Celebrities often appear to have everything — gorgeous clothes, giant homes, expensive cars, and a job many spend their entire lives fantasizing about. But before these celebrities became the stars we know them as today, they came from humble beginnings. In fact, many of our favorite actors and musicians used to work regular jobs. Some worked in fast food, while others might have been the telemarketer interrupting your family dinner. And you’ll never guess who used to be a hair dresser… for corpses!
Only two weeks before earning a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, Brad Pitt dropped out, moved to Los Angeles, and began working a number of odd jobs. One of those odd jobs was delivering refrigerators.
After dropping out of college and moving to New York City, Madonna briefly worked at the Dunkin’ Donuts in Times Square. According to her, she was eventually “sacked for squirting the donut jelly all over the customers.”
While pursuing music at a young age, and always fashion conscious, Kanye used to make money folding clothes at GAP. He even mentions those days in his 2004 song “Spaceship” off the album The College Dropout — rapping, “Let’s go back, back to the Gap / Look at my check, wasn’t no scratch / So if I stole, wasn’t my fault / Yeah, I stole, never get caught.”
Before American Idol and winning an Academy Award, Jennifer Hudson’s phenomenal singing voice used to ask if you’d like fries with that. When Jennifer was 16, she worked alongside her sister at the fast food chain. Her sister said Jennifer used to sing while flipping burgers. Following Hudson’s 2007 Oscar win, Burger King gifted her a pre-paid BK Crown Card ensuring that she would never have to sing for her supper again.
In the early-to-mid 80s, prior to pursuing acting, a young Johnny Depp worked a number of odd jobs including one as a telemarketer for pens. What exactly does that entail? Depp described it as marketing pens on the phone, or to put it more bluntly… it was a scam.
When Nicki Minaj was 19 and pursuing acting, she waitressed at a Red Lobster in the Bronx before getting fired for discourtesy to customers. Hmmm, now that doesn’t sound like the Nicki we know at all.
In between graduating high school and beginning college, Hugh Jackman took a year off to teach physical education at a school in a small town in England. Now just imagine having Wolverine as your gym teacher.
Originally known for her 90s band, No Doubt, the group was founded by Gwen’s two DQ co-workers, John Spence and her older brother Eric Stefani, as they served ice cream and mopped floors.
Channing Tatum returned home after college and began working a number of jobs. One of those was stripping at a nearby nightclub. In 2012 he would go on to star in “Magic Mike” — a film about his experiences as a stripper.
Before starring in Pretty Woman, winning an Oscar, and being named “World’s Most Beautiful Woman” five times, Julia Roberts was an ice cream scooper at Baskin-Robbins. I wonder which of the 31 flavors was her favorite?
When Christopher Walken was only 16-years-old he worked as a lion tamer in the circus. He performed alongside a lioness named Sheba.
When Nicole Kidman was 17 she worked as a massage therapist to help support her mother, who at the time was battling breast cancer.
When Vince Vaughn was younger he worked as a lifeguard at the YMCA. After being late for work too many times, he was fired.
Demi Moore dropped out of Los Angeles’ Fairfax High School when she was 16 and quickly got a job as a debt collector to help support her interest in modeling and acting.
From 1980-1984 Steve Buscemi served on FDNY’s Engine Co. 55 in the Little Italy neighborhood of Manhattan. Following the horrific events of 9/11, Buscemi returned to Engine 55 where he worked 12-hour shifts alongside his FDNY brethren, digging through the World Trade Center rubble.
While studying drama at Howard University, Taraji P. Henson spent her mornings working as a secretary at the Pentagon.
In the mid-1970s, James Cameron worked as a truck driver, finding moments to write and read in his spare time. He taught himself about special effects throughout this period of his life, later proving to be very beneficial.
“What happens when you get old? You pass. And you want to have a nice hair do,” said Danny DeVito, who had no interest in attending college after high school. So DeVito began working in his sister’s beauty parlor. DeVito joked about his experience doing the hair of the deceased, “I used to go to the mortuary. There she would be – it was only women’s hair I did – and she didn’t talk back.”
Dropping out of school at 15, Rod Stewart briefly worked as a wallpaper screen printer. The job was destined to be short-lived, seeing as he’s colorblind. Sure enough, he was laid off not too long after, later joking, “That’s always going to limit your possibilities in the wallpaper industries. If you are color-blind, one of the things you can’t be is an aircraft pilot. One of the other things you can’t be is a wallpaper designer.”
Known for playing a doctor in several films and television series, Ken Jeong is in fact a licensed and practicing physician. And his two passions for medicine and comedy have always coincided. Back when he was completing his internal medicine residency at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans, he would also be working on his stand-up comedy.