Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Before he was a GQ cover star, he was… a college admissions brochure cover star.

But long before he was Finn and Melvin Dismukes and Jake Pentecost and… [checks Wikipedia] uh, Woyzeck, a troubled soldier living in Cold War-era Berlin, Boyega was another young actor taking work anywhere he could find it. And as he discussed with Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon last night, that meant, on occasion, doing some modeling in those stock photos that go in your favorite college’s admissions brochure. Behold John Boyega, Generic Guy Smiling With All His New Best Friends:

Boyega’s official statement: “I needed the money.” (He received £50 for his troubles.)

Here he is diligently typing away in the computer lab of your local public library:

Boyega’s shocking insider reveal: “Yeah, the computer wasn’t on.”

Finally, in what he doubtless still considers to be the pièce de résistance of his pre-big screen career, here is John Boyega hunched over a too-small coffee table and staring earnestly at a single sheet of loose-leaf copy paper that he is being forced to share with six of his fellow classmates:

It seems that Boyega may have had some creative differences with the photographers over the premise of this one. “These photos are for college awareness, to make kids want to go to college,” he explained indignantly. “And they said, ‘We want to make you guys look more natural,’ and they decided to give us a piece of paper. And I said, ‘This is a commercial for the brokest school ever.’”

This story ends happily, though, because it obviously prepared him well for his critically acclaimed performance in a more recent photoshoot.

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