From reality stars to real celebrities
These TV personalities used their humble reality TV roots to skyrocket to success. These once reality stars have transformed into everything from entrepreneurs and fashion designers to musicians and dancers. Find out if your favorite celeb got their start on reality TV.
Nicole Polizzi, better known as Snooki, became a household name thanks to MTV hit series, Jersey Shore. The show profiled a group of friends living under one roof on the Jersey shore. Snooki was the break out star, a pint-sized party girl with a larger-than-life personality. After multiple on camera run-ins with the law, Nicole decided to make a lifestyle change. The star lost over 40 pounds, married boyfriend Jionni LaValle, and started a family. Now a mother of two, Nicole has authored three novels and now stars in Snooki & J Woww, a break off series following the new lifestyle of Snooki and best friend and fellow Jersey Shore alum, Jennifer Farley.
Fashion icon Nicole Richie wasn’t always the red carpet royalty she is today. Richie got her start on the 2003 reality series The Simple Life with former best friend, Paris Hilton. The two heiresses were sent to live with a family in rural Arkansas. Nicole quickly rose to fame thanks to her bubbly comedic personality. Nicole used her stardom to score contracts with Jimmy Choo and Bongo Jeans later releasing her own fashion line House of Harlow. Nicole married Good Charlotte’s lead singer Joel Madden and the pair share two children together, Harlow and Sparrow. Richie now stars on her own reality series, Candidly Nicole, an AOL original series.
Lauren Conrad has Laguna Beach to thank for her stardom. The television personality was chosen to be a part of the MTV reality series when she was 18. The show skyrocketed her to fame leading to the spin off, The Hills, which chronicled her life in the world of fashion. Conrad left the show in 2009 to design her own clothing lines LC Lauren Conrad and Paper Crowns. She also penned five novels inspired by her life in the fashion industry as well as beauty and fashion how-to books. The fashion-forward entrepreneur recently launched online retailer, The Little Market, which sells handmade items from women around the globe.
It’s no surprise Simon Cowell first gained recognition for his tough guy image as a judge on American Idol. After serving eight years with American Idol, Cowell left to join new series’ The X Factor and America’s Got Talent. Cowell also ventured into business staring his own music and television production company, Syco. Despite his reputation, Cowell is quite philanthropic. He supports The Association of Children’s Hospices and has appeared in video promotions for PETA.
The Kardashian Sisters
It’s hard to imagine a time when the Kardashians didn’t exist in our lives. The Kardashian sisters collaboratively rose to fame thanks to Keeping Up with the Kardashians. The reality show, now in the 10th season, follows the “famous for being famous” sisters through their day-to-day lives. The great success of the show has led to multiple spin offs including Kourtney & Kim Take Miami and Kourtney & Khole Take the Hamptons. Together the sisters own fashion retailer DASH and beauty line Kardashian Beauty. The Huffington Post reported that the sisters are jointly worth upwards of $80 million.
Bethenny Frankel, 44, got her start on the hit reality series The Real Housewives of New York City. In 2010, Bethenny traded in her housewife status to become an entrepreneur. She produced the wildly successful Skinny Girl cocktail company which she later sold for a whopping $10 million. Frankel also created a series of self-help books, and her own self-titled talk show, Bethenny. In 2015, Bethenny returned to her roots as a housewife on The Real Housewives of New York City after a five year hiatus.
Famed producer, radio personality, and realty star Ryan Seacrest was put in the national spotlight after being chosen to host iconic American series, American Idol, which has produced stars including Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. In 2009, Seacrest negotiated a $45 million dollar contract to stay on board with American Idol. Seacrest used his newfound fame to branch into the world of business. He founded Ryan Seacrest Productions which now produces all TV programs and award shows for E! Network as well as some NBC programs including the Olympic Games. Seacrest has also launched the philanthropic organization, The Ryan Seacrest Foundation, which gives back to children’s hospitals.
Former bunny, Kendra Wilkinson, got her start in the spotlight as one of Hugh Hefner’s live in girlfriends on The Girls Next Door. In 2009, Kendra debuted in her own reality series, Kendra, which documented her personal life, marriage to NFL star Hank Baskett, and their new baby Hank Baskett Jr. Kendra has also made TV appearances on Dancing with the Stars, I’m a Celebrity, Get Me out of Here, and her newest reality show, Kendra on Top. Kendra recently wrote a memoir sharing what life was like during her days in the mansion.
Although she is only 13, Maddie Ziegler has skyrocketed to fame thanks to Lifetime’s series Dance Moms. After sweeping the dance competition circuit, Maddie was discovered by pop star, Sia. The two have collaborated on two music videos and multiple live performances. Sia even took Maddie as her date to the Grammy’s (2015) where the two performed a live rendition of hit single, Chandelier. There is no denying Maddie’s promising future in Hollywood.
Kelly Osbourne was born to famous parents Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne. The English actress and television personality made her first debut on The Osbournes, a reality series profiling the family’s rock-and-roll lifestyle. Kelly used her family’s musical background and newfound fame and to her benefit. She released her first album Shut Up in 2002 followed by two more chart topping albums. Osbourne also continued acting staring in roles in ABC’s Life as We Know It and Mama Morton in the live musical Chicago. Kelly also competed on Dancing with the Stars placing third overall. Most recently, Kelly was a judge on Fashion Police, but chose to leave the show after Giuliana Rancic made a controversial comment about one of Kelly’s close friends.
It’s hard to believe this star got her start on the once popular game show, Survivor. Cast on the Australian Outback season, Elizabeth Hasselbeck came in fourth place and was asked back to join the All Star season although she declined. In 2003, Hasselbeck auditioned and landed a role as a host on The View. Hasselbeck provided just the right amount of controversy boosting the show’s ratings. She was awarded the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host during the 36th Daytime Emmy Awards. Hasselbeck has also dabbled in the political arena. Although denying her political affiliation, she introduced vice presidential candidate Sara Palin at the Republican rallies in 2013.