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Weird Jobs Celebrities Had Before They Made It Big

Mark Shrayber
·3 min read
hugh-jackman-net-worth-how-the-wolverine-star-clawed-his-way-to-millionaire.jpg
hugh-jackman-net-worth-how-the-wolverine-star-clawed-his-way-to-millionaire.jpg

Sometimes, it’s easiest to imagine celebrities emerging from the womb (or like a giant glittery Faberge egg) with their star status already cemented. But celebrities really are like us, as the tabloids claim. And they’re most like us when they have to work the same jobs that we do. Here are some of the strange things your faves did before they caught their big break.

Last updated: Nov. 11, 2020

Barack Obama
Barack Obama

Barack Obama

  • Job: Ice cream scooper

It’s hard to imagine the former president of the United States doing anything but being the leader of the free world, but his first job was scooping ice cream at Baskin Robbins. He admits that the job wasn’t glamorous, but it did teach him about responsibility, hard work and how to balance his job with his social life — something that likely served him well during his tenure as president.

LOS ANGELES - DEC 11: Amy Adams arrives to "Vice" World Premiere on December 11, 2018 in Hollywood, CA - Image.
LOS ANGELES - DEC 11: Amy Adams arrives to "Vice" World Premiere on December 11, 2018 in Hollywood, CA - Image.

Amy Adams

  • Job: Hooters waitress

Before she was frequently nominated for Academy Awards, Amy Adams served wings and fries at Hooters. In 2015, Adams said that the job was “great” and helped her make money to pay for college. When asked whether she ever imagined that she’d one day go from serving fried pickles to walking the red carpet, Adams replied “I never dreamed this big…”

Hugh Jackman
Hugh Jackman

Hugh Jackman

  • Job: P.E. teacher

Though it may not surprise you that the man who went on to play Wolverine has always had a passion for physical fitness, it might be a surprise to learn that Hugh Jackman once actually taught physical education. But he did — at a British boarding school in 1987. He even once recognized one of his former students — now a reporter — on the red carpet! Another surprise? Jackman was also a pretty “terrible” party clown for kids’ birthday parties.

Mariah Carey on stage for NBC Today Show Concert with Mariah Carey, Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY October 2, 2009.
Mariah Carey on stage for NBC Today Show Concert with Mariah Carey, Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY October 2, 2009.

Mariah Carey

  • Job: Hair sweeper at salon

Before we were the only thing Mariah Carey wanted for Christmas, she held a series of jobs that had nothing to do with her art. She was a waitress, hat and coat checker, and even swept up hair at a salon. None of those jobs lasted long, though. According to Carey, she was always fired for her diva attitude — now one of the things she’s loved for most.

More Mariah: Taylor Swift and 24 Surprisingly Rich Musicians

Dustin Hoffman
Dustin Hoffman

Dustin Hoffman

  • Job: Typing the Yellow Pages

Before he was a household name, Dustin Hoffman was voted “least likely to succeed” along with his friend Gene Hackman. When the two moved to New York to continue pursuing their craft, Hoffman took on odd jobs that saw him testing fragrances, checking coats and typing the Yellow Pages. Well, someone had to do it.

LOS ANGELES - FEB 23: Jon Hamm arrives for the 2019 Film Independent Spirit Awards on February 23, 2019 in Santa Monica, CA
LOS ANGELES - FEB 23: Jon Hamm arrives for the 2019 Film Independent Spirit Awards on February 23, 2019 in Santa Monica, CA

Jon Hamm

  • Job: Set dresser on adult films

Before he was Don Draper, Jon Hamm literally draped furniture at his day job. In the late ’90s, Hamm was a set dresser on late-night Cinemax adult films. According to Hamm, the job was “soul-crushing.”

Danny DeVito
Danny DeVito

Danny DeVito

  • Job: Makeup artist

The multihyphenate national treasure may have never shown up on our screens if it hadn’t been for his sister, who offered him a job doing women’s makeup at her shop in New Jersey. One problem: DeVito didn’t know the first thing about glam. When he found a makeup teacher (at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts), she told him she’d only instruct him if he were enrolled. DeVito signed up to take classes at the school and discovered that acting was his true passion.

Whoopi Goldberg
Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg

  • Job: Makeup artist

The performer and talk show host also has a makeup career in her past. Before she was famous, Goldberg, a licensed beautician, worked as a makeup artist in a funeral home. Maybe her connection to the dead is why she was so good in “Ghost”?

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Weird Jobs Celebrities Had Before They Made It Big