These 10 Nigerian celebrities did odd jobs before becoming famous

Here are the jobs 10 Nigerian celebrities did before they became famous.

Have you ever wondered what your favourite celebrities did before they graced your TV screens and sold out stadiums?

Well, look no further because, believe it or not even the A-listers we admire today once had to pay their bills with regular jobs.

From working menial jobs to maybe some nine-to-five, you may be surprised by the unexpected pre-fame careers of some of your favourite stars.

Here are jobs 10 Nigerian celebrities worked before becoming famous:

1. Tems

Afrobeats star, Tems might have graced the stage of Coachella and won a Grammy Award, but she could have missed out on all that if she stuck to her first career. In a recent interview with media personality, Korty EO, she revealed that she once worked as a digital marketer before her fame. She also revealed that she was demoted to personal assistant because she was so bad at it.

She said, “I was doing digital marketing and I got demoted to a personal assistant. I was bad at the job but I tried my best though. I just couldn’t believe that was my job. I was shouted at so much and everything I did seemed to annoy everyone.”

Tems [Instagram/temsbaby]

2. Mr Ibu

The late beloved Nollywood veteran John Okafor, popularly known as Mr Ibu, worked multiple jobs to make ends meet before becoming a comedy star. Before stepping into the limelight, he worked as a hairdresser, a photographer and also ventured into music.

“I did photography, hairdressing and music,” the actor said during a 2007 interview. “You see, something inspires me in every sphere of life I find myself,” he added.

John ‘Mr Ibu’ Okafor [Instagram/@realmribu]

3. Mayorkun

Mayorkun may be a successful music star now, but he was actually once a 9-5’er like the rest of us, working in the corporate world as a banker. When speaking on the Tea with Tay Podcast, the singer revealed that he was no different from an errand boy.

He said, “At a point, I thought I was going to have a career in banking. I was doing the ACCA to get certified in the UK, just in case my music did not work out…I worked as a banker for a year. In this bank work, I did not even have a table and a chair. If we ranked the workers, I was right above the help. The one time someone told me to buy amala, I just started rethinking my life.”

Mayorkun was a banker before becoming a music star

4. Joeboy

We all know “Joeboy pon deck” as an Afrobeats artiste, but did you know that he once worked at a pure water factory? Yes, during his school days, he worked as a marketer in the factory sharing fliers and products.

He said during an interview on the Afrobeats Intelligence Podcast, “When I was in the university, there was a strike for like three months. So I decided to get a job and I was searching for a job for like three months in the whole of Lagos. I did not get one single job. There was even a time I worked in a pure water factory as a marketer. I used to share fliers and products and anything to gather money,” he said.

Joeboy [Instagram/Joeboy]

5. Banky W

Multifaceted Nigerian artiste Banky W has been a singer, songwriter, pastor and even more recently, a politician. But way before the fame came, he once worked in fast food outlets, and clothing stores and even worked as a knife salesman, selling knives from door to door.

“I gained admission into a university in the USA that the family really could not afford. But again, just like my parents did… by the grace of God, I used a combination of scholarships, student loans, and every job under the sun that you can imagine to put myself through school. It took focus, prayers, a lot of hard work – everything from working in McDonald’s restaurant, to at one point being a door to door knives salesman,” he said in his keynote speech at an event organised by the Modern Democratic Party in 2018.

Banky W

6. Doyin David

Before gaining prominence as a Big Brother Naija housemate in the seventh season and becoming a media personality, Doyin was a professional medical radiographer. She has been very public about this including putting it on the bio of her Instagram account.

Doyin David [Instagram/Officialdoyin_]

7. P-Square

Legendary twin singers P-Square also worked regular jobs before becoming the iconic duo we listen to. Paul worked as an electrician, while Peter used to fix fans.

Peter Okoye disclosed this during an interview with Toolz on The Mid-Day Show on The Beat 99.9, in 2014.

“I used to fix fans, boilers and electrical things,” he said. “But there were no ACs that time so I couldn’t fix that one,” he joked.

P-Square [Spotify]

8. Timaya

Remember when Timaya sang his hit song, Plantain Boy? Well, he was talking about himself. Yes, he worked as a plantain seller before becoming famous.

He confirmed this while speaking during a performance at the Coca-Cola Urban Music Festival in 2021. “I used to sell plantain but now I am rich. I suffered so much as a boy but I am now a rich man. Thanks to God. If you’re here and you think you are suffering, do not give up. Keep pushing because you will surely succeed,” he said.


9. Patoranking

Patoranking recently made headlines for supporting aspiring tech students, but before the fame, his humble beginnings involved selling rat poison. Interestingly, he also worked in construction as a bricklayer. He revealed this while collecting his Headies Next Rated Award back in 2014.

“If I tell you I was once a rat killer seller, would you believe me? If I tell you I was once a bricklayer would you believe? But God brought me out of the gutter. My story should inspire you. Don’t let anyone tell you that you cannot make it in life or you can’t achieve anything. I am living proof of how God can turn around your story in seconds,” he said.


10. Mercy Johnson

Mercy Johnson is now a well-known Nollywood actress, but life was not always as rosy as it is now. She has been open about her humble beginnings as a housemaid before she broke into the Nollywood scene. In 2017, she opened up about her grass to grace story when talking to Nollywood Lifestyle magazine.

She said, “There was a time I stopped schooling to hawk pure water, plantain and other things. Do you know I was once a housemaid and also did some menial jobs for a particular artiste to make ends meet?”

Mercy Johnson

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