12 Celebrities With Surprising Previous Professions

BY Harper's BAZAAR Australia / Dec 1 2019 / 12:53 PM

Kris Jenner's is possibly the best one

12 Celebrities With Surprising Previous Professions
Getty Images

Unless you're born into fame, it's no secret that making it as a celebrity isn't an easy task.

To support themselves through the trials and tribulations of trying to catch their big break, plenty of stars have worked in unexpected jobs, some of which later resurfaced when they became world-famous celebrities.

Some of these jobs are practically enshrined in Hollywood lore - like Kim Kardashian West's work as a closet organiser to the rich and famous, or Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex's previous job as a freelance calligrapher.

Others required a little more digging to discover, including Kris Jenner's past life as an American Airlines flight attendant—before she became a self-assigned talent manager and secured an otherworldly amount of fame for her six children.

Scroll down for 12 celebrities whose past jobs (and occasionally, their current ones) are completely surprising.

1. Kim Kardashian

Before her family's reality T.V. show premiered in 2007, it's a well-known fact that Kim Kardashian worked a closet organiser for celebrities and other well-to-do L.A. residents.

Utilising her strong work ethic and extensive connections, KKW racked up a clientele including Paris Hilton, Cindy Crawford, Rob Lowe and tennis champion Serena Williams (who she's still close friends with to this day).

2. Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex

Meghan Markle was raised in a single-parent family, and worked in many different jobs before making it in the acting world—let alone, becoming British royalty.

Aside from her time as a briefcase girl on the T.V. show Deal or No Deal, Meghan surprisingly worked as a freelance calligrapher, teaching classes and writing wedding invitations. Judging by photographs of Meghan's handwriting that surfaced in late 2018, her handwriting is still as flawless as ever.

3. Hugh Jackman

Before becoming one of Australia's most famous acting exports, Hugh Jackman once worked as a P.E. teacher at a high school in the U.K.

Though his brief teaching stint is now entirely overshadowed by his film career, Jackman was on a red carpet at the Zurich Film Festival in 2014 and recognised one of the journalists, Rollo Ross, as one of his past students. During their brief conversation, Jackman joked, "How's your education going? Did I set you up for life?", to which Ross replied: "Definitely!"

4. Kris Jenner

One of the most surprising entrants on this list is Kris Jenner, who worked as a flight attendant for American Airlines in the mid-1970s—long before marrying her husband Robert Kardashian, giving birth to her six children, and becoming the world's most famous 'momager'.

In her 2011 book, Kris Jenner... and All Things Kardashian, she revealed that the job helped to spark her famous work ethic, saying: "You know you cannot be late if there's a plane taking off. You have to be on that plane at a certain time."

5. Nicole Kidman

Born in Hawaii and raised on Sydney's North Shore, Nicole Kidman's breakout role was in the 1990 film Days of Thunder. Before that, however, she worked as an assistant massage therapist with her mother, to help support her teacher parents.

6. Jennifer Aniston

Before Jennifer Aniston scored the role of a lifetime on Friends, she tried her hand at a couple of unexpected jobs. One of these was in telemarketing, and it only lasted for two weeks.

In a 2019 interview, she said of her long-forgotten profession: "I didn't make one sale. I was terrible at it. I was like, 'Why do we have to call people at dinnertime?'"

7. Johnny Depp

Like Jennifer Aniston, Depp also worked as a telemarketer before he was famous, and also didn't gel with the job.

In a 2014 interview with Interview Magazine, Depp explained: "You made up a name, like, 'Hey, it's Edward Quartermine from California. You're eligible to receive this grandfather clock or a trip to Tahiti.' You promise them all these things if they buy a gross of pens. It was just awful. But I actually think it was the first experience I had with acting."

8. Nicki Minaj

Minaj now has a successful rap career and a capsule collection with Fendi, but before she made it, she worked as a waitress at Red Lobster, a successful seafood restaurant chain in the U.S.

Minaj worked at "three or four" of the company's New York locations, and has openly admitted that she was fired from all of them.

9. Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg might be an acclaimed actress and 'EGOT' winner in 2019, but before her acting career took off, her life was entirely different. In fact, her previous job was rather grim—working as a make-up artist in a morgue, preparing corpses for open-casket funerals.

The actress even revealed in an interview with Oprah's Master Class that she had a potentially haunting experience while working at the morgue, which turned out to be a prank by her boss. "He said, 'Now, the worst thing that you could imagine has happened. That's it. That's the worst thing that can happen. It's already happened... You still want to work?'"

10. Eva Longoria

In addition to her successful acting career, Eva Longoria decided to undertake a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology in her home state of Texas, graduating in 2013. As well as being a Golden Globe-nominated actress, Longoria is now a qualified medical professional, but she hasn't yet revealed whether she wants to quit acting and pursue a medical career instead.

11. Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift has been almost universally recognised in the music industry ever since releasing her first album, Taylor Swift, in 2006. However, before she found fame, Swift worked on a Christmas tree farm, and had an unexpected job.

In a 2009 interview with Rolling Stone, Swift explained: "We all had jobs. Mine was picking the praying mantis pods off the trees, collecting them so that the bugs wouldn't hatch inside people's houses."

12. Jennifer Hudson

Before winning the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Dreamgirls (2007), Jennifer Hudson worked on a Disney Cruise Liner, as a Disney-themed cast member in an on-board performance.

In an interview with W Magazine, Hudson revealed that the job actually helped her to land her breakout role in Dreamgirls, saying: "It's part of how I got [the role in] Dreamgirls because they took that as an acting credit."

From Harper's Bazaar Australia

All Images: Getty