Celebrities have such an elevated status, sometimes it can be easy to forget they’re people like the rest of us. Although many famous individuals got their start at a young age, several celebs were regular Joes before becoming household names, working “normal” jobs to help them make a living while pursuing their larger-than-life dreams.
While many stars left their previous careers in the dust after making it on the big screen, several have returned to their roots, finding them useful in their career as an actor, or simply using their skills to help make the world a better place. Channing Tatum used his experience as a male stripper to produce and star in Magic Mike; Jesse Williams partners with education initiatives after spending several years as a high school teacher, and Steve Buscemi temporarily returned to his career as a New York City firefighter in the weeks following the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001.
Even those who haven’t found a use for the skills acquired at previous jobs have acknowledged how much working for a living has driven them to achieve their biggest dreams, such as Lucy Liu working seven days per week at three different jobs while taking acting classes, because she knew she’d need the money to help her make it to Hollywood. They may be larger-than-life figures now, but the following ten famous individuals worked extremely hard at everyday jobs before reaching fame, proving even the biggest stars can come from truly humble beginnings.