When you see your favorite celebrities on TV and in magazines, it’s hard to believe they were ever just regular people working to get by. But even the brightest stars had to start somewhere before making it big.
If giving up your life to find success in Hollywood were easy, everyone would do it. For decades actors, musicians, and personalities have struggled to make it big and many suffered through poverty-stricken misery just to make their dreams a reality. Some even did it in spite of not having a proper bed to sleep in.
Whether you’re a waitress, a cashier, or even a janitor, chances are that at least one of the famous faces you admire once worked a day job as crappy as yours.
Here are 15 famous celebs that had strange jobs you won’t believe.
- Hugh Jackman
Famous for playing Wolverine in the X-Men movies, Jackman worked as P.E. teacher at Uppingham School. He also worked as a party clown, charging $50 per show.
- Johnny Depp
A strange job for a strange man, before fame and superstardom, Johnny Depp sold ballpoint pens over the phone.
- Tom Cruise
Before Tom Cruise was capturing the affection of a nation in Jerry Maguire, he was carrying guests luggage as a bellhop at a hotel.
- Megan Fox
The brunette bombshell used to work for a smoothie shop in Florida and had to wear a full-on banana costume. The vivacious vixen recently appeared on Ellen, where she admitted it was the only real job she’s ever had. As a joke, Ellen Degeneres had a man dressed as the fruity snack come up and scare her from behind.
- Barack Obama
As President Barack Obama wrote in a since-deleted LinkedIn post—noted by The Dallas Morning News and confirmed by Politifact and ABC News—he used to scoop ice cream at a Honolulu Baskin Robbins in the mid-’70s. Purportedly, the job made him so sick of ice cream, he gave up the stuff for good.
- Brad Pitt
Not to be outdone by Matthew, Brad actually dressed up as a chicken and danced on the side of the road for a local restaurant named El Pollo Loco restaurant.
- Channing Tatum
Channing Tatum was a stripper. It’s no wonder that the Magic Mike star looked so believable on camera. The actor dropped out of the University of South Florida and began stripping at 19.
- Tim Allen
Before starring in Home Improvement or Last Man Standing, Allen was actually a prisoner. He served two years behind bars for selling cocaine.
- Harrison Ford
Every Star Wars fan knows the story of how George Lucas needed someone to read Han Solo’s lines during the auditions. Harrison Ford, a carpenter on the set, was chosen and the rest is history.
- Gwen Stefani
Today, she’s known for her singing career, but once upon a time, Gwen Stefani’s biggest claim to fame was making Blizzards. In an interview with Marie Claire, the No Doubt frontwoman admitted that the very first paycheck she ever earned was for her work at a Dairy Queen.
Long before she became the Queen of Pop, Madonna earned extra cash by serving up pastries at Dunkin’ Donuts in New York’s Times Square. But reportedly the Material Girl didn’t last too long.
- Nicolas Cage
This eccentric and award-winning actor used to sell popcorn at Fairfax Theatre.
- Nicki Minaj
Before rapper Nicki Minaj was dominating music charts, she used to serve seafood at Red Lobster in New York City.
While the future pop star was growing up, her mom Tina owned a salon, so the aspiring singer picked up extra cash sweeping up hair.
- Matthew McConaughey
Matthew McConaughey was a chicken coop cleaner. During a semester spent abroad in Australia—yes, Matthew McConaughey was one of those guys—the erstwhile Texan cleaned chicken coops for some spare scratch.