9 Stars Who Were Interns (and Where) Before They Made It Big

1:23 PM 9/25/2015

by Cassidy Hopkins

Imagine Seth Meyers fetching your coffee.

Anne Hathaway in The Intern Still - H 2015
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Robert De Niro works for Anne Hathaway in Nancy Meyer’s new film The Intern, but what celebs were real-life interns back in the day?

It seems like the whole cast of The Office interned for Conan O’Brien while Anderson Cooper spent a portion of his college days working for the CIA. We’ve rounded up a list of famous faces who were interns before they caught their big breaks, because, hey, even Oprah Winfrey had to build her resume from scratch. 

  1. 1

    Steven Spielberg at Universal

    It’s hard to imagine that Steven Spielberg was once accepting unpaid gigs. The famous director and producer started his career as an unpaid intern for the editing department at Universal Studios, according to Forbes

  2. 2

    Mindy Kaling, Ellie Kemper, and John Krasinski at ‘Late Night with Conan O’Brien’

    Conan’s interns go on to do great things, like star in NBC’s hit series The Office. While appearing as a guest on his show, Mindy Kaling said she stalked Conan in between assignments as a script-writing intern. John Krasinski was a script intern as well, and, before landing her big role as Kimmy Schmidt, Ellie Kemper also worked for Conan. 

  3. 3

    Seth Meyers at Comedy Central

    Seth Meyers was an all-star intern at Comedy Central, or at least he was for five weeks. In his employee review, supervisors told Meyers that he worked really hard during the first portion of his internship but that he spent too much time watching Kids in the Hall during the rest. “They weren’t wrong,” Meyers told Us Weekly in a 2011 interview.

  4. 4

    Aziz Ansari at The Onion

    In an interview with the AV Club, Aziz Ansari dished on interning at satirical news site The Onion during his sophomore year at NYU. “It was a fun internship, but it wasn’t like I was in the writer’s room or anything like that,” he said. Perhaps unexpectedly, Ansari interned in the advertising department. 

  5. 5

    Kanye West at Fendi

    In 2009 Kanye West interned with Fendi, but it wasn’t all glitz and glamour at the Italian Fashion house. West told Hot 97 that he spent his days making photocopies and taking coffee orders. But the hard work payed off, as he now owns his own fashion line: Yeezy.

  6. 6

    Anderson Cooper at the CIA

    The famous CNN anchor worked for two summers at the CIA’s headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Turns out, the gig was a pretty mundane experience. “It was less James Bond than I hoped it would be,” Cooper told an audience at American University in 2013.

  7. 7

    Oprah Winfrey at CBS

    Saying that Oprah Winfrey has had a successful career is an understatement, but the media mogul started from the bottom just like anyone else. Winfrey was offered an internship at CBS affiliate WLAC-TV in Nashville, Tennessee. After her internship she was hired full-time, becoming the first African-American female news anchor. 

  8. 8

    Aubrey Plaza at NBC

    Aubrey Plaza scored a coveted role as an NBC page. In an interview on the Today Show, it was revealed that Plaza is known to have made up facts while giving tours of 30 Rock. The actress later went on to play Amy Poehler’s intern, April Ludgate, in NBC’s Parks and Recreation.

  9. 9

    Conan O’Brien for Barney Frank

    Conan O’Brien started his comedic career in the most unconventional way: as a congressional intern. In an "Inside the Actor's Studio" interview, Conan mentioned that he interned for Rep. Barney Frank at the House of Representatives. In 2015 Frank appeared as a guest on Conan’s talk show on TBS. Talk about full circle.