We’ve seen a bunch of celebs strip down to nothing for a role in some of our favorite movies, such as Demi Moore in Striptease and Natalie Portman in Closer. Hollywood seems to be enamored with the world’s “second oldest profession,” and we think we know why: a lot of stars have actually worked as exotic dancers before, during, and after they made it big. In fact, many big names wear their past profession like a badge of honor. Here’s a surprising look at some famous faces who’ve stripped for cash.
Mark Consuelos got talked into it
Kelly Ripa, the co-host of Live! with Kelly and Ryan, sat down with Vanity Fair to talk about her career as a soap star-turned morning talk show host, but the interview took a surprising turn when her husband’s past came up as a topic of conversation.
While discussing the stripper-themed film Magic Mike, the interviewer brought up Mark Consuelos’ past as a go-go boy, and Ripa, who’s never one to hold back, gladly spilled the tea about her hubby’s former profession.
“A lot of hot guys in Hollywood have [stripped],” she said. “He was straight out of college … he’s gorgeous, looking to break into show business, so he started off as a roadie to a group of these guys, and then they talked him into stripping.”
Her husband even showed her pictures from his stripper days, and she’s the proud owner of a calendar featuring Consuelos in all of his go-go boy glory. That lucky girl.
Courtney Love didn’t let her weight stop her
If you were around in the ’80s (we know, we know, it was so long ago), you might’ve ran into Hole frontwoman Courtney Love at a number of Los Angeles strip clubs. Love had a legit reason for wanting to ditch her clothes for a buck: She was desperately trying to make money to fund her alternative rock band.
The strip club that gave her the most work was reportedly the legendary Jumbo’s Clown Room in Los Angeles, but she told LA Weekly that she bounced around to different spots: “I didn’t just work at Jumbo’s, I worked at Nude, Nude, Nude! Century Lounge near the airport. I worked at Seventh Veil.” Her résumé was impressive. After her shifts, the grunge rocker would give the band’s guitarist, Eric Erlandson, $3 for every $5 she made. “And that’s how we bought our van and we bought our backline,” she said.
In a 1992 interview with Vanity Fair, Love also admitted she wasn’t in the best shape throughout her years as a dancer. In her words: “I was fat then. You can be fat and strip.” Good to know!
Amber Rose was ‘too young’
Amber Rose grew up with dreams of becoming a marine biologist, but life had other plans in store for her.
At the age of 15, the Philadelphia native tried her hand at stripping as a way to make money, but at the time, her heart just wasn’t into it. “I was very, very young,” she said of her first stint. “I did it and I was like, ‘Oh, h**l no, I cannot do this.’ I was a kid,” she told Cosmopolitan.
When she turned 18, she gave stripping another try and fell in love with the profession. “That was the best time of my life!” she said. “Oh my god, I had so much fun. I really did.”
Stripping opened the door to modeling gigs, and Rose was even featured in a few music videos, including the Ludacris track, “What Them Girls Like.” It was her striking appearance, along with her platinum blonde buzz cut, that caught the eye of her ex, rapper Kanye West, according to the New York Post.
“When I told [West] I was an [exotic] dancer, he was like, ‘I don’t care if you’re a crackhead. I don’t care if you’re a prostitute. I just want to be with you,'” she told the Post. “That’s what made me love him.”
Striptease ’empowered’ Dita Von Teese
Heather Renée Sweet — better known as Dita Von Teese — is known for her high-profile romance and 2007 divorce to rocker Marilyn Manson, but many also recognize her as one of the world’s most popular burlesque dancers. What you may not know is that the raven-haired stunner got her start doing striptease shows.
She was already doing pinup at the age of 19, but one day, she decided to give stripping a shot. “The girls didn’t take anything off; they were dancing in bikinis,” she told InStyle. “I started working there, a fish out of water, performing in vintage lingerie and corsets and developing my burlesque shows.”
The entertainer said doing striptease “empowered” her, and she reveled in the theatrics of her performances. “I would use eccentricity as a weapon, wearing red lipstick, heels, hats, leather gloves, and extreme clothes — kind of like a femme fatale or a villain,” she said.
Channing Tatum has no regrets
We’ve all seen Channing Tatum gyrate like his life depended on it as the star and the producer of the uber successful 2012 film Magic Mike and 2015’s Magic Mike XXL. Surprisingly, he didn’t have to shadow a real-life stripper to learn how to perfect his lap dance routines. He got all the preparation he needed during his ascent to superstardom.
In 2014, Us Weekly published an exclusive video showing Tatum stripping down to a neon thong (in real life) for a gaggle of screaming patrons. The actor’s public relations team was reportedly mortified when the footage surface, but Tatum told GQ, “I had wanted to tell people … I’m not ashamed of it. I don’t regret one thing. I’m not a person who hides s**t.”
According to GQ, Tatum’s backstory goes something like this: He dropped out of the University of South Florida and was working a series of odd jobs. Since he was already a party boy, he decided to ditch the mundane gigs, such as house framing and cleaning cages at “a puppy-kitty nursery,” and strip for cash instead. He was hired to dance at a now-defunct all-male revue in Florida under the pseudonym “Chan Crawford.” How did he do?
“On a good night, [I made] 150 bucks,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “On a bad night, 70 bucks — even 50 at times.” If only young Tatum had known just how lucrative those skills would prove in Hollywood.
Blac Chyna’s dance moves brought out the stars
In an interview with Elle, Angela “Blac Chyna” White said she knew from a young age that she never wanted to depend on anyone for money. By the time she finished high school, her parents couldn’t afford to pay her college tuition, so she went to classes during the day and stripped at night to pay the bills. When she informed her mom, Tokyo Toni, about her plans to drop out of college to be a full-time exotic dancer, Tokyo Toni was A-okay with her decision because she, too, was once a dancer. “My mom used to be a stripper,” Chyna said, “so she was like, ‘If this is what you want to do, be the best at it.'”
Chyna took those words to heart and made it clap all the way to the stripper hall of fame. Okay, such a place doesn’t really exist, but if it did, she’d be there. While working at Miami’s King of Diamonds, Chyna caught the attention of various stars, including her ex and baby daddy Tyga and Drake. On the latter’s track “Miss Me,” he even gives her a shout-out as he raps, “Call up King of Diamonds and tell Chyna it’d be worth the flight.”
At the height of her stripper career, Chyna was taking home more cash every night than most people make in a month. “The most I’ve ever made in one night is $15,000,” she told Elle. Sign. Us. Up.
Kendra Wilkinson knew it was ‘wrong’
Kendra Wilkinson catapulted her way into the public eye as one of the late Playboy mogul Hugh Hefner’s girlfriends on E!’s The Girls Next Door, but long before she was wearing bunny ears and living in the lap of luxury in the mansion, Wilkinson described her life as an “uphill battle” in her memoir Sliding Into Home” (via Today).
In her book, she says she grew up as a party girl, experimented with drugs at the age of 13, and even worked as a stripper. “I always knew that was wrong,” she told Today (via the New York Daily News). “I kind of lost myself for a little bit.”
The Kendra on Top star has since ditched her troubled past to become an author, the wife of former NFL star Hank Baskett, and the doting mother to their adorable kids, Hank IV and Alijah.
Chris Pratt loved getting naked
He may have taken home $12 million to star alongside Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence in the 2016 film Passengers, but there was once a time when Chris Pratt was struggling to make ends meet.
In a revealing interview with BuzzFeed, the Guardians of the Galaxy star said he performed a plethora of odd jobs pre-fame, including cleaning cars, working as a room service waiter, and manning the snack bar at a bingo hall, but since being in the buff was apparently his jam, Pratt decided to make a career out of it. “I was always a very much naked person,” he said. “I loved to always get naked. I was very free, so I thought, I may as well get paid.”
At the age of 18, Pratt was hired to perform at a bachelorette party, but his most memorable gig was undressing down to his skivvies for a friends’ grandmother’s birthday party — it paid 40 bucks. Oh, to be a fly on the wall at that shindig!
Pratt even auditioned to dance at an actual strip club, but his sub-par moves may have hindered him. “I don’t think I’m a very good dancer,” he said.
Cardi B is not ashamed of her past
With successful songs, such as “Bodak Yellow” and “Bartier Cardi,” Cardi B has more than enough cash to make it rain at any strip club. However, there was once a time when the rapper was the one being showered with dollar bills.
According to The Fader, she turned to stripping at the age of 19. Her first gig led to more lucrative offers to disrobe, which she happily accepted, while being sure to hide her occupation from her family. “Thoughts of your parents pop up in your head and it’s like, ‘Yo, this is so disgusting.’ And I hid it for like two years from my family, from everybody,” she told The Fader. “You know what I told them? I told them I was babysitting for some real rich white people.”
On her 23rd birthday, having become a social media star, Cardi B left exotic dancing behind. She secured a spot on the VH1 series, Love & Hip Hop New York, but she wasn’t too happy when producers attempted to typecast her. “They just wanted to make me look as the stripper, a struggling stripper,” she told The Fader.
With her music career going strong, her dancing days are now behind her, but Cardi B will never forget her humble roots. “People want me to be so full of shame that I used to dance,” she told The Guardian. “I would never be ashamed of it.”