In his multi-decade career, actor Hugh Jackman has held many titles, from Wolverine to Leopold to Jean Valjean. But before he dazzled audiences, he was a teenager growing up in Sydney, Australia, hustling to find work. We caught up with Jackman at the Mont Blanc launch in Houston, Texas and quizzed him about what those first gigs taught him about success.
On his first hustles:
When he was first beginning to work, Jackman would deliver pamphlets and brochures to houses in his local community. But his first real gig in high school was working at the nearby 7-Eleven. While he says his customer service skills were top notch, his manager ultimately fired him for being a chatterbox. “I talked too much to the customers, which was probably true,” says Jackman. “She just wanted me to get them out. I said, ‘There’s no one else here and I want to chat.'”
On the job he’ll always be happy he did:
Jackman says one of his most memorable gigs was performing in London’s Royal National Theater’s Oklahoma. “I was a kid from Australia and I had a photo outside the National Theater, which I had been to as an audience member. It was something that I had always dreamt of,” he says. There was something special about that time in his career, says Jackman. “I was still unknown. I was the lead role and I could catch the bus to and from. I’d walk across Waterloo Bridge and I was at the National Theater. It was like all of my dreams: being at an amazing company doing a great show.”
On why those early jobs are important:
Jackman says we learn something from every job we have. “When you first go into the workforce, your first job, whether it’s 7-Eleven or whatever it is, you realize that you’ve got a role to play—a responsibility—and people are expecting you to fulfill it,” he says. Even though he got fired, it was a positive experience. “I was left with this feeling that I could make my way. I could work with my hands, my feet, and my brain.”