First jobs suck. (I worked at a Blockbuster, and I’m thoroughly convinced I’m the sole reason that company went to hell.) Whether it’s flipping burgers or waitressing, one’s first foray into the workforce usually leaves scars that will last a lifetime. But we’re not alone. Even the most glamorous stars made their first few dollars doing cringe-worthy things. Or, ya know, taming lions. Check out these 10 A+ celebrity first gigs.
Ellen DeGeneres: Oyster ShuckerGetty Images
The hilarious talk show host once made money by opening oyster shells with a knife. In Lisa Iannucci’s book Ellen DeGeneres: A Biography, the Emmy winner relives her glorious seafood days. “When you live in New Orleans, you’re bound to be an oyster shucker, aren’t ya?” she said.
Hugh Jackman: Party ClownGetty Images
Matthew McConaughey: Chicken Coop CleanerGetty Images
While living in Australia as a high school exchange student, the Dallas Buyers Club actor used to clean chicken coops to make some extra dough. On his interesting year, McConaughey told Travel Insider, “I depended on myself – stumbled, fell and survived. It was a great year getting to know myself. I’m an extrovert, and it was a very introverted year and has a lot to do with what I am right now – one of the best things I’ve ever done.”
Jon Hamm: Porn Set DecoratorGetty Images
The sexy Mad Men star got his first taste of the entertainment industry decorating sets for soft-core porn shoots. “Essentially, I had to move furniture around sweaty, naked people,” Hamm said. “It wasn’t a great job but the money was useful. I had to get by – I wanted to be an actor.” Looks like it paid off.
Christopher Walken: Lion TamerGetty Images
Walken joined a traveling circus when he was 15 and had a very brief stint taming an ACTUAL LION. But don’t freak out: Walken claims his lion, named Sheba, was “really more like a dog.” Um, what kind of dog are you talking about?
Whoopi Goldberg: Mortuary Beautician
Here’s a whammy. Goldberg confessed to Now magazine that she used to work at a morgue. Even better, her old boss did something pretty hilarious to make her comfortable with the gig. “I heard a sort of creaking,” she said. “I turned round and one of the drawers was slowly opening. Then someone sat up and waved at me. Someone who should have been dead. [My boss] jumped out and said, ’That’s the worst thing that could ever happen to you here, and it won’t. So there’s nothing to be scared of.’ I was fine after that.” WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL.
Megan Fox: Banana for a Smoothie Company
Fox stopped by The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2012 and told the host her only real job was dressing up as a banana at a smoothie shop in Florida. So, what does DeGeneres do? Get a man dressed as a banana to scare the shit out of Fox. Classic.
Patrick Dempsey: Juggler (no, really)Getty Images
The dreamy actor scored some extra cash by juggling. And he was pretty damn good at it, too. When Dempsey was 15, he competed at the International Jugglers Association convention and came in second place.
Rod Stewart: GravediggerGetty Images
In his teenage years, Stewart raked in the dough as a gravedigger at the Highgate Cemetery in London. Author of the 2005 book Rod Stewart: The New Biography Tim Ewbank offers an interesting explanation for the singer’s early gig: “[Stewart] had suffered from nightmares about death from a very early age and so thought, as an impressionable teenager, that perhaps getting as close as he could to death, actually digging out holes to be filled by real bodies, he could rid himself of that fear.” Yikes!
Cindy Crawford: Corn ShuckerGetty Images
As a college freshman, Crawford made her spending money shucking corn at an Illinois fair. Crawford even confirmed this fact on Twitter when a fan doubted her #skillz. “@Displaced_Texan yes corn shucking! Hot dirty work back in DeKalb, IL!” the model tweeted in 2009. And there you have it.