Oscar nominee Queen Latifah has confessed she worked as a prostitute and a drug dealer as a teenager.

The 33-year-old rapper-turned-actress, among the contenders for the Best Supporting Actress award at tonight's (23MAR03) OSCAR ceremony, admits her shady past while growing up in New Jersey.

She says, "Guys pressured me a lot to have sex. One guy was 40, old enough to be my father.

"When he gave me a fifty-dollar bill, I took it. And I lay in his bed, looking up at the ceiling after sex, I felt so low."

In her book, LADIES FIRST: REVELATIONS OF A STRONG WOMAN, she also describes selling drugs.

She says, "There was a dude from the Neighbourhood - one very successful dealer - and I asked him for a job. I was 17 and it was quick money.

"I've been to these dark places - and I'll never go back. It's a fool who doesn't learn from mistakes."