President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s career change from comic actor to politician is likely the best-known on this list; it’s also probably the most poetic.
Zelenskyy had a varied entertainment career from the age of 17, when he entered a comedy competition and went on to form the highly successful Kvartal 95 production company with some old schoolfriends.
He starred in a number of romantic comedies and provided the voiceover for the Ukrainian release of “Paddington” and “Paddington 2” — but one role truly demonstrated how art mimics life, with Zelenskyy’s portrayal of President Vasily Goloborodko in the series “Servant of the People.”
Zelenskyy — who played a history teacher catapulted by circumstance into Ukraine’s presidency — would go on to name his own political party after the show.
According to Ukrainska Pravda, Kvartal 95 only registered the party’s name to prevent other politicians from cynically using it in the 2019 elections.
But soon, Zelenskyy started polling almost as well as the incumbent, then-President Petro Poroshenko, the paper reported.
By 2019, Zelenskyy was leading his country, dealing with the complexities of the Trump administration and later Russia’s February 2022 invasion.