The American dream that anybody can make it big if they strive for it, or the fairy-tale of the pauper turned prince seem extremely unlikely in a world with an ever increasing population, rampant debt and rising unemployment (especially among young people).
And they really are extremely unlikely, from a statistical point of view. Not to mention the many factors involved in an amazing success story that are outside of one’s control (luck, opportunity, the actions of other people, health etc.), unless one is some form of scion of Chaos and on good terms with daddy.
However, such stories are just very rare, not completely impossible. As demonstrated by these 8 former fast food workers now stars. If they could do it, so can everyone. Right? Right?!
1. Rachel McAdams
A truly United Kingdom combination of genes (Scottish, Irish, Welsh and English), despite being born in Canada, you probably know her as one of the prominent actresses of our times, starring in “Mean Girls”, “Midnight in Paris” and alongside Robert Downey Jr. in “Sherlock Holmes (2009)”, to name a few.
And that probably has to do with her long-lasting love of acting and dedication to the craft, because she has been doing this since the age of 13.
But until you actually become a known actress, it doesn’t really pay. So, at the age of 16, apart from directing kids theater, she also took a job at McDonalds so she can pay the bills. Luckily for her, this temporary means to an end didn’t become permanent, like in many other cases, and she finally got the recognition she deserved.
2. James Franco
Looks like Rachel McAdams and James Franco are not only colleagues in acting, but were also colleagues as workers for the same fast food store. Although Franco’s time as an employee was only 3 months in the 90s and he worked at a USA location of the franchise, as opposed to Canada like McAdams.
He’s very grateful to McDonalds for offering him a job in his time of need and mentions that it was also a double-win for him, as he could practice his accents on customers.
3. Jay Leno
Since we’re on the subject of stars who worked for McDonalds, prepare to gasp, as you find out that the mega-star Jay Leno was also employed by the company, in Massachusetts, for minimum wage, as a teenager, before he was a talk-show success. He says it was actually the first place he made money by telling jokes. Initially to customers, then at a comedy routine for a McDonalds’s regional talent show, which he won.
If we’re on a roll with McDonalds, why stop? Another star who worked there is the English singer Seal. But, as opposed to those mentioned before him, he says it was the worst job he’s ever had the misfortune to have. And he loathed it so much that he: “stayed two weeks, until I got my first paycheck. Then, I was outta there.”
And our streak closer is none other than the also McDonalds employed Pink. Yup, the now common household name for teens started at McDonalds because it was important for her family that she make her own money. The sad part? She says that it was “like the worst nightmare because I would never want to be back there”. Sounds like a pretty bad experience. Though she did manage to make a joke about it, saying that the only good thing was that as a drive-through receptionist: “I had a Janet Jackson microphone—I had power.” Props for seeing the sunny side of things.
6. Gwen Stefani
With tons of fans who enjoy her work as the lead singer of the pop-rock band No Doubt and later as a solo artist, Gwen Stefani couldn’t possibly forget her start as a Dairy Queen employee, because that’s where she was invited to do vocals for No Doubt by John Spence. Backing vocals, that is. Until the band realized her potential and the rest is history.
7. Jenniffer Hudson
In a rare display of comfort in public and dealing with strangers, the now actress and singer Jenniffer Hudson, used to sing to customers as they placed their orders at the Burger King drive-thru booth she was responsible for. It would be interesting to have some recordings of those impromptu before-the-fame tunes. If anyone happened to get past their amazement and whip out a cell phone or recorder.
8. Barack Obama
The highest jump for last. Mr. Obama is apparently the living embodiment of the American Dream and that all those kids who are told they can become whatever they want when they grow up actually have a chance to do so, no matter their family’s wealth or their social background. “Even President?”. “Yes, son, even President”.
The current President’s first job was a minimum wage one, as an ice-cream server for the Baskin-Robbins chain. He quipped that: ““Your wrists hurt.” because “chocolate ice cream gets real hard”.