There may be a lot of buzz for the ‘nepo babies’ out there who have become successful due in big part to the success of their parents. But it’s important to keep in mind that most people who are rich and famous didn’t come from rich and famous parents. Hollwood, the business world, and elsewhere are full of people who came from humble backgrounds and were able to climb their way to success. And of course, they all had to have jobs while they worked their way up the chain. Perhaps there’s no better starter job than a gig at a McDonalds, which is why it’s not surprising that so many stars and celebs started out their careers working for the old Golden Arches. In this video, we’re taking a look at some of the famous people who worked at the fast food chain, and how it helped shape who they eventually became. Join Facts Verse, as we present: Celebrities Who Started Out Working at McDonald’s
You might love the slogan, “I’m lovin in” but it could be argued that there’s no better advertisement for what working at McDonald’s can do to jump start a career than Jeff Bezos. It’s actually pretty remarkable that the man responsible for creating the behemoth that is Amazon, and has been labeled the “richest man in modern history” also worked in behind the counter at McDonald’s. And while there were certainly MANY steps in between his low level job at the fast food chain and becoming a billionaire, it can’t hurt for them to point out that he once worked there. Bezos was a McDonald’s employee when he was 16 years old, and he talked about his experience with the magazine, Fast Company. In particular he talked about how his job gave him certain skills that he was able to hone during his time at McDonald’s, such as cracking an egg with only one hand. He also talked about how he loved getting the Saturday morning shift, because not only was he less tired than during his school day shifts, but also that it allowed him to sit and crack large quantities of eggs into a bowl for breakfast consumption by the masses.
Some famous celebs who had a stint at McDonald’s before they hit it big may likely have only been behind the counter for a brief period. This is definitely not the case for Rachel McAdams. Before she lit up screens in movies like Wedding Crashers, The Notebook, and Mean Girls, Rachel worked for a solid three straight years at a local McDonald’s. Looking back on the experience, McAdams does wonder how she managed to keep the gig for that long. In 2008, she was interviewed by the New York Times, and spoke about her McDonald’s experience. She pointed out that she’s naturally pretty laid back, and tends to daydream. She also said that she’s naturally not the quickest when it comes to any fast paced, menial tasks that need doing. At first, she said that she’d get caught up slowly doing smaller tasks, like organizing the condiment packages, and the lines would get longer and longer because they couldn’t keep up. So eventually they moved her to a position where she primarily greeted people when they came in the restaurant, and cleaned up the seating area. Because her slow moves and daydreaming tendencies meant customers wouldn’t be super happy. McAdams told the Times that, all things considered, she has no idea why they let her keep workgin there for so long. But clearly it was an important gig for Rachel, and allowed her to bring in money while she prepped for a successful acting career.
Pharrell Williams is one of the most successful producers and songwriters in the last several decades. And he’s been famous for so long, it might seem unlikely that he ever had to work a fast food job. And yet that’s exactly what he did to make ends meet as a youngster. However, unlike Rachel McAdams, who managed to stick around for three years, Pharrell’s stint (or rather, stints) lasted only brief periods. During an interview with Seth Meyers, he admitted that he was fired from his McDonald’s gig… three separate times. Which brings up the question of why they kept hiring him back. Pharrell said that it was simply incompetence on his part, and that his managers would hire him, and then quickly realized he was just no good at the job. So they’d fire him. According to Williams, he was really only good at eating the chicken nuggets.
Amazingly, the Pharrell and McDonald’s connection ended up being a golden one years later. He actually helped write the Justin Timberlake song “I’m Lovin’ It” with Justin Timberlake. That song became the basis for the uber-famous McDonalds jingle and multiple decade long ad campaign. So, even though he might have been eating nuggets on the job, McDonald’s certainly got their money’s worth from Pharrell.
James Franco might be a big time actor, director, producer, writer, artist, and probably like 10 other things by the time this video comes out, but he started off as a kid with a dream. And as he developed his craft early on, he took a gig working at a local McDonald’s to help support himself. Franco penned an article for the Washington Post that talked about his experience there. (I guess we should add ‘journalist’ to his list of occupations.) In it, he talked about how the restaurant was there for him when he needed them. He was having trouble finding work at the time that would also allow him to attend acting classes and go out for auditions. But when he explained his situation to the manager of a nearby McDonald’s, things worked out perfectly. Franco said that he was hired the day he applied, and started working immediately. In the article, Franco also mentioned that he’s been asked over the years whether or not he felt he was too good to have worked at McDonald’s. This is probably a fair question, as you might expect a huge star to find it beneath them. But Franco always denies it. He said he was definitely NOT too good to work for the big time chain, and that he’s always grateful for the opportunities that job allowed him to pursue.
Lin-Manuel Miranda has had quite the last decade, primarily as the creator and star of the now-legendary musical, Hamilton. He’s also dabbled in film acting, appearing in movies like Mary Poppins Returns, and shows like His Dark Materials. He’s truly an artistic genius, and his work will influence generations to come. And yet, Lin-Manuel didn’t get famous overnight. He toiled for years on draft after draft of Hamilton. And before that, he worked for years creating his first hit Broadway show, In the Heights. So clearly he needed to find employment to keep himself afloat all that time. And apparently that included a stint at McDonald’s. Manuel tweeted that his first job ever was at the fast food restaurant. His duties included manning the cash register, and making deliveries for them as well. In the same tweet he talked about how his time at McDonalds helped him get the inspiration for the song, ‘Delivery’ from “Working: A Musical.” Of course, in the world of social media, nothing goes unnoticed. As such, the official McDonald’s account tweeted back at Manuel. They wrote: “Change is good… literally and figuratively. Bravo, Lin!” So clearly it was love in both direction between the playwright and the fast food chain.
Shania Twain has had a lengthy and incredible career as a country pop singer and songwriter. And she aspired to it even when she was very young. In high school, she already had plans to chase her dream of becoming a performer. So she sang, wrote songs, and went to school. Of course, she also needed to supplement and help out her family with a job. So Shania worked at McDonalds as a teen. Her schedule was grueling. During the day, she’d go to school and focus on her studies. Then, after school, she’d head to McDonald’s for an early evening shift. Finally, when she was done with that, she’d head to local bars and sing. Clearly Shania wasn’t lacking for work ethic. And it certainly paid off in the end, because she became one of the best selling artists of her era!
Macy Gray may be known as a famous singer and songwriter, but long before that, she was a shift worker at McDonald’s. Well, sort of. Macy got her big break as a McDonald’s commercial. So, at least she got a taste of what it was like working there for a few hours. And she had lovely things to say about the experience. She pointed out that there’s a lot more to it than many people realize. She talked about loving the people she worked with, the constant action, and the sense that she and her team were accomplishing things on a daily, if not minute to minute basis. Of course, it’s not clear whether she realized that those were all actors and crew members, and that working long shifts at a fast food restaurant is a lot more grueling. But we’ll give it to her for at least acknowledging that people who work there certainly should be proud at whaty they are able to accomplish each day. Gray referred to the acting gig as her first big break, and of course she’s gone on to be a hugely successful performer since then.
Now it’s time to hear from you. Which of these celebs were you surprised to hear worked at McDonald’s? Do you know of any others who did? Let us know in the comments section below!