Before these celebrities made it big, they were average Joes leading unfabulous lives. They made their money in ways that you’d never expect would lead to a walk down the red carpet. It’s comforting to know the A-listers lived a normal life like the rest of us. What these celebrities did for cash truly gives them the right to chant “started from the bottom now we here.”
Madonna earned her first bucks by serving pastries at Dunkin’ Donuts in New York’s Times Square. But apparently, the Material Girl didn’t last too long. “I was sacked for squirting the donut jelly all over the customers,” she’s said.
2. Brad Pitt
Brad Pitt may be one of the hottest men in Hollywood, but before people knew about this angel face, he had to dance in a chicken suit for El Pollo Loco. After dropping out of college to pursue an acting career, Pitt wound up dressed in the full chicken garb to hand out flyers and bring customers to the restaurant.
3. Rachel McAdams
Spent three of her precious teenage years working at McDonald’s. “It was a great place to work, but I had a little bit of an OCD thing with hand washing and just didn’t have time,” the actress admitted. “I was not a great employee; I broke the orange juice machine one day.”
4. Gwen Stefani
She rocks the stage facing millions of fans, but back when she was just a senior in high school, the icon worked at Dairy Queen. It turns out it became a stepping stone on the path to her huge success. Her band, No Doubt, is made up of fellow DQ employees John Spence and Eric Stefani.
5. Patrick Dempsey
Before Dempsey earned his title as McDreamy on Grey’s Anatomy, he landed an utterly unexpected role. The actor was an avid juggler; he placed in a national juggling competition when he was just a high school kid. The best part: Dempsey’s skill got him a part of the ABC show Overnight Success. There he juggled and danced his way to real fame.
Beyoncé had a few different gigs before becoming the Queen B she is today. While the future pop star grew up, her mother, Tina, owned a hair salon, so the aspiring singer saved extra cash by sweeping up shop. Now she’s sweeping the world off their feet!
7. Megan Fox
Megan Fox, Can you believe that once upon a time, Megan Fox was paid to cover up her smokin’ bod? The bombshell worked for a smoothie shop in Florida and had to wear a full-blown banana costume. The vixen recently appeared on Ellen and admitted that it was the only real job she’s ever had. As a joke, Ellen Degeneres had someone dressed as a fruity snack come up and scare her from behind.
8. Julia Roberts
How awesome would it be to have Julia Roberts Serve you up a scoop of ice cream! Yep, the sweet-hearted actress once worked as a scooper at Baskin Robbins before becoming a multi-millionaire movie star. But she’s not the only star to work at the ice cream branch; President Barack Obama, Leeza Gibbons, Taryn Manning, and Eric Dane are also 31 flavor alumni.
9. Hugh Jackman
You never know who you might bump into—ask Hugh Jackman. The actor, who formerly taught physical education at a school in England, crossed paths with a former student of his who was working the press on the red carpet. Jackman joked with his old student who is now an entertainment reporter, saying, “We go way back, I used to teach you at a high school in P.E., and I want you to know your physical education is progressing. It’s very important to me.”
10. Nicole Kidman
Nicole Kidman is undoubtedly one of the most talented actresses in showbiz, but before she was an Oscar-winner, the beauty supported her family by working as a massage therapist at age 17. Unfortunately, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, so she temporarily dropped out of school to help with bills. Her mom survived and ever since, Kidman advocates and donates to organizations looking for a cure for the illness. “I find trying to solve problems and saving lives far more important than my film career,” she’s said.
11. Connie Britton
Connie Britton might be a heart stealer on her show Nashville, but she was an aerobics instructor before she became a big star. (With a bod like that, we’re not too surprised!). “I wore leg warmers, I wore a bandana—without question had to soak up the sweat,” she joked. “I wore high-legged leotards, a nice pink leotard with a purple bike short and very thick socks… I was hot!”
12. Geena Davis
The young, Geena Davis dreamed of fame. Her first step on the road to red carpets was booking local modeling jobs. She later moved to New York in 1979 and worked at Ann Taylor to pay the bills. There she was eventually promoted to model the clothes as a window mannequin on Saturdays! Davis caught the attention of top modeling agents, and the rest is history!
13. Johnny Depp
Before booking big-time acting gigs, Johnny Depp made his cash by selling ballpoint pens until Nicolas Cage advised him to give acting a shot.
14. Jennifer Aniston
Although she’s one of the worlds biggest celebs today, the Friends star worked as a telemarketer. She juggled this job while booking auditions in hopes of becoming a big star. It just so happens that Aniston is a way better actress than she is a sales rep. “I was awful, selling timeshares in the Poconos and upsetting people terribly and me just being the worst at it, because I just apologized profusely and hung up the phone,” she’s confessed.
15. Marilyn Manson
Before this rockstar got famous he worked at a pizza store. The star made sure to take his delivery job to rock & roll levels by totaling the car while drunk!
16. Victoria Beckham
Victoria Beckham played the part of sperm in a sex education performance while on roller skates.
17. Whoopi Goldberg
Whoopi Goldberg brings people to life with laughter. Ironically, this lively woman once worked with the dead. Before fame, Goldberg was employed as a morgue beautician.
18. Damon Wayans
Wayans forged working papers to get his first job as a summer youth counselor. “I forged working papers at 12 years old to work because you had to be 14. It was interesting because I stole them from my guidance counselor, and then we forged them, and we got Summer Youth Corp. jobs,” he recalls.
19. Channing Tatum
Channing Tatum is known for his dance moves, and that’s probably because he’s been dancing for years. Before he was discovered by a modeling agency… this star made money as a stripper. Who could blame the guy? With a body like that and moves like those, it would be a shame not to cash in on it all.
20. Taylor Swift
Hollywood’s sweetheart, Taylor Swift’s, first job was knocking praying mantises out of Christmas trees. T-Swift grew up on a Christmas tree farm. She was too young to secure the trees to customers cars, so she was given this job instead. “I forgot to check one time, and they hatched all over these people’s house. And there were hundreds of thousands of them,” Swift told Jay Leno.