A list of some of Hollywood’s biggest and brightest stars who, before hitting it big, worked as strippers to make ends meet. So, from A-list leading men Channing Tatum and Chris Pratt to femcee Azealia Banks to pop diva Lady Gaga, here are the biggest stars who stripped.
Channing Tatum has made two movies now about his stripping career, which lasted about eight months after he dropped out of college. Tatum was outed as a stripper in 2009 by a guy who sold a tape he had made of Tatum’s dancing to Us Weekly. It didn’t seem to bother Tatum—who danced under the name “Chan Crawford”—much that the world knew about his past, and he toldGQ, “I’m not ashamed of it. I don’t regret one thing. I’m not a person who hides shit.” And aren’t we glad he doesn’t!
Chris Pratt recently stated that he believes men should be objectified as much as women are, and the buff Jurassic Park star certainly knows all about the female gaze, having worked as a stripper when he was 18. “I was always a very much naked person. I loved to always get naked. I was very free, so I thought, I may as well get paid,” he told Buzzfeed in 2013. Surprisingly, the sexy star claims to have not been very good at his job, telling Ellen, “I was like the very, very low-rent Magic Mike.” He only did it three times, but did manage to book one particularly sweet gig: a friend’s grandmother’s birthday party.
Lady Gaga was a burlesque dancer when she was 19 and living on the Lower East Side trying to make it as a singer. She says that as a burlesque dancer, she only stripped down to her bikini “and boobies sometimes,” so not much has changed between then and her concerts now. Gaga also told Jimmy Fallon that she’d met an elderly stripper in Atlanta a couple of years ago who was dancing to “Poker Face,” but didn’t recognize Gaga in the audience. She leaned in and told Gaga, “If she just took all those clothes off and she just sang, she would be great.”
Brad Pitt admitted at Newsweek’s Oscar Roundtable back in 2007 that he used to drive the strippers to and from their engagements. “I’d pick them up, and at the gig I’d collect the money, play the bad Prince tapes, and catch the girls’ clothes. It was not a wholesome atmosphere, and it got very depressing.” But Pitt wasn’t always just an onlooker. A frat brother of Pitt’s from the University of Missouri claimed that Pitt was in a dancing group called “The Dancing Bares,” which would put on nude choreographed dances for girls when they turned 21. That’s kind of sweet.
Javier Bardem only stripped for a weekend when he was young to make some money, and he was so bad at it his mother and his sister had to cheer him on in the audience. “I said, ‘This is not for me.’ You have to be really confident about the way you look. We actors are always hiding ourselves behind characters. When you are doing that thing, you aren’t hiding, you’re exposing,” recalled Bardem.
Before Azealia Banks was a stylish and successful rapper, she worked as a stripper in Queens to make ends meet. “I was such a chicken in the strip club. It was not my thing at all. I was there for just two weekends, and then I quit because ‘212’ blew up,” she told The Daily Beast. Still, Banks admits that she finds stripping “sexy as hell” and still follows a lot of strippers on Instagram.
Amber Rose makes no apologies for her former stripping career, which she started at the age of 15. “Listen, I don’t have any sob stories about me dancing—I had the time of my life,” she said. And she is more than willing to give back to younger generations. The hip-hop model, who dated Kanye West and was married to Wiz Khalifa,reportedly spent around $10,000 at the Los Angeles strip club Ace of Diamonds back in March.
Courtney Love famously stripped as a youngster at Jumbo’s Clown Room in Los Angeles when she first moved there (as well as a few other clubs, as she pointed out in an interview with LA Weekly). In 2014, Love settled her longtime feud with Foo Fighters frontman David Grohl, and the two of them made a $10,000 bet over who “can get the most strippers.” “I used to be [a stripper], and I tip like a maniac so they relate to me,” she told Page Six. “That’s the whole premise. That’s why we made the bet.”
MIKE ‘THE SITUATION’ SORRENTINO
Most celebs went from stripping to a more, ahem, classy life, but that’s arguably not the case for Mike Sorrentino (aka “The Situation”) of Jersey Shore reality fame. Mike admitted on Season 5 of the show that he started stripping when he was 22. “It was probably the laziest job that I could pick where I could use the looks that I had at the time. And it worked out,” he said.
The Real Housewives of Atlanta isn’t the only gig NeNe Leakes has left behind. The reality star also danced as a stripper when she was a 25-year-old single mother under the stage name of “Silk.” “I sold the fantasy, my pussy,” she said on the show with her characteristic bluntness. “I just felt very powerful.” Leakes was incredibly successful and she says she made a ton of money doing it: “I just thought of the men as ATM machines.”
The Oscar-winning screenwriter of Juno, Diablo Cody, used her year as a stripper when she was 24 years old to launch her career, writing a blog and then later a book about the experience called,Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper. The former advertising copywriter chronicled all sorts of weird situations that she encountered in her job, including incest fantasies, but still enjoyed her time doing it. “I found it to be cathartic, a very weird, twisted form of self-expression,” Cody said.
Mark Consuelos may have gone on to have a successful career on the soap opera All My Children, but his wife, Kelly Ripa, admitted toVanity Fair in 2012 that he had worked as a stripper when he was first starting out. “So, there he was in South Florida, he’s gorgeous, looking to break into show business, so he started off as a roadie to a group of these guys, and then they talked him into stripping.”
When Eve was 17, she was a high school graduate with no idea how to launch her music career. She met some girls who were strippers, and started doing it in her native Philadelphia and then New York for two months. The lifestyle took its toll on her, though, triggering her depression, which she has struggled with ever since. “I was like in a haze and I was depressed all the time. And when I would come out of those hazes, I would be like, ‘I’m doing this, I claim I like it, I think I like it, I’m hanging with these girls. But why am I so sad?’” she told VH1’s Behind the Music. “It’s a weird place to be when you can’t trust your own judgment.”
Catherine was only a stripper for a short time and for one reason: to pay for a nose job.
No surprise here, but Carmen used to strip before becoming famous. She even released her own signature brand stripper pole.
Again. No surprise here. Jenna was a stripper and glamor model, eventually making her way to porn, becoming one of the most famous porn stars ever.