Before They Were Famous

The path to fame and fortune may be a well trodden one but for many of our stars the journey to success came after some hard graft and embarrassing roles. Ahlan! looks at the jobs our celebs worked before making it...
Wednesday , 16 March 2011
Channing Tatum
© Channing Tatum
Channing Tatum
Actor Hugh Jackman
© Actor Hugh Jackman
Actor Hugh Jackman
Actor Cory Monteith
© Actor Cory Monteith
Actor Cory Monteith
Actress Jennifer Aniston
© Actress Jennifer Aniston
Actress Jennifer Aniston
Actress Megan Fox
© Actress Megan Fox
Actress Megan Fox
Actress Evangeline Lilly
© Actress Evangeline Lilly
Actress Evangeline Lilly
Actor Quentin Tarantino
© Actor Quentin Tarantino
Actor Quentin Tarantino
Russell Crowe
© Russell Crowe
Russell Crowe
Simon Cowell
© Simon Cowell
Simon Cowell
Director Jerry Seinfeld
© Director Jerry Seinfeld
Director Jerry Seinfeld
Chris Rock
© Chris Rock
Chris Rock
Denzel Washington
© Denzel Washington
Denzel Washington

Channing Tatum

Though he now sports some chunky love handles, if you remember Channing when he hip-hoped and pirouetted into our lives as Tyler Gage in Step Up – muscly, fit in every sense, and toned to perfection – it won’t be hard to imagine him making ends meet as a stripper. The young actor made a small living by going full monty at private bashes and he isn’t ashamed. The actor insisted, “I don’t regret one thing. I’m not a person who hides.” The 30-year-old’s stripping career was only short-lived with him admitting the most he ever got paid per job was just Dhs550.  “Women are cheap,” he joked.

Hugh Jackman

Before wowing us with his swoonsome pecs in Wolverine, Hugh was just your average 7-Eleven store worker. However, the friendly Antipodean was fired from his job for being too playful with the customers. He admitted, “I got fired after six weeks because the [boss] said I talked too much to the customers.” Before that the 42-year-old, who won rave reviews for his fun performances at the 81st Academy Awards, used his comical skills to good use as a clown, reportedly making Dhs184 per appearance.

Cory Monteith

Before acquiring his breakthrough role as Finn Hudson in Glee, like many an actor Cory made a living through odd jobs. As well as a brief stint as a taxi driver, he admits he worked as a greeter at Wal-Mart. He had hopes to be promoted to shop work but instead got his big break beforehand, after sending in an audition tape of him playing drums with pencils on wine glasses and Tupperware! The star claims working odd jobs helped him as an actor – “I also washed cars at Ford a lot. If you’re an aspiring actor and you want a good character study, you should be a taxi driver for a while – you see a lot of characters.”

Jennifer Aniston

She may look prim and proper but Jen wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty en route to fame. The 42-year-old admitted before making her millions she had the less glam job of a toilet cleaner. “ I made my allowance cleaning toilets,” she recalled. “I’m actually pretty good at it. I struggled for a while, but I was happy with my life whether I was making this amount of money, or that amount I always enjoyed where I was working.” The actress’ job lead to an OCD style obsession with toilet paper, to the extent that if a roll isn’t in its holder properly she’ll turn it around, even when at a friend’s home. She said, “If you have it under, it flies off. I’ll change the toilet paper if I’m in someone else’s house and the paper thing is under. I’ll always flip it.”

Megan Fox

This American beauty has made a living as a lads mag favourite, yet before she rose to fame as Shia LeBoeuf’s co-star in Transformers – seriously does anyone every remember her name in that movie? – she worked her only other job as a banana! The now glam star states, “I only had one job growing up. I worked at a smoothie cafe. I used to have to dress up as a banana. I had the option of apple or banana. I went with banana because it was thinner.” Even in her mundane career Megan could still be egotistical!

Evangeline Lilly

She may have reached stardom through her role as Kate Austin in Lost, but it wasn’t the first time the star had to aquiant herself with what to do in case of plane-based emergency – she used to be a flight attendant. Before boarding the hit show’s doomed Oceanic 815 flight, Evangeline hated working in the air. She spilled, “I did the job for one month and then I quit. I hated it so much. I didn’t really get to see anywhere – I would go to Germany, and I’d be flying out the next morning. What’s the point of that? They tell you to buy your shoes two sizes too big because your feet are going to swell...”

Quentin Tarantino

As an actor, producer and director it’s really no surprise that Quentin’s first paid gig involved films. “To me the greatest job a person could ever have was being an usher at a movie theatre,” admitted the filmmaker, however when he got what he thought was his dream job he was bored, adding, “Irony of ironies, I end up getting a job at an adult movie theatre that I could care less about the movies and was totally bored by them.” Thankfully old pal and fellow filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, helped the Kill Bill creator aquire some cameos roles. His first was in 1988 as an Elvis impersonator in hit US comedy The Golden Girls.

Russell Crowe

Hard man Russell was a fresh faced, scrawny 20-something when he made his theatre debut in musical Bad Boy Johnny in Australia, but before that the temper-a-mental star risked his ‘cool’ reputation by working as a bingo caller. Composer Daniel Abineri admitted he hired Russ for Bad Boy Johnny just weeks after he was sacked from his bingo job for being rude: “He had just been sacked from his job – apparently he was rude to the crowd when he was calling out the numbers, and he was quite proud of that!”

Simon Cowell

The music mogul is proof that hard work and tenacity will get you far. When Si landed a job in the EMI records mail room he used his brutish attitude to work his way to the top. The X Factor star quipped, “I understood instinctively this was a job where you could fail or succeed based on your tenacity. So I’d drive everybody crazy from the minute I was delivering mail because I’d walk into offices and tell people they should give me a better job.”

Jerry Seinfeld

He might be one of the highest paid comedians but before Jerry made his billions he struggled to make ends meet. In between working on his stand-up gigs, Jerry was a sales man, trying to flog light bulbs over the phone and knock-off jewellery on the sidewalks. He even served lunch at a Manhattan diner. The actor said, “The most exciting part of my whole career was handing back my apron. To me, that was making it.”

Chris Rock

Chris drew on his pre-fame career experience for inspiration once he hit the big time. In 2003 on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno Chris wove in gags about his time as a busboy at Red Lobster. The comedian joked, “The thing about Red Lobster is that if you work there, you can’t afford to eat there. You’re making minimum wage. A shrimp costs minimum wage.” After getting his gags from the restaurant, the star worked at The Comic Strip in Manhattan where he launched his stand up career – in exchange for stacking chairs at the end of the night, he could try out his own jokes on stage. Smart move.

Denzel Washington

The award-winning star claims to have learnt all he needed to know about acting and characters through his first job, earning a pittance at just Dhs40 a day, sweeping up hair in a barber shop. The 56-year-old admitted to his pal Oprah Winfrey, “I learned a lot about acting [there]. The best liars are in the barbershop.”

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