logo
Reba McEntire | Carrie Underwood | Source: Getty Images
Reba McEntire | Carrie Underwood | Source: Getty Images

Janitor & Bull Tail Holder: 14 Celebs Who Had the Most Unexpected First Jobs

Wian Prinsloo
Jul 04, 2024
03:15 A.M.

While many of us marvel at the seemingly outlandish lifestyles so many celebrities seem to have, we often forget that they had to make a living before they reached the top levels of fame. Here's a look at what 14 different famous faces did before they became household names.

Advertisement

To start off the list, we take a look at how Meghan Markle made a few bucks before she became the royalty she is today. Along the way, we'll even take a glimpse of how her acting career took off and a hidden talent she has. AND read on to find out how the likes of Jennifer Aniston and Matthew McConaughey made a living before they graced our screens.

How Meghan Markle Made a Living

Before Meghan Markle became a member of the British royal family, she found an interesting array of ways to make money. Many wouldn't believe the now-royal sustained herself through a combination of acting and freelance calligraphy. But before all that, she served yogurt and emptied the trash at Humphrey Yogart in Los Angeles as a schoolgirl.

Meghan Markle in Los Angeles, California, United States, September 17, 2005 | Source: Getty Images

Meghan Markle in Los Angeles, California, United States, September 17, 2005 | Source: Getty Images

Advertisement

Markle taught calligraphy and other crafts at Paper Source in Beverly Hills between 2004 and 2005, where she instructed customers on creating personalized stationery and wedding invitations. She also leveraged her calligraphy skills for freelance work, which included crafting wedding invitations for high-profile clients such as Robin Thicke and Paula Patton.

Meghan Markle at the Nigerian Defence Headquarters in Abuja on May 11, 2024  | Source: Getty Images

Meghan Markle at the Nigerian Defence Headquarters in Abuja on May 11, 2024 | Source: Getty Images

Markle's artistry and attention to detail made her work sought after. Her love for the handwritten note and meticulous penmanship apparently started during her schooling years and helped her look after herself before she found herself in the public eye (Calligraphy Museum). Markle balanced these creative jobs with auditions, eventually landing her breakthrough role on the television series "Suits." The rest is royal history.

Advertisement

Kate Middleton's Life before Luxury

But Markle isn't the only royal who have experience making money for themselves. Although she met her Prince while studying art history at the University of St Andrews, Kate Middleton has proved herself to be more than capable of looking after herself.

Kate Middleton in Scotland on February 25, 2011 | Source: Getty Images

Kate Middleton in Scotland on February 25, 2011 | Source: Getty Images

In 2006, Middleton worked as an accessories buyer for the fashion chain Jigsaw part-time. Kate approached Jigsaw's co-founder, Belle Robinson, for the job. The role met her desire for a flexible position due to the unpredictable demands of her personal life.

She worked three days a week, impressing her colleagues with her strong work ethic and down-to-earth nature, often interacting warmly with everyone from van drivers to office staff.

Advertisement
Catherine, Princess of Wales in London on June 15, 2024 | Source: Getty Images

Catherine, Princess of Wales in London on June 15, 2024 | Source: Getty Images

However, intense media scrutiny and the need for personal time led Kate to leave Jigsaw in 2007. She subsequently joined her family's business, Party Pieces, where she played a significant role until her engagement to Prince William in 2010.

Hollywood Royalty, Jim Carrey, before His Big Break

Not all famous celebrities had the opportunity to start their career with a solid education to their name. Jim Carrey, the beloved comedy actor, had to get creative when it came to making money without a solid education.

Jim Carrey in the United States, 1990 | Source: Getty Images

Jim Carrey in the United States, 1990 | Source: Getty Images

Advertisement

After leaving school in 1978 to help support his family, Carrey worked for two years as a janitor in a factory. Despite these challenging circumstances, Carrey pursued his passion for comedy, performing stand-up at the age of 15 in Toronto clubs. By 1979, his comedic talent allowed him to start a full-time career in comedy, which eventually led to his successful career in Hollywood.

Jim Carrey on April 05, 2022 in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images

Jim Carrey on April 05, 2022 in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images

Although he has carved a place for himself among the Hollywood bigshots, Carrey still remembers the days when he and his family pulled together to make ends meet. In an interview with Howard Stern, the actor laughingly told a story about how the factory workers would poop in the sinks to mess with him. Still, he said the janitor job was "amazing, by the way."

Advertisement

How Beyoncé Kept Busy before Fame

Carrey wasn't the only famous person to break out from a modest life into stardom. A few musicians have spoken openly about their struggle to make it big, and Beyoncé is no exception.

Beyonce Knowles in the United States, April 21, 2009 | Source: Getty Images

Beyonce Knowles in the United States, April 21, 2009 | Source: Getty Images

In her award-winning ESSENCE article "Eat, Play, Love," Beyoncé Knowles reflects on her upbringing in Houston, where she often helped out at her mother's salon. The vocalist reminisced about how she would put on small performances for her mother's customers when she was only between six and nine years of age.

Advertisement

Besides her very first performances in her mom's salon, Beyoncé also helped sweep up in the salon. She recalled, "I helped sweep hair off the floor for tips to pay for my season pass to Six Flags. (I still love a good roller-coaster ride.) And when I wasn’t cleaning up the salon, I was watching my mother become my greatest role model."

Reba McEntyre's Experience of Farmwork in Oklahoma

Like Beyoncé, Reba McEntyre's experiences growing up shaped a large part of who she is today, even though these experiences are worlds removed from her life as a famous musician. In her book "Reba: My Story," the singer opened up about how she used to help her father out on the farm back in Oklahoma.

Advertisement

Growing up among cattle can be dirty business, as one can easily imagine. Managing livestock is a difficult vocation, and Reba had a taste of it early in her life. As a young girl, she would often help her father out with various tasks on the farm, and he wasn't one to let her shy away from the less pleasant tasks like castrating the bulls.

Advertisement

Reba would stand behind the bull, holding its tail, while her father did the rest. She recalled, "Daddy would pass the testicles to me and I'd put them in a bucket." After the dirty work was done with, McEntire would pass her father the prepared penicillin shot, which would help the bull fight off infection.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson Did Dishes before He Did WWE

It seems Hollywood has its fair share of rags-to-riches stories. In an interview for the Oprah Winfrey Network, the hugely popular actor Dwayne Johnson opened up about his life before he started his journey to becoming a Hollywood regular.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, May 06, 2016 | Source: Getty Images

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, May 06, 2016 | Source: Getty Images

Sitting down and opening up candidly, Johnson said with a smile, "My first job was working in a pizza shop called Emilio's Pizza. My pay was $3.45 per hour and my job was of a dishwasher. I worked every day from 3 p.m. in the afternoon until 11:30 p.m. at night. When I got out of school I was able to just go right over there and start work."

Advertisement

The Rock eventually found success with WWE and went on to become a successful actor. Nonetheless, he stated that he had developed a great appreciation for hard work through his experiences as a child. "It sounds crazy, but still to this day I never use a dishwasher and I wash every dish by hand," he shared.

Advertisement

Barack Obama Used to Scoop Ice Cream like a Regular Joe

Besides Hollywood actors and famous musicians, starting at the bottom seems to be something many people had to overcome before they managed to make a success of themselves. Even former US President Barack Obama had to pull himself up by his bootstraps before he made it to the White House.

Advertisement

The presidency did not come easy to Obama. He has been candid about how he learned to work hard to achieve his dreams. Barack Obama shared that his first job scooping ice cream at Baskin-Robbins taught him a lot about responsibility and hard work. He added, "Rows and rows of rock-hard ice cream can be brutal on the wrists."

Advertisement

"My first summer job wasn’t exactly glamorous, but it taught me some valuable lessons," Obama said. "Responsibility. Hard work. Balancing a job with friends, family, and school." It seems slinging ice cream might be the perfect recipe for a devoted work ethic.

Steve Buscemi, a Local Hero Turned Hollywood Legend

While he's a comedic genius, actor Steve Buscemi has certainly seen some of the more serious sides of life. Especially in his job as a New York firefighter. Even before he cut his teeth as an actor, he spent his days - and often his nights - saving lives. Eventually, he would give up this role to become the comedian people know and love today.

Steve Buscemi at the Tribeca Film Center May 5, 1996 in New York City | Source: Getty Images

Steve Buscemi at the Tribeca Film Center May 5, 1996 in New York City | Source: Getty Images

After the 9/11 attacks, actor Steve Buscemi returned to his old firehouse, FDNY Engine 55, to help search for survivors. Buscemi worked 12-hour shifts for several days alongside other firefighters at Ground Zero. He felt a strong sense of duty and connection to his former colleagues during this time, even though he had left the fire service years earlier to pursue acting​.

Advertisement
Steve Buscemi at Museum of Modern Art on June 20, 2024 in New York City | Source: Getty Images

Steve Buscemi at Museum of Modern Art on June 20, 2024 in New York City | Source: Getty Images

Buscemi has spoken about the mental and emotional toll his experience at Ground Zero took on him. He admitted to suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and described feeling depressed and anxious in the aftermath.

Despite these challenges, he has remained an advocate for first responders, highlighting their ongoing health needs and working with organizations like Friends of Firefighters to provide mental health support​.

Nicole Kidman on Helping Her Mom through Cancer with Massage Therapy

Like many of her contemporaries, Nicole Kidman had a tough time growing up. The actress has shared her experiences watching her mother suffer through breast cancer and has even opened up about how she dealt with it and tried to help her mom through the pain.

Advertisement

Kidman is extremely proud of her mother for fighting through the illness despite the effects of chemotherapy. She has praised her mom on numerous occasions, admonishing her steadfastness and will to survive. Kidman also opened up about how she learned to massage so she could help her mother recover.

Advertisement

She shared, "Well, my mother had breast cancer, and so when you go through radiation you get terrible seizure of the muscles, so I took the massage course and then I liked doing it, so I started to go around to people’s houses and do massages—not those sort of massages, just regular massages. I still love giving people massages."

Advertisement

Carry Underwood Used to Work at a Gas Station

If country musicians know one thing, it's how to build a life from the hardships they've experienced, and Carry Underwood is no exception.

Carrie Underwood on December 6, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada | Source: Getty Images

Carrie Underwood on December 6, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada | Source: Getty Images

The country star shared that her first job was at a gas station, which she found surprisingly fun. She also worked at a hotel, where she quickly became a senior staff member after just one day of training.

Advertisement

She explained, "I had one day of training and then the next day I came in, and the lady that had worked there the longest and was training me just didn’t show. So, the second day at work I was now in charge 'cause I was now the senior member that was working at the hotel." Despite enjoying these jobs, she considers her current career in music as her best job.

Taylor Swift Has More Country in Her than You Think

Among the stars who spent a good deal of time on farms is none other than the pop sensation Taylor Swift.

Taylor Swift at Madison Square Garden on August 27, 2009 in New York City |Source: Getty Images

Taylor Swift at Madison Square Garden on August 27, 2009 in New York City |Source: Getty Images

Swift has opened up about her childhood on her dad's Christmas Tree farm, reminiscing about the years she spent helping out with minor chores while her family took care of the things she was still too small to do.

Advertisement

Swift shared, "[My dad would] tend to the farm as his hobby. He'd get up four hours early to go mow the fields on his tractor. We all had jobs. Mine was picking the praying-mantis pods off of the trees, collecting them so that the bugs wouldn't hatch inside people's houses."

Advertisement

Cutting Hair before She Was Famous: How Jennifer Aniston Made a Buck on the Side

Although Jennifer Aniston is a name known across the globe, the actress once had to find odd ways to make a few extra pennies for herself as a child.

Advertisement

Aniston really went the extra mile to get a little bit more spending money, often finding smart ways to help her peers out. At one point, she even got a job you'd never expect from a famous actress, that took her all around New York City on a bike.

Jennifer Aniston in the United States, 1990 | Source: Getty Images

Jennifer Aniston in the United States, 1990 | Source: Getty Images

Aniston has happily shared stories of how she taught herself to cut hair just so she could put scissors to her peers' heads in junior high. "I cut hair for 10 bucks a head in junior high. I could probably cut your hair," she proudly states.

Advertisement

But besides this, the 'Friends' star also worked as a bike messenger in New York. She calls this job the "toughest job" she ever had.

Brad Pitt and Odd Jobs

Before Brad Pitt became a household name, he worked a series of unconventional jobs to make ends meet. These included dressing up as a chicken for a restaurant promotion, delivering refrigerators, and chauffeuring strippers to bachelor parties.

Brad Pitt, circa 2000 | Source: Getty Images

Brad Pitt, circa 2000 | Source: Getty Images

One fateful night, a stripper mentioned an acting class taught by a renowned teacher attended by stars like Charlie Sheen. Intrigued, Pitt joined the class and soon met a girl who had an audition at the Triad Agency. Together, they performed a scene for the agents. Impressed by his talent, the agency signed Pitt, thus launching his acting career.

Advertisement
Brad Pitt on February 08, 2024, in Santa Barbara, California | Source: Getty Images

Brad Pitt on February 08, 2024, in Santa Barbara, California | Source: Getty Images

This pivotal moment set him on the path to stardom, transforming him from an anonymous hustler in Hollywood into one of the industry's biggest stars.

Matthew McConaughey, Sand Traps, and Dead Armadillos

Like many on this list, Matthew McConaughey had to find interesting means to make a living before he became a Hollywood star. In an interview with GQ, the actor recalled how he worked for Oak Forest Country Club in Longview, Texas.

Matthew McConaughey in Hollywood, California, United States, 2000 | Source: Getty Images

Matthew McConaughey in Hollywood, California, United States, 2000 | Source: Getty Images

Advertisement

His first paid job was raking sand traps. He recalled how he would start work at around 3 a.m., and he had to be done by 7:30 a.m. But the sand traps weren't the only things he was responsible for.

He also dealt with armadillos damaging the greens, working from 10 p.m. to 3:30 a.m., spotlighting them with a .22 rifle. This unusual task added a fun element to his responsibilities.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Related posts

7 Famous Celebrities You Would Never Recognize in Photos before They Did Plastic Surgery

April 11, 2024

These Twins Have Never Seen Their Grandpa Who Is a Star Actor: Why He Was Banned to See Them

June 27, 2024

‘Looking like Herself Again’: Celine Dion, 56, Wows in Silky White Outfit in Latest Outing with Son amid Health Issue

June 18, 2024

4 Celebrities Who Lost Weight and Look Different Now – Photos

April 18, 2024

'ALF' Star Benji Gregory Found Dead in Parking Lot at 46: Uncovering More Details

July 11, 2024

'Can't Believe They Are 13': Celine Dion's Teen Twin Sons Look like 'Grown Men' with Beards, Igniting Talks

June 27, 2024

Why Did Fans Think Vin Diesel Had Passed Away at 56?

March 25, 2024

Loretta Lynn's Son Found Dead by River about 3 Miles from Family Ranch – Tragic Details of His Death

June 27, 2024

Police Footage from Garrison Brown’s Death Scene Leaked to the Media — Public Is Furious

April 15, 2024

Dolly Parton & Her Spouse of 58 Years Live on Cozy Farm & Enjoy Doing ‘Little Things’ out of the Limelight

May 30, 2024

'Have No Words': Melissa McCarthy Shows Off Drastic Weight Loss in 'Tulle' Mint Dress, Stirring a Hot Discussion Over Her Look

April 30, 2024

Melissa McCarthy, 53, Flaunts Amazing Figure in Tight Jumpsuit after Losing ‘A Lot of Weight’: Photos

May 03, 2024

World's Oldest Man Dies at 114 – Having Lived a Long and Interesting Life, He Left Warm Memories for Many

April 05, 2024

Eminem's Adopted Daughter Works at Hair Salon despite His Millions — He Walked Her Down the Aisle

April 24, 2024