Actress Kirstie Alley cleaned and decorated houses. Country star Martina McBride dished up ice cream at Dairy Queen. Money expert Suze Orman waited tables at a diner. Now, some of TV's biggest stars are going back in time to their first jobs!
Before becoming a glamorous model, actress and co-host of Dancing with the Stars, Brooke Burke was rolling in the dough...literally. When Brooke was 15 years old, she landed a part-time job at her hometown pretzel shop. "I did everything," she says. "I baked the pretzels. I worked the cash register. I cleaned up the place."
More than 20 years later, Brooke rolls up her sleeves to see if she still has what it takes to make a tasty twist. Brooke reports for duty at an Auntie Anne's® Pretzels shop to train with Farid.
After donning a signature blue apron, Brooke learns to make pretzel dough. "When I worked at Mr. Pretzel, they were frozen," she says. "I just had to thaw the pretzels out and then pop them in the oven and bake them."
Once the dough is ready, Brooke tackles the hard part—the twist! Farid says he can twist 40 pretzels in just three minutes, but it takes Brooke a little longer to perfect her technique. "It's all in your wrists," she says. "It's not easy."
A lot has changed since Brooke made $3.75 an hour serving up pretzels. After winning Season 7 of Dancing with the Stars with her partner, Derek Hough, Brooke says she visualized getting the co-host gig.
"I learned a really valuable lesson when I was dancing, and that's the power of the mind," she says. "So I put it out there. I wrote about it on my blog. I created this bucket list. It was one of my items. ... Now I really understand how important it is to think positive and to believe in things."
Brooke says her latest job is the most glamorous gig on television. "I get to dress up like a princess twice a week," she says. "It's an amazing job for me as a mom."
Brooke says she drives her four children—ages 2, 3, 8 and 10—to school every morning. Then, after a day at the ABC studio, she makes it home before bedtime. "That's pretty lucky," she says.
Before she became the queen of Southern cuisine, Paula Deen was barely making ends meet at her first job as a bank teller. Paula started cashing checks and depositing paychecks at age 18—and continued working as a teller on and off for two decades.
To relive her humble beginnings, Paula clocks in at a bank in Studio City, California, for an afternoon behind the counter. After taking a tour of the vault, Paula reports for duty armed with supplies. "I brought some of my wonderful oatmeal cookies here," she says. "I can always bribe my customers if they get aggravated with me or something."
For two and a half hours, Paula counted cash with ease. "It has been 23 years since I've been in a bank, and it felt like I was gone 23 minutes," she says.
Management agrees. "The clients loved Paula," branch manager Anna says. "She was funny; she was friendly. I would hire Paula Deen in a second."
When Paula was a teller, she made $5 an hour. "I got paid twice a month, and my check was $379.18," she says.
Eventually, she left the bank to start the catering business that catapulted her into culinary superstardom. "When I started the business 21 years ago, I just wanted my children and I to be able to pay our bills and buy groceries," she says.
Still, Paula says she never dreamed big when she started cooking for a living. "While I was raising my boys, I taught them that they could be or do anything they wanted to be," she says. "While I was selling this to them, I don't know that I was buying it myself. Because I didn't know I could dream big. I didn't know that. I know it now."
Now, Paula has some simple advice for anyone with a dream. "Go for it," she says. "There's no sin in failing, but the sin is in never trying."
Before he mentored American Idol contestants on how to carry a tune, Randy Jackson carried, stocked and shelved groceries as a 13-year-old in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. "[I] worked in a little mom-and-pop grocery store," he says.
Forty years after his first job, Randy again reports for duty at a local grocery store—only to be schooled in the art of bagging. "I'm going to teach him how to bag," his co-worker Matt says. "It's been awhile since he's done it, so I'll make sure he's not too rusty."
As the line grows longer, Randy takes orders from his cashier, Isabel. "Speed it up a little, dawg," she says.
When he's not bagging, Randy's hard at work stocking shelves and helping customers to their cars. "I'm perspiring already, man," Randy says. "It's a lot harder than I remember."
At the end of the day, all of Randy's hard work pays off—his team rates him a 7.5 out of 10! "It feels like I never left it," he says. "It was a lot of fun."
Randy's return to the checkout line taught him an important lesson. "Treat people how you want to be treated. They're in there grocery shopping. There's no excuse for any kind of attitude," he says. "A little bit of kindness goes a long, long way."
Randy says working at an early age helped him get where he is now. "I was working in a family grocery store for my uncle and my dad, so there was no free ride given," he says. "So I think at an early age when you can learn to work hard, I think that work ethic definitely helps you throughout the rest of your life."
Printed from Oprah.com on Saturday, December 7, 2013