanished' Was Shut Down By Weather, Wild Hogs & More
TOUT ONLY DO NOT USE Filming Peter Facinelli's 'The Vanished' Was Shut Down By Weather, Wild Hogs & More. Getty Images

"I ran into [Law & Order creator] Dick Wolf ... I said, 'I didn't get my diploma because of you, but I got my SAG card because of you," Facinelli said at the 2013 SAG Awards. "I was majoring in theater. It all worked out."

18 of 20

JESSE TYLER FERGUSON

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Steve Granitz/WireImage

"I got my SAG card doing the first-ever commercial for Dasani bottled water," Ferguson told TV Guide. "I thought I only got the part because of my red hair but then the commercial was shot in black and white and I realized I got the part could I could sell the s--- out of overpriced bottled water."

19 of 20

RITA WILSON

Rita Wilson
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"It was The Brady Bunch," Wilson said. "That's how I got my Screen Actors Guild card. I played Pat Conway, the cheerleader who Greg chose to become head cheerleader. It was so much fun."

20 of 20

ELLIE KEMPER

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John Salangsang/Invision/AP

"I got my SAG card for a K-Mart commercial where I had a tarantula crawling all over my face," Kemper recalled. "It was so furry and large and it felt closer to a kitten than an insect and it was actually kind of nice — I only work with real animals."

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