The road to fame can be a tough one, with many A-listers taking odd jobs to pay the bills before making their big breaks – some even showing off their moves at exotic dance clubs. Meet eight Hollywood stars who have opened up about their strip-teasing pasts … 1. Real Housewives of Atlanta ’s NeNe Leakes In her 2009 memoir titled Never Make the Same Mistake Twice , Leakes explained what prompted her to start stripping. At the time, she was a single mother struggling to pay rent and support her son. So she took a job as a stripper under the name Silk and said that she felt “powerful” as a dancer. “With every piece of clothing I took off, the more I got my life back,” she wrote. “I worked this body like a well-oiled machine, and every movement got me closer to my goal of financial independence for me and my child.” Where is Inventing Anna’s Anna Sorokin now – and is she finally broke? 2. Channing Tatum Fans of Tatum are probably aware that the actor was an exotic dancer before starring in films like 21 Jump Street and Step Up . Pre-Hollywood, Tatum used to perform at a strip club in Tampa, Florida. A video sold to US Weekly in 2009 showed Tatum – who went by the name Chan Crawford – dancing for guests who were clearly pleased with what they saw. Tatum has spoken openly about his past as well. In 2011, he told GQ that he’s “not ashamed”, nor does he “regret one thing”. Though Tatum isn’t hesitant to discuss his time as a stripper, he has made it clear that he doesn’t miss it. “I don’t miss anything about stripping,” he told People in 2017. “I stripped in Tampa for like, 25 girls, at best. It wasn’t glamorous whatsoever, so there’s nothing that I miss about stripping.” The 2012 movie Magic Mike is based on his stripper experiences. 3. Cardi B Cardi B started stripping as a young adult and did it for three and a half years. During an interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in April 2018, she explained that the job helped to pay her bills, afford a flat and invest in her goal of becoming an artist. She also said that by the time she was 20 years old, she had accumulated around US$20,000 from her work. In an interview with Cosmopolitan , Cardi B said that she continues to be vocal about stripping because she feels that people who work in that industry aren’t respected. Meet Kate Moss’ half-sister Lottie: the model turned OnlyFans star 4. Javier Bardem Bardem was a stripper for a day. According to him, it initially started off as a joke. But then he got hired to perform again – and his family members were in the audience to offer support. “It was a disaster,” he told Marie Claire UK in 2008. “And you know who was there watching? My mum and my sister. It was kind of a thing – you go there and dance, they pay you some money.” Bardem added that he didn’t remove too much of his clothing, and he has “a good relation with my family”. The actor recalled the story during an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in March 2022, saying that he was 20 at the time. Bardem said that when he was actually hired to perform, he “was so nervous, I called my mum and my sister to accompany me to my striptease number”. “There was nobody,” he said. “I think there were, like, three people there. It was very embarrassing, but I did it. I mean, I’m a performer and I gave my word. So I was a stripper for a day.” 5. Chris Pratt Fans of the Guardians Of The Galaxy star probably know that Chris Pratt, one of the highest paid actors now , spent some time living in a van in Hawaii. In addition to jobs as a babysitter, waiting tables and mowing lawns, Pratt was also once a stripper. “I was always a very much naked person,” Pratt told BuzzFeed in 2013. “I loved to always get naked. I was very free, so I thought, I may as well get paid.” Pratt added that he was paid US$40 to perform at a grandmother’s birthday party. “I was never like Magic Mike , you know,” he said. “I did go one time and audition on a stage for a club, but I don’t think I got the job. I don’t think I’m a very good dancer.” Inside Kim Kardashian’s extravagant US$3.8 million car collection 6. Blac Chyna Before being an entrepreneur (and getting wrapped up in drama with the Kardashians), Blac Chyna was a stripper in an effort to save up for university. When she started attending Johnson & Wales University in Miami, she continued pole dancing – but realised that she couldn’t dedicate enough time to both her job and her classes. After dropping out, Chyna started dancing full-time. “My mum used to be a stripper,” she told Elle in 2016, “So she was like, ‘If this is what you want to do, be the best at it.’” Chyna was an exotic dancer at Miami’s King of Diamonds and revealed that she made up to US$15,000 in one night. In a 2016 Facebook live chat, she said that if she wasn’t famous, she “would probably be still in the strip club”. 7. Lady Gaga Lady Gaga, who starred in Ridley Scott’s crime drama House of Gucci last year , attended NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, but dropped out and moved out of her parents’ house. To support herself, she worked as a waitress during the day and a stripper at night. “My act was pretty wild,” she said, according to News of the World’s Fabulous magazine. “I’d wear black leather and dance to Black Sabbath, Guns N’ Roses, and Faith No More. Very rock ‘n’ roll.” During an appearance on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live , the singer told Andy Cohen that she was a stripper in NY’s Lower East Side because she “made more money stripping than waitressing”. 8. Constance Wu “I gave lap dances to strangers,” the actress said during an appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show in February 2020. “I made 600 bucks my first night!” Wu also said that her first-hand experience “helped me to know that feeling – because you can’t duplicate it – [of] the first time you walk into a club and say, ‘Hey, I would like to have a job here,’ and then you go work that night”. Want more stories like this? Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .