'American Idol' contestant Sanjaya Malakar says it was 'really difficult' to get a job after the show
- Sanjaya Malakar was a finalist on season six of "
American Idol" when he was 17 years old.
- After "Idol," he said, people told him he should not get a job, even though he had bills to pay.
In late 2007, "American Idol" finalist Sanjaya Malakar was trying to figure out his next move — but the season-six alum found it tough to work after the show.
"Getting a job after doing 'American Idol' was really difficult for me," he told Insider. "Not because people wouldn't hire me or anything like that, but because I had people telling me, 'No, you can't get a job. If you get a job, people won't value you as much as an artist.'"
The "Idol" finalist said it was implied to him that getting a working-class job would affect his standing in the public eye because no one wanted to "see Sanjaya from 'American Idol' working at a pizza shop."
After all, he was coming off of a "whirlwind" of performing on national television as a 17-year-old, becoming a household name, and wrapping a summer tour with his fellow finalists.
But, by this point, he was an 18-year-old trying to live in New York City and "pay rent," so Sanjaya ignored the advice. He said he ended up working at a karaoke bar for about eight years.
The singer said he was cautious of opportunities and reality-TV offers after 'Idol'
"Idol" fame also came with a surplus of media events and opportunities, including a stint on the reality-show competition "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!" in 2009.
But Sanjaya said he tried to be "careful" about the opportunities he chose to take. He said he was even offered a reality-television concept that would focus on him and his sister Shyamali Malakar, who originally auditioned for "Idol" alongside him.
"I don't necessarily want to do a reality television show where they're following me and my sister around our house," he said. "That's not the kind of celebrity I want to be."
In the last 15 years, Sanjaya said he's considered tackling another reality show like "Dancing With the Stars" or "The Masked Singer." At one point, he said, he even auditioned for the singing competition "The Voice" but didn't make it through.
These days, his main passion involves cooking as a pastry chef, but he doesn't see himself on something like the "Great British Baking Show" anytime soon.
He said it'd be "too stressful" and cooking would be ruined for him if he was on a show about it, sort of how "Idol" ruined music for him "for a little bit."
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