THEY'VE been catapulted into the limelight as characters in some of Britain's biggest soaps and, in many cases, have become sex symbols in their own right.
But everyone from Michelle Keegan to Brooke Vincent and Jennifer Metcalfe didn't always enjoy the glamorous lives they do now – and instead started out just like the rest of us with jobs as waitresses, cleaners, airport check-in agents and more.
The latest soap star to reveal their humble career start is Corrie newcomer Kimberly Hart-Simpson, 33, who is joining the cobbles as escort girl Nicky Wheatley.
Speaking exclusively to The Sun, she revealed she used to be a McDonald's manager as a teenager before finally getting her big break in acting.
“I was one of the youngest-ever managers of McDonald’s at a branch in Oldham. I was just 16," she said. “I find myself in higher positions for jobs and I’m never too sure how I’ve got there."
Here's a look at where some of soap land's most well-known stars started out, and the surprising places they've snapped up jobs in career breaks since…
Michelle Keegan – check-in agent at Manchester Airport
Her role as Tina McIntyre on Coronation Street has kickstarted a huge career for Michelle Keegan, with roles in Our Girl and Ordinary Lies.
And while each of them have been gritty to say the least, it hasn't stopped her being named Soap's Sexiest Female numerous times in a row – as well as being crowned FHM’s Sexiest Woman in the World.
But Michelle, 33, who now enjoys a very glamorous life with luxury holidays, modelling shoots and glitzy events with her ex-TOWIE star husband Mark Wright, actually started out as a check-in agent at Manchester Airport.
Speaking to The People previously, Michelle revealed she actually first met Jack P Shepherd while working there – who would later play her on-screen lover David Platt.
"I was a check-in girl and met him and his girlfriend as they flew to Florida. I was really star-struck when I saw him in the queue. Now two years on I'm playing his girlfriend," she said at the time.
Michelle also enjoyed a stint working at Selfridges before landing her Corrie job, and she added: "I went back there and worked on a make-up counter."
Lucy Fallon – worked in Subway and a bar on Blackpool pier
Taking on the role of wild child Bethany Platt was always going to come with some major screen time, and sure enough Lucy Fallon led some huge storylines on Coronation Street over her five years on the soap.
But the 24-year-old actually began her working life with a series of jobs in retail, bars and restaurants.
“I’ve had loads of casual jobs. I’ve worked at Subway, at Next, at New Look,” she previously told Soaplife.
“I worked on the North Pier in Blackpool in a bar. I worked in a nightclub but only lasted about two days. I have a really bad phobia of sick and we had to clean sick up as part of the job. I just couldn’t do it.”
Brooke Vincent – florist and hairdresser
Unlike Michelle and Lucy, Brooke Vincent, 28, first joined Corrie as a child star in 2004 – meaning she was thrown into the spotlight from school age.
The star, who plays Sophie Webster, has since revealed she worked in a variety of part-time jobs throughout her teens, around her TV work.
They included a Saturday job at a hairdresser's and working at a florists, and Brooke previously told TV magazine: "I loved those jobs – people forgot I was on the telly and I was just the Saturday girl or the one who liked talking to the old ladies."
She added: "I just liked being normal. I was like that at college too [where I studied drama] – I loved it because all my mates there would do proper normal things like eat fast food, where everyone I knew in acting never did because it’s not good for you."
Brooke, who regularly shares glamorous photos on Instagram now, is currently on maternity leave from the soap, having welcomed baby son Mexx with her boyfriend Kean Bryan last year.
Jennifer Metcalfe – cleaner
She's been named soap's sexiest female numerous times in the past, just like Michelle, having built up a legion of adoring fans during her time as Mercedes McQueen on Hollyoaks.
But while Jennifer Metcalfe's on-screen character has been central to some of the soap's biggest and most dramatic storylines, her life wasn't always quite so glamorous.
In fact, Jennifer has revealed she previously worked as a cleaner before getting her telly break – and absolutely loved it.
The Bradford-born soap star told The Sun: “When I was in college I did a part-time cleaning job for some offices and really enjoyed it.
“It’s so therapeutic, good for the mind. Clean home, clean mind. And I’m really good at it, I just love scrubbing.”
Her revelation came after her boyfriend Greg Lake posted a cheeky picture of her scrubbing the loo in a skimpy thong on Instagram during lockdown.
Danielle Harold – waitress
She plays feisty Lola Pearce on EastEnders and has led a series of hard-hitting storylines including stealing, being arrested and getting pregnant after a one-night stand with Ben Mitchell.
And Danielle Harold, 28, has previously told the Sunday People that Lola's struggles weren't too far from her own past, as she grew up in "a tough place to live".
She also admitted she would often bunk off lessons and answer back in class, before she sadly became ill at the age of 15 which impacted her GCSEs.
“When I was in year 10 I fell ill and I was in and out of hospital," she told the news outlet. “At that point I just gave up. I didn’t try with my GCSEs and I only got one.
“After that I worked as a waitress but I didn’t really enjoy it. I lost all my confidence and I didn’t believe in myself.”
She eventually got her incredible break after seeing an advert for Jamie’s Dream School, a reality TV show run by Jamie Oliver, and having got to know celebrity teachers including actor Simon Callow on it, she focused on acting and landed the role of Lola.
Alison King – worked at Fat Willy's Surf Shack
She's well known now for playing Carla Connor on Coronation Street, but Alison King, 47, was once best known in Newquay thanks to her surf shack job.
The star reportedly left school at 16 before spending some time working in cafes in Cornwall, while surfing in her free time.
In fact, Closer previously reported she worked in Newquay's Fat Willy's Surf Shack, a popular surf store in the area, at the age of 18, before enrolling at the North Cheshire Theatre School at 22.
And it wasn't her only gig pre-Corrie, as she also worked as a dental nurse for four years too.
According to Female First, Alison previously told Inside Soap magazine: "I was a dental nurse for a few years. My mum and dad were both nurses so I'm quite gory."
Sarah Jayne Dunn – part-time model
She's one of Hollyoaks' most familiar faces, having first joined in 1996, and Sarah Jayne Dunn's role as Mandy Richardson has gained her some adoring fans over the years.
The 38-year-old was just 14 when she first arrived in front of the cameras, and was quickly established as a 'wannabe model' at the time.
But it's been widely reported that, in her earlier years of acting, she also had a job as a part-time model off camera too – proving she was the perfect choice for the role.
Meanwhile, several soap stars have taken on very different jobs during breaks in their acting career too.
EastEnders star Louisa Lytton became a receptionist and childminder during a break from the show previously.
Meanwhile her co-star Lacey Turner tried her hand at painting and decorating during her own brief break in 2010.
Tamzin Outhwaite also previously revealed she's worked as "a landlady, a voice over artist, car boot salesperson, art dealer, up cyclist, interior designer, motivational speaker, and many other jobs" in between acting jobs too.
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