Moonlighting at the movies: Famous faces with surprising business ventures

Daniel Wren

While the life of a Hollywood A-lister is often one filled with glamour and luxury, it also involves a lot of hard work and dedication – constantly being in the public eye can be exhausting. This is why when they’re in-between roles, celebs often take up surprise side jobs to stay out of the media spotlight for a while, acting and living like a normal citizen.


Name: Jennifer Tilly

Famous For: Tilly has starred in hit movies such as Liar Liar, Monsters, Inc., Bride of Chucky and Made in America. She also received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Bullets over Broadway in 1994.

Alternative Job: Professional poker player.

Success or Failure? Jennifer is a huge success on the poker circuit and is often called the ‘Queen of Hearts’, as she does a lot of charity work (such as attending events like the Charity Series of Poker). She is the proud owner of a World Series of Poker bracelet after beating 600 other players in a No Limit Texas Hold’Em event in 2005, and as of May 2016 figures suggest that Tilly has bagged herself a not-too-shabby total of $916,000 in tournament winnings. Given the pay gap that exists even in Hollywood, it’s certainly one way to become a millionaire and catch up with the salaries of her male colleagues!


Name: Idris Elba

Famous For: This British actor is known especially for television crime drama series Luther and his turn as the iconic anti-apartheid politician Nelson Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. There were rumours he’d play Bond for a while, which we still hope and pray will come true! It’s high time 007 passes the mantle to a spy of colour.

Alternative Job: In his spare time, Idris likes to take to the decks to spin a few tunes as a DJ. He claims that he doesn’t have a particular style of music and prefers to experiment. He has even released a few albums, including Idris Elba Presents mi Mandela (2014) and Murdah Loves John (The John Luther Character Album) (2016).

Success or Failure? As well as being the ‘sexiest man alive’, Idris is enjoying success as a DJ after growing up singing and spinning. His busy lifestyle limits how much free time he has to follow his other favourite pastime, so it’s unlikely we’ll see him give up the big screen for the DJ booth on a permanent basis, but we’re happy to see this British star slowly conquer Hollywood.


Name: Freddie Prinze Jr.

Famous For: Freddie is famous for being a Hollywood heartthrob, after appearing in teen flicks such as She’s All That and I Know What you Did Last Summer. Then he married everyone’s favourite vampire slayer, Buffy – AKA Sarah Michelle Gellar – and it was like a 90s dream-come-true.

Alternative Job: Freddie is now more likely to be found in the kitchen after becoming a professional chef. He shares this passion with other celebrities who’ve also dabbled with cooking, including milkshake enthusiast Kelis and trans writer Billy Martin (who writes under the pseudonym Poppy Z. Brite).

Success or Failure? The foodie heartthrob is enjoying success in his new profession. Just this year he released his first cookbook entitled Back to the Kitchen, in which he provides recipes for 75 delicious meals, and it’s going down a treat. Whether his food is as yummy as he is, we’ve yet to decide – but if we get invited to his restaurant sometime in the future, we’ll let you know.

Kevin Jonas attends the 2014 TJ Martell Honors Gala New York at Cipriani 42nd Street on October 21, 2014 in New York City./picture alliance Photo by: Dennis Van Tine/Geisler-Fotopres/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
Photo by: Dennis Van Tine/Geisler-Fotopres/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Name: Kevin Jonas

Famous For: As one of the famous Jonas Brothers, Kevin has enjoyed a multitude of number ones both in the UK and the US.

Alternative Job: App entrepreneur.

Success or Failure? Two years ago, after quitting the family band, the oldest of the Jonas brothers created his own food app called Yood! So far, it’s enjoyed moderate success and allows users to search for a location where you can enjoy the type of food you fancy. It also rates each establishment and provides a phone number to contact them – y’know, like a very simplistic version of JustEast or Google. He also did a brief stint as a builder, which led to a cameo part as a contractor on The Real Housewives of New Jersey in 2014, but he’s given that up to concentrate solely on Yood!


Name: Rupert Grint

Famous For: Beloved by many for playing redheaded sidekick Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter movies in which he played the magical hero’s best friend.

Alternative Job: Grint has stacked up an impressive portfolio of properties to rent out and he is now a successful landlord, as well as a Hollywood actor. Eevil Plan Properties manage his housing empire, which is currently valued at £12.9 million, and the majority of his properties are located in London’s commuter belt.

Success or Failure? There’s no doubt about it, whatever Grint waves his magic wand at (ahem) seems to be a success. Along with his own properties, he also co-owns other properties with his father and stands to inherit the family boutique hotel, which fetches around £150 per night per room.

With the potentially short career of a successful Hollywood superstar, it will come as little surprise to learn that many celebrities have other career paths on the go.

Do you know of any other surprising celebrity side jobs? Sound off in the comments and let us know your favourites.

About Daniel Wren

Vada Magazine staff writer. Interested in travel, news, politics and dating.