Everyone covets the life of a celebrity — private jets, elegant Oscar night parties, and luxury homes on multiple continents. It's hard to remember that most celebrities weren't born famous and fabulously wealthy. Long before earning their millions and having their faces plastered on magazines all over the world, some had ordinary, 9-to-5 jobs.
You may be surprised to hear that one of the most famous people in the world worked at an ice cream shop, or at a local Starbucks or McDonald's. It's a reminder that they were just like regular people... before they made it big!
10 Ken Jeong Was A Doctor
You may not know that Crazy Rich Asians star Ken Jeong was a doctor. His crazy antics on The Hangover made him a breakout star, but Ken is actually a pretty smart guy, graduating from Duke University and getting his M.D. from University of North Carolina. He completed his residency in internal medicine while working as a stand-up comedian. A licensed physician in California (though non-practicing), Ken now plays a doctor on his ABC show Dr. Ken. And he did once actually leap off the stage to save a woman who was having a seizure during a stand-up set. Wow!
9 Sting Was A Teacher
In the hit by the Police, Don't Stand So Close to Me, Sting sang of a "young teacher, the subject of schoolgirl fantasy." He was definitely singing about himself! Before Gordon Sumner became Sting, he was known as Mr. Sumner, English teacher and soccer coach, at the St. Paul's school in Cramlington, England. When his band the Police hit it big in the 1980s, his career as an educator was a distant past. But he continued to support teachers by speaking up for higher teacher pay in order to attract quality people to the profession
8 Melissa McCarthy Was A Starbucks Barista
Melissa McCarthy may be one of Hollywood's highest-paid actresses, but when she first started out, she was broke and didn't have a car. So she took a job at Starbucks, which was walking distance from where she lived. In fact, she once made coffee for one of her heroes, Chris Farley, while working there and was tongue-tied and starstruck. After her TV show Molly and Mike and star turn in The Bridesmaids, Melissa is the one making people starstruck now.
7 Brad Pitt Wore A Chicken Suit
Brad Pitt seems to have been the Sexiest Man Alive forever. But when he left the University of Missouri just a few credits shy of a journalism degree to pursue his Hollywood dreams, he didn't hit success right away.
While struggling as an actor, Brad took odd jobs, like working as a limo driver. But his oddest job was at the restaurant El Pollo Loco, where he had to don a chicken suit to pass out flyers and get diners to the restaurant. It's a good thing Hollywood discovered what was inside the chicken suit!
6 Meghan Markle Was A Calligrapher
Before she became famous starring in Suits, Meghan Markle worked as a calligrapher, both for Paper Source and as a freelancer. Imagine Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex, as she is formally known now, writing out your wedding or bar mitzvah invitations! Those days are clearly behind her after she married Prince Harry. She has her own palace calligraphers now!
5 President Obama Was An Ice Cream Scooper
Most people know that President Barack Obama grew up in Hawaii, but did you also know that he worked at a Baskin Robbins in Honolulu as a teenager? Obama has said that at the time, he mainly worried about how scooping hard ice cream was going to affect his wrist while playing basketball. But he also acknowledged that the job taught him responsibility and the value of hard work.
4 Rachel McAdams Worked At McDonald's
She's now known as a glamorous Oscar-nominated actress, but Rachel McAdams worked at a McDonald's for three years as a teenager. She took the job because her sister was a manager there but said she was a terrible employee because her constant handwashing caused delays in the drive-thru lines.
It's good to know that she was fastidious about cleanliness but even better that she broke out as a star in her role as Regina George in Mean Girls. Though it is rather funny to think of the character Regina George working at a McDonald's.
3 Steve Buscemi Was A Firefighter
Whether you've seen him from Fargo, The Big Lebowski, or Boardwalk Empire, you know Steve Buscemi as a terrific character actor, turning out slightly creepy and strange performances. But you may not know that at age 18, he became a proud member of FDNY's Engine Co. 55. What's not been publicized is that Steve worked alongside other firefighters in the aftermath of 9/11, looking for survivors in the rubble. Turns out he's a terrific human being too.
2 Kanye West Worked At The Gap
Before he became a renowned rapper and way before he became the influential designer at Yeezy, his successful collaboration with Adidas, Kanye West worked in customer service at the Gap. Some of you may already know this because he rapped about it in College Dropout, his 2004 album.
His Gap days are definitely behind him, but Kanye has said that he wanted to be the creative director of the retailer. Maybe they can make it happen!
1 Cardi B Was A Grocery Clerk
You may already know that Cardi B worked as a stripper when she was 19. But did you know she worked at a grocery store? She worked as a full-time cashier at Amish Market in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. After she was fired for offering another employee a discount, the store manager suggested she try working at a strip club instead. One thing led to another, and she's now an award-winning rapper, Instagram celebrity, actress, and songwriter.