From Intern to Mogul: 5 Celebrities Who Were Once Interns

From Intern to Mogul: 5 Celebrities Who Were Once Interns

Chance the Rapper has accomplished a lot in his young and busy life. At just 23-years-old, the independent artist earned $500,000 with his Apple Music dealwas named on Fortune’s “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” list; and was the first independent artist to be nominated for a Grammy, where he took home three of the coveted awards, in total. So what’s Chance’s next move? Getting an intern.

On Monday, the hip-hop star tweeted:

Like most internships, this will probably provide a recent college grad with firsthand work experience, along with the opportunity to hone their skills while learning new ones. Of course, interning for Chance will also probably come with amazing perks, such as going on a world tour, or meeting some of the superstars he is affiliated with, like Michelle and Barack Obama.

Although most people will never experience an internship of this magnitude, this doesn’t mean that an ordinary internship can’t transform into an extraordinary opportunity. Many business moguls, in fact, actually started off as interns before launching extremely successful careers.

Here’s a list of five celebrities who, just like us regular folk, were once interns:

1. Sean Combs

Before building a music empire, Sean “P. Diddy Combs started off as an intern at New York’s Uptown Records, after he reportedly begged Heavy D. to connect him with some at the label. After Uptown Records Founder Andrew Harrell gave him a shot as an unpaid intern, Combs worked his way up, eventually becoming an A&R executive. Eventually, tensions developed between Harrell and Combs, and he was fired from the label. However, two weeks later, Combs established Bad Boy Records–and the rest is history.

2. Oprah Winfrey

Today, Oprah Winfrey reigns as the “Queen of all Media,” boasting a net worth of $3 billion, according to Forbes. However, during the early days of her career in television, she was an intern for the CBS affiliate channel, WLAC-TV, in Nashville. Following the internship, she was offered a full-time position as an anchor-reporter, which made her the first black female news anchor at the station.

3. Spike Lee

After obtaining a B.A. in mass communications at Morehouse College, the award-winning director went on to intern at Columbia Pictures.

4. Kanye West

Although Kanye West was already a multiplatinum hip-hop artist by 2009, he launched his fashion career by starting as an intern for Fendi. Rather than being treated as a superstar, West told Hot 97 that his duties included coffee errands and making photocopies at the Italian fashion house, reports The Guardian. Today, West owns his own successful fashion line called Yeezy.

5. Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs was just 12-years-old when he landed his first internship working on an assembly line at Hewlett-Packard. In addition to learning how to put screws into computer parts, the summer internship gave Jobs the opportunity to connect with Steve Wozniak. Jobs and Wozniak later went on to become business partners, launching Apple in 1976,  which has since evolved into one of the most iconic brands in history.



Selena Hill is the Associate Digital Editor at Black Enterprise and the founder of Let Your Voice Be Heard! Radio. You can hear Hill and her team talk millennial politics and social issues every Sunday at 11 a.m. ET.

Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @MsSelenaHill.