Celebrities Jobs Before They Were Famous

POSTED BY Heather Johnson, UPDATED ON November 23rd, 2023
Celebrities Jobs Before They Were Famous

Whilst it might seem that some people were born for a life in the spotlight, in fact for most of the famous faces that pout out at us from the pages of glossy magazines, the road to fame has been littered with much less glamorous jobs, such as shop work, dressing up as a giant chicken, or advertising cornflakes. If you’ve ever wanted to make it big in showbiz but you’re still waiting tables then here are a few celebrities jobs before they were famous to inspire you a bit:



Madonna Dunkin Donuts job

Madonna may be one of the biggest superstars in the world but even the Queen of Pop had to start somewhere. And that somewhere for Madge was a job working in Dunkin Donuts selling ‘Boston Kremes’ and ‘Cocoa Coffee Rolls’ to make ends meet.

Sadly for the donut world, her royal popness was sacked for squirting jam all over the customers.


Kanye West

If you’re one of the many legions of fans with a bit of a thing for Kanye West’s fashion-savvy then you might be surprised to know that he of the slick suits and designer sunglasses once worked in none other than ‘most humdrum shop on the high street’ the Gap.

If the lyrics of the track ‘Spaceship’ on his debut album are anything to go by:

“Let’s go back, back to the Gap / Look at my check, wasn’t no scratch / So if I stole, wasn’t my fault / Yeah I stole, never got caught”

It wasn’t a particularly happy time in the rapper’s life.


Jon Hamm

Jon Hamm high school drama teacher

Actor Jon Hamm, the dark and brooding ‘hero’ of the hit TV series Mad Men began his career juggling two very different occupations, as a high school drama teacher, as well as a set dresser for adult films. 

In the latter role, Hamm said he felt objectified and that it was:

‘a pretty depressing way to make a couple of hundred bucks a day.’


Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt chicken suit

Image Copyright: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

Brad Pitt might be known as one of the sexiest and best-dressed men on the planet but he hasn’t always made his money by smoldering on screen.

One of Pitt’s first jobs was wearing a chicken suit in a fast-food establishment, where he was required to cavort around the restaurant doing a chicken dance for customers.


George Clooney

George Clooney insurance salesman

Pitt’s actor pal George Clooney didn’t fare that much better before he hit the big time either, making ends meet during the pre-fame years as an insurance salesman, a women’s shoe salesman, and a tobacco cutter.


Simon Cowell

Simon Cowell

Pop Mogul Simon Cowell hasn’t always been the one sitting in the seat of power, in fact when he first started out – as a mail boy at EMI – he was very much at the bottom of the food chain.

Both Cowell and another billionaire businessman, Richard Branson, are the ultimate examples of working your way up from the very bottom, as Branson started out with his own mail-order record business, sending out tunes from his front room, which was the very first incarnation of his Virgin empire.


Some More Celebs

In addition to the shop work, waitressing, and sales jobs, there’s a whole legion of fame-hungry celebs who have gone to great lengths from an early age to get noticed, and most of the evidence of this lies in old TV adverts.

Check out the British Gas adverts from 1990 for a pre-toilet attendant assaulting Cheryl Cole, rewind to 1987 for Cornflakes ads with a fresh-faced Keanu Reeves; see Tina Fey without her razor-sharp wit in a 1995 bank commercial and look out for a very fresh-faced, pre-rehab Lindsay Lohan cheerfully advertising jello in 1996.

There are very few celebs out there without a few dodgy career skeletons in their closets; in fact, it almost seems to be an essential part of the road to fame and fortune. So if you’ve got ambitions to make it onto the pages of Heat but you’re spending most of your days selling hot dogs or working in a shop then fear not as if Madonna and Kanye West are anything to go by there’s definitely hope for you yet!

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