Before the glitz and the glam, these folks got their hands dirty.
When you see them walk the red carpet, it’s hard to imagine that movie mega-stars ever dreamed of getting their hands dirty. They’re Hollywood royalty, and we imagine they grew up that way.
Well, that’s far from the truth!
Many of the cinema superstars we love today struggled to get where they are and had to push through some pretty hard times. What did they do? They got jobs. They didn’t get dream jobs or even jobs they liked, but they did the work and got the paychecks to the rent.
Now, thanks to a career change, those jobs make for fun little tidbits to talk about. Check out how these six folks went from doing random jobs to becoming Oscar hopefuls.
Joel Edgerton – One of the baker’s dozen
Joel Edgerton gained fame in movies like “The Great Gatsby” and “Exodus: Gods and Kings”, but his role as Richard Loving in 2016’s “Loving” shot him to stardom.
Yet, before Joel’s career change broke him into the realm of acting, he sought out a job so he could make money. What did he do? He worked at a French patisserie (or bakery). He told the Wall Street Journal that he’d “crack 1,000 eggs in the morning.” He spent the rest of his day at the patisserie filling cream puffs.
Andrew Garfield – The bravest barista
You may recognize him from “The Social Network” or watched him save lives as “The Amazing Spider-Man,” but he may actually have saved your morning long before that. Andrew Garfield, who was nominated last year in the Best Actor category for his performance in “Hacksaw Ridge”, started out as a Starbucks barista. That’s right, before he was slinging webs, he was slinging lattes and cappuccinos.
He told Jimmy Kimmel, “I’m going to be the barista that woos them all and wins them all, or they realize after a period of months that in fact, the skinny guy is the guy to go with.”
At least “Hacksaw Ridge”’s director, Mel Gibson, realized the skinny kid was the way to go.
Denzel Washington – The pickup artist
We all know Denzel. We all love Denzel. From “The Hurricane” to “Training Day” to “Man on Fire,” he’s about as good as they come. Last year, he did it again by directing and starring in a movie version of the Broadway hit “Fences”. In the movie, he plays a former baseball player who works as a garbage man to make ends meet.
It may have been easy for Denzel to relate to the role because before his career change made him a household name, he spent some time riding on the back of a garbage truck as a 20-year-old. When Larry King asked him if shooting the 2013 film 2 Guns was hard, he responded, “I was a garbage man. I worked the back of the truck for 22 square blocks. That’s hard. Doing movies. Doing movies there is nothing that we do that’s hard.”
Just when you thought you couldn’t like Denzel any more than you already do.
Amy Adams – On a wing and a prayer
Amy Adams is no stranger to the awards shows. She’s been nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role once before for “American Hustle” and had four nominations as a supporting actress. In another film, “Arrival,” Adams is a linguist brought into an extraterrestrial situation to help communicate with aliens.
That may not be too far of a stretch for her. Before she spread her wings and her acting career took off, Amy was serving wings at Hooters. She started out as a hostess, but moved to waitress when she turned 18. “I waited [tables] for about a month. I wasn't cut out to be a waitress, and I certainly wasn't cut out to be a Hooters waitress. That was a short-lived ambition.”
If you’ve ever been there on a weekend afternoon, you can get understand why trying to communicate with aliens may not be that different than communicating with some of those tables.
Annette Bening – Cooking up a new career
You may recognize her or you may not. But last year, Annette received much acclaim for her performance in “20th Century Women.” She played an aging mother who is “helping” her kids and herself figure out life and love.
The movie is set in southern California, where Annette started to figure her own life out. At just 16 years old she got SCUBA certified and landed a job on a boat — cooking. Yep, she cooked eggs and grilled cheese sandwiches for scuba charters.
Annette actually liked the job and stayed with it for a while after graduating until she started college. The lesson here? If you must be a short order cook, at least get a sea breeze and meet interesting people.
Emma Stone – One for the dogs
Emma Stone, the husky-voiced darling of Hollywood did it again with her portrayal of Mia, an aspiring actress in the movie “La La Land”. It landed her a nomination for Best Actress.
When Emma herself moved to L.A. as an aspiring actress, she landed a job in a bakery. A bakery specifically for dogs. Yep, that’s right. She was baking gourmet doggie treats. What pooch doesn’t need a “Pup-kin Spiced Latte” or “S’mores Yappuccino?” She actually told Vogue magazine that she had one customer who bought dog cookies for her child because “she thought dog Oreos were healthier.”
Luckily for Emma, she got off the bakery leash, embraced a career change, and found her way into great movies like “The Help”, “Birdman”, and now “La La Land”.
No dogs there.
The lesson to be learned: Very few people just grow up in their desired profession. Usually, they need to navigate a period of transition between childhood and reaching that goal. That’s when it can be tough to make ends meet, and it’s time to take that job that is not so star-studded.
Whether you’re just starting out, in-between, or changing careers, it’s okay to take something a little less glamorous to get you through the tough times. You’ll learn some new things, and you never know just who you might meet. That lousy job could be the gateway to the job of your dreams.
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