Not all inspirational leaders and influencers started at the top. Before they were famous, they started at the bottom and had to work their way up. Just like the rest of us.

These are 7 top leaders and celebrities who worked in fast food restaurants before they were famous.

1. Barack Obama

Before they were famous - Compelo

Talk about a career U-turn! Obama, believe it or not, started out working in an ice cream parlour. Yep, we’re serious here. As a 16-year-old, Obama spent a summer working in American chain Baskin Robbins. “Rows and rows of rock-hard ice cream can be brutal on the wrists,” Obama said. “As a teenager working behind the counter at Baskin-Robbins in Honolulu, [it] wasn’t exactly glamorous, but it taught me some valuable lessons. Responsibility. Hard work. Balancing a job with friends, family, and school.”

2. Jeff Bezos

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Before he founded Amazon, and pretty much revolutionised the retail industry forever, Bezos actually worked as a burger flipper in McDonalds. Talking about his experiences, Bezos said: “My first week on the job, a five-gallon, wall-mounted ketchup dispenser got stuck open in the kitchen and dumped a prodigious quantity of ketchup into every hard-to-reach kitchen crevice. Since I was the new guy, they handed me the cleaning solution and said, ‘Get going!”

3. Brad Pitt

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Back when William Bradley Pitt was just 23-years-old, he dropped out of the University of Missouri to pursue an acting career. Pitt moved to Hollywood, but struggled to find acting work, so he took a job at fast food chicken restaurant El Pollo Loco. But Pitt wasn’t welcoming people at the door with his dazzling looks, oh no. He was instead hidden away in a bright yellow chicken costume, in which he stood out on the street in handing out flyers. Wasted marketing opportunity? We think so. Pitt then got scouted for a part in Dallas and the rest is history.

4. James Franco

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Before breaking into the acting world, Franco also worked at McDonald’s. “I wore a purple visor and purple polo shirt and took orders over a headset. I refrained from reading on the job, but soon started putting on fake accents with the customers to practice for my scenes in acting class,” he wrote in his article, ‘McDonalds was there for me when no one else was‘. He also, *gross*, ate food out of the fryer. “I hate to whistleblow, but everyone ate straight from the fry hopper. You’d walk by and snag a fry and pop it in your mouth. So easy.” Eww. Not OK Franco!

5. Andrew Card

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Card was George W. Bush’s Chief of Staff, in a position of huge power. He was the one who famously whispered the news of 9/11 into Bush’s ear as he was reading to a group of schoolchildren. However he actually worked in McDonald’s for three years before he got into politics. Card said, “I remember thinking that McDonald’s was unique as a great equalizer. Wealthy and poor, black and white all came to McDonald’s and stood in the same lines and sat at the same booths.”

6. Rachel McAdams

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You may know here from Hollywood blockbusters such as The Notebook and About Time, but McAdams actually started out her career working in McDonalds. “[I worked at McDonald’s] for a good three years,” the actress said. ” I was not a great employee. I had a little bit of an OCD thing with hand washing and just didn’t have time. They were like, ‘Hey, the drive-through’s backing up. Stop washing your hands!'” It seems she landed on her feet though!

7. Sharon Stone

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Just imagine being asked “would you like fries with that?” by the gorgeous Sharon Stone! Well, it was a reality to some customers, as Stone worked in a fast food burger restaurant back in the day. Pretty inspirational right, that all these people started out working in fast food joints and are now super successful entrepreneurs, showbiz professionals and business-people.

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