Halle Berry worked at a department store.
While Halle Berry’s name comes from Halle’s Department Stores in Cleveland, where she grew up, one of the Academy Award winner’s first jobs was at Higbee’s Department Store.
The actress told Women’s Wear Daily that she started working there after selling cookies at a store called The Cookie Company, which she absolutely hated. “I liked that better than selling cookies,” she said of her department store job, “but I knew that was not what I would be doing with my life.”
Beyoncé worked at her mom’s salon.
Every queen’s reign has to start somewhere, and for Bey, that was a her mom’s hair salon in Houston. Queen B told Essence in 2011 that she learned how to work hard and what a “powerful woman is” from Tina, who also allowed little Bey to turn her salon into her first performance venue—and a place to earn a little money for the weekend.
“From 6 to 9 years old, I would sing and put on little shows by myself for the women who wanted a hot press and curl and some good conversation,” the Grammy winner told the publication. “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.”
Tan France was a flight attendant.
Before he was bringing the style to Netflix’s Queer Eye, Tan France’s first job was at 30,000 feet. In the early 2000s, Tan was a flight attendant for Britannia Airways, a former United Kingdom charter airline. He writes in his memoir, Naturally Tan, that the job was supposed to be for six months, but he only lasted two, USA Today reports. “The 30-day training included some of the hardest moments of my life, he wrote. “It was very difficult, and many people failed…I felt like a glorified waiter.”
Kate Middleton worked for the family business.
Kate Middleton’s life seems like a fairytale now, but at the beginning of her Cinderella story, the future Duchess of Cambridge was working jobs just like the rest of us. According to Marie Claire, Kate worked for her family’s party supply company, Party Pieces, and was an accessories buyer with British retailer Jigsaw.
Ashton Kutcher did all sorts of odd jobs.
Ashton Kutcher might forever be Kelso from That ’70s Show to most people, but these days, the Iowa native is more about investing in new tech startups than drinking in Forman’s basement. But Ashton’s first jobs were decidedly less glamorous.
He told Interview in 2000 that, when he was younger, he did some roofing, swept cereal dust off a factory floor, skinned and gutted deer, and donated plasma to make ends meet.
Tiffany Haddish worked for an airline.
Tiffany Haddish hit it big as one of the Flossy Posse in Girls Trip, and it turns out, the comedian’s first job as a part of ground staff for Alaska Airlines helped her refine her skills in making people smile. She told Stephen Colbert on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert that her goal when she was working was always to try to make grumpy passengers smile.
“I would like to think of myself as one of the best customer service agents,” Tiffany said. “I worked at the gates and my goal was always to bring happiness and joy to people—still to this day.” However, she did reveal that while passengers loved her attitude, her bosses didn’t always agree with her approach, and she was eventually moved to the baggage department.
Margot Robbie worked at Subway.
Before she was answering questions on the red carpet, Margot Robbie was the one asking the questions—specifically, what Subway customers wanted on their sandwiches. And she always thought she was pretty good at it, she told Sean Evans on Hot Ones, because she would “really spread everything out to the edges evenly.” But it’s hard for her to go back into the restaurant these days.
“I actually don’t go that often anymore, because I watch them make it badly—and I’m upset,” she said.
James Corden was a waiter.
On his late night TV show, James Corden might make celebrities eat the occasional salmon milkshake in the popular “Spill Your Guts or Fill Your Guts” segment, but the host also got his start serving more traditional plates in the restaurant industry.
He told GQ that he worked at an Italian restaurant called Bella Pasta and admits that he used to steal booze from his job as a way to get himself invited to house parties when he and his friends were still underage. He got caught when he tried to walk out one shift with 50 bottles of beer, but his boss needed him to work the next day, so he didn’t get fired.
Meghan Markle worked at a stationary shop.
You probably know about Meghan Markle’s time on a little TV show called Suits, but that wasn’t the future Duchess of Sussex’s first job. In between auditions, Meghan worked at the Paper Source store in Beverly Hills, teaching calligraphy, gift wrapping, and book binding, according to People.
The outlet also reports that she did some freelance calligraphy on the side, even writing the invitations for Robin Thicke and Paula Patton’s wedding in 2005.
Nicki Minaj was a server at Red Lobster.
Considering her general no-nonsense, takes no Fs attitude, if you bet that Nicki Minaj didn’t last long at her first job as a waitress at Red Lobster, you would be right. The Grammy winner told GQ that she was fired after she followed a couple who had taken her pen into the parking lot and flipped them a not-so-nice gesture. “I like dealing with people, but I don’t really like a lot of bullshit, so maybe customer service wasn’t the best job for me,” she said.
Taylor Swift helped out on the family farm.
It’s pretty well known that Taylor Swift grew up in Nashville, but a lesser known part of her folklore is that she grew up on a Christmas tree farm. Taylor told Esquire that her father worked at Merrill Lynch during the day but tended to the farm—with some help from his kids—as his hobby.
From age 5 until 10, the Grammy winner was responsible for picking the praying-mantis pods off the trees so the bugs wouldn’t hatch later in people’s homes in an extremely undesirable holiday surprise.
Brad Pitt worked lots of little gigs.
Hollywood heartthrob Brad Pitt had quite the collection of jobs when he first moved to L.A. and was trying to make his mark as an actor. According to Fox News, the Academy Award winner worked as a chauffeur, a furniture mover, and the costumed chicken for El Pollo Loco, which has to make you think twice about who’s actually behind those mascot eyes.
Amy Poehler worked at an ice cream parlor.
Funny woman Amy Poehler wrote a piece for the New Yorker about how she spent the summer before college working at Chadwick’s, a local ice cream parlor that specialized in sundaes and steak fries.
“Hard and physical, the job consisted of stacking and wiping and scooping and lifting,” she said. “But I soon learned the satisfaction of working at a place that truly closed. I took great joy in watching people stroll in after hours, thinking they could grab a late-night sundae. I would point to the dimmed lights and stacked chairs as proof that we were shut. It was deliciously obvious and final.”
America Ferrera cared for a pig.
Many people think that their first jobs stink, but America Ferrera’s literally did. The Superstore star told People that when she was a tween, she was paid to clean up after her neighbor’s pet pig.
If you’re picturing sort of a Babe-type situation, here, you would be wrong. The pig was big and had wiry hair, she said, and it “wasn’t the cutest or friendliest pig.”
Needless to say, it wasn’t the best job America’s every had, but “I’ll get down on my knees and scrub your pig’s poop if it means not having to beg my brother for $2 so I can get an ice cream,” she said. “I was never too proud to make a buck.”
Hannah Brown did makeup and hair.
Having honed her makeup skills competing in pageants, including representing her home state Alabama in the 2018 Miss USA contest, Hannah Brown worked as a freelance makeup artist and hairstylist while she was in college, according to TV Insider. The former Bachelorette also worked in interior design before joining the Bachelor universe.
Cardi B was a cashier at a popular market.
The last job that Cardi B had before she became a stripper, then reality show icon, the internet celebrity and Grammy Award winning rapper was as a full-time cashier at the Amish Market in New York City’s TriBeCa neighborhood.
She told Fader that when she was fired from the job for giving her coworker a discount, one of her managers thought her looks and body were more suited for a less family-friendly job.
Matthew McConaughey worked at a country club.
Admittedly, this is the most Matthew McConaughey first job that Matthew McConaughey could have. Before his southern drawl and favorite phrase was known around the world, the star was responsible for cleaning the sand traps at the Oak Forest Country Club in Texas.
He told GQ that the greenskeeper later told him the club was having trouble with armadillos eating the greens at night, and that he would give the Academy Award winner a gun and he should feel free to take out any of the animals he saw trespassing on the course.
Melissa McCarthy was a Starbucks barista.
Turns out, celebrities get starstruck, too. At least, before they become celebrities themselves. Melissa McCarthy revealed during an appearance on Late Night with Conan O’Brien that one of her first jobs was as a Starbucks barista in Santa Monica, as reported by E!. And one of the most memorable moments on the job for her was the day Chris Farley came in.
“You could just tell he didn’t want everybody to make a fuss, and so in my poorly executed way of, like, don’t freak him out I just kept staring at him,” she said. “At one point, I got so overwhelmed because he was right there, that I started crying.”
Gabourey Sidibe worked at a phone-sex company.
Gabourey Sidibe got her first taste of acting while working at a phone-sex company before her breakout role in Precious. The actress told People she had the job for three years and that she was “actually pretty good at it.”
She fielded calls for two months before being promoted. “I knew that when people were asking me, ‘So have you had any acting training?’ my acting school was on the phone, pretending to be some super-young 21-year-old college girl named Melody,” she said. “I know that was my acting! But I felt too stupid to say it.”
Nicole Kidman was a massage therapist.
In case you’re a director who needs another reason to book Nicole Kidman for your next movie, there’s this: She used to work as a massage therapist and still loves giving people massages.
The Academy Award winner told The Daily Beast that she first took a massage course when her mom was having muscle seizures during her radiation treatment for breast cancer, but she liked doing it and started using her skills to make some extra money for her family.
Cindy Crawford shucked corn.
Despite being one of the most well-known supermodels for decades, Cindy Crawford still seems incredibly down to earth—and nothing highlights that better than one of her first jobs. The Illinois native told Town and Country that before she started modeling at the age of 17, she spend a summer shucking corn for $4/h