While watching famous people lead their fancy, wealthy, free-merchandise-from-designers lives, it’s easy to forget that they weren’t always famous and rich and able to afford all of the labels they now get to wear on the red carpet for free. Once upon a time, they had to make money doing work that even some of us mere normals can do. Before they smiled (and cried and laughed and tongue kissed) in front of the camera, these 12 celebrities were just another restaurant server asking, “Would you like cream in your coffee?” But, unlike the rest of us, they got to ignore the old adage and did quit their day job. And it worked out pretty well for them.
1. Jennifer Aniston
First Job: Waitress
Like her Friends character Rachel Green, Jennifer Aniston started off working as a waitress when she moved to the big city, except in real life she waited on customers in L.A., serving burgers, not coffee. She told Marie Claire she wasn’t even very good at it: “I dropped more than one Alpine burger in customers’ laps, and you just do not want all of that Swiss cheese and mushrooms in your pants.” Those folks probably weren’t surprised that Rachel wasn’t a tip top server at Central Perk, either.
2. Connie Britton
First Job: Clothing retailers
Before Connie Britton discovered the secret to looking flawless, she needed to earn money – hair that great doesn’t cut, color and style itself. She admitted to E!’s Giuliana Rancic that she used to work at The Gap and The Limited. Connie appreciated those jobs, though she admits she probably didn’t do them very well. “It’s all about folding. I’m a terrible folder. I couldn’t stay at The Gap for very long [due to that].” Hopefully Connie’s son Yoby doesn’t mind wrinkled t-shirts!
3. Morgan Freeman
First Job: Paper route
I’m totally picturing a teenage Morgan Freeman on a bike, tossing rolled up newspapers and shouting, “Extra, extra! Read all about it!” in his adult Morgan Freeman voice, wearing Oliver Twist-esque pants. He took up the route at 14 because he wanted to be his own boss and have his own money, he told the Wall Street Journal. The job taught him a lesson he took with him into his acting career: “Show up on time, that’s the most important thing.” If arrive on time, you can totally just fall asleep while you’re there.
4. Elizabeth Banks
First Job: Errand girl for Catholic youth center
A self-proclaimed goody two-shoes growing up, Elizabeth Banks fulfilled random duties at a local church center for spending money to use at the mall. She told the Wall Street Journal, “Every job should be about customer service.” I guess Effie Trinket on The Hunger Games agrees, albeit in a breathy, slightly air-headed way. You’re not serving lunch for the youth basketball league coaches any more, you’re sending two teenagers into an arena to murder people or die trying.
5. Rachel McAdams
First Job: McDonald’s employee
For someone who looks like she’s never eaten a Big Mac in her life, Rachel McAdams sure spent a lot of time at McDonald’s – she worked there for three years as a teen. Also surprising: Rachel told Glamour that the fast food chain was “a great place to work.” But she may just feel bad for a party foul committed years and years ago. “I was not a great employee; I broke the orange juice machine one day.” I’m sure they forgive you, but if not, letting the paparazzi snap you with some McNuggets in your hand should do loads for the franchise’s image.