#TheUnknownHustle: 9 Stories to Fuel Your Grind

These celebrities' surprising hurdles to success will keep you motivated

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Your favorite celebrities typically didn’t get where they are now without a lot of hard work and good ol’ grinding. You may look at somebody like Chris Pratt, for example, and think he just made it because of who he is, but did you know he waited tables in Hawaii for a few years before being discovered? We’ve learned that a bunch of other celebs also had to do some pretty regular things to get the chance to play the extraordinary roles we typically associate them with.

That’s why we’ve condensed nine of our favorite #TheUnknownHustle articles into one place. Now you have easy access to inspiration whenever you need a quick pick-me-up to get you back on your grind. 

Shia LaBeouf at the premiere of 'Holes' in April, 2003 / Lucy Nicholson/Getty Images

Shia LaBeouf

LaBeouf crafted a stunt to try and land himself an agent: He opened up the Yellow Pages, dialed an agent, put on a British accent and pretended to be a manager who repped a child client they would absolutely die for.

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Diesel in 2000 / Ron Galella Ltd./Wire Image/GettyImages

Vin Diesel

Diesel said, “One day I was driving by the Four Seasons Hotel when I saw one of my favorite actors walking into the hotel: Morgan Freeman. So I pulled over, popped the trunk and ran after him to give him my short film.”

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Donald Glover

Imagine if Childish Gambino was your college dorm’s resident assistant?! Twitter user Dominique Ariel Toney, or @domtoney, posted, “All this Donald Glover talk reminds me of that time when he was an RA in my freshman year dorm at NYU. My roommate Marisa & I used to sneak into his programs bc he always had good snacks. Was impressed back then, and impressed to this day. Go Donald.”

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The Rock

The Rock tried to make his football dreams come true. On a salary of $300 per week, he was the newcomer in the Canadian Football League (CFL) with what one teammate described as a “yoked-up” frame who ended up playing second fiddle to the team’s all-star defensive line. His football dreams never came true.

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Matthew McConaughey

The actor’s big break came from approaching a casting director at a bar...

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Jared Leto

Jared Leto always believed in himself. Once he was able to move to Los Angeles, he “ended up sleeping on Venice Beach,” he told FilmInk. “But I was young and healthy, and I knew that it was just for a short period of time. I was intent on making a new life for myself. I ended up staying in a crack motel for a few nights, and later in a youth hostel; eventually, I got an apartment.”

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Mark Cuban

Before he became an NBA mogul, Mark Cuban had a job laying carpet. He was horrible at it, so he tried his hand as a short-order cook. Next, he was a server at an upscale restaurant, but every time he would open a bottle of wine, reportedly chunks of cork would get into it.

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Walt Disney

Early in life, Walt Disney attempted to become a cartoonist for his local newspaper, but his attempts were consistently rebuffed. Once he finally made it on staff, the legendary animator was fired by a chief editor in 1919 and told that he’d never be a cartoonist because he “lacked imagination and good ideas.”

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Nipsey Hussle

For Hussle, music was a catalyst to provide actual value and change in his community. Improving his community’s accessibility to resources absent in most South Central neighborhoods was always a hallmark of his vision. Injecting much of his wealth back into Crenshaw, he founded several businesses dedicated to fostering black entrepreneurship and creating educational opportunities like Vector90, described as “a ’hood version of WeWork...with an emphasis in STEM for young people of color.” 

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