1. Cooped Up
Back in the day, you could find Matthew McConaughey hard at work cleaning out chicken coops. We’re guessing his only dirty job at this juncture is changing his kids’ diapers.
2. Burger Queen
At 15, Queen Latifah wasn’t exactly a rap star — she was earning a few bucks an hour from Burger King. “I made burgers, I made drinks,” she said. “And I had to clean the bathrooms. I must have been crazy for cleaning that for minimum wage.”
3. Dairy Darling
Long before No Doubt and her perfect red pout launched her into the spotlight, you could find Gwen Stefani hard at work at Dairy Queen where she did things like clean floors. Actually, No Doubt was started by Gwen’s older bro and fellow DQ employees!
4. Brick by Brick
Whoopi Goldberg had a string of pretty tough jobs before her comedy launched her into the showbiz world. She worked at a mortuary where she applied makeup to dead people, was a bricklayer, and also a bank teller before her rise to fame.
5. Call Me
Jennifer Aniston rakes in a few million every time she’s in a movie these days, but that was definitely not the case back when she had to work as a telemarketer and bike messenger to support herself. She was also the Nutri-Systems girl for a while, when she was on the verge of making it big.
6. Fill ‘er Up
Michael Douglas might come from a famous family, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t have to work hard for his cash. He started off in the working world as a gas station attendant. Don’t tell Catherine.
7. Ice Cream, You Scream
Julia Roberts grew up thinking she wanted to be a veterinarian, but decided acting was for her after she got a part in a mock election campaign. She scooped ice cream and worked at an Athlete’s Foot shoe store while she pursued roles before she was famous. Gotta pay the bills somehow!
8. Bag Boy
Tom Cruise is one of the biggest names in Hollywood, but he was probably taking bags from some of his peers back when he was a bellhop before he was an A-lister. We bet he’s an excellent tipper now!
9. Rock Lobster
Chris Rock can look back and joke about his job at Red Lobster in New York now, but we’re guessing it was tough to settle for bussing tables when being a comedian was his goal. “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,” he said on the Tonight Show in the past.
10. Donut Days
Madonna has been an international superstar for decades now, and it all started with her working at Dunkin’ Donuts as a teen. Then she danced and modeled for a bit before singing her way to the top.
11. Circus Circus
At 15, Christopher Walken was trying his hand at lion taming in the circus. That gig only lasted for a bit, then he seemingly decided college and acting were better, safer routes.
12. Clean Sweep
Mariah Carey did a series of odd jobs while trying to launch her music career. She swept up hair at a salon, was a waitress, and even got fired from working as a coat/hat checker! Apparently she had too much attitude and was too distracted by her music to do a good job
13. Chicken Out
These days, if Brad Pitt has to wear a chicken costume, he’ll be getting paid millions for it. But, things weren’t always that way. He dressed up for a gig working at a Mexican restaurant, and also had jobs like moving refrigerators and driving limos while he was a struggling actor.
14. Mop Man
Funnyman Jim Carrey had a bunch of odd jobs when he was growing up. He worked as a janitor at a tire factory at 15, and was also a security guard. He used to visit comedy clubs to relax.
15. Ushered In
Quentin Tarantino looks fondly upon his start in the movie biz, but his job as an usher at an adult movie theater was probably much less glamorous than his post as big-time movie director now. “To me, the greatest job a person could ever have was being an usher at a movie theater, you know. You get to go to a movie theater all day long, and then you get to see all the movies for free,” he said a while back.
16. Basketball Babe
Way before her singing career and American Idol, Paula Abdul could be seen on the sidelines of Lakers games in the ’80s — as a cheerleader! She also launched her own workout video before her songs got played on the radio.
17. Rat Race
Warren Beatty has been in showbiz since the early ’60s, after his stint as a rat catcher in a Virginia movie theater. Ick!