Celebrities Who Used to Perform in Clubs

Everyone has a past most people wouldn’t expect, and A-list celebrities are definitely among them. These royalties in film, television, and even in the music industry, all have interesting backstories most people do not know about… like being exotic dancers before basking in the limelight.

There are a lot of reasons for this, from making ends meet to just wanting some thrill. And these names are definitely the ones you least expect.

Brad Pitt


Before having almost everyone in the world know him, Brad Pitt (known for hit movies like Moneyball and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) had been part of the “Dancing Bares” group, University of Missouri’s stripping troupe. Yes, once upon a time, Brad Pitt danced for a living!

Lady Gaga

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Lady Gaga did not just have fame handed to her… despite her natural talent in singing, and in the recent years, acting. Before the A Star is Born lead became a big name in Hollywood, she used to dance in clubs at the Lower East Manhattan just to make ends meet.

Chris Pratt

The Riker Brothers/Mens’ Journal

The funky Star Lord from Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy franchise apparently did not start working in the outer space. Before Chris Pratt’s big ticket roles in hit films, he used to do casual gigs on the side dancing in clubs. He did admit later on that dancing – especially the exotic type – wasn’t really the right path for his skill set.

Cardi B

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Before spitting bars after bars, Cardi B’s rise to fame wasn’t really in line with the music industry. From ages 18 to 23, Cardi B had been sensually dancing on stage. After this stint, the singer-rapper did not immediately jump to singing. Instead, she first became a social media personality before letting the world know her knack for catchy tunes.

Courtney Love


Guitarist Courtney Love of alternative rock band “Hole” did a lot to get the group everything they need to reach the top. Including, hitting the clubs and bars at night to dance on stage. Of course, the money she made wasn’t just solely for the band, it was also for the creative career she was passionate about!

Channing Tatum

Entertainment Weekly

This one’s a little less surprising, given Channing Tatum’s famed role in the movie Magic Mike. Given the moves he did in the movie, it was no surprise that Tatum already had a background quite similar in that line of work. Before becoming famous, Tatum used to do real life exotic dance in Tampa!

Javier Bardem


Javier Bardem had a quite different path before from the successful acting career he got going now. What started as a quirky joke within the family, Bardem started to pursue a career in professional sensual dancing… which he eventually decided was not for him.

A good thing for everyone, since we would not get to witness his performance as Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men!

Constance Wu


Talk about commitment to the craft! While Constance Wu did not do exotic dancing as part of her real resume, she can somewhat add the skillset to her form, after going undercover in a strip club to prepare for her role in the Hustlers movie back in 2019.

NeNe Leakes


Before earning bucks in her appearances in the hit TV show The Real Housewives of Atlanta, NeNe Leakes already had a taste of earning heaps of amount of money back when she tried pole dancing as a living. Earning $1000 a night does seem passable as a “a great hustle”.

Catherine Zeta-Jones

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Catherine Zeta-Jones, known for her roles in Ocean’s Twelve and The Mask of Zorro, was an exotic dancer before she even delved into acting. According to Zeta-Jones, she felt the need to earn money in order to enhance her nose, doing extra jobs to fund her goal.

Vinny Guadagnino

Paper Magazine

Vinny Guadagnino of the TV series Jersey Shore had a sideline – hosting in Chippendales, a dancing troupe famously known for striptease. According to Chippendales, Guadagnino was warmly welcomed by the patrons, definitely the right decision to join, as he has sold out performances almost every time he appears.

Carmen Electra


Yes, Baywatch was a good enough sign to know that Carmen Electra had a bit of background in the art of teasing. Before diving into the entertainment industry, Electra once appeared on stages doing her exotic dance – one of her proudest works as the actress even released fitness videos showcasing this skillset!

Amber Rose

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Amber Rose, known for her art in music, as well as her trysts with the rapper Kanye West, had experience as an exotic dancer before entering the world of showbiz. Rose used to helm the stage of the clubs back when she was 18 years old up to 25.

Dita Von Teese

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The famous Burlesque icon, Dita Von Teese, who also unexpectedly appeared in one Taylor Swift’s music videos, had a good reason for her angelic moves. Before diving deep into the art of Burlesque, she used to work in strip clubs back when she was 18.

She discovered her knack for artistic performance back then, as she had this need to add a dash of theatrics every time she’s on stage.

David Hernandez

Logo TV

David Hernandez, who has been in the music industry for a decade now, saw his door to fame during the 2008 American Idol. Despite not bagging the top place, Hernandez caused quite a stir back then as his censored photos suddenly leaked online.

Upon this instance, it was revealed that Hernandez used to work in clubs for several before he took his shot in the world-famous singing competition.

Azealia Banks

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Azealia Banks, a rapper, singer, and songwriter, described her previous experience working in clubs as hitting a low point. As a way to get by, which was common for budding artists waiting for that one shot in fame, Banks spent at least two weekends working night time in the clubs to “earn fast money”.

Needless to say, she never looked back after her song “212” was warmly received by the world.

Mark Consuelos


There’s a variety of ways to make name for yourself, and to Mark Consuelos, a great way to do that is to hit the stages in strip clubs in South Florida. It did him great though, he landed roles in hit television series such as All My Children and the more recent drama, Riverdale.

Blac Chyna


Once a part of the Kardashian family as Rob Kardashian’s former beau, Blac Chyna used to do exotic dancing becoming more known as a model and socialite. She used to work as a sensual dancer at the King of Diamonds, which was actually what opened the doors to fame for her.

Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino

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A Jersey Shore alum, Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino started out as a model, before trying on night clubs for extra cash. While it did earn him the money he needed, it wasn’t quite as satisfying for him as he was uncomfortable with what the clubs usually make their performers do!


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