Six Stars You Didn’t Know Worked in Food Service!

How did today’s hottest stars make a living before their claim to fame? Celebrities like Margot Robbie, Harry Styles, and Nicki Minaj had humble beginnings working in food service. Find out how their experiences shaped their work ethic in more ways than one.

Margot Robbie – Subway Sandwich Artist

At age 30, Margot Robbie has already starred in more movies than her actual age, with 35 films and counting – so she is no stranger to hard work. Before Robbie became Barbie, she would spend her days either behind the bar, in retail, or working at a warehouse. In 2013, the Oscar-nominated actress told the Australian Council of Trade Unions that before landing her first role in the Australian Soap Opera Neighbors, she rarely turned down jobs and often worked multiple at the same time.

In an episode of Hot Ones, the actress revealed her sandwich making skills as a former “sandwich artist” at Subway: “I was really good at it! I make a mean Subway. The trick is to spread everything evenly out and cut it so well that there is never a bad bite,” she said.

Months after she quit Subway, she was hired to model for the brand, earning 20 times the wages as a sandwich maker. Robbie then explains that she rarely orders from Subway because the workers often do not make them correctly.

Nicki Minaj – Red Lobster Waitress

The “Barb” herself, Nicki Minaj, has worked at several seafood chains, the most well-known being Red Lobster. However, she may not have left the best impression after being fired from about three of their restaurants.

The legendary rapper was fired on the spot after chasing after customers to their cars, flipping them off and banging on their windows if they either stole her pen or did not leave her a tip.

In a 2019 episode of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Minaj reminisces on her experience at her former workplace and says, “That’s what made me hurry up and follow my dreams.”

In another segment on The Tonight Show, the artist accompanied Fallon to his first Red Lobster outing. After she advises him on the menu recommendations, they take off their lobster bibs and put on uniforms! The award-winning rapper relives the experience as an employee, and fortunately, no one stole her pen this time.

Dwayne Johnson – Dishwasher

Before his WWE fighting career, Dwayne the Rock Johnson worked as a dishwasher for a pizza shop. In Oprah Winfrey’s 2015 Master Class episode, he shares that he washed dishes at Emilio’s pizza shop every day after school from 3:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., earning $3.45 an hour.

Johnson says that his experience had a lasting impact on how he approaches his career: “I have learned out of that such a great appreciation for hard work, and putting in hard work.”

The star-studded actor also says that to this day, he washes every dish by hand and never uses a dishwasher.

Melissa McCarthy – Starbucks Barista

At one point, one of the highest paid actresses, Melissa McCarthy, had a bank account balance of below five dollars.

Before the actress was globally recognized for her comedic genius, she spent 20 years trying to break into the Hollywood industry. In the 1990s, McCarthy moved to Los Angeles, California, and worked at Starbucks and the YMCA. The Oscar-nominated actress described her journey to fame on Late Night with Conan O’Brien in 2013, saying that she chose jobs that were a close distance to her apartment because she could not afford a car.

In the interview, the Bridesmaids star even shares her star-struck experience, serving her idol Chris Farley at the coffee shop: “At one point, I got so overwhelmed because he was right there, that I started crying.” She also confessed that she could not stop staring at him while preparing his drink.

@popculturebrain Melissa McCarthy met Chris Farley while working at Starbucks (via Conan) #melissamccarthy #chrisfarley ♬ original sound – Alex — Pop Culture Brain

In 2018, Ford Magazine declared McCarthy as the ninth highest paid actress and is known as an equal-pay advocate. In a 2018 Glamour article, the actress’ husband, comedian Ben Falcone, describes her “fists of justice” when approaching a new role or production deal.

Eva Longoria – Wendy’s Burger Flipper

Eva Longoria’s character in Desperate Housewives is no stranger to having beef with her fellow housewives, but the actress spent six years flipping beef patties at Wendy’s in Corpus Christi, Texas to help raise money for her Quinceanera.

As a guest on the Rachael Ray Show, Longoria uses her former experience to replicate the perfect Wendy’s burger. The actress reveals the secret of applying mayo on the bun to seal all the condiments, putting mustard on the patty to bring out the meat’s flavor, and her personal touch, adding jalepeños. She expressed that she loved working at Wendy’s. Longoria believes that everyone should experience working in food service, saying it helped shape her work ethic.

In a 2016 interview with Redbook, she describes her desire at a young age to gain financial independence and contribute to her family.

In 2008, the star returned to her former workplace and served frosties and fries for charity.

Harry Styles – Bakery worker

Before his career took off after his X Factor audition, the award-winning artist Harry Styles worked at a bakery in his hometown in Cheshire, England.

He returned to the bakery five years later to film for the One Direction movie This is Us.

The singer put on an apron and started working, surprising many customers. His former boss shared that Styles was their most polite staff member, and many customers “really took a shine to him.”

At 14 years old, the now three-time Grammy winner spent most of his Saturdays at the bakery, earning six euros an hour.

These highly successful and award-winning celebrities were not given these opportunities on a silver platter – in fact, they were probably the ones serving the platter. Each of these stars worked hard for their achievements and perhaps motivated them to acquire their star status.

About the Author

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Hannah Shemtov

Hannah Rose is a senior at Emerson College where she studies broadcast journalism and psychology. She has executive produced multiple television news outlets at her school, and interns at AfterBuzz and the Heal Squad. Originally from Los Angeles, California, Hannah winds down with a good film or binge worthy TV show.