We all have our favorite celebrities, be it an actor, musician, model, singer, comedian, or whatever. And most of the time, we want to know all about our faves, from their upbringing and their families, to where they went to school and how they rose to fame. And yet, a lot of information can manage to slip through the cracks. So you are absolutely going to love our list of 15 Hollywood Stars You Never Knew Appeared on Reality TV.
These are some actors and musicians that you had no idea had sung on competition shows, appeared in ridiculous game shows, and were first seen on TV in the reality genre. And yet, these celebs have made great names for themselves and they inspire others every day.
We have celebrities on this list who started off wanting to be professional singers, only to have those doors close and other opportunities open. We also have celebs who achieved their dreams through the help of reality TV, and then they expanded their repertoire to include even more dreams. Maybe you know about some celebrities who have propelled their career thanks to reality TV, but we think that this list is really going to blow you away. Moreover, this list just goes to show that you never know how a person will achieve their dreams, and you never know which opportunity is the one that will lead to grand adventures. If anything, let these personal stories be humorous, insightful, and motivating. Let’s do it!
15 Laverne Cox
32-year-old actress Laverne Cox is now widely-known for her role on the critically acclaimed drama Orange is the New Black. Yet, most people don’t know that Laverne was on the first season of a Vh1 reality TV show called I Want to Work for Diddy. On the show, Laverne competed against other hopefuls who wanted to work for Sean “Diddy” Combs, and the first season came out in 2008. Laverne didn’t win, but we’re glad, because she had a chance to be her own boss, not work for someone else! With her appearance on Orange is the New Black, Laverne raised awareness for transgender people and she became the first trans person to win a Primetime Emmy Award for acting. Laverne has also been recognized by GLAAD, and she was the first trans person on the cover of TIME Magazine. Now she is an actress, spokesperson, and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community.
14 Aaron Paul
Aaron Paul is one of the most famous faces from the hit TV series Breaking Bad, in which he plays the character of Jesse Pinkman. The role has earned him notable awards and recognition, and Aaron seems to have poured his heart and soul into the character of Jesse. It was all the culmination of years of hard work and determination, with Aaron starting out in minor roles and little guest appearances on sitcoms and other productions. Who would have thought that after he graduated from high school, Aaron would appear as a contestant on the daytime game show The Price is Right? Yes, he got to chat with Bob Barker and try his hand at some money games! Aaron even made it to the showcase final round, but he overbid on his prize by a mere $132. You can totally tell that it’s Aaron on the show, because of his zany movements and wild and fun attitude.
13 Josh Henderson
Does the name Josh Henderson ring a bell? What about the TV show Dallas? Josh played the role of John Ross Ewing III on the hit TNT series, but before that, he was singing his way into audience’s hearts as a contestant on Popstars. His appearance on Popstars earned Josh a spot in the music group Scene 23, which disbanded shortly after it was formed. Josh continued to vie for success and fame, and besides singing, he was interested in modelling and acting. He snagged some guest spots on a variety of sitcoms, and in 2005, he was a lead character in Over There. A year later, he played Jenna Dewan’s boyfriend in Step Up. Josh played Austin McCann on Desperate Housewives and found critical acclaim for his performance in Dallas. Clearly, Josh was more cut out for acting than singing, but he did appear in three of Ashley Tisdale’s music videos. His last music gig was in a video for Florida Georgia Line.
12 Analeigh Tipton
At 27 years of age, Analeigh Tipton has quite the resume. She is a model, an actress, and she even competes as a figure skater. She achieved a decent level of fame for her film roles in Crazy, Stupid Love, Warm Bodies, and The Green Hornet. Yet, Analeigh was first seen on the silver screen, when she competed on the reality TV series America’s Next Top Model. Analeigh did a great job on the show, and she actually came in third place, which gave her the recognition she needed and she signed with Ford Models and Abrams Artists Agency. She has graced magazines and publications such as Maxim, Seventeen, and Marie Claire, and she has modelled and walked in New York Fashion Week. In 2008, she began getting some acting gigs, and she has been finalizing three films set for upcoming release: In Dubious Battle, The Runaround, and The Long Home.
11 Elisabeth Hasselbeck
It’s hard to believe that Elisabeth Hasselbeck is almost 40 years old, but alas...such is life. Many people will know Elisabeth from her stint on The View, or even from her Style Network show, The Look for Less. After all, Elisabeth was a budding footwear designer back in the day, and her sense of style if still on-point Most people don’t know this, but the petite and soft-spoken Elisabeth was a contestant on the second season of Survivor. Elisabeth managed to make it to fourth place in the reality TV series, and she was even asked to appear in Survivor: All Stars, which featured Survivor alumni from the past to compete again for $1 million dollars. She declined. Then spent ten years as a co-host of The View, where she spoke openly about her conservative and religious beliefs. Nowadays, Elisabeth is more known for her extremely right-wing opinions, rather than her awesome sense of creativity and fashion.
10 Heather Morris
If you know about Heather Morris, then you probably know about her from the hit Fox Tv series Glee. While it is no secret that Heather has a grand voice, many people don’t know that she was a hopeful contestant on another FOX series: So You Think You Can Dance. Heather has been dancing since she was nine years old, so when she auditioned for SYTYCD in 2006, she was initially accepted. Unfortunately, Heather performance fell short and she just missed making it into the Top 20. The next year, she was still pushing for her dancing career, and she was a backup dancer for the one and only Beyonce! She also danced for Tina Turner at the 2008 Grammy Awards. Not too shabby! On top of dancing professionally, Heather began taking acting lessons and before she knew it, she was giving dance lessons to the cast of Glee. She was brought onto the cast list as the cheerleader Brittany, best known for her witticisms.
9 Miranda Lambert
Have you ever heard of the show Nashville Star? Yeah, we hadn’t either, but it was where world-renowned country singer Miranda Lambert got her start. This show was actually on the air for six seasons between 2003 and 2008, and Miranda was featured on the first season. At just 20 years of age, she showed that she had amazing talent, and in the fall of 2003, she was signed to the record label Epic Records. This was when she released her first album Kerosene, with all but one of the songs being ones that she wrote herself. Four years later, Miranda released album Number Two: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which won Album of the Year. Now she is working on her sixth studio album, Platinum, and despite a very public divorce from country singer Blake Shelton, Miranda is flying high. She is a prime example of a dream come true; this is a girl who used to sing for free in train stations..
8 Jennifer Hudson
Powerful and inspiring 34-year-old Chicago native Jennifer Hudson is now one of the most adored black role models in music and Hollywood in general. She is known for her astounding performance in Dreamgirls (alongside Beyonce!) and her stunning weight loss and endorsement of Weight Watchers. She is so successful that sometimes it is easy to forget that she got her true start on American Idol. Jennifer was in the third season of the show, and she didn’t even win, but she was voted the 3rd-best American Idol contestant in the history of the show in 2010. After Idol and her achievements in Dreamgirls, it was all high flying for Jennifer’s career. To this day, Jennifer has earned 37 coveted awards, and she has received even more reputable nominations. She is utterly unstoppable. Someone owes a huge thank you to Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell, and all of her adoring fans!
7 Katharine McPhee
Before we begin, another interesting tidbit about Katharine McPhee is that her father was a TV producer. Speaking of television, we first learned about Katharine McPhee when she performed on the Fox reality series American Idol. She lost only to Taylor Hicks, and her status as the runner-up helped her get started on a wonderful singing career with RCA Records. She was a stand-out voice with her rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” which she performed on American Idol and on her debut album. In a couple of years, Katharine would become a spokeswoman for a hair care brand and Neutrogena, and in 2008 she broke out into film. Her first movie appearance was in The House Bunny alongside Anna Faris. In 2011, Katharine headlined her own TV series called Smash. These days she continues to release solo albums as well as collaborate with other artists and make TV and film cameos.
6 Lucy Hale
Lucy Hale is pursuing her country music career, but it was actually years in the making. You see, Lucy starred on the reality TV show American Juniors, a 2003 singing competition show. Lucy was just a young teenager, but she took the stage and belted out Blondie’s “Call Me” like it was nobody’s business. The crowd ate it up, and Lucy finished in the Top 5, which earned her a spot in their music group that formed after the show’s finale. However, their album sales were crappy, so Lucy’s singing career took a major nosedive. She began to work in acting, and at age 15, she started to get small guest roles on Nickelodeon and Disney Channel shows. Finally, 2009 saw her rise to fame with her role on Pretty Little Liars. In 2012, she was signed to a recording studio so that she could get back to making country music. We guess dreams really do come true.
Before she was singing “TikTok” and brushing her teeth with a bottle of Jack Daniels, Kesha was living at home in the humble abode of her mother Pebe, along with her two siblings. And for some odd reason, Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie paid a visit to Kesha’s house on their reality TV show The Simple Life. The reality show was all about Paris and Nicole (two elite socialites who were making bank off of being the heirs of rich fathers), tried to live “ordinary” lives and speak with “ordinary” people. Kesha’s house was modest and looked very normal, although her mom Pebe was a bit out there. She was a single mother of three and was looking to have a new man in her life. So, Kesha joined Paris and Nicole to try and find a potential suitor for Pebe. Kesha actually looked very similar to how she looks now; just younger and cleaner.
4 Nicole Scherzinger
The reality TV - singing competition show Popstars debuted in the United Kingdom in 2001. Some musical groups and bands came out of Popstars, including Hear’Say, Liberty X, and some notable singers such as Danny Foster, Suzanne Shaw, and … Nicole Scherzinger! Yes, before Nicole was the hottest Pussycat Doll, she was a contestant on Popstars. After competing on the show, she joined the group Eden’s Crush, which was together for only a year. Then she was a Pussycat Doll and her singing career really took off. In a full 180, Nicole found herself serving as a judge on the UK’s The X Factor, and these days she is delving into acting. Her latest gig is in a TV adaptation of Dirty Dancing, which is sure to be hot and steamy. And if you were wondering about her singing, she lent her voice to a character in the 2016 Disney film Moana.
3 Janel Parrish
You probably know this 27-year-old Hawaii native from her pivotal role on Pretty Little Liars. Yet a few people will recognize Janel from a remake of the reality TV show Star Search, in which Janel competed against other hopefuls to make a career in music. Janel performed the song “On My Own,” but she was not good enough for the panel of judges to award her the winner. Not to worry, because Janel broke out in other avenues, working on the theatrical stage, making cameo appearances on popular TV shows, and finally landing a prime spot on Pretty Little Liars. That gig really propelled her career, and now she is known as a mainstream actress. Even so, she did have some musical gigs, including working on the soundtrack for the Bratzmovie. Okay, so not exactly the most high-caliber stuff, but Janel is doing quite well for herself right now.
2 Jon Hamm
From 1996 to 1997, there was a reality TV show called The Big Date (and it was hosted by Mark Wahlberg!) The Big Date featured young single people who were ready to mingle - and we mean mingle! Jon Hamm was on the show as a contestant, but unfortunately he never found love on the show. That was probably for the best though. Jon was in a long-term relationship with Jennifer Westfeldt, but after over a decade together, the couple broke up. It is a good thing that Jon has his career to fall back on, and it surely must keep him busy from day to day! He has solidified his acting career with hit roles on Mad Men, 30 Rock, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. And most of the people who knew about his appearance on The Big Date have forgotten all about it, especially since Jon is a recipient of Golden Globe, Screen Actor Guild, and Critics’ Choice Television Awards.
1 Emma Stone
Actress Emma Stone is now widely known for being one of the hottest 20-something stars in Hollywood. Even at just 27 years of age, Emma has racked up some amazing achievements, starring in popular films such as The Help, Birdman, and The Amazing Spider-Man. Yet, lots of people don’t know that Emma was on a crazy-stupid VH1 reality show called In Search of the Partridge Family. Emma performed “Bitch” on the show when she was just a teenager and she has really blossomed into a gorgeous young woman. Now she doesn’t need Partridge Family look-a-likes; she rubs elbows with celebs like Ryan Gosling. In fact, she has filmed three movies with him! Disney fans will be excited to know that Emma is set to appear in a live-action film adaptation of One Hundred and One Dalmatians. Though she is world-renown for her acting, she has a natural passion and talent for singing.