They always say to have a plan B, but for many people, plan B (and C, D, and E) comes before plan A. We take all sorts of
jobs on our way to the dream one — some more fun than others. The hustle is what makes the reward that much better, right? And it probably makes us all a little more interesting, to boot. This goes for celebrities, too. No, not all of them were born rich and famous. And to our surprise and delight, some of them started in the beauty world before they made it big. Considering how many people dream of a career in cosmetology, it's not a bad place to start out (or end up). With stints as hairstylists, massage therapists, makeup artists, and more, the stars ahead have some pretty awesome gigs on their résumés.
Photo: Karwai Tang/WireImage/Getty Images.
Nicole Kidman Kidman is a lot of things — she's well-spoken, elegant, and, of course, she's an amazing actress. But she's not someone you would think has super-strong hands, amiright? Before she made her acting debut, she reportedly worked as a massage therapist in Australia to help her family.
Photo: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic/Getty Images.
Mariah Carey Before she became the best-selling female artist of the 1990s, Carey went to beauty school. She told Mimi Chatter that she enrolled there while in the 11th grade and dropped out a year later. Somehow, she still hasn't used her five-octave vocal range to cover a certain hit from she probably relates to...
Photo: Amanda Edwards/WireImage/Getty Images.
John Corbett Corbett is a hair man — and it's not because of his impressive ability to rock locks of any length with aplomb. (Remember his ?) Before he was making Carrie Bradshaw rub his belly, Corbett was a hairstylist. He studied hair and theater simultaneously, but got his SATC mullet hairdressing license in 1986 before he made it big, err, Aidan.
Photo: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images.
Beyoncé It's truly hard to imagine Bey doing anything but shimmying and singing her butt off in a sparkly leotard for millions of people. But back in the day, when she needed extra cash, she swept the floors at her mom's hair salon in Texas. She sang for tips there, too — eyes always on the prize.
Photo: Laura Cavanaugh/Getty Images.
Fran Drescher Before she became The Nanny, Drescher was a hairstylist. She went to cosmetology school in Queens, where she likely also picked up that amazing accent.
Photo: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic/Getty Images.
Serena Williams Okay, technically Williams was a grand-slam-winning, multimillion-dollar-making tennis player long before she was a nail technician (which makes it almost more impressive, no?). In 2010, she enrolled at the Palm Beach Nail School to become a certified manicurist. "No one likes getting their nails done more than I do," she wrote on her blog. "As a matter of fact, I go every four days to get a manicure and every seven days for a pedicure. So, I had a brilliant idea to get certified to be a nail tech." She's even posted pics of herself at beauty school if you want to check 'em out.
Photo: Ben Gabbe/Getty Images.
Cyndi Lauper Girls just want to have fun and they just want to get their ears pierced (well, some of them) — and Lauper knows all about both. Before she was everyone's idol, Lauper was piercing ears at her local five-and-dime. Ouch.
Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images.
Kim Kardashian Mrs. West has had an interesting road to fame (to say the least), with strange twists and turns. But if one of them had happened to lead her away from the spotlight, she could've always fallen back on what she learned in beauty school. reported that the reality queen went to Marie Claire Joe Blasco Cosmetics, Inc. at the age of 14.
Photo: Jamie McCarthy/NBC/Getty Images.
Danny DeVito It's certainly a strange transition to go from Kim Kardashian to Danny DeVito — but they do have at least one thing in common. The 5-foot-tall actor went to beauty school after working at his sister's salon in New Jersey. He's quoted saying this about the experience: "I walk in the door, I've got my kit, and I've got my white smock on. I thought it was going to be horrible. But I look in the door and there were like 40 girls, me, and two guys I didn't get to know very well. I thank my sister to this day."
Photo: Lou Rocco/ABC/Getty Images.
Whoopi Goldberg We'll end on an even more unexpected note than the rest... It's not so much that Goldberg did hair (she does have a great 'do, though), it's that she did hair and makeup on dead people. "There was an ad in the paper! And I'm a licensed beautician as well, because I went to beauty school," she explained in Oprah's Master Class. "It's a rough gig. You have to be a certain kind of person. And you have to love people in order to make them worthy of a great send-off." And we're sure she did.
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the
Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!