Home Careers 30 Occupations Celebrities Had Before They Got Famous

30 Occupations Celebrities Had Before They Got Famous

ShannonOctober 2, 2018

It’s easy to forget that most celebrities were just normal people before they were rich and famous. Most of them had to work for minimum wage just like the rest of us. But some of these jobs are so strange, you won’t even believe such normal teens could grow up to be world-wide celebrities.

Beyonce’s job as a teen was to sweep hair at a salon. Credit: Pinterest

30. Beyonce Swept Up Hair at a Salon

Today, people look up to Beyonce like she is a Queen, and she always has fabulous hair. Before she was famous, she had the humble job of a floor sweeper at her mom’s salon. Luckily, she got all of the pocket money she needed from this part-time job and dedicated most of her time improving her singing and dancing skills.

Channing Tatum (right) and two of his other male stripper buddies. Credit: TBO.com

29. Channing Tatum Was A Real Stripper

We all know about Channing Tatum‘s role in the movie Magic Mike, but few of us know that he actually worked as a stripper when he was 18 years old in Tampa, Florida. The movie is also based on his real life. During an interview, he said that he and his friends would only work for about an hour every night for a show, and make $150. He said bigger gigs paid upwards of $1800.

Rihanna (right) was an army cadet. Credit:

28. Rihanna Was an Army Cadet

Rihanna grew up in Barbados, and as a young woman, she became an army cadet. Today, she is painted in makeup on the cover of magazines, but as a teenager, she was wearing combat boots and crawling through the mud. When she was 16, she started entering beauty pageants, and she said her military training actually helped with her posture, energy, and more.

Young Jay Z Credit: The Guardian

27. Jay Z Was a Trap King

Before he was making music, Jay Z grew up in the notorious “Projects” of New York City, and he was a drug dealer. During an interview, he explained that to be a successful drug dealer, he had to make budgets and treat it very much like any other business. He knew that there was a very small window of time before he would either get killed, or go to jail. In the 1990’s, his rap albums became popular, and he was able to leave his life of crime behind. Now, he is worth over $600 million.

Rachel McAdam’s High School photo. Credit: Capital FM

26. Rachel McAdams Worked at McDonalds

Rachel McAdams is almost always the leading lady in every movie she acts in. Before she was the queen of romantic comedy, she worked at McDonald’s for three years. She admits that she wasn’t the greatest employee. One day, during breakfast time, she actually broke the orange juice machine.

Harrison Ford (far right) together with his carpenter co-workers on a construction job. Credit: Reddit

25. Harrison Ford Was A Carpenter

Harrison Ford‘s first big acting role was Star Wars: A New Hope. At the time, he worked as a full-time carpenter. It’s really no surprise that he could play such a rugged character, since he was a construction worker in real life. He continued to get similar roles throughout his career.


Kanye West’s first job was at The Gap. Credit: Ranker

24. Kanye West Worked at The Gap

Years before he was a hip hop phenomenon, Kanye West was a customer service representative at The Gap. Maybe it served as his inspiration for his own Yeezy clothing line?

When she was young, Whoopi Goldberg went to beauty school. Credit: DollyParton.com

23. Whoopi Goldberg Put Makeup on Dead People

Before she was a famous actress, Whoopi Goldberg went to beauty school to be a license beautician. She saw an ad in the paper to be a morgue beautician, and applied for the job. On the first day, the mortician played a prank on her. He asked her to meet her in the basement, which had the cooler of bodies, and all of the metal drawers where the bodies were kept. One of the drawers started to slowly open on its own. Goldberg was so scared, she ran towards the door, smacking against it, and knocking herself unconscious. When she woke up, her boss told her that it was a sort of initiation to see if she could handle the work. She stayed, and did hair and makeup on corpses. 

Amy Adams’ high school senior photo. Credit: Pinterest

22. Amy Adams Was a Waitress At Hooters

Looking at photos of a young Amy Adams, she looks like an incredibly sweet girl. So it’s hard to imagine she working somewhere like Hooters. If you’re unaware, Hooters waitresses wear skimpy shorts and low-cut tee shirts with push-up bras while serving customers food and beer. In a way, maybe she saw it as a form of modeling before her acting career got started.


Hugh Jackman (right) posing in a group photo for the boy’s basketball team at the school where he worked. Credit: Looper

21. Hugh Jackman Was A Gym Teacher

In every X-Men movie, Hugh Jackman is running through the woods playing the character Wolverine, looking like one of the most muscled men alive. Imagine having the opportunity to not only work out with Hugh Jackman, but to have him be a personal trainer. Well, that’s pretty much what happened. Right after college, Hugh Jackman worked as a P.E. teacher at an all-boys school in England. This fun fact was revealed when an entertainment reporter named Rollo Ross interviewed Hugh Jackman on the red carpet, and the actor reminded him that he was once his student.


Johnny Depp as a teenage actor. Credit: Huffington Post.

20. Johnny Depp Sold Pens

As a high school dropout, Johnny Depp didn’t have too many options when it came to getting a good job. He truly was a “teen dream”, but he still needed to work for a living. One of his worst jobs was being a telemarketer trying to sell pens over the phone. He said it was basically a scam, because he would have to tell people that they could win a free vacation if they bought a box of pens. He absolutely hated it and when he started making more money as an actor, he lever looked back.

Credit: Ranker

19. Jennifer Aniston was a Telemarketer

When Jennifer Aniston first moved to Los Angeles, she was going on auditions for acting roles, but she still had to pay the bills. So, she worked as a telemarketer. The office was right next to a Taco Bell, so she was eating there on her breaks, and we’re pretty sure the smell was pungent enough to seep through the telemarketing wells. Aniston says that she was extremely lucky to have found an acting job just three months after moving to LA.

Jon Hamm in High School. Credit: Pinterest

18. Jon Hamm Worked On a Porn Set

Jon Hamm is best known for his role as Don Draper in Mad Men, and he has gone on to work on other series like 30 Rock and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Before he was a famous actor, he tried to get his break in the entertainment industry in an entirely different way. He worked in porn.

Okay, hold on. You won’t find a hidden video of Jon Hamm porn out there. He was one of the people who decorated the sets where the porn would actually happen. Everyone’s got to start somewhere.

Melissa McCarthy was a Starbucks barista before she made it as a comedian. Credit: YouTube

17. Melissa McCarthy Was A Starbucks Barista

When she was a young actress, Melissa McCarthy scored a huge role on Gilmore Girls, Saturday Night Live, and other TV shows. Today, she is starring in her own movies. But before her acting career took off, she moved to Santa Monica, California and worked the humble gig of a Starbucks Barista. One of her idols, the comedian Chris Farley, walked in and ordered a coffee. She was totally star-struck, and acted like a crazed fan. She would have no idea that some day, she would have fans of her own.

Ronnie Walken with a full face of clown makeup. Credit: RealClearLife.com

16. Christopher Walken was a Clown and Lion Tamer

Most people don’t realize that Christopher Walken‘s real name is Ronnie, and he started out his performance career as a young clown working in the circus. When he got a bit older, he upgraded to a much cooler job in the circus- a lion tamer.

As a teenager, Jim Carrey worked as a janitor. Credit: CreativeAGo

15. Jim Carrey Was a Janitor

When he was 12 years old, Jim Carrey’s father lost his job. His family was homeless, and they were living in a van. Even though he was still so young, he was able to get a job as a janitor at a factory. There was a lot of tension going on between the different groups who worked in the factory, so he carried around a baseball bat in his cleaning cat for protection.

Before she was a famous actress, Gabourney Sidibe worked as a phone sex operator. Credit: Ebony

14. Gabourey Sidibe Was A Phone Sex Operator

When she was 21 years old, Gabourney Sidibe was a phone sex operator. She was actually really good at the job, so she was promoted to a receptionist, and payment processors. At one point, she even became a manager who monitored the phone sex calls to check for quality.

Before she got into modeling and acting, Megan Fox worked at a smoothie shop. Credit: Flickr

13. Megan Fox Was a Giant Banana

Growing up in Florida, the only job Megan Fox had before she became an actress was at a smoothie shop. She usually worked as a cashier. Every Friday, she and her fellow employees had to take turns dressing up like pieces of fruit and dance in front of the store to attract customers. She was stuck dressing like a banana, which was humiliating, because people could still see her face.

Sean Connery joined the navy when he was just 16, and became a coffin polisher after he was discharged. Credit: Pinterest

12. Sean Connery Cleaned Coffins

Years before he played the character James Bond, Sean Connery was born into a poor Scottish family. His first job was as a milk delivery boy, and he went in the Navy for two years. When he was discharged, he had several odd jobs, but the strangest one was being a coffin cleaner. He had to dust and polish the wood to make it look good for customers.

Credit: Pinterest

11. Angelina Jolie Wanted to be a Funeral Director

It sounds incredibly morbid, but when she was young, Angelina Jolie actually wanted to be a funeral director. During an interview, she said that when her grandfather died, she felt really disappointed in the way that the funeral directors handled it, and that it was an awful experience. She thought that when she grew up, she wanted to give mourning people a better way to say goodbye. She was so serious about it, that she got a mail-in certificate when she was just 14. It remained to be her backup career path, if acting did not work out.

For two years, Ozzy Osbourne worked in a slaughterhouse. Credit: Reddit

10. Ozzy Osbourne Killed Cows

Ozzy Osbourne worked in a slaughterhouse for 2 years. It was his job to cut cow’s stomaches open and empty out their organs. He was so disgusted by the experience, he could no longer eat meat, and became a vegetarian. He wanted to leave that job so badly, he started stealing from people’s houses to make money, and ended up in jail. Afterwards, he left his life of crime behind and worked on a music career, instead.

Gerard Butler graduated from law school. Credit: Pinterest

9. Gerard Butler Was a Lawyer

In Scotland, Gerard Butler went to law school, and his family was very proud of him. His family didn’t have a lot of money growing up, especially after his parents got a divorce, and his mom raised him alone. After graduation, he got his first job as a lawyer, but he was very unhappy, and he was pretty terrible at the job. He was fired. During school, he was a member of a rock band, so he decided that since his career was a lawyer wasn’t going anywhere, he would try to make it in Hollywood.

Years before joining Scientology, Tom Cruise studied to be a Catholic Priest. Credit: Pinterest

8. Tom Cruise was Almost a Priest

Today, Tom Cruise is known for his roles in action movies, and for being one of the top members of Scientology. Believe it or not, he actually went to seminary school in hopes of becoming a Catholic priest. For money, he worked as a bellhop, carrying bags for people as they went into their hotel rooms.

Credit: CNN

7. Cindy Crawford Was A Corn Shucker

Cindy Crawford was a supermodel who easily made $1,000 per day and became famous as one of the most beautiful women in the world. When she was a teenager, one of her summer jobs was shucking cobs of corn for just $4 per hour.

As a young rapper, Nicki Minaj needed to work at Red Lobster to pay the bills. Credit: HipHopTitans.com

6. Nicki Minaj Worked at Red Lobster

Before she became a famous rapper, Nicki Minaj was a waitress at Red Lobster. She hated the job, and admits that she was almost never cheerful when taking customer orders. She went to school for acting, and started rapping in her spare time. Her terrible job helped to motivate her to work harder on her music in order to get of the food industry.

Credit: Pinterest

5. Matthew McConaughey Was An Armadillo Killer

Matthew McConaughey grew up in Texas, and his experiences show that it truly was a wild west. His very first job was raking the sand traps of a golf course. Since customers showed up to play golf at 6:45AM, McConaughey had to be out on the golf course with a headlamp raking the sand at 3AM. Eventually, the groundskeeper approached him about an armadillo problem. The critters were ruining the grass on the golf course, and they needed to be exterminated. So, he handed Matthew McConaughey a gun, and asked him to shoot the armadillos all night long.

Brad Pitt Credit: Pinterest

4. Brad Pitt Was A Chicken

When he first moved to Hollywood looking for acting gigs, Brad Pitt worked at a restaurant called El Pollo Loco. He had to dress up in a chicken costume and wave at cars driving past. Since it was a full-body suit, no one could even see his good looks behind the chicken. Thankfully, he moved on past that, and was able to get acting gigs.

George Clooney sold insurance door-to-door. Credit: Pinterest

3. George Clooney Sold Insurance

When he was young, George Clooney was a door-to-door salesman, trying to sell insurance. He didn’t have a lot of money back then, so he was wearing ill-fitting suits, and felt completely awkward asking people to buy these products in their homes. During a speech, Clooney said that no other job in his life was ever as difficult as being an insurance salesman.

One of Madonna’s high school photos. Credit: Huffington Post

2. Madonna Sold Donuts

When Madonna was living in New York City, she had to get a job in Time Square at Dunkin Donuts. She wasn’t very good at the job, though. She got fired for accidentally squirting jelly on the customers.

Danny DeVito at 19 years old. Credit: Pinterest

1. Danny De Vito Was A Corpse Hairdresser

When he was 19 years old, Danny De Vito‘s sister Angie was a hairdresser, and she owned her own salon. He needed a job, so she offered to let him come to work for her. She even paid for him to go to beauty school. After graduation, he worked for his sister. Since he was one of the only male hairdressers in town, he would often get called by the local mortuary to do a particularly tough job- doing the hair of dead people. He mostly set old women’s hair in curlers and helped them look good for their funeral.