Life experience is an invaluable resource for actors, as it informs and enriches their performances. And among those life experiences are the jobs that performers hold outside of acting. Here are seven actors and the ways they earned a living before their careers catapulted to stardom:
Margot Robbie worked at Subway.
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” actress Margot Robbie is known for the depth of her performances and her on-screen magnetism, as well as her incredible work ethic. Well, that relentless work ethic started early for the star. As a teenager, the Australian actress worked three jobs simultaneously: tending a bar, cleaning houses, and working at the fast-food chain subway. “I think I was really good at [making the sandwiches] though because I, you know, would really spread everything out to the edges evenly—the right amount of everything,” she recalls.
Terry Crews was a courtroom sketch artist.
Besides being a professional football player, Terry Crews worked as a courtroom sketch artist in his hometown of Flint, Michigan. In fact, he sketched the court proceedings of what’s known as “the worst murder case” in Flint history. The “Idiocracy” actor also used to paint portraits of his football teammates to support himself and his family financially.
Danny DeVito worked in a hair salon.
“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” actor Danny DeVito worked in his sister’s hair salon before making it big in acting. Just after graduating from high school, he spent six months working as a cosmetician at his sister’s beauty salon. A year later, he sought to learn more about cosmetology. DeVito told the Hollywood Reporter, “I went to New York and found a makeup teacher at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts who was willing to teach me, but she said I’d have to enroll to take lessons from her there. I became interested in the acting classes and got bit by the bug.” He fell in love with acting, and his career goals changed course.
Nicole Kidman used to work as a massage therapist.
When Nicole Kidman was 17 years old, her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Nicole decided to learn how to give massages so she could comfort her mother during that traumatic time. “When you go through radiation, you get a terrible seizure of the muscles, so I took the massage course, and then I liked doing it, so I started to go around to people’s houses and do massages,” the “Being the Ricardos” actress told The Daily Beast. She used the income to help her family financially.
Whoopi Goldberg worked as a beautician at a morgue.
One of Whoopi’s first jobs was working in a morgue. “I did hair and makeup on dead people,” she explained. She was a licensed beautician, so when she saw an ad in the newspaper, she thought she’d give it a go. “It’s a rough gig,” she told Oprah’s “Master Class” according to the HuffPost. “You have to be a certain kind of person. And you have to love people in order to make them worthy of a great send-off.”
Hugh Jackman worked as a party clown.
As a young adult, the “X-Men” star used to dress up as a clown to entertain kids at birthday parties. His clown character was named Coco. “I could juggle three things—I could juggle kind of anything, like swords—anything. But nothing more; No balloon animals, no magic tricks. Energetic, no problem.” His clown tactics worked well with three-year-olds, as opposed to one eight-year-old birthday boy who called him out for his limited clown skills.
Sylvester Stallone cleaned lion cages.
Before he was famous, the “Rocky” star worked as a dorm bouncer, a gym teacher, and he sold hamburgers while attending the American College in Switzerland. After graduating, he moved to New York to pursue his acting dreams. In the Big Apple, Stallone sold tickets at a theater and cleaned lion cages to make ends meet while auditioning for roles. Years later, he would lend his voice to Joe the Lion in the 2011 film “Zookeeper.”
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