Weird Jobs Celebrities Had Before They Made It Big

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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.

Read More: These 42 Stars’ Surprising First Jobs
See: 30 Celebrities Who Went From Rags to Riches

Last updated: Aug. 11, 2021
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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.

See: What These 32 Netflix Stars Did Before They Were Famous

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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.

Check Out: The Richest Celebrity From Every State

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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

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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.

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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.”

Learn: 20 Former Celebrities Who Have Normal Jobs Now

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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.

Read: 23 Celebrities Convicted of Tax Evasion

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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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