From Sandwich Artist to Stripper, the Surprising Jobs Celebrities Had Before They Were Famous
Stranger Things star Noah Schnapp working a summer job as a lifeguard this year is a career move we did not see coming. While 17-year-old Noah explained that his side hustle allows him to stay grounded between his rising Hollywood jobs, other big-name stars such as Jennifer Lawrence, Rachel McAdams and Brad Pitt worked seemingly “normal” jobs before hitting the big time.
Many worked the 9-5 grind, while others worked as waiters and some stars had even immersed themselves in a completely different career before pursuing their passions. No matter how regular and low-key their job was, they worked their way up and paid their dues. So while we are looking back at 14 celebrities with surprising pre-fame jobs, just remember the moral of the story is that while you may feel stuck in a career rut, one day you could be rubbing shoulders with the A-list. Read ahead to see where their careers began.
Margot Robbie: Sandwich Artist
Margot Robbie is now Hollywood’s darling, having cemented her star power with flicks such as Quentin Tarantino‘s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and the Oscar-nominated “I, Tonya”. But before bagging her breakthrough role on the Australian soap “Neighbours”, the actress worked several jobs, including one as a sandwich artist at Subway. Apparently, she was really good at the job, too, stating on an episode of Hot Ones, “I think I was really good at it though because I, you know, would really spread everything out to the edges evenly – the right amount of everything.”
Robbie, who is set to star in the upcoming “Barbie” film, added that because she was such a perfectionist in the sandwich-making realm, it’s now hard for her to step foot in Subway because the sandwiches don’t meet her standards. “It kills me. Like, I actually don’t go that often anymore because I watch them make it badly – and I’m upset.”
Meghan Markle: Calligraphy Teacher
Before Meghan Markle became Prince Harry’s wife, she worked as a part-time calligrapher in between acting jobs. Apparently, she was really good at creating personalised stationery and wedding invitations (she even penned Robin Thicke and Paula Patton’s wedding invitations back in 2005!). She taught calligraphy classes, too.
Paper Source CEO Winnie Park previously told People: “It was her part-time job as she was going through auditions. She taught calligraphy and hosted a group of customers and instructed them during a two-hour class on how to do calligraphy.”
Channing Tatum: Stripper
A celebrity’s pre-fame job has rarely resulted in a major movie franchise, but that’s exactly what happened with Channing Tatum. While struggling to break into the modelling world, Tatum paid his way as a stripper at a local Hollywood nightclub under the pseudonym of Chan Crawford. He worked in the industry for eight months before bagging big acting jobs, most noticeably “Step Up” alongside his now ex-wife Jenna Dewan. A few years later, in 2012, Tatum co-produced and starred in the popular film “Magic Mike“, which was partially inspired by his work.
While he has now made a fortune off the back of his short stint in stripping, Tatum has admitted that he doesn’t miss anything about his saucy past. “I don’t miss anything about stripping. I stripped in Tampa for like 25 girls, at best. It wasn’t glamorous whatsoever, so there’s nothing that I miss about stripping,” he told People.
Harry Styles: Bakery Worker
Two years before he walked on stage at the X Factor auditions in 2010, Harry Styles began earning £6 an hour while working at the W Mandeville bakery in Holmes Chapel in Cheshire. “[Harry] was the most polite member of staff we’ve ever had,” his former boss Simon Wakefield told The Mirror in 2013. The fact that the former One Direction star is now a global superstar is undoubtedly the icing on the cake.
Brad Pitt: Restaurant Mascot
When it comes to Hollywood, one of the most iconic celebrity that is likely to come to mind is Brad Pitt. With films such as “Se7en”, “Fight Club”, “Ocean’s Eleven”, and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” under his belt, it’s hard to imagine a time when Pitt wasn’t in the limelight. But he is actually the perfect example of “everyone has got to start somewhere”, as he worked as a restaurant mascot during his struggling actor days. Pitt would dress as a chicken to encourage people to dine at the American fast-food chain, El Pollo Loco. And you know what’s even more brilliant? Pitt stayed humble as he recently told Ellen DeGeneres that he has “no shame” about his beginnings.
Megan Fox: Restaurant Mascot
Dressing up as a mascot was a coveted gig for struggling actors everywhere. Even Megan Fox found herself donning a giant banana costume while working at a smoothie café as a teenager. The “Jennifer’s Body” star admitted she would be teased by her fellow peers for the job. “I worked at a Tropical Smoothie Cafe in Florida when I was 15. I would have to go out in the street wearing a gigantic banana costume and dance to try to get customers to come in. There was no anonymity, the costume had a big hole cut out so that everyone would see your face,” she told Bang Media.
Megan added: “My friends from school would drive back and forth and yell all kinds of awesome obscenities at me!” Luckily, the slippery slope to fame ended there, and she hit the big time with major movie roles such as “Transformers” and is now loved-up with Machine Gun Kelly!
Kendall Jenner: Dog Walker
You might think the Kardashian-Jenners shirked day jobs, but you’d be wrong. Years before she walking catwalks across the globe, Kendall Jenner would take part in more low-key walks as a local dog walker around her hometown of Calabasas, California. Jenner reflected on the “On Purpose with Jay Shetty” podcast, “I was always the kid that was really eager to work. When I was young, I put out some flyers around our community and said I would walk dogs. So I would get people who would let me take their dogs for a few hours and take them on a walk. I liked animals, and I liked having something to do.”
Snippets of Kendall’s early dog walking days can also be seen in the first season of “Keeping Up With The Kardashians”.
Jennifer Lopez: Tax Professional
Whether it’s J Lo, Jenny from the Block, or Bennifer, we have known and loved Jennifer Lopez for years. From her acting, singing, dancing and highly publicised romances, you would be forgiven for thinking you knew everything about Lopez. But did you know that before hitting the big time, she spent Saturdays working at the Thomas Lavin Law Office filing tax returns?
Thomas Lavin himself was impressed with the young starlet’s efforts. “It’s rare that you know before the person even speaks that you are going to hire her… but that’s how it was with Jennifer,” he gushed to Bronx Times-Reporter in 2014. “I was amazed at what she could pick up in such a small period of time. … I’m convinced that she would have made a great lawyer.” Well, it’s confirmed, Lopez can do everything!
Gerard Butler: Lawyer
Before he starred in flicks such as “Law Abiding Citizen” and “The Bounty Hunter”, Gerard Butler was studying law at the University of Glasgow and also spent two years as an intern at a law firm. He spent a total of seven years studying and practising law, which he joked on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” was “just the right amount of time to mess it all up.” But of course, he didn’t mess it up, as he made a hugely successful 360 career change into the entertainment business, and the rest is history!
Helen Mirren: Theme Park Promoter
Helen Mirren is one of Britain’s most beloved actresses. But back in the seventies, before landing her first television gig, she tried to make ends meet while working as a promoter for an amusement park in Southend-on-Sea in Essex. Her job’s exact nature included attracting customers for rides at The Kursaal amusement park. It’s safe to say that Mirren has had a rollercoaster of a career since, starring in movies such as “Gosford Park”, “Eye In The Sky”, “The Good Liar” and bagging herself an Oscar for “The Queen”.
Rachel McAdams: McDonald's Greeter
Rachel McAdams ruled the noughties with films such as “Mean Girls“, “The Notebook”, and “Wedding Crashers”. But just a few years before, she was working at McDonald’s, although not quite flipping burgers. McAdams previously explained that during her three years with the fast-food company, they would only have her at the front door greeting customers, because she wasn’t great at other responsibilities.
“I’m not sure why they kept me: I am something of a daydreamer and a dawdler, so they would only let me be the ‘friendly voice’ that greeted you when you entered the restaurant,” she told The New York Times. On a separate occasion, she revealed she broke the orange juice machine. Good thing the acting business came calling!
Tan France: Flight Attendant
We now know and love him for teaching us the “French Tuck” on Netflix’s “Queer Eye” – but did you know that once upon a time, Tan France worked as a flight attendant? Working for the now-defunct Brittania Airways wasn’t quite the mile-high experience he had hoped for, writing in his memoir “Naturally Tan” that the job was “very difficult” and “complicated”. He also said he faced racist treatment from drunken passengers during the position which he took on in the years after the 9/11 attacks. Luckily for us, France got his head out of the clouds and graced us with his presence on television.
Jennifer Lawrence: Assistant nurse
It’s hard to think about Jennifer Lawrence having a regular job at any point in her life. After all, she scooped up an Oscar win for “Silver Linings Playbook” shortly after hitting the big time in “The Hunger Games” trilogy. But before the glitz and the glamour, Lawrence spent her summers working as an assistant nurse at her family’s children’s camp. She began the gig when she was only 12-years-old.
Lawrence has also made it known that if her acting career didn’t go according to plan, she had the backup plan of becoming a nurse. Of course, she didn’t need to make that decision as she is now one of the most well-known faces in Hollywood.
Danny DeVito: Hairstylist for Corpses
Danny DeVito used to be a beautician in New Jersey, and not just any beautician – he became a hairstylist for corpses! Devito used to work for his sister at her beauty parlour, which had an older clientele of women who wanted their hair done after they passed away.
“I used to go in there, you know, the mortuary,” DeVito previously told Lopez Tonight. “It’s a little morbid, but you’ve seen “Six Feet Under” and all these shows. Anyway, there she would be, it was only women’s hair I did, and it was usually [a] really old lady.” DeVito added: “She didn’t talk back. She didn’t say, ‘Oh, I don’t like the way that hair’s curled.'”