Jennifer Aniston's Rise To Fame

Celebrities
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Alexandra Lozovschi

She's a huge celebrity with her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and millions of adoring fans all around the world, but Jennifer Aniston has worked very hard to get to where she is now. Before landing her big break in TV and later on the silver screen, the talented actress, 52, worked regular jobs and -- much like her Friends character Rachel Green that propelled her to stardom -- supported herself through waitressing at one point.

Now boasting an estimated net worth of $300 million and 38.9 million followers on Instagram, Aniston's road to success started small. Here's what came before Rachel-mania.

Waitress, Receptionist & Telemarketer

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Introduced to the New York theater scene from an early age, Aniston's first brush with the stage came at 11 when she joined the Rudolf Steiner School's drama club. The daughter of actors John Aniston and Nancy Dow, she attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts in Manhattan.

While she was born in Sherman Oaks, San Fernando Valley, California, her parents moved to New York after her father got his big break in Days of Our Lives, with the Friends alumn reportedly telling John Lipton on Inside the Actors Studio that those were the "best times" in her childhood because the family could now "afford cereals" and "a nicer life," having been "pretty broke" before that.

Her first job after graduation was at Jackson Hall Hamburger, where she worked as a waitress. She was also a receptionist at a beauty salon and worked at an advertising agency for a time, with other part-time jobs including bike messenger and telemarketer.

Aniston, who is of Greek descent on her father's side, paid a sweet Christmas tribute to her dad on Instagram a couple of years back, sharing an old childhood photo of them along with a second one taken in 2019. "Christmas with one of my creators," she wrote in the caption, adding: "Love you, papa." See the post below!

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Off-Broadway Roles

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According to The Richest, Aniston wanted to become an actress ever since she was a teenager. Looking back, the Hollywood star acknowledged that her parents' divorce at age 9 had a lot to do with her career choice, with Aniston being quoted as saying: "I have learned to make a living doing what I did to try to heal myself as a kid."

Aniston started off her career with a few Off-Broadway productions, appearing in For Dear Life and Dancing on Checker's Grave in 1987. Two years later, at age 20, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue her acting dream, lading her first TV role the following year in the series Molloy.

She appeared in Ferris Bueller the same year and got a recurring part on Herman's Head in 1991, which she followed up with The Edge in 1992. Her big-screen debut came the same year with the 1992 horror movie Leprechaun.

Scroll through the embed below for stills from the film!

Her 'Friends' Big Break

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Aniston's career skyrocketed after her 10-year stint in Friends. The star, who was originally supposed to play Monica, auditioned for the role of Rachel and got the part the very next day. Running between 1994 and 2004, the NBC s sitcom earned her an Emmy in 2002 and four other nominations, in 2000, 2001, 2003, and 2004. She also won a Screen Actors Guild award (1996) and a Golden Globe award (2003) for her performance.

During the show's last two seasons, Aniston was paid $1 million per episode, becoming the highest-paid television actress of all time. The last episode of Friends which aired in 2004 was watched by more than 51 million viewers, with the series being deemed one of the best TV shows of all time.

Her role in the sitcom also gave rise to the famous "Rachel haircut" that was all the rage in the '90s. Aniston gave a shout-out to the iconic look in an Instagram post from October, sharing several throwbacks that included the "Rachel hair" while promoting her haircare brand, Lolavie. Check it out below.

Box Office Successes

Aniston turned her Friends fame into major movie roles that established her as a household name. Her biggest box office success was the 2003 comedy Bruce Almighty, in which she starred opposite Jim Carrey. Before that, she played in several hit movies, staring with her big-screen break in 1997's Picture Perfect. She was also in The Object of My Affection (1998) and Office Space (1999), branching off into drama with The Good Girl in 2002.

The actress later found commercial success in films such as Along Came Polly (2004), The Break-Up (2006), Marley & Me (2008), He s Just Not That Into You (2009), The Bounty Hunter (2010), The Switch (2010) -- on which she was also executive producer -- Just Go With It (2011), Horrible Bosses (2011), Wanderlust (2012), and We're The Millers (2013). Some of her most critically acclaimed film roles also include Friends with Money (2006), Cake (2014), and Dumplin' (2018).

The recipient of numerous accolades, Aniston made her return to TV in 2019 with the drama series The Morning Show, for which she won her second SAG award.

Music Videos, Production Companies, Endorsements

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Now one of the most sought-after celebrity endorsers in the world, Aniston has collaborated with L'Oreal and Smartwater since 2007. Other brands she has endorsed over the years included Emirates, Eyelove, and Aveeno, with the actress reportedly making around $10 million per year from endorsements alone.

Aniston has also launched two film production companies. In 2002, she founded Plan B Entertainment alongside now ex-husband Brad Pitt and Paramount Pictures CEO Brad Grey. She withdrew from the company in 2005 following her divorce from Pitt, founding Echo Films with Kristin Hahn in 2008.

Right as her movie career was kicking off in a big way, she starred in a number of commercials and music videos, such as Tom Petty s "Walls" (1996) and Melissa Etheridge's "I Want to Be In Love" (2001). Check out the music video below!

Aside from being a successful actress and producer, Aniston is also an entrepreneur, having launched the Lolavie brand as well as several fragrances, including her signature perfume "Jennifer Aniston" released in 2010 at Harrods in London.

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