It’s hard to imagine the rich and famous living the simple life. But, remember, celebs didn’t start out as celebs. Check out what some of them did to pay the bills before becoming famous.
10. Food Service
This was by far the most popular job category among celebs before they were famous–and for good reason. According to CareerTrend.com, the most common job for teens is in fast food. With that said, here are some celebs that worked in food service before becoming famous:
Nicki Minaj – waitress at Red Lobster
Amy Poehler – ice cream scooper at Chadwick’s Ice Cream Parlor in Waltham, MA
Brad Pitt – chicken costume wearer at El Pollo Loco
Madonna – Dunkin Donuts employee
Melissa McCarthy – Starbucks barista
Julia Roberts – ice cream scooper at Baskin-Robbins
Megan Fox – banana costume wearer at a smoothie shop
Jennifer Hudson – Burger King employee (drive-thru)
Naya Rivera – Hooters Girl
Eva Mendes – Hot Dog on a Stick employee
Eva Longoria – Wendy’s employee
Gwen Stefani – Dairy Queen employee
Rachel McAdams – McDonald’s employee
Barack Obama – ice cream scooper at Baskin-Robbins
Sandra Bullock – waitress and bartender
Mariah Carey – waitress and coat check attendant
Andrew Garfield – Starbucks barista
Gwyneth Paltrow – waitress
James Franco – McDonald’s employee
Diddy – busboy at a Mexican restaurant
Ellen DeGeneres – oyster shucker, waitress, and bartender
Dwayne Johnson a.k.a. The Rock – dish washer
Cindy Crawford – corn shucker
Retail jobs are also common among teens. Quite a few celebs used to work in this sector before achieving fame and fortune:
Cardi B – grocery clerk at Amish Market in NYC’s Tribeca neighborhood
Kanye West – sales associate at The Gap
Johnny Depp – ballpoint pen salesman
Michelle Pfeiffer – supermarket cashier
George Clooney – shoe salesman and insurance salesman
Oprah Winfrey – grocery store clerk
Halle Berry – employee in the children’s department at Higbee’s Department Store
Geena Davis – sales clerk and window mannequin for Ann Taylor
There aren’t many careers more rewarding than being an educator–whether it’s preparing kids for the real world or teaching others about the importance of good health. Here are a few celebs who were educators before they became famous:
Hugh Jackman – high school gym teacher
Connie Britton – aerobics instructor
Kerry Washington – substitute teacher
Lucy Liu – aerobics instructor
Sheryl Crow – elementary school teacher
Jill Scott – teacher’s aide
Gene Simmons (bassist of KISS) – sixth grade teacher at P.S. 75 in New York City’s Spanish Harlem
Sting – English teacher at an elementary school
Art Garfunkel – math teacher at Litchfield Private School in Connecticut
Janitorial workers deserve nothing but the utmost respect from us. You’d be surprised at some of the things they’ve had to come across, and clean up, in their careers. Many times we see their jobs as menial tasks, but if it weren’t for them, our public spaces would be filthy and full of life-threatening germs and bacteria.
Here’s a list of celebs who used to work in custodial services:
Beyoncé – salon floor sweeper (at her mother’s hair salon, of course)
Ashton Kutcher – sweeping floors at the General Mills factory
Jon Bon Jovi – janitor
Jim Carrey – janitor
Miley Cyrus – bra janitor (She was responsible for picking up all the bras and underwear that ended up on the stage after her dad’s concerts.)
Harrison Ford and Matt LeBlanc were both carpenters before making it to the big leagues.
In a 2015 interview with Jimmy Kimmel, Matt LeBlanc said he studied carpentry at a technical vocational high school he attended and almost got into the profession. “Everyone in my family goes to work with some kind of tool in their hands,” he told Kimmel.
Harrison Ford worked as a cabinet maker for a well-known filmmaker. The job landed him a role in one of his films. Any guesses as to who the filmmaker was and what role Ford was given? The filmmaker was George Lucas, and the role was Han Solo in Star Wars: A New Hope.
Blake Shelton painted houses for a living before becoming famous. One of those houses belonged to songwriter Mae Axton, the lady responsible for the lyrics to Elvis Presley’s hit, Heartbreak Hotel. It was Axton who introduced Shelton to some of the people influential in launching his career, particularly songwriter and producer Bobby Braddock, who’d worked with Tammy Wynette, Tanya Tucker, George Jones and Bill Anderson, to name a few. It was Braddock who got Shelton his first record deal with Sony.
Other house painters:
-Gus Smyrnios (star of MTV’s Floribama Shore)
4. Protective Service
When he was younger, Vince Vaughn worked as a lifeguard at the YMCA. Unfortunately, he was let go because he showed up late too many times. Good thing there weren’t any emergencies, LOL!
Sean Connery also worked as a lifeguard. According to childhood friend James Kennedy, Connery always had a swarm of girls around him while lifeguarding at the pool. Guess his 007 role wasn’t much of a stretch :-).
Rapper Rick Ross used to be a Florida corrections officer and told MTV News that he has no qualms about doing it again if that’s what it would take to feed his family. The weird part is that when photos surfaced about his previous line of work, Ross initially denied being a corrections officer. He even went so far as to say that his head was Photoshopped onto someone else’s body. He continued to deny it even when personnel records from the South Florida Reception Center in Dade County showing Ross served 18 months as a corrections officer were uncovered. He finally broke down and admitted the truth in 2009 on MTV’s RapFix Live.
3. Funeral Service
Rod Stewart was a gravedigger before becoming a successful musical artist. According to his biography, he did it to conquer his fear of death. When he was a kid he would have nightmares about death, so he thought that by “getting as close as he could to death, actually digging out holes to be filled by real bodies, he could rid himself of that fear,” he wrote in Rod Stewart: The New Biography.
Sean Connery also worked in the funeral business–as a coffin polisher. He would bleach mahogany coffins to make them look like oak.
2. Professional Killers
Before becoming famous, Matthew McConaughey and Taylor Swift were hired to kill… pests, that is. Matthew McConaughey’s first job was shooting armadillos at the Oak Forest Country Club in Longview, Texas. His task was to keep them from eating the grass on the grounds.
It’s no secret that Taylor Swift grew up on a Christmas tree farm. Most people who grew up on a farm also had to work on that farm, and Taylor Swift was no exception. So, what was her job? She was a praying mantis exterminator! She was responsible for picking their pods off the trees so they wouldn’t hatch inside the customers’ homes.
1. Courier, Messenger and Errand Services
Before becoming one of the highest paid actresses in the world, Jennifer Aniston was a bike messenger–a job she absolutely hated. It was the “toughest” job she ever had, according to an article by Cosmopolitan. Her worst moment on the job? “Probably driving into a door that opened. I’m very uncoordinated and extraordinarily klutzy,” she said in the article.
Other celebs who worked in this field:
-Mick Jagger worked part time as an errand boy at Bexley Mental Hospital.
-Tom Cruise used to be a newspaper delivery boy. Here’s a fun fact about Tom Cruise: At one point he’d considered becoming a Catholic priest!
Did we leave out anyone you think should be on this list? Please share their stories with us. We’d love to hear about them!