Melissa McCarthy spent two decades struggling to break into Hollywood. After moving from her hometown in Plainfield, Illinois, to New York City at age 20, she racked up credit card debt and, at one point, couldn't withdraw cash from an ATM because her bank account balance was under $5.
But once she made a splash with the 2011 comedy "Bridesmaids," McCarthy rose quickly: In just five years, she was the third highest-paid actress in Hollywood.
"I've gotten lucky," she tells Glamour, "and I've worked hard."
She has also negotiated her way to the top. As her husband, comedian Ben Falcone, puts it, she has "fists of justice" and is relentless about getting the roles and production deals that she wants and deserves.