The Pre-Fame Job Jennifer Aniston Had In Common With Her Friends Character Rachel Green

Believe it or not, Jennifer Aniston almost didn't star in "Friends," but it's impossible to imagine anyone else being as perfect for the iconic role of Rachel Green as she was. Since appearing on the hit sitcom, Aniston has been open about her complicated feelings about Rachel. And, while her thoughts about the character that made her a star may not be cut and dry, that doesn't mean that the actor doesn't relate to her.

"Friends" fans watched Rachel go from waiting tables at the series' famous coffee shop, Central Perk, and not knowing where her life was headed to climbing the ladder in the fashion industry. And, as it turns out, Aniston's career trajectory was quite similar. Ever since Aniston first took on the role of Rachel, at the age of just 25, she's been the definition of a showbusiness success story. 

And while, like Rachel, she always had a dream, it took work and patience to achieve it. In a 2019 interview with InStyle, Aniston explained, "I waitressed for years in New York before I got anything." As a result, when she finally did land the gig of a lifetime, the TV star was more than prepared to play a young woman working in the service industry and trying to make it in New York City. 

The actor worked a series of jobs before landing Friends

Jennifer Aniston comes from a family of stars; her mother, Nancy Dow, was a model and actor, and her father, John Aniston, had a long run on "Days of Our Lives." Still, her family's success in the entertainment industry didn't make Jennifer a shoo-in. By the time she finally landed "Friends," as the beloved TV star admitted to InStyle, "I had been on six failed television shows." In an interview on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" in 2021, Aniston explained that she always wanted to be an actor –– even as a child. Still, it took her a while; partially due to the fact that she says she's "terrible, awful" at auditions.

Fans will recall that Rachel wasn't a particularly skilled waitress, so it's interesting to note that the actor who played her wasn't the best at some of her pre-fame gigs either. She was once a bike messenger in New York City –– but only for a day. At the time, she worked at an advertising agency with her mom, and she filled in when the bike messenger was out one day. While it was short-lived, it was quite a challenge, and she says she doesn't "know how [she] survived the day." She also tried her hand at telemarketing, which she acknowledged not being very good at. "I didn't make one sale." she admitted, adding, "I was terrible at it. I was like, 'Why do we have to call people at dinnertime?'" 

Long before the Rachel made hair history, Jennifer Aniston was a hair dresser

Waiting tables and trying and failing at jobs that she didn't love weren't the only gigs that prepared Aniston for her future role. Once she starred in "Friends," Jennifer Aniston would become known for "The Rachel" haircut. Coincidentally, another job she tried before her big break was as an amateur hairdresser. 

"I cut hair for 10 bucks a head in junior high," Aniston recalled to InStyle. She added, "I cut my dad's hair, and he was on a soap opera. But then he admitted to me 15 years ago that he would go in and have the hairdresser on set clean it up." Clearly, these jobs weren't for her, but as Jennifer told Glamour back in 2013, "You can undo a lot of things. If you're not happy, you can become happy. Happiness is a choice." For her, landing "Friends" did just that. And, all that training taking orders just might have helped her get there.