First jobs of the rich and famous

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obamaThis week, we are celebrating the official start of Barack Obama’s new job. You’ve no doubt heard about the roles he held on his road to the Oval Office — community organizer, university professor, state legislator and U.S. senator. But did you know what his very first job was?

First jobs are usually synonymous with flipping burgers, folding sweaters and busing tables — which is fine, because after all, everybody has to start somewhere. Rich and famous included.

Here are a few of our favorite celebs, including our new commander in chief, and how they earned some cash before making it big:

Barack Obama
Before Obama won the bid as the first African-American president of the United States, our president-elect was giving himself stomachaches and brain freezes at his first job scooping ice cream at a Baskin-Robbins in Hawaii.

“Chocolate ice cream gets real hard,” Barack was quoted as saying in New York Magazine. “Your wrists hurt. [Carpal tunnel syndrome, although] they didn’t call it that.”

Ice cream server’s current income: $16,131/year

Amy Adams
You remember Amy Adams — the innocent, singsong-voiced belle from the Disney movie “Enchanted”? Turns out she hasn’t always been so childlike — at least not when she was hostessing at a Hooters restaurant.

“Everyone would agree … Hooters isn’t necessarily the best way to describe me. I was a dancer, and I used to run around in a leotard and tights. I really didn’t quite get it. I was so naïve about that. And I just thought, ‘Well, it’s a leotard and tights and shorts; it’s not a big deal.’ But there is a difference, and I learned it. But I was a hostess there, and that was sort of fun. I was 17, and then when I was 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,” Adams told Parade magazine.

Hostess’s current income: $18,150/year*

Carrie Underwood
Carrie Underwood struck gold after winning season four of the singing talent competition “American Idol.” But before that, she worked as a gas station cashier in her hometown of Checotah, Okla.

Gas station attendant’s current income: $20,755/year

Miley Cyrus
Before Miley Cyrus (born Destiny Cyrus) got her start as Hannah Montana in the Disney series of the same name (and with a successful singing career to boot), Cyrus had a job cleaning toilets. In a 2008 interview, she revealed her first job was cleaning houses.

“I had one normal job and I actually liked it,” Cyrus said in an interview with Us Weekly magazine. “I worked at this place called Sparkles Cleaning Service and I cleaned houses. I was, like, 11 … I can scrub a toilet,” she boasted.

House cleaner’s current income: $23,614/year

Suze Orman
Today, she tells people how to spend their money as a best-selling financial author, but before that Orman bused tables for seven years at a local diner in Berkley, Calif. Orman says she learned some of the most valuable lessons of her life while waitressing. Working at the diner inspired Orman to open her own restaurant, but she lost the money she invested for it.

“I found myself thinking about what it would be like to be a stockbroker. After great deliberation I decided to apply for a job at Merrill Lynch. Even though I had no experience, I was hired and ended up becoming a pretty good broker,” Orman told Reader’s Digest. “Five years later, I was able to open my own firm.”

Waitresss current income: $20,394/year

Stockbroker‘s current income: $61,151/year

Lance Bass
Before Bass found success in the former boy band ‘N Sync, as a contestant on season seven of “Dancing with the Stars” and as an almost-astronaut, he made a living doing the simpler things in life.

“I worked at a snow-blowing place,” Bass told the New York Daily News. “I was making $100 a week and I was very proud of it. I kept it in the bank, even though I would always spend the whole $100 a week on stupid things, mainly six-packs of beer.”

Snow-blower’s current income: $19,406/year

Try picturing Madonna — one of America’s fittest and most famous — serving pastries behind a counter. It’s hard to imagine, but believe it or not, when Madonna moved to New York, she earned extra cash by working the registers at Dunkin’ Donuts.

“I was sacked from Dunkin’ Donuts for squirting the donut jelly all over the customers,” Madonna has said.

Cashier’s current income: $18,182/year


*Salary data according to

  1. I am not rich and I am not famous. I am a high school teacher and still wondering what I want to do with my life. I had hoped for better:)High school is not a rewarding job anymore!
    I got tired of applying for jobs I wanted and not getting them. Any suggestions?

    • Teresa Jaffers,
      Look up “The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America”. Read it, then try to teach. You’ll have to get a new job soon, I can guarantee that!

  2. Pingback: Carrie Underwood: Life in Pictures

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