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Celebrities get real about the worst jobs they've ever had

food, celebrities get real about the worst jobs they've ever had

The trope of the starving artist has proven true for the majority of celebrities (or at least the ones who didn’t come from wealthy showbiz families…). Many of the biggest stars came from average homes in small towns, and had to hustle hard to make ends meet while they followed their dreams. In many cases, this meant taking whatever terrible jobs came their way so they could pay the rent while they auditioned or saved up for acting classes.

When she needed to pay her bills before making it as an actress, Meghan Markle landed a job on NBC’s ‘Deal or No Deal.’ Sure, it’s hardly back-breaking work, but on the October 18 episode of the Duchess of Sussex’s ‘Archetypes’ podcast, she revealed that she quit the Howie Mandel-hosted series after 34 episodes because of how “objectified” she felt.

As one of the 26 identically dressed models holding briefcases with monetary amounts, Markle said, “We were even given spray-tan vouchers each week because there was a very cookie-cutter idea of precisely what we should look like. It was solely about beauty and not necessarily about brains.” She recalled a woman who was part of the reality show’s team telling her before heading out onstage: “Markle, suck it in.”

Speaking on why she quit, Markle clarified, “I was thankful for the job but not for how it made me feel, which was: not smart. And by the way, I was surrounded by smart women on that stage with me. But that wasn’t the focus of why we were there, and I would end up leaving with this pit in my stomach, knowing that I was so much more than what was being objectified on the stage. I didn’t like feeling forced to be all looks and little substance, and that’s how it felt for me at the time—being reduced to this specific archetype.”

There are many celebrities who took on jobs that the average person wouldn’t dream of, proving just how dedicated they were to funding their passions. Click through the following gallery to discover the worst jobs these celebrities ever had.

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food, celebrities get real about the worst jobs they've ever had

Hugh Jackman

Hugh Jackman’s intro into the entertainment industry wasn’t what you might expect: he worked as a party clown. “I was Coco the Clown and I had no magic tricks and I remember a six-year-old standing up at a party saying ‘Mummy this clown is terrible, he doesn’t know any tricks’—and he was right.” He only took home US$50 per gig.

food, celebrities get real about the worst jobs they've ever had

Jon Hamm

Jon Hamm was involved in the entertainment industry before he finally broke into acting, but not in a way he’s proud of… When he was younger, he worked as a set dresser for softcore adult films, moving around couches and so on to obscure any body parts that might be too graphic, “There was nothing tasteful about it,” Hamm admitted. “It was depressing.”

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food, celebrities get real about the worst jobs they've ever had

Liev Schreiber

Liev Schreiber worked in an incredibly labor-intensive job when he was young. As a stonemason’s assistant, he was tasked with dragging around heavy bags of cement and carrying big buckets of water up and down stairs. No need to go to the gym at least!

food, celebrities get real about the worst jobs they've ever had

Sean Connery

Like many struggling young actors, the late Sean Connery had numerous odd jobs to pay the bills. He worked as a bricklayer, milkman, naked model, and, worst of all, a coffin polisher!

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food, celebrities get real about the worst jobs they've ever had

Helen Mirren

It’s hard to imagine the most graceful actress in the business doing this, but Helen Mirren used to work as a barker in an amusement park, i.e. the person who shouts out to passersby to convince them to try out the various games.

food, celebrities get real about the worst jobs they've ever had

Stanley Tucci

The summer after his freshman year of college, Stanley Tucci got a job at a summer camp. Sadly, he wasn’t a camp counselor: he was the outhouse toilet cleaner! When asked if he took away any lessons from that character-building job, he said, “Yes, don’t ever clean an outhouse.”

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food, celebrities get real about the worst jobs they've ever had

Ewan McGregor

Ewan McGregor worked on a trout farm in the Scottish countryside when he was around 16 years old. His strongest memory from that job was when a water blockage in the tanks killed all of the fish. McGregor was tasked with scooping millions and millions of dead fish out of the tanks with a net.

food, celebrities get real about the worst jobs they've ever had

Warren Beatty

When he was 17 years old, Warren Beatty worked as a rat catcher. His job was to walk around the National Theater in Washington, D.C. and catch rodents. That’s about as close to the stage as he could get at the time!

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food, celebrities get real about the worst jobs they've ever had

Brad Pitt

Considering he’s one of the most famous and successful people in the film industry, it’s amazing to learn just how many terrible jobs Brad Pitt did before he started landing acting roles.

food, celebrities get real about the worst jobs they've ever had

Brad Pitt

One of his worst jobs was dressing up as a chicken to hand out flyers for the fast-food chain El Pollo Loco. That same year, he got a job chaperoning strippers from gig to gig. He’d drive  the women to bachelor parties where he’d play Prince tapes, make sure the customers didn’t cross any lines, and catch the flying clothes as they were discarded!

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food, celebrities get real about the worst jobs they've ever had

David Oyelowo

British actor David Oyelowo had a job at McDonald’s where his terrible work got him repeatedly demoted to worse and worse tasks. He started out as a cashier, was then moved to the fry station (which he failed at), and was eventually put on toilet cleaning duty.

food, celebrities get real about the worst jobs they've ever had

Early life

Orlando Bloom grew up in rural England where there weren’t many job opportunities. The job he did get was very rural indeed. Bloom worked as a clay pigeon trapper in his teens, meaning he was responsible for releasing the orange discs that would fly into the air as huntsmen used them for target practice.

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food, celebrities get real about the worst jobs they've ever had

Jeremy Renner

Jeremy Renner didn’t come from money, so he started taking whatever jobs he could get from the age of 10. The worst of those was working in a car wash as a kid surrounded by some pretty rough characters and tough conditions. “It was 100 some odd degrees, and I was in the backseat of a car wiping a window.”

food, celebrities get real about the worst jobs they've ever had

Ethan Hawke

Ethan Hawke has commented that if you’re a 16-year-old with bad skin and you’re put working on the Whopper desk at Burger King, bad skin becomes horrible skin. It sounds like he’s speaking from personal experience…

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food, celebrities get real about the worst jobs they've ever had

Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg went through a number of odd professions before she made it as an actress. One tough job was working as a bricklayer, but the two that tie for first place have to be morgue makeup artist and phone-sex operator.

food, celebrities get real about the worst jobs they've ever had

Joel Edgerton

Joel Edgerton once had a job as a gift wrapper when he was younger. Unfortunately, the first item he had to wrap on the job was a lawnmower. He leveled with the customer and said, “Look, if I wrap it, it’s gonna look like a lawnmower.”

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food, celebrities get real about the worst jobs they've ever had

Mark Duplass

Mark Duplass’s first job was working for his uncle at the family dry cleaner. Unfortunately, he didn’t have a knack for the family business… He ruined a customer’s silk dress, and his uncle made him pay for it!

food, celebrities get real about the worst jobs they've ever had

Marc Jacobs

Designer Marc Jacobs revealed to Vanity Fair that his first job was his worst job ever, but he feels guilty saying so because he loves the person who gave him that job! He was hired as a busboy, clearing tables at a restaurant.

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food, celebrities get real about the worst jobs they've ever had

Marc Jacobs

Jacobs found the job incredibly frustrating because as soon as he’d cleared the table and reset it to perfection, more customers would sit down to eat and mess up his work, so he’d have to do it all over again. Jacobs clearly wasn’t made to work in the restaurant business!

food, celebrities get real about the worst jobs they've ever had

Naomi Watts

Naomi Watts’s first job when she was 14 was delivering newspapers. She says it wasn’t a bad job overall, but she wasn’t particularly motivated and would sometimes just dump the newspapers in the trash…

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food, celebrities get real about the worst jobs they've ever had

Sam Rockwell

Sam Rockwell once worked as a burrito delivery guy, which turned out to be an unexpectedly risky profession. “I delivered burritos on a bicycle,” he explained. “I had to deliver lots of burritos in the rain and got hit by cab doors. Being in the burrito business is dangerous!”

food, celebrities get real about the worst jobs they've ever had

Michael Shannon

Michael Shannon worked at an ice-cream parlor called Homer’s Ice Cream in Illinois. Although he fondly remembers his favorite flavors like apple cinnamon and blueberry, he recalls, “I got quite pudgy working there.”

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food, celebrities get real about the worst jobs they've ever had

johnny depp

Johnny Depp’s most hated job was working as a telemarketer, cold calling people and trying to convince them to buy pens. He felt like he was trying to scam people, which made him ashamed, but he made the best of the opportunity to work on different voices and try out different characters with each phone call.

food, celebrities get real about the worst jobs they've ever had

Johnny Depp

Although he’s better known as an actor, Depp is also a talented musician. In his younger days, however, his musical skills were channeled into whatever gigs he could get. This meant performing in trashy cover bands singing Kiss and the B52’s songs.

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Mark Ruffalo looking at the camera

Financial difficulties

Mark Ruffalo spent some time working as a busboy in a restaurant in the ’90s, and the experience gave him a lifelong respect for the profession. That’s what happens when you’ve cleaned your fair share of cigarette butts out of dirty glasses!

Ryan Gosling smiling for the camera

Roots

Ryan Gosling’s first job was pretty tough. At the age of eight, he was “head of security” for his uncle, who worked as an Elvis impersonator. According to Gosling, he really “earned that 20 bucks.”

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food, celebrities get real about the worst jobs they've ever had

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s first job was as adorable as you’d expect. He landed a commercial for a brand called Sunny Jim Peanut Butter. Unfortunately, the dialogue for his first acting role wasn’t very impressive… His only line was “Sunny Jim, it’s good.”

food, celebrities get real about the worst jobs they've ever had

Dakota Fanning

Dakota Fanning recalls her class putting on a play market when she was in first grade. They made lots of little booths selling trinkets that could be purchased with fake money, and her job was to be the cashier. Unfortunately, she couldn’t do the math. Eventually, the teacher had to come over and inform her that she owed most of the customers money!

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food, celebrities get real about the worst jobs they've ever had

Mickey Rourke

Back in the day, Mickey Rourke worked as a gambling debt collector for a rough crowd, and was eventually ‘promoted’ and given the task of blowing up a gas station in Harlem. Luckily, he couldn’t get his hands on the explosives to carry out the job, which led to his demotion. His life may have gone very differently otherwise!

Sources: (Vanity Fair 1 and 2) (Complex)

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