People often tend to feel burned out because they are in a race with themselves to get “successful” as quickly as they possibly can. Looking at inspirational figures, celebrities, the rich and famous – it can feel like you’ll never get to where they are. Think again.
Many of these rich and influential people were exactly where you are right now – maybe even worse! These celebrities aren’t inspirational just because of everything they’ve achieved, but because of the journeys, they’ve been through to get to that point.
Before these people got famous, they were regular Joes and Janes like the rest of us. Doing weird, mundane, uncomfortable jobs… like the rest of us.
Here are 11 celebrities who had random jobs before they became successful:
1. Johnny Depp
Think about how much you hate getting calls from telemarketers. Now think about how much worse it would be if you actually were a telemarketer, selling pens, of all things! This is exactly what Johnny Depp did before he became a uber-successful actor.
He just couldn’t get behind the whole scam-like premise of it (“buy 12 dozen pens and get a grandfather clock for free!”). The one good thing that came out of that job was that Depp got to practice his funny accents and mimicry of famous actors to the customers he spoke to. I guess they were his first audience!
2. Christopher Walken
Christopher Walken has himself a bit of a reputation for being weird, so it’s only natural that his not-famous-person job would have been taming lions! That’s right, Walken used to be a lion tamer in a circus. He described the lioness he worked with, Sheba, as being “very sweet, like a dog” when talking about his former job to Vanity Fair.
3. Jennifer Hudson
Here’s a job that so many Americans have had in their lives, either as a way to earn pocket money in high school or as an adult struggling to put food on the table: fast food worker. For Jennifer Hudson, it was the later. Talking about her stint at Burger King, the powerhouse singer said, “I used to sing at the drive-thru window. That was my microphone.”
4. Lucy Liu
At one point in his life, Lucy Liu worked seven straight days at three different jobs just so she can pursue her dream of becoming an actress. She was a secretary five days of the week, and on the weekends, she would work as an aerobics instructor in the mornings and as a hostess at a restaurant in the nights.
“I knew I needed money if I was going into acting because I was probably not going to be making a lot of money off the bat,” she told the Seattle Times. “To me, it was grueling work, but I was excited by the idea about why I was doing the work.” If that isn’t dedication, I don’t know what it is!
5. George Clooney
Certified ladies’ man George Clooney’s appeal comes from his quiet dignity as much as it does from his good looks. According to him, he learned to be humble through his job as a door-to-door insurance salesman. It was a very tough time for him, especially when he was fired due to his poor customer acquisition rate. Even the one time he managed to secure a commission; the client died the very same day!
6. Rachel McAdams
Rachel McAdams is another famous person who once held down the job of a fast-food worker. Hearing her recount the experience, it’s clear she wasn’t very good at it either! She worked for three years at McDonald’s, during which time, she “I broke the orange juice machine one day”. “I was not a great employee,” she confessed to Glamour magazine. I’ll say!
She also got into trouble for excessive hand-washing. “I had a little bit of an OCD thing with hand washing and just didn’t have time,” she said. “They were like, ‘Hey, the drive-through’s backing up. Stop washing your hands!’” Too bad her tenure at Mickey D’s and the current pandemic happen to be in different times or she would have been a model employee!
7. Barack Obama
Former US president Barrack Obama was born and raised (partially) in Hawaii. Before he got into politics, he used to work at a Baskin-Robbins in Honolulu serving delicious ice cream to customers. “Scooping ice cream is tougher than it looks,” Obama said, “Rows and rows of rock-hard ice cream can be brutal on the wrists.” But, at that time, he says he “was less interested in what the job meant for my future and more concerned about what it meant for my jump shot.” As for right now, the former president certainly loves gulping down ice creams and there’s plenty of pictures online to prove that!
8. Ozzy Osbourne
Ozzy Osbourne’s very ominous nickname “Prince of Darkness” may have come about only during his days a heavy metal musician, but it is also very appropriate for the job he held down before he became a famous guy. The English entertainer used to work at a slaughterhouse, and he was apparently pretty good at it too. “I got used to the smell,” he reported, “and once I’d proved myself as puke remover they promoted me to cow killer.”
9. Victoria Beckham
Lion tamer and butcher are pretty bizarre jobs for people who would go on to become entertainers, but this one may take the cake. Victoria Beckham, fashionista, entrepreneur, mother – the former spice girl who is the essence of class and culture – once played a sperm on roller skates for a BBC sex education show called Body Matters.
10. Vince Vaughn
While a lot of the jobs on this list may seem so out of place when you consider the people who used to work them, Vince Vaughn is probably the perfect representation of a YMCA lifeguard.
“One day there was a woman in the pool who was not a good swimmer and started to slowly drift toward the deep end,” he said. “So, I got in the pool and just lightly dragged her over to the shallow end. My boss said, ‘Congratulations on your first save.’ When I told my dad, he said that there wasn’t anything ‘save’ about it. He took it off the big board, and rightfully so.”
11. Evangeline Lilly
Being a flight attendant might seem like quite a posh job, especially when considering jobs like fast-food workers, but it’s essentially the same thing – just at very high altitudes! Evangeline Lilly used to be a flight attendant, although maybe not the best one because she wasn’t against dealing with unsavory customers in a less-than-polite manner.