Making it in showbiz is never easy. While some aspiring actresses and pop stars take jobs as waitresses to make ends meet, here are 7 female celebs who took up stripping on their way to stardom. When you're done, check out the even-more-alarming list of famous men who used to be strippers!
1. Lady Gaga
Yes, you read that correctly. Lady Gaga may be a pop icon in her own right, but did you know that she was working in strip clubs when she was only 18? Said Gaga, "My act was pretty wild. I'd wear black leather and dance to Black Sabbath, Guns N' Roses and Faith No More. Very rock 'n roll."
2. Dita Von Teese
Dita Von Teese is another celeb who started working in strip clubs at the tender age of 18. Unimpressed with what she saw from the other girls, she strove to make her routine unique. It was her individuality and creativity that eventually landed her in the world of fetish modeling and burlesque dancing.
3. Catherine Zeta-Jones
Before she made it big in Hollywood, Oscar-winner Catherine Zeta-Jones was briefly a stripper. Her motivation? To pay for a nose job. Well, that's one way to make some quick cash.
4. Nene Leakes
Nene Leakes, of The Real Housewives of Atlana fame, got her start as a stripper. "I remember going home and having something like $1,000 and thinking 'I made $1,000 in one night. Baby we are doing this tomorrow night,'" Nene said in a 2013 interview. Nene, whose stage name was Silk, later met her husband Gregg, who convinced her to give up dancing.
Before she became Eve of Destruction, she was a stripper back in Philadelphia. According to her Behind the Music special, it was a chance encounter - and unexpected heart-to-heart - with Mase that encouraged her to give up stripping and chase her dreams instead.
6. Courtney Love
Before she became the lead singer of Hole - and one half of the most iconic '90s grunge power couple - Courtney Love was a stripper. Apparently, it was a way of funding her band in its early days. #Dedication
7. Carmen Electra
Before Baywatch and marriage to Dave Navarro, Carmen Electra was a stripper. Now that she's famous(ish), she hasn't forgotten where she comes from: she released her own brand of portable stripper poles, as well as strip tease aerobic videos.