9 Boring Jobs Celebrities Had Before They Were Famous

Before they were drinking bubbly and carrying around tea cup-sized dogs with diamond-studded collars, these celebrities were just average people with boring jobs.

While working in food service seems like a must for a struggling, wanna-be-starlet, many went the nontraditional route and opted for something outside of fast food, and in the hospitality industry waiting tables or tending bar. How did your favorite celebrities kill the time, and pay the bills while waiting for the call that would make them famous?

Check the list below to see if you shared a career choice with any of your favorites.


Broom cleaning, sweeping up hair.  Photo courtesy Flickr jrigol

Image via Flickr by jrigol

While it may be zen, cleaning the floors isn't exciting. Before sweeping up at the awards ceremonies, this group of celebrities paid the bills sweeping up after others. Gwen Stefani, Jon Bon Jovi and Jim Carrey swept floors. As did Beyoncé, who swept up hair at her mother's beauty salon.

Denzel Washington also makes this illustrious list of sweepers doing his time at a barbershop. He later credited this job with having a positive influence on his acting saying that everyone lies in a barbershop.

The following celebrities could have landed their first role on Discovery Channel's "Dirtiest Jobs," because they got their start cleaning toilets:

  • Diddy (at a Mexican restaurant, no less)
  • Hugh Grant 
  • Chris Tucker
  • Boy George




It's not all springtime in Paris when working retail. It's a lot of fat feet in small shoes. The following celebrities could tell some stories:

Mensa member, Geena Davis is a former window mannequin for Ann Taylor. She obviously likes to play a variety of roles. Kanye West worked at Gap, Stacey Dash worked at United Colors of Benetton, and Connie Britton worked at Gap and The Limited. As Connie admits, it's all about the folding.

George Clooney, Julia Roberts and Garth Brookes used their winning smiles to sell shoes.

Beauty Industry

VFS Makeup Design Students

Image via flickr by vancouverfilmschool

There's a tight correlation behind the beauty trade and Hollywood. Several of the celebrities on this list started their trek to fame and fortune on the other side of the powder puff. Danny DeVito cut hair and Whoopi Goldberg applied makeup. These future stars had something in common -- their clients never complained. Why? Danny and Whoopi practiced their trade at funeral parlors. Mariah Carey studied make-up application at beauty school. John Corbett was a hair dresser (to the living) and Nichole Kidman was a massage therapist.

Office Jobs

While some celebrities dreamt of wealth as they spread on the secret sauce, there are some who focused on more practical careers. They had dreams of something different like an office career.

Faith Hill answered phones as a receptionist for a Nashville music publishing company before coming into her own. Ellen DeGeneres and Jennifer Lopez paid the bills as paralegals before making it big. Another legal eagle, Gerard Butler, went to law school and practiced law before turning to acting. Whoopi Goldberg and Ray Romano were making deposits (for others) as bank tellers before they made it big.

Child Care

Taking care of someone else's children can be grueling work. Before she was the perfect housewife and entrepreneur, Martha Stewart took care of Mickie Mantle's four boys. Naya Rivera kept her babysitting job as she filmed the first season of Glee, just in case things didn't work out.


There are a lot of correlations behind being a great salesperson and winning an audience over on the big screen. Both career choices require an ability to convince and persuade. 

Johnny Depp practiced his powers of persuasion selling ballpoint pens over the phone. After trying out for the Cincinnati Reds and after selling women's shoes, George Clooney sold insurance door-to-door. Bill Murray sold chestnuts outside of a grocery store in Chicago. Jennifer Anniston was a telemarketer and says that was one of the worst jobs she ever had. Ellen DeGeneres sold vacuums. Kid Rock sold cars and Nicholas Cage spent his evenings asking the all-important question, "butter?" selling popcorn at a movie theater.


School Bus - No Sleeping Kids

Image via Flickr by Jim Larrison

While many celebrities talk about being bored in school, these stars began their careers there. How could a class be boring with any of these guys at the head of it?

Before Broadway and X-men, Hugh Jackman was a Physical Education teacher. No wonder Sylvester Stallone was able to run up those stairs in Rocky. He was also the guy telling students to get those knees up and move it. He, too, was a gym teacher.

Colin Farell gets his smooth moves from his former career choice: line dance instructor. Before he was the coolest guy on Madison Avenue, John Hamm was a high school drama teacher in St. Louis. During this time he taught Ellie Kemper who would later star in "The Office."

Whether true or not, it has long been rumored that the reason for the dramatic make-up on the members of 70's band KISS was to protect their identities as some of the band made their living as teachers. At least, bassist Gene Simmons did until he was let go for allegedly replacing Shakespeare with Spider-Man in his classes. 


Before Howard Stern became a shock jock, he drove an ice-cream truck.  Sean Connery drove a truck of a different sort. He was a milkman before becoming James Bond. Brad Pitt drove for a living as well. He was a limo driver for a strip-o-gram service.


He may have spent a lifetime counting laughs but Bob Newhart originally started out as an accountant (as did saxophonist Kenny G.). While a good disposition may land clients, there's nothing funny about money.

Sure, the life of a celebrity looks glamorous but they didn't all start out that way. They had menial, dead-end jobs just like the rest of us. Before you start judging your own career choices, remember if these celebrities had found their jobs rewarding they wouldn't be where they are today. 

A boring job might just be the impetus you need to find the career that makes you truly happy.

Contributed to jobs.net by Kim Evans

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