One American Horror Story star got her start in acting working for a sex phone hotline before landing her breakthrough role.

Gabourey Sidibe shot to fame as Queenie in American Horror Story starting in 2013, after breaking through into Hollywood in 2009 film Precious. She’s also acted in everything from 2020 horror hit Antebellum to Drunk History.

But rather than learning acting in a conventional way, she first tried on the role of ‘Melody’, a 21-year-old college student. That was her alias at a sex hotline – and Gabourey says she was “pretty good at it”.

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She revealed to People Magazine: “I did it for two months before I was promoted. I was actually pretty good at it.” After that, she stayed with the company for three years.

Gabourey Sidibe used to work as a phone sex operator

“I knew that when people were asking me, ‘So have you had any acting training?’, my acting school was on the phone, pretending to be some super young 21-year-old college girl named Melody. I knew that was my acting! But I felt too stupid to say it.”

Later, she was worried how people would react to her unconventional career, worried throughout the release of Precious and when vying for an Oscar. She added: “I wasn’t just some phone whore. Remember when [screenwriter] Diablo Cody‘s Juno was coming out, and people were like, ‘She’s an ex-stripper‘? Yeah, but she wrote this dope film. Can you not? Because that’s just one part of her life.”

The star’s final photo shoot for her memoir This Is Just My Face took place in the very same building she worked as a phone sex operator, and she even headed up to her old floor to see how things had changed. “The place went out of business the second I wasn’t there anymore,” she revealed, explaining that her memories came flooding back as soon as she stepped foot in the building.

The American Horror Story star acted as a college student named Melody

Gabourey isn’t the only A-lister to have worked at a sex hotline. Abbott Elementary star Quinta Brunson also worked the job briefly when she was “really broke”. She explained on Late Night with Seth Meyers: “ I saw an opportunity on Craigslist for some voiceover work. And I was like, ‘I want to be in cartoons one day – I’d love to do that.’”

She was given the name Crystal and had to pretend to be the woman from 50 Cent’s music video for So Seductive, Buffie the Body. “I had to pretend to be her on the phone for people that called. And it was really gross. I couldn’t get through it.”

She followed in Whoopi Goldberg's footsteps working the sex hotline

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She quit the job after just one call, despite the chance to earn a dollar a minute on the lines. She made just three dollars from the brief stint on the phone lines.

Even The View star Whoopi Goldberg has worked as a phone sex operator. She revealed: “When I was younger, the money was great. See now, people would know my voice!” when speaking about why she can no longer keep a role in the job.

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