Melissa McCarthy went from having major credit card debt to being worth $60 million — and her career advice could get you on her level
- In a recent interview with Glamour, Melissa McCarthy struggled to pay her rent when she was first trying to make it in New York City's comedy scene.
- Now, the actress is one of the highest-paid women in Hollywood, according to Forbes and she's worth an estimated $60 million.
- Some of the biggest money lessons McCarthy learned were realizing that credit cards are not free money and that sometimes it's OK to take a job just for the money.
Although she's now one of the highest-paid women in Hollywood, Melissa McCarthy wasn't always great with money. In a recent interview with Glamour, McCarthy said she had a hard time paying her bills when she moved to New York City to pursue comedy at age 20.
"I remember when you could still get a $5 bill out of an ATM and I couldn't get it because [my balance] was under $5 (R70)," McCarthy, star and co-writer of the upcoming comedy "Life of the Party," told the magazine. "I would never quite have the money for rent, so I would call my mom and dad or my sister and say, 'This is how much I'm short.' They never made me feel guilty, because they knew I wasn't lying around doing nothing."
But eventually, McCarthy realized that she wanted to break that pattern and be able to pay her phone bill without panicking, she told Glamour. So she got a job as a production coordinator, which finally gave her a steady income.
"It was the first time I stopped calling my parents," McCarthy said. "It was an amazing feeling."
Now, McCarthy is worth an estimated $60 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
From the pitfalls of credit cards to always fighting for fairness, here are five money lessons she's learned over the years.
1. Credit cards are not free money.
"When I moved to New York at 20, I wish I did not discover that you can just get credit cards," McCarthy told Glamour.
The 47-year-old actress said she had a friend who told her she "couldn't walk around in New York in cheap shoes" and that she instead needed to shop at Bergdorf Goodman.
"I couldn't afford anything in there, but they would just give you a store card, and so we were buying wonderful things," McCarthy said. "I was like, 'I work really hard. I'll pay this off in increments.' No, you will not."
2. Business sense and negotiation skills are everything.
Thanks to her parents, McCarthy grew up valuing hard work.
"I remember calling my mom and dad saying, 'I'm not going back to school,'" McCarthy told Glamour. "...They were like, 'OK, can you work at comedy?' That was their thing: Work hard, grow a craft, become good at something."
But even more than just working hard, McCarthy says having a strong business sense and negotiation skills are vital to making more money.
"It's like this: You can stay in a local theatre and work for the art of it, and that's great," she said. "Or you can say, 'I can make this my business.' And if you want to do your business well, you'd better learn how to handle those negotiations, how and when to push, and when to lay off."
McCarthy wants to pass on this business sense to her two daughters, who are 8 and 10 years old.
The actress told Glamour that her daughters currently really enjoy making slime.
"My oldest daughter wants to start selling. I was like, 'Great. Start a business,'" McCarthy says. "It can't just be 'gimme, gimme, gimme.' I talk a lot about, 'We work hard for things.'"
3. Don't be afraid to fight for a fair deal.
For McCarthy, fairness in her career is paramount.
"In the fight for fairness, everything else goes to a whiteout," she told Glamour. "I always think, Is the deal fair? Would you be asking the same thing of a guy in this position? And if the answer is 'It probably wouldn't be happening [to a guy],' I'll dig my teeth in for months."
But getting the most money isn't always the only thing she looks for in deal.
"Having a say in something means as much to me as getting a fair price," McCarthy said. "I never want to lose my voice."
4. Sometimes it's OK to just do something just for the money.
In some cases, though, needing a paycheck might outweigh having a voice.
"I think everybody has a rate for when [your gut is saying], 'Why would I do that? That's not interesting' and so you name a crazy rate to make somebody go away," McCarthy said. "And then, if they are like, 'Sure!' you will literally own the moon after this-you just have to shut up and do it..."
McCarthy said she's been lucky that in the past 10 years she has only taken things she was excited about.
"But the time will come when I'll be like, 'Does anybody need me to sell cheese slices?' Because I'll do it," she said. "Just give me a paycheck. And I will work really hard to sell those cheese slices."
5. When your hard work pays off - eat the blueberries.
It took McCarthy some time to adjust to certain indulgences - namely, eating blueberries.
"I used to think that buying blueberries or an avocado was absolutely unnecessary-they were too expensive," she said. "Then once I started being able to buy a pint of blueberries, I would not eat them. I just kept throwing them away because I was like, 'I should wait and do something special with them.' For 15 years I would just throw away blueberries and avocados. I can't tell you how much I wasted. At one point I was just like, 'How about you just start eating blueberries? It's getting weird.'"
Receive a single WhatsApp every morning with all our latest news: click here.
Also from Business Insider South Africa:
- These are the best (and cheapest) ways to listen to streaming music in South Africa
- 8 things you should never say to your coworkers at the office holiday party
- The dagga business is booming already – even though nobody is officially selling any yet
- I played Nintendo’s latest Pokémon game and it was everything I dreamed it would be
- These are the top fashion influencers in SA right now – and they can earn up to R10,000 per Instagram post