Amazing stories: cameramen taking pictures of a woman on the red carpet

Amazing stories: What celebrities did to earn cash before they were famous.

People fascinate me, I love a good rags to riches story just as much as the next person and so, to follow on nicely from a recent post about Dream Jobs I thought I would take this opportunity today to write about the jobs we do when we are just trying to get by or more precisely, the jobs celebrities do when they are just trying to get by!

Why celebrities? Well it is these stars who are the beacons of hope for the many people who dream of making it ‘big’ one day.  But, everyone has to start somewhere right.  Many celebrities have worked their fair share of ‘normal’ or ‘standard’ jobs on their way to getting to where they ultimately wanted to be, and the truth is, even if you are Brad Pitt, life is not always peaches and cream, sometimes you just have to take the job that pays the bills.

I wanted to start out by hailing the amazing Jane Goodall. For those of you who have not yet discovered the awe-inspiring work that Jane did then I encourage, no I beg you, to watch Jane on Netflix, which tells her beautiful story of a childhood dream to study and document chimpanzees living in the wild. Being the 1960’s the barriers that Jane had to overcome to achieve her wish were pretty high, not only was she female and therefore obviously incapable of doing something quite so out of the ordinary (she sure showed them) but chimpanzees had also never been documented in the wild before.

Jane did not come from a wealthy family, university was not an option and so, in order to live out her dream, she resolved to make it happen in her own way, off her own back. Working as a waitress, saving her wages and her tips eventually Jane had enough money saved up to afford the trip of a lifetime to Tanzania. Her work and dedication to the cause was not only ground-breaking in academic fields, it also paved the way for many women, and men, to follow in her footsteps regardless of their circumstances and join her research camp, which is still going strong today. 

Jane is not the only example of a woman taking control and forging her own path. However necessary and as a means to an end, it would seem that waitressing is a very common stepping stone job with celebrity’s like Ellen DeGeneres, Lady Gaga, Rachel Adams and Madonna all taking on waitressing in the early days of their career.

But don’t be fooled, it’s not just waitressing that pays the bills while you follow your dream: Mariah Carey worked a production line job, and Oprah Winfrey worked in a grocery store. Victoria Beckham was (try not to laugh) a dancing sperm on a kid’s sexual education show while Whoopie Goldberg made ends meet not only as a mortuary beautician but also as a phone-sex operator! 

Before you start to think that this nothing more than an excerpt from a feminist rally speech, I do have it on good authority that guys will also do whatever it takes to put food on the table. One of the most well-known examples would of course be Barak Obama. Yes, he is a fine example of how barriers can be overcome, and your wildest dreams can be realised despite your perceived disadvantages. However, few people know how proud he is of his time working a seasonal job in an ice cream shop. Barak firmly attributes his understanding of responsibility and diligence to this very job. 

Despite the rather odd image that initially springs to mind when you try to imagine Obama as an ice cream salesman it actually sounds rather normal when compared to Sylvester Stallone’s time cleaning lion cages in Central Park Zoo, Sean Connery cleaning coffins in the very early days, George Clooney working as an insurance salesman, Mick Jagger as a porter in a mental institution and Brad Pitt as a mascot in a chicken costume!

For me, this collection of stories, aside from being surprising at times, shows that where you start is not necessarily where you will end up, all it takes is patience, persistence... and perhaps a little imagination. 

No matter where you come from, regardless of what other people think, and despite any perceived shortcomings, be it your gender, or your race, your age or your past, you are the master of your own destiny. Fate can show you the doors that are open to you but only you can choose to walk through them without a backward glance and go for it.

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