[Cue “You Can Leave Your Hat On” by Tom Jones]
Most of us start our careers in sh*tty, low-paying jobs that have little to do with our chosen field. Straight out of college, it’s often difficult to find employment as a teacher or a banker, so it’s no wonder recent graduates turn to Starbucks and McDonald’s or even go so far as to work in strip clubs to help make ends meet.
If that’s you, there’s nothing to feel ashamed of. Okay, so it may not be very glamorous and it might be frowned upon by society, but rest assured that you’re not alone.
In fact, some former strippers went on to become internationally acclaimed celebrities (in completely unrelated fields, by the way)
See Also: 5 Celebrities Who Used to Be Porn Stars
1. Channing Tatum
It’s no secret that Channing Tatum has a stripper past. In fact, he was pretty open about it when a leaked video of the Magic Mike star stripping in a Florida nightclub made it onto the Internet back in 2009, and…
I’m sorry, what was I saying? I may or may not have got distracted by his butt… and damn you, censorship!
Channing, who went by the stage name Chan Crawford during his stripping years, rose to fame in 2006 when he was cast in the role of Tyler Gage in the romantic dance film Step Up alongside his future wife Jenna Dewan. His career skyrocketed soon after and he went on to star in movies like G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, 21 Jump Street, and The Lego Movie.
After videos and photos of his stripping career began circulating the Internet, Channing admitted that he wanted to make a film based on his life and experiences as a male stripper, which eventually resulted in Magic Mike and its 2015 sequel –
Oh, who cares? SHOW US YOUR BUTT!
2. Chris Pratt
You know, if there’s only one thing I love about my job, it’s Googling “male strippers” at work and getting away with it. Not that I do it regularly, but still.
Chris Pratt starred in several supporting roles in films like Wanted, Moneyball, and Her, but it was his role as Andy Dwyer in the TV sitcom Parks and Recreation that propelled him to fame. His subsequent roles in the blockbusters Guardians of the Galaxy, The Lego Movie, and Jurassic World only furthered his movie career and he is now considered one of the most sought-after contemporary actors.
We saw Pratt go from chunky to hunky, but one thing we unfortunately didn’t witness was his short-lived stripping career. He told talk show host and comedienne Ellen DeGeneres that he made $40 per show and admitted that he “wasn’t good [at it]. I would just, like, slowly, awkwardly dance.”
3. Lady Gaga
Stefani Germanotta dropped out of CAP21 to focus on her musical career at the age of 19 and began using the stage name Lady Gaga at this time. She was signed on to Def Jam Records a year later in 2006 to record an album, but was dropped within three months, and she returned home where she began experimenting with drugs and working as a go-go dancer.
By 2008, however, a series of Top 5 hit singles including “Poker Face” and “Paparazzi” had propelled the young singer to international superstardom. She has since won six Grammy Awards and broken 13 Guinness World Records.
The “Born This Way” singer appeared on Watch What Happens Live in 2013 (jump to the 10:04 mark) and revealed that she once worked as a stripper “because I made more money stripping than waitressing”.
4. NeNe Leakes
Best known for her appearance on the reality TV show The Real Housewives of Atlanta, NeNe Leakes went on to play Roz Washington on Glee and Rocky Rhoades on The New Normal.
Meanwhile, in 2003, she played a stripper in the Cuba Gooding, Jr./Beyoncé movie The Fighting Temptations. A role that she played in real life.
At the age of 23, she found herself jobless and broke, and started working the pole to make ends meet as a single mother. She later recalled: “I remember going home and having something like $1,000 and thinking ‘I made $1,000 in one night’.”
5. Javier Bardem
The Spanish actor known for his starring roles in movies like Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Eat Pray Love, and Skyfall once confessed to working as a stripper – for a day.
Bardem was a struggling actor at the time and in desperate need for cash. “It was a disaster,” he told Marie Claire. “And you know who was there watching? My mum and my sister!”
6. Brad Pitt
Brad Pitt first came to Hollywood’s attention in the 1991 film Thelma & Louise, which got the ball rolling for an internationally successful movie career. He went on to star in many big-budget movies like Interview with the Vampire, 12 Monkeys, Fight Club, Ocean’s Eleven and its sequels.
However, prior to making it big in Hollywood, and while still at the University of Missouri in the early 1980s, Pitt formed a seven-piece stripper group by the name of Dancing Bares. One of his frat brothers recalled that “when a girl from one of our sister sororities turned 21, the Bares… would put her in a chair and come out butt-naked with pillowcases on their heads and do a choreographed dance for her.”
7. Catherine Zeta-Jones
The Welsh actress started her acting career at the age of 12, getting the lead role in the stage musical Annie, and went onto win an Academy Award for her portrayal of Velma Kelly in the 2002 musical film Chicago.
Back in the day, though, when she was still unknown, she reportedly ventured into the world of exotic dancing and spent her earnings on getting a nose job.
8. Amber Rose
Prior to finding fame and success as a singer, model and actress, Amber Rose turned to stripping at the shocking age of 15. Using the stage name Paris, she used her earnings to help support her family after her parents’ divorce.
Rose made a guest appearance on Kandi Koated Nights and discussed her dancing past. She said “it was the best time of my life” and that “it was so much fun.”
9. Carmen Electra
Prior to Baywatch fame and appearing in Playboy magazine, dancer and actress Carmen Electra worked as a stripper for a brief time. She also released a series of striptease and pole dancing workout videos.
She even launched her very own strip pole, aptly named the Spinning Electra-Pole.
10. Courtney Love
The controversial rocker and Kurt Cobain’s widow is yet another celebrity with stripper beginnings.
At the age of 16, she found work at Mary’s Club to support herself, under the stage name Michelle. She later went on to strip at Jumbo’s Clown Room, Seventh Veil, and Nude, Nude, Nude! Century Lounge and made about $300 a day. Love commented that her stripping past helped her fund what would become the alternative rock band Hole: “Every $5 I made, I would give Eric Erlandson three… and that’s how we bought our van and got our backline.”
See Also: 5 Ways Sex Can Boost Your Career
Can you think of any other celebrities who used to be strippers? Let us know in the comments section below!