These days, it’s easy to look at a successful person and think how good their life must be. Before reaching stardom, many celebrities worked multiple part-time jobs to work their way to their dream. Here are nine celebrities who worked their way through the dirt roads to walk on the red carpet today.
1. Ahn Jung Hwan
Although he is more known as a variety show star these days, Ahn Jung Hwan was a former soccer player for the Korean national soccer team who was famous for his soccer skills and his good looks. His father passed away when he was young, leaving his mom as the sole breadwinner, and him to be raised by his grandmother. Due to financial difficulties, he moved from cousin’s house to cousin’s house and dug up potatoes and cabbages in the mountains that were used as pig feed. In school, he joined the soccer team once he heard he could eat bread and drink milk for free.
In high school, he started doing manual labor by working on construction sites for building subway stations, and worked as a waiter of a night club in college. Despite his difficulties, he succeeded as one of the highest paid, successful Korean soccer players.
2. Kang Ha Neul
Kang Ha Neul moved from Busan to Seoul by himself with the dream of becoming an actor. Because his family wasn’t well off, they couldn’t afford the tuition of a private arts school. Not wanting to burden his parents, Kang Ha Neul worked at a convenience store, gas station, duck farm, buffet, and passed out flyers on the street. Even before becoming a college student, he earned his own living through his part-time jobs. Later, he said these became valuable experiences that helps him when acting.
Even after he became an actor, viral photos of him circulated the internet of him barefeet and serving noodles at a restaurant. He later explained he was helping out at his father’s restaurant.
The actor from dramas “Woman of Dignity” and “Man Who Sets the Table” was cast by SM Entertainment founder Lee Soo Man while working part-time at a cafe. Because his family lost a lot of money from a scam, he worked various part-time jobs for highway construction, restaurants, and cafes.
After being rejected from Shinhwa auditions, he decided to become an actor. He first debuted as a model then appeared on various dramas and built up his acting experience.
4. Lee Joon
Lee Joon grew up in a family with financial hardship after his father’s business failed. While he was a student at a Seoul Arts High School, he was made fun of for wearing the same ballet suit every day, which was the only one his family could afford. Determined to help his family, he practiced dancing day and night and was admitted into Korea National University of Arts.
After leaving school to become an actor, he worked part-time at a chicken restaurant that was famous for being frequently visited by actors to earn money and make connections.
5. Kim Go Eun
Kim Go Eun worked a variety of part-time jobs such as modeling for an online shopping mall, filing papers at the district office, and serving soba noodles in heavy stone bowls for 10 hours a day. Dreaming of becoming a film crew member and writer, she attended a private arts high school and later transferred to Korea National University of Arts where she attended with a scholarship.
To keep the scholarship, she focused solely on her academics during the semester. But when school was on break, she worked day and night to earn her own living costs.
6. Yoo Hae Jin
Actor Yoo Hae Jin isn’t your traditional type of actor, and due to his appearance, he was unable to work part-time jobs such as serving food. Thus, he started doing manual labor to make a living. Yoo Hae Jin revealed he worked at a bidet factory where he met fellow actor Ryu Seung Ryong.
Even after becoming an actor, he shared a small rooftop house with another actor and worked part-time jobs when he had no schedules.
Before Heize debuted in 2014 as a rapper, she worked three jobs, 10 hours a day. The rapper’s resume include working at a bakery, cafe, serving pigs’ feet, cooking soup, and passing out flyers. She fell in love with hip hop in middle school and became determined to become a rapper in college, which her parents opposed. In order to get her dad’s approval, she received an A+ in all of her college courses, with a 4.5 GPA her third year of college.
With her parents’ approval, Heize moved from Daegu to Seoul by herself to fulfill her dream, but was faced with financial difficulties. At one point she didn’t even have 10,000 won (approximately $9) to eat. Because she couldn’t ask her parents for money, she worked part-time jobs. She said she cried every night on her way home from working part-time jobs and thought to herself, “Did I come here to earn money or make music?”
8. Ryu Jun Yeol
Actor Ryu Jun Yeol confidently says he lived “the part-time life” and that if you name anything, he probably did it. He served at all types of restaurants, grilled meat at barbeque restaurants, catered, delivered packages, passed out flyers, set up seats for events, and unpacked boxes at markets. The actor even sold SHINee goods at a SHINee concert, and managed car traffic on the set of the film “Veteran.”
Ryu Jun Yeol went to college on a scholarship. So during the semester, he studied hard to secure his scholarship and worked numerous part-time jobs during breaks to earn a living. He applied the same work ethic to acting and thought, “I’m going to audition 1,000 times. Let’s see if I make it.”
9. Ong Sung Woo
Wanna One member Ong Sung Woo spent 10 years as a trainee. He was cast by an agency during his first year of middle school. However, due to problems within the agency, he had an unclear future and could not move to another agency due to his contract. Determined to do anything, he started working part-time jobs as a model for internet shopping malls, salons, wedding companies, and glasses.
While modeling, he also continued to pursue his dreams by joining a breakdancing team as well as practicing acting.