Believe or not, most celebrities weren’t born into fame and fortune. Before getting their big break, they were just regular people like you and I, who happened to work very regular jobs. Whether it be in the food service, cleaning business or even as mascots, these celebrities did not start off on the big screen. Here are 10 odd jobs your favorite celebrities did before they hit the stage, the big screen and the cover of every magazine.
Finding a steady acting job is hard for a lot of aspiring actors, so it’s no wonder that while Jennifer Aniston was looking for steady work in New York, she waited tables. In an interview with Marie Claire, she says, “Later, I waited a lot of tables, and I wasn’t very good at that. I dropped more than one Alpine burger in customers’ laps, and you just do not want all of that Swiss cheese and mushrooms in your pant. I wasn’t a good waitress, but I was told that I was very nice and charming, so people liked me anyway.” She later decided to make the big move to L.A. where she eventually landed her most iconic role as Rachel Green on Friends.
Carrie Underwood rose to fame as the winner of 2005’s American Idol. But prior to singing her powerful heart out to Simon Cowell, she worked as a cashier at a gas station. Not so glamorous. Similarly, before finding fame, Michelle Pfeiffer worked in a grocery store at the checkout in the 70’s.
8. Food Service
Madonna once worked as a clerk at Dunkin’ Donuts in Times Square. She was fired for squirting jelly filling all over a customer. Clearly, she was destined for something much bigger. But Madonna wasn’t the only star who worked with food. Before she was famous, Julia Roberts used to serve ice cream at Baskin-Robins (and Barack Obama did, too!). And though Howard Stern didn’t serve food per se, he once drove an ice cream truck.
Cindy Crawford once chucked corn for some extra cash and a ton of other celebrities have worked at fast food chains, flipping burgers and all. We’re talking James Franco, Rachel McAdams and Jennifer Hudson, who each have a fast food past.
7. Salon Work
Before Queen B became Queen B, she was just little Beyonce from Houston, where she used to sweep hair in her mother’s salon. But she’s not the only one who has a salon past. Twin brothers Joel and Benji Madden reportedly worked in a Maryland salon shampooing customers, before Good Charlotte went big.
Besides working at Hooter’s, Amy Adams worked in retail as a greeter at the Gap, where Kanye West also worked, once upon a time. And way before he made his mark as a designer, Michael Kors also, and fittingly, worked in retail. He worked as a salesperson in Manhattan’s Lothar’s boutique. Oh and let’s not forget about George Clooney, he once sold women’s shoes.
Some of these may come as a surprise, but Ice-T, Elvis Presley, Drew Carey and Bill Cosby were all somehow involved in the military, and many before fame. Ice-T sold drugs after high school, so to get him on the straight and narrow, he enlisted in the army, spending four years at 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii. Elvis was deployed to Germany in 1958, well after he was one of America’s biggest heartthrobs. He was discharged two years later. Drew Carey was in the United States Marine Corps Reserve for six years, where he often performed comedy. And after joining the Navy in 1956, Bill Cosby served four years and worked with injured Korean soldiers through physical therapy.
Can you guess who used to be a PE teaching assistant in England, before his acting career took off? We bet you wouldn’t think of Hugh Jackman, who worked at Uppingham School in 1987, and is now better known as Wolverine. But he’s not the only one. Friday Night Lights and Nashville star, Connie Britton, used to teach aerobics to stay afloat before making it in Hollywood. Before moving to L.A. and after graduating college, Jon Hamm went back to high school to teach eighth-grade acting in 1993. One of his students was now-actress Ellie Kemper, who appeared on several seasons of The Office.
3. Set Dresser
Sure, Jon Hamm was a teacher at one point in his life. But before he made it onto the big screen, he did other things than teach drama. Hamm worked behind the scenes as a set dresser for adult films. He told Vanity Fair, it was “soul crushing” and in an article for Business Insider, he said, “‘Essentially, I had to move furniture around sweaty, naked people. It wasn’t a great job but the money was useful. I had to get by—I wanted to be an actor.” Talk about random.
Brad Pitt wasn’t always the dashing actor he is today. In his youth, he worked at El Pollo Loco in LA, a Mexican fast food restaurant serving up chicken. But he didn’t work in the kitchen, or even at the cash. Instead, Pitt handed out flyers outside, in non other than a chicken suit. And he wasn’t the only star to do a funny suit. Actress, and total babe, Megan Fox once worked in a Florida smoothie shop, where she had to dress up as a banana and promote the store outside. We only have one question: Why would they cover those beautiful faces up?
Before she made it big as the lead singer of No Doubt, the rock star turned designer, Gwen Stefani, scrubbed floors at Dairy Queen before making it big. But would you ever think that Matthew McConaughey had a past that involved cleaning? Well, surprise, surprise, he does. While living in Australia, he not only cleaned dishes, but chicken coops to get by. Now, we see him walking the red carpet. Additionally, funny man Jim Carrey took a job as a janitor once upon a time, prior to his The Mask days, of course.