No matter what dream you’re pursuing, life has its own special way of bringing you down to earth. While we sit here chasing fantasies of tropical islands and private jets, we still have to feed hungry mouths with one boring job after another. In fact, chances are that you’re reading this very article at one of them. Even today’s highest paid celebrities and most interesting people had to work in our world at some point in their lives, but you’ll never believe what some of them actually had to do to stay afloat. So next time you walk into a Taco Bell, be nice to the servers. They might just be the next megastars.
The chameleon of the pop world, Madonna’s instant classics of the eighties and nineties only paved the way to a versatile and seemingly endless career. Her stadium performances and work ethic belie an unflagging energy that she brings to everything she does, whether it’s the musical world or charity work. But given her beginnings, she might have been forgiven for throwing in the towel early.
After she moved to New York, Madonna initially supported herself with a number of different jobs. Her most famous, though, and definitely most mundane, was behind the counter at a Dunkin’ Donuts. According to legend, her fiery temperament eventually got the better of her, and she was fired for hosing down a surprised customer with donut jelly. Don’t worry, Madonna, we still love you.
With those classically handsome looks and pearly whites, it might come as a bit of a surprise that George Clooney ever had to work at all. But he hasn’t always been so lucky. Actually, his career might have taken a completely different path at the age of 16, when Clooney tried out for a Major League Baseball team. Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) he didn’t make it.
Instead, he went to college, quit, then proceeded to take on a wide array of work before lighting up the small and big screen. This included the delightfully dreary – some would say sole-destroying - job of “shoe salesman”, going door-to-door to flash that heart-melting grin. We can bet that there’s a lot of bored housewives out there who are hoping he takes that job up again.
Sliming salmon. No, we’re not doing word association: we’re talking about a thoroughly gross job that Clinton once had in the summer between colleges. It’s hard to imagine the powerful presidential candidate knee-deep in gore, gutting fish in an Alaskan plant, but that’s exactly what she once did, and it's quite unbelievable.
Even the hardiest of us would recoil at scooping out bloodied fish bits, but Clinton handled it with aplomb. The only thing that bothered her was the state of the fish, which did not look at all fit for human consumption. Soon she asked the boss one too many questions and was summarily fired. It seems that what’s considered a good quality in a politician is not the same for a salmon slimer.
Just like Hillary Clinton, in his earlier life Matthew McConaughey also found himself getting very intimate with animal waste. Chicken, to be specific. While in high school, McConaughey traveled to the Land Down Under for exchange and wound up cleaning out chicken coops for pocket money. We hope that he also managed to squeeze in time for school.
Once known for being a brainless lead (and a stupendous six-pack) in a range of rom-coms, McConaughey’s roles have become increasingly dark and varied. From True Detective, to Mud, to Dallas Buyer’s Club, he really has become the star to watch. It would be a long stretch to say that all that chicken crap really changed his life and career, but we’re certain that all that manual labor really worked wonders on his abs.
It will come as no surprise that throughout his long life and diverse acting career, Sean Connery has seen and done a lot. But before he started acting, and well before his turn as the legendary 007, he also saw and did a lot of tremendously boring things. Growing up in 1930s Edinburgh as the son of a factory worker and a cleaner, opportunity for exciting work was probably thin on the ground. And aside from a stint in the Royal Navy, his pre-acting life reflects just that.
Connery’s résumé includes being a laborer, a truck driver, a milk delivery man, an artist’s model, and a lifeguard at a neighborhood pool. The best one of the lot, though, is his work as – drumroll, please – a coffin polisher. Now why would you want to take up acting after doing something as exciting as that?
With his hair, it’s a wonder Rod Stewart ever landed any job at all. Nowadays he might be a knight of the British Empire and a world famous musician, but at 15 years old he was just a penniless high school dropout. The trail between those fresh-faced days and superstardom is, as you might have guessed, littered with terrible jobs.
Although he did try out for a professional soccer club – which is possibly where he picked up his hairstyle – he didn’t quite make it and had to turn to other means of support. Think sign writing, fence construction, silk screening, newspaper delivering, and grave digging. Hopefully he was being paid for that last one, otherwise it would would be quite astonishing and shameful if he wasn't.
The sharp-eyed among you might be starting to see a certain morbid trend to the last few stars. If you’re wondering what the attraction is between celebs and death, keep wondering. We don’t have any answers for you – sorry! But we do have another one. Angelina Jolie, the face that launched a thousand ships and even more gossip magazines, was once in training to be a funeral director, and thank goodness that didn't work out.
In this case her reasoning was sound, if a bit drastic. Dissatisfied with the way her grandfather’s funeral was handled, the then-teenage Jolie vowed to change things. Life had other plans, though, and instead of completing her studies she became an actress. Trading frowns for smiles ain’t a bad thing, Angelina.
Ah, Taylor Swift. The name on every music lover’s lips, and the body everybody else wants on their lips. A sweetheart like that has got to have an innocent, aw-shucks-and-apple-pie upbringing, and Swift is no exception. Where did she grow up? On a Christmas tree farm. Now you can see how she learnt to bring joy into so many peoples’ lives.
Nowadays, she could probably hire half of the USA to work there, but back then, as a kid, she had to earn her keep. Because she wasn’t old enough for heavy lifting, Swift was given the job you probably never new existed – whacking praying mantis nests out of the trees. If she didn’t do it properly, there was a chance the insects would hatch inside someone’s house and give them a frightfully green Christmas. She was pretty good at it, though, and all that knocking undoubtedly gave her that natural ear for rhythm she would successfully use in later life.
George R. R. Martin
Imagine the uproar if HBO’s Game of Thrones was suddenly cancelled. But what about if it was never created at all? When George R.R. Martin, acclaimed author of the Song of Fire and Ice series - on which HBO’s Game of Thrones is based – got his start, he simply didn’t have enough time to both write and earn money. Luckily, Bobby Fischer was just starting to whip up America into a chess frenzy, so Martin picked up a (very) odd job: chess tournament director.
While it didn’t involve him playing games, there’s no doubt the intricate moves and violent piece-taking informed his sprawling fantasy epic. And it earned him big bucks, too. In fact, by just working on the weekends, he earned enough money to write for the other five days. Now why didn’t we think of doing that?
After a mammoth biography and several documentaries, you probably think you know everything there is to know about the late, great, Apple co-founder. But you might not know this juicy and – we admit – a little bit weird fact: that Steve Jobs used to get paid money to dress up as the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. Yes, real money.
Jobs didn’t deviate far from the “brilliant-but-broke computer nerd” stereotype while in college, and often was desperate to find work. One day, he and his friends discovered a bulletin board advertisement that asked the, um, “employees”, to dress up as characters from Lewis Carroll’s book. It’s unclear exactly what they were required to do, once dressed up, but we’re guessing it wasn’t tax returns. It seems that no-one since has done a better job, though: Tim Burton gave up and just used CGI.
Jen-Ton, as nobody but us has ever called her before, wins the Pokémon Award for Boring Jobs. Somehow, she’s caught them all. At the bottom of the workforce heap, before she made obscene amounts of money from Friends, she worked in possibly the worst job in the world: as a telemarketer. She lasted a week or two there before understandably quitting.
Apart from that, at various points Jen-Ton (see? It’s catching on) was a receptionist, a waitress, and a bike messenger, which is more or less the holy trinity of tedium. Oh, and we forgot to mention the most boring job she ever held: dating Brad Pitt. Yawn.
Sometimes you’ve got to take a good look at your miserable situation and find the humor in it. No doubt that’s what Jim Carrey thought in his early career when he worked as a factory janitor. A string of smash-hit comedies in the nineties and noughties has made the zany, rubber-faced comedian the household name that he is today, but a long time ago he was just mopping floors and cleaning up after people.
There’s no doubt that working such a menial job paid off for him. In fact, it’s not hard to imagine him alone, broom in hand, practicing his shtick. And that’s not all: while he was working, supporting his family, he was living in a van. What’s that saying about seeing the lows to appreciate the highs? Whatever it is, Carrey’s rocky start gave him a rich vein of comedy gold to mine.
With an often bizarre lifestyle and a habit of portraying intense (and intensely weird) characters, Johnny Depp’s reality frequently blurs the line between fact and fiction. To be honest, it would actually be quite easy for us to completely invent his early life and employment. Let’s try it: hippo teeth-brusher, human dry-ice machine, knee model, candle wick trimmer, bee milker, steamroller tester, piranha shepherd…
Just kidding – Johnny Depp was a pen salesman. Yep, that’s exactly what it sounds like. Selling ballpoint pens to people over the phone. On an encouraging note to the rest of us, not only did he loathe the job, but he was terrible at it too. At one point, he even felt so bad about selling a bunch of pens that he talked the customer into withdrawing his purchase. Now that’s integrity!
When you need a couple of hundred million dollars, it’s best to start saving early. Peter Jackson, director of the gigantic Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogy blockbusters, wasn’t always getting money thrown at him by studio executives. In his native New Zealand, it took a lot of hard work and one weird little job before his career could even get started. At the ripe old age of 16, Jackson dropped out of school and took up a surprisingly long career of photo engraving at the local newspaper.
Photo engraving is not nearly as exotic as it sounds. In practice, it involves laboriously applying masking and chemicals to turn an image into a printing plate. Over, and over, and over. Yet Jackson stuck with it for seven years, obsessed with buying up all the film equipment he could lay his hands on. At that point, it’s not surprising that the moving image was irresistible to him.
The last on the list is Christopher Walken. He almost didn’t make it, too, since his teenage job was not really that strange and not even close to being boring. But his past life was so astronomically cool that we had to include it. Forget about selling pens, waiting tables, or cleaning factories: Christopher Walken was a lion tamer in the circus. A LION TAMER.
Sure, it was an old lion. And sure, they left the particularly big cats to the head lion tamer. But can anyone here top that for a gig? Anyway, staring down a man-eater’s throat is probably what gave the famous character actor his renowned screen poise. Or maybe he’s been channeling his inner lion this entire time.
Trending on LifeStylePassion:
It's likely that the women in your day to day life are pretty "normal" in appearance. So when you see someone whose appearance differs from what you expect it to be, it can be kind of a shock. The ladies in the following slideshow are definitely far from average. Some of these women spent thousands of dollars on plastic surgery, tattoos, or body piercings. Others are born with strange birth defects such as excessive facial hair, a gigantic butt or even an 8 inch tongue. See for yourself!
Lauren Williams: 4 Foot Long Legs
Lauren Williams has the longest-known legs in the United States, with her eye-catching limbs measuring an incredible 49 inches from hip to heel. Lauren's height and long-legged genes can be attributed to her family as her father, mother and twin sisters are all 6ft or taller.
She has US size 11 feet (UK size 10), and revealed that she can find it tricky to buy clothes that fit. When modelling, single Lauren - who has worked on campaigns for global brands such as Nike - does everything from sports and fitness to high fashion and swimwear.
Having played volleyball in college, as well as being extremely active, Lauren also enjoys shooting sporty campaigns. As well as modelling, Lauren works as an educator at a children's museum in Houston and enjoys travelling. When out and about, her striking looks and long limbs mean she gets comments about her legs on a daily basis.
Pixee Fox: Dangerously Small Waist
Swedish born Pixee Fox had already spent more than $80,000 on plastic surgery attempting to sculpt the perfect hourglass figure. But now she has taken her obsession even further by having 6 of her lower ribs removed - so she can shrink her waist to a record-breaking 14 inches. Pixee, from Sweden, said: "People often come up to me and say, "don't take this the wrong way, but you look like a cartoon" - but for me that's a compliment, that's what I want to achieve.
With 6 of her lower ribs removed, Pixee's lower internal organs, including the liver, have lost some of their natural protection - but she isn't worried. She said: "Before if I was in a car crash I would normally break my ribs. If that happened now I'm probably going to break my spleen instead. In total she has had four rhinoplasties costing $14,000; four breast augmentations of 200cc, 525cc, 800cc and 1400cc costing $28,500; two rounds of liposuction at $5,000; two upper eyelid surgeries at $6,000; a labiaplasty costing $4,000; a Brazilian butt lift at $9,000 and cool-sculpting, cheek injections, and lip injections at about $12,000.
Bethany Hamilton: One Armed Pro Surfer
Bethany Meilani Hamilton-Dirks is an American professional surfer who survived a 2003 shark attack in which her left arm was bitten off, but ultimately returned to-and was victorious in-professional surfing. On October 31, 2003 Hamilton, aged 13 at the time, went for a morning surf along Tunnels Beach, Kauai, with best friend Alana Blanchard, Alana's father, Holt, and brother Byron. Around 7:30 a.m., with numerous turtles in the area, she was lying on her surfboard with her left arm dangling in the water, when a 14-foot tiger shark attacked her, severing her left arm just below the shoulder.
Despite the trauma of the incident, Hamilton was determined to return to surfing. Three weeks after the incident, she returned to her board. Initially, she adopted a custom-made board that was longer and slightly thicker than standard and had a handle for her right arm, making it easier to paddle, and she learned to kick more to make up for the loss of her left arm. After teaching herself to surf with one arm, on January 10, 2004, she entered a major competition. She now uses standard competitive performance short-boards. The broken surfboard that Hamilton was riding during the attack is on display at the California Surf Museum
Mayra Hills: World's Largest Fake Breasts
Mayra Hills - also known as Beshine - measures at 59-28-36 and says she's the proud owner of the world's largest fake breasts. And it's not hard to believe her claim to fame, considering each of her breasts have 10,000 cc of saline implants and weigh 20 pounds a piece! As you can imagine, it's difficult for Beshine, who wears a size 32Z bra, to find clothes that fit, so the German-born woman has a lot of her items custom-made.
But bra shopping isn't her only woe. She can no longer tie her own shoes and has run into trouble when she's knocked things over with her chest - but it appears she's satisfied with her body, troubles and all. "Some people maybe think the sheer size of my t-ts bring too many handicaps in my everyday life, but hey, having big boob problems is amazing," she wrote on her blog.
Anastasiya Shpagina: Real Life Anime Girl
It's official, this real-life anime trend has gotten completely out of hand. Hardly a day goes by that we don't stumble upon some photos of girls going to any lengths in order to look like real live anime characters. Today's example, Anastasiya Shpagina, an Ukrainian girl who has even taken a Japanese name - Fukkacumi. 19-year-old Anastasiya (Nastya) Shpagina has been called "the new Barbie" by national news outlets, but she later revealed she's striving to become a real-life Japanese anime character, not a doll. She even posted "I am not like a doll, a doll is like me."
Apparently, Nastya has been passionate about makeup even as a young child, always experimenting with it in the mirror. Over time she also developed a thing for Japanese cartoons and it was only a matter of time before she started using her make-up artist skills to transform herself into a real-life anime girl. But just putting on makeup wasn't enough to attain that coveted look, so she decided to lose weight in order to seem more genuine. At 1.58-meters-tall, Anastasiya weighs just 39 kilos and is trying to lose one more in order to look just right.
Chanel Tapper: World's Longest Tongue
The longest female tongue measures 9.75 cm (3.8 in) from the tip to the middle of lip and was achieved by Chanel Tappe on 29 September 2010. Chanel, from Houston, US, shot to fame aged 13 when she was spotted sticking out her monster tongue in a YouTube video. In September Guinness invited Chanel to Los Angeles where they measured her tongue and she narrowly beat two other female contenders to the record.
She said: "I have always been silly and goofy. I love sticking my tongue out at people. I started doing that back in school. I've never had a problem with having a long tongue, it's just fun." Chanel now has set her sights set on Hollywood after finishing her studies. She said: "I'd love to be in a movie. I'm certainly pretty dramatic, so I think I could have the acting gift. "Really, I'd love to meet Adam Sandler, he's my favorite."
Sarah Massey: World's Largest Butt
Sarah Massey would be just another 33-year-old mother-of-two from Chicago - if it weren't for the fact that she also happens to have the world's biggest butt. Though not officially recognized by the prudes at Guinness, Massey's massive 7-foot wide keister requires a pair of 10XL trousers that would comfortably fit all of the Kardashian sisters combined.
Massey insists the condition that resulted in her museum-sized bubble butt is hereditary - "there's nothing I can do about it," she says - but that her love of ice cream certainly contributed to its maintenance. Massey would still like to lose some weight, but says she now has a new-found appreciation for her natural assets, and fervently defends them against anyone who calls them fake. "Some people can't believe one person can have this much butt," she told Barcroft. "Because I've got a relatively small frame on top they say, 'that can't be real.' I carry this weight with me all the time, everywhere I go, it's definitely not fake. Big booties are just in my blood."
Zlata: Extreme Flexibility
Russian-born former gymnast Zlata, 29, posed in leather and lingerie to adopt a series of poses that seem to defy every law of biology. Zlata, who now lives in Germany, is able to create astounding shapes with her body and is so flexible she can cram herself into a 50cm square box. One of her favorite acts is to bend backwards at a 90 degree angle, so the back half of her hands touch her feet and she can also peer through her own legs from behind.
Zlata's gift of flexibility was discovered when she was four years old and by six she was training as a contortionist at a circus school. She has a rare condition which makes all her tendons extremely pliable, which helps in her profession. The former gymnast now spends most of her day working out and training for shows around the world. In 2011 she set the Guinness World Record for the most beer bottles opened in a minute using only your feet.
Kim Goodman: Eyeball Protrusion
Kim Goodman is a woman who is able to pop her eyes out of her eye sockets by 12 millimeters (0.47 inches). She holds the world record for the farthest eyeball protrusion. She lives in Chicago, Illinois. She discovered her eyeball popping talent one day when she was hit on the head with a hockey mask. Her eyeballs popped out much further than usual and ever since that day she could pop them out on cue, as well as when she yawns.
She has appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman. In 2004, Goodman was included by Guinness World Records in their 50th anniversary list of top ten "feats" of all time. Kim originally had the record for being able to extend her eye balls beyond her eye sockets by 10mm. This was matched a few years by a new contender, but when Kim was re-measured she found she could now reach 12mm - breaking her own record and keeping the title.
Natalia Partyka: One Armed Table Tennis Champ
Natalia Partyka (born 27 July 1989) is a Polish table tennis player. Born without a right hand and forearm, she participates in competitions for able-bodied athletes as well as in competitions for athletes with disabilities. Partyka reached the last 32 of the London 2012 Olympic women's table tennis. Partyka began playing table tennis at the age of seven. She won her first international table tennis medal in 1999 at the disabled World Championships. At the age of 11, she competed at the 2000 Summer Paralympics in Sydney, becoming the world's youngest ever Paralympian. In 2004, she won a gold medal in the singles event and silver in the team event at the Athens Paralympics.
Partyka competed for Poland both the 2008 Summer Olympics and the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing - one of only two athletes to do so, the other being Natalie du Toit in swimming. They were her third Paralympic Games, and her first Olympics. Competing in class 10 at the Beijing Paralympics, she won gold by defeating China's Fan Lei by three sets to nil. In 2008, she won a gold medal in the singles event and a silver in the team event at the Beijing Paralympics, repeating her Athens Paralympics result.
Supatra Sasuphan: World's Hairiest Girl
Her nicknames may include "wolf girl" and "monkey face". But 11-year-old Thai girl Supatra Sasuphan today insisted that she was after being officially recognised as the world's hairiest girl. Although the schoolgirl from Bangkok has faced merciless teasing at school, Supatra says being given a Guinness World Record for her hair has helped her become extremely popular. "I'm very happy to be in the Guinness World Records! A lot of people have to do a lot to get in," she said. "All I did was answer a few questions and then they gave it to me."
Supatra is one of just 50 known sufferers of Ambras Syndrome - caused by a faulty chromosome - to be documented since the Middle Ages. Before the disease was understood, sufferers were branded "werewolves." She has thick hair growing over her face, ears, arms, legs and back. Even laser treatment has failed to stop the hair growth. But while most sufferers have been shunned, Supatra has gradually been embraced by her community, and became a popular and outgoing child.
Jasmine Tridevil: Woman With 3 Breasts
There's really no other way to put this so we're just going to dive in: Meet Jasmine Tridevil. She has three breasts. Tridevil (no that's not her real name, but that's what she wants to go by) is a 21-year-old licensed massage therapist and die-hard Criss Angel fan from Florida who decided to undergo a shocking and controversial $20,000 surgery to add a third breast to her chest.
Tridevil also stated that she's hoping to bank a reality show from this, and has already put the wheels in motion to make something happen. "I was making really good money [being a licensed massage therapist] but now I'm trying to star in a reality show instead. I don't like that job," she shared, and later added, "My whole dream is to get this show on MTV. I hired a camera crew individually, so I'm the producer of this show right now."
Lyudmila Titchenkova: World's Longest Neck
Lyudmila Titchenkova is a 16-year-old living in the city of Nikolaev, Ukraine. After she turned 10, Lyudmila's parents noticed that their daughter's body began developing at an accelerated growth rate. She was taller and had longer arms than other children her age, but of particular concern was the length of her neck and abnormal curvature of her spine.
As it got to the point where Lyudmila began feeling embarrassed to go out because of her appearance, her parents took her to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder of the connective tissue that can affect many parts of the body, most often the heart, blood vessels, bones, joints and eyes. In Lyudmila's case, the disorder affected the connective tissue in her spine, causing it to curve at an angle of 30 degrees. This seems to be a rather uncommon symptom of the disorder, which usually affect people's arms, legs and fingers. After undergoing corrective surgery and extensive rehabilitation to straighten her spine, Lyudmila can now live normally and says she wants to study for her future without letting herself be affected by her disorder.
Abigail and Brittany Hensel: Girl With Two Heads
Abigail Loraine "Abby" Hensel and Brittany Lee Hensel (born March 7, 1990) are dicephalic parapagus twins, meaning that they are conjoined twins, each of whom has a separate head, but whose bodies are joined. They are highly symmetric for conjoined twins, giving the appearance of having just a single body without marked variation from normal proportion. In fact, several vital organs are doubled up; each twin has a separate heart, stomach, spine, lungs, and spinal cord.
In conversation, the twins are clearly distinct persons, with distinct likes and dislikes. Their preferences in food, clothing color, etc., differ. Some of their clothes are altered by their seamstress so that they have two separate necklines in order to emphasize their individuality. They will usually have separate meals, but sometimes will share a single meal for the sake of convenience (e.g. each taking a bite of the same hamburger). Abby is better at mathematics, and Brittany is better at writing. For tasks such as responding to email, they type and respond as one, anticipating each other's feelings with little verbal communication between them.
Natasha Veruschka: Sword Swallower
Natasha Veruschka has the world record for most swords swallowed simultaneously by a female. She swallowed 13 swords, each at least 38.1 cm (15 in) long, at the 3rd Annual Sideshow Gathering and Sword Swallowers Convention in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, USA, on 3 September 2004. Natasha was born in India of white russian and british heritage. She has lived, studied, and performed her art around the world and also speaks several different languages.
Natasha now lives in New York City. She is an amazing performer who uses many different types of swords in her act or as she likes to say "Swords On The Menu." The swords on the menu are - "The Red devil" 29 inches long, "The Big Sword" 27 1/2 inches long, "The Bradshaw Sword" 25 inches long, "The Sai Weapons" two 24 inch long eight-sided weapons of steel. Natasha trained with a "Sai Master" in order to use them in her act. Also on the menu is the unbelieveable "Sword Sandwich" where she swallows 13-22 inch long swords simultaneously.