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Jobs Before They Were Famous

Doris Benitez
Reading time: 6 min

Inspired by the #FirstSevenJobs hashtag, which saw social media users (including celebrities) from all over the world list their first seven jobs, we decided to delve a little deeper into the topic of celebrity first jobs.

Legends such as Eva Mendes, Harrison Ford and Madonna have become synonymous with the world of showbiz – so much so that it can be difficult to imagine them as anything other than the global superstars that they are.

Sometimes it may seem like the luminaries of our age – impossibly beautiful, naturally charming and brilliantly talented – were crafted in some far-away mysterious planet and then dropped off on earth with the express purpose of keeping us entertained.

But in reality these global icons had lives just like our own. They all had to go through the struggle of finding their first job and they all had to work to become the leading lights that they are today.

Here is a list of some notable celebrities and the humble jobs that formed part of their career journeys on the way to the top:

Madonna – Dunkin’ Donuts

Yes, even the best-selling female recording artist of all time had to start somewhere. The Material Girl once worked as a cashier at Dunkin’ Donuts but her career in hospitality was cut short when she was sacked for squirting donut jelly over the customers. Naughty Queen of Pop.

Michelle Pfeiffer – Grocery Store

Before breaking into the world of showbiz with her role as Tony Montana’s wife in Scarface, Michelle Pfeiffer could be found working the tills at a grocery store in Southern California.

Harrison Ford – Carpenter

On his way to becoming a household name, Harrison Ford actually built household furniture for L.A’s elite, including: Richard Dreyfuss, John Gregory Dunne, Joan Didion and Ray Manzarek.

Jon Bon Jovi – Janitor

It was his life, and he was never going to live forever, but that didn’t stop Bon Jovi from helping his cousin clean up their school before his first record was released.

Sandra Bullock – Waitress & Bar tender

Like many aspiring stars of screen and stage, Miss Congeniality funded her acting classes by working as a waitress and bar tender.

Angelina Jolie – Funeral Director

 Was it destiny that she would become the Tomb Raider? Frustrated at the way her grandfather’s funeral was handled, Angelina planned to become a funeral director if she didn’t make the grade in Hollywood.

Jim Carrey – Factory Cleaner

The man with the elastic face and The Mask took up work as a factory cleaner in his younger days to support his family economically.

Eva Mendes – Fast Food

Before coming through Training Day with flying colours alongside Denzel Washington, Eva Mendes no doubt experienced a number of training sessions at her local mall, where she served pizza, pasta and hot-dogs.

Kanye West – The Gap

College Dropout Mr West, who now collaborates with famous fashion brands such as Adidas and Louis Vuitton, notes that his time at The Gap as a teenager helped develop his love for clothes.

Jennifer Aniston – Telesales

Yes that’s right. Rachel Green once worked in telesales. The Friend’s star and, according to Men’s Health magazine, “Sexiest Woman of All Time” spent a forlorn fortnight trying to flog timeshare holidays while seeking her first major acting role.

Mariah Carey – Makeup Artist

Mariah Carey has always been a glamorous gal. At high school she earned the nickname ‘Mirage’ by rarely turning up for lessons and shortly after she started training to become a makeup artist. However, the best selling female artist of the 2nd millennium never completed her course. Something else must have come up…

Morgan Freeman – Delivery Boy

The man with the smooth deep voice once spent his mornings delivering papers to his neighbours. Presumably, he now spends that time narrating the daydreams of cute penguins.

Bryan Cranston – Delivery Boy

Bryan Cranston will not just be remembered as Malcolm in the Middle’s dad. Some people will remember him as the boy who delivered papers on a bicycle. #DontMentionWalterWhite

Rachel McAdams – McDonalds

Before establishing herself as the queen bee of the ‘Plastics’ Mean Girl Rachel Adams spent three summers working in McDonalds.

Cheryl Cole – Waitress

Cheryl had six platinum albums with Girls Aloud before launching a successful solo career and becoming a judge on The X Factor. Before hitting the limelight she worked as a waitress and was known to have a fiery temper – perhaps necessary to spend so much time at a desk with Simon Cowell.

Danny Devito – Hairdresser

At just 4ft 10in tall Danny Devito is one of the most recognisable men in show business. He’s played it all: from Hush-Hush tabloid publisher in L.A. Confidential to the Penguin in Batman Returns. But it all began in his sister’s hair salon: “I looked in the door and there were like 40 girls… I thank my sister to this day.”

So there you have it: 16 celebrities and the humble first jobs that helped them on their way to stardom. Did any of these surprise you? Don’t forget to share this article with friends or family with aspirations to make it big.

What’s your job going to be before becoming famous? cleaning? driver? Promotional? kitchen porter? waiter? warehouse staff?