There’s a running joke among those in show business that everyone in the industry has waited tables at least once in their lives. Really, it’s the ideal job for an aspiring actor or singer who needs flexible hours and a job they can leave at the door so they can get on with pursuing their dreams after the shift.
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A lot of celebrities worked in restaurants before making it big, many of them looking back on their experiences with an element of fondness. Somehow, we can’t imagine some of the following stars as wait staff, but it did happen! Check out these 10 celebrities that worked in restaurants before becoming famous.
It’s really hard to imagine Madonna, the Queen of Pop, ever working in a restaurant. But according to Difford’s Guide, this is one of the first jobs that she took when she arrived in New York. While she was trying to make it as a dancer in the big city, Madge took a job in the cloakroom of an iconic Manhattan restaurant called the Russian Tea Room.
Madonna wasn’t cut out for a career in the hospitality industry, though. She was fired after only two months because her look was too intense for them.
9 Eva Longoria
Another star who worked in restaurants in her youth is Eva Longoria, the model and actress who rose to fame starring on Desperate Housewives as Gabrielle Solis. Throughout her teenage years, Longoria worked at Wendy’s and really enjoyed the experience.
According to Food Beast, Longoria was inspired to get a job at Wendy’s after her dad told her that she would not be getting a quinceañara, which is a celebration in honor of a girl’s 15th birthday. “So I went and got a job, paid for it myself, and then raised money for my family,” she explained.
8 Jennifer Aniston
We saw Jennifer Aniston’s Friends’ character Rachel Green waiting tables at Central Perk, so hopefully, the actress herself was better at the job when she worked as a waitress before making it big. Insider reports that Aniston used to work in a burger joint, and she admitted to Marie Claire that she wasn’t the best waitress. There were even times when she dropped burgers in customers’ laps!
But she wasn’t fired for her mistakes because of her natural charm and charisma – something that would come to help her during her career as an actress.
7 Lady Gaga
Now that she’s one of the biggest superstars on the planet, Lady Gaga is used to owning her own restaurants. But back when she was trying to make a name for herself as a singer in New York, she took some waitressing jobs. And what did she buy with her earnings? A Gucci purse, of course.
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The singer revealed how excited she was that she was finally making money, even if it wasn’t a lot. She attended Sacred Heart in New York, where most of her classmates were given expensive items by their parents. Working in a restaurant allowed her to finally fit in.
6 Nicki Minaj
Nicki Minaj is an amazing performer and a talented rapper. She’s one of those people who was just made for show business, so we get the feeling that she’s not really cut out for the service industry. And we’re right! Before she made it big, Minaj took a job at Red Lobster.
As you might have guessed, this didn’t last long. The rapper reportedly lost her temper with a few customers and gave them the finger, which resulted in her dismissal. But as we all know, she is doing more than fine without that Red Lobster job!
5 Natalie Dormer
Natalie Dormer is the most well-known for starring as Margaery Tyrell on the HBO series Game of Thrones. While Margaery comes from one of the richest families in Westeros, Dormer’s real background is a little different. Before making it as an actress, she had to take other jobs to make money and waitressing was one of them.
After graduating from acting school and starring in one movie, the roles stopped coming for Dormer. In between going to auditions, she also worked as a waitress and in an office doing data entry.
4 Jon Hamm
Like many of his fellow actors in Hollywood, Jon Hamm worked in a restaurant before he started working in movies. According to Us Magazine, his very first job was in a Greek restaurant in St. Louis. But he doesn’t regret his time in the hospitality industry. On the contrary, he thinks that it was a great learning step for him.
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“I learned how to be nice to people and to ask for help when I need. I learned to love work and find meaning in it,” he said in an interview. “To this day, I like going to work, clocking in and clocking out, the satisfaction of a job well done.”
3 Mariah Carey
Now, if there’s one star we really can’t imagine waiting tables, it’s Mariah Carey. One of Hollywood’s biggest divas (and we mean that in an endearing way!), Carey was not put on this planet to work in restaurants. Before her singing dreams came true, that’s exactly what she had to do.
When Carey first moved to New York City with the hopes of becoming famous, she was working as a waitress. In her reality series, Mariah’s World, she explained that while she was waitressing, she was also sleeping on a mattress on the floor. How times have changed!
2 Chelsea Handler
Another star who looks back somewhat fondly on her time in the service industry is comedian and talk-show host, Chelsea Handler. From being a waitress before she had her big break, she learned all about how to maintain a strong work ethic and how to be someone that employers can depend on.
Handler admitted that she wasn’t the best waitress, but she was the sort of person that everyone else could rely on and that’s something that she carried into her career in the entertainment industry.
1 Sandra Bullock
Not only did Sandra Bullock take a job in a restaurant before she was famous, but she worked with another future star: Jennifer Coolidge. The duo worked together at the same restaurant, neither knowing that they would both make it big one day.
In an interview, Coolidge revealed that she was the cocktail waitress at the restaurant, while Bullock was the hostess. But in the end, Bullock got all of Coolidge’s shifts because Coolidge wasn’t the best at showing up for work. Now, look at the two of them!
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