What Pinoy Celebrities Did Before They Were Famous

Their universities, internships, and jobs fresh out of college should give you an idea where they could be now if they didn’t get as lucky in showbiz.

Behind those pabebe waves, iconic walks in international pageants, and award-winning performances are bachelor’s degrees, academic excellence awards, graduation honors, and humbling day jobs that fans of these showbiz personalities can take pride in. Let’s take a peek at the lives of Maine Mendoza, Marian Rivera, Piolo Pascual, and other famous stars before they reached celebrity status.

Maine Mendoza

Maine Mendoza


Before she perfected the art of Dubsmash-ing and the science of bringing kilig to AlDub fans, crowd favorite Nicomaine Mendoza aka “YayaDub” obtained a bachelor’s degree in Hotel, Restaurant and Institution Management Major in Culinary Arts at De La Salle-College of St. Benilde. For her internship, she went to the prestigious The Sagamore Resort in Bolton Landing, New York, where she underwent a six-month training as a chef. Maine was about to start her job as a flight attendant—her childhood dream—when she discovered mobile app Dubsmash, which eventually led to her discovery and internet-breaking stint in Eat Bulaga.

Christine Bersola-Babao



Tintin has always been a high achiever. Her excellency in public service and broadcast media can be traced back to her roots as valedictorian at OB Montessori in Greenhills and Excellence Award for Community Involvement in Assumption College Makati. She was also known as academic wunderkind at the UP College of Mass Communication, where she took up Film-Audio Visual Communication and worked at the same time to fund her own studies. She graduated cum laude nonetheless.

Marian Rivera



Kapuso star Marian Rivera, now Mrs. Dantes and proud mom to Maria Letizia, obtained a diploma in Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at De La Salle University Dasmariñas. For two months, the Caviteña beauty worked at the human resources division of ABS-CBN. “Nag-OJT (on-the-job training) ako [sa ABS-CBN] nang halos dalawang buwan,” she said in an interview on Manila Bulletin. “Mag-xe-xerox, magta-type, yun yung na-experience ko.” She also worked briefly at the National Institute of Mental Health in Mandaluyong City, giving out medicines and conducting medical examinations and evaluation to patients.

Piolo Pascual



Piolo was taking up AB General Education at the University of Santo Tomas when he decided to shift to Physical Therapy. This was in preparation for his plan to migrate to Los Angeles, which put his blooming career in showbiz to a halt. When he was 18, he worked as an ER representative at Garfield Medical Center in LA, where his mother worked, and later on decided to return to the Philippines to pursue his acting career.

Venus Raj



Venus Raj is an epitome of beauty and brains. The Bicolana stunner has a bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts, Major in Journalism from Bicol University in Albay. Under the scholarship program of the Francis Papica Foundation, she graduated cum laude from the university. She was an Information Assistant for DENR and modeled at the runway part-time before she won the Bb. Pilipinas crown.

(Check Out: 11 Celebrity-Owned Businesses And The Famous Faces Behind Them)

Kim Atienza



Matanglawin and Showtime host Kim Atienza had an entirely different career path before being a TV personality. As the son of the former Manila Mayor Lito Atienza, he has dabbled in politics for around 12 years. Kuya Kim was also radio anchor of “Mata ng Agila” at DZEC Radyo Agila 1062 in the ’90s. His became a regular in a Magandang Umaga, Pilipinas segment followed by a gig on TV Patrol, replacing the late Ernie Baron as weatherman.

Iza Calzado



Maria Izadora Calzado has an undergraduate degree in Fine Arts from the University of Santo Tomas. Prior to landing an acting, hosting, and modeling career, she worked as a voice talent/dubber for the Lisa Estrada, a character in the Venezuelan telenovela, Mis Tres Hermanas, which was aired in the Philippines by GMA as “All My Love.”

Agot Isidro



Before embracing the limelight, Agot and her sisters Olive Cruz and Tina Isorena were backup singers in The Sharon Cuneta Show. The singer-actress graduated from University of the Philippines, Diliman with a degree in Interior Design. She flew to New York to pursue Fashion Buying and Merchandising. She graduated with flying colors at the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she was cum laude. Agot also holds a Master’s Degree in Communication from Ateneo de Manila University.

Toni Gonzaga



Celestine Cruz Gonzaga-Soriano took up Mass Communication at the Dominican College in San Juan, Rizal, and shifted to AB English at the Asian Institute for Distance Education (AIDE). Not only is she experienced in acting and hosting, she also has a knack for public service. Toni was elected as a Barangay Kagawad for one term in her hometown and was a teacher at Sunday school in Taytay United Methodist Church. The Kapamilya Star is currently pursuing Multimedia Studies at the University of the Philippines Open University. -Diana Lyn Balbalosa

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