Celebrities Who Were Game-Show Contestants

Many of your favorite A-list celebrities got their start on popular TV game-shows or reality series. Game-shows are a fun way to make your TV debut if you are not an actor (yet). Since these shows have been on for decades, it’s not very surprising that some famous faces have been contestants. For some stars, game-shows and reality shows put them on the map. You will never believe which very attractive actor appeared on The Dating Game because he had trouble in the ladies department.

Matt Lanter at the premiere of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. / Beyoncé is attending an event at the Barclays Center in New York. / Justin Timberlake at the 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival in France. / Nicole Richie at the premiere of Camping. / Nicole Scherzinger is watching Grace Davies’ audition judging the X Factor.
Source: Featureflash Photo Agency, Shutterstock.com / Photo by JStone, Shutterstock.com / Denis Makarenko, Shutterstock.com / Kathy Hutchins, Shutterstock.com / Dymond, Thames, Syco, Shutterstock.com

Before famous celebs got their big break, they were normal people like you and me. Many of them were destined for greatness, but an appearance on reality or competition shows gave them the recognition they deserve. For other actors, their TV show appearance didn’t do much for their careers, but it’s still fun to see these stars before they were famous. Check out these Hollywood stars that were once contestants on reality shows or game-shows.

Jon Hamm- The Big Date

Before he was Don Draper, Jon Hamm was just another guy trying to find love on a TV show. That’s right. Believe it or not, the star of Mad Men appeared on the show The Big Date back in 1995. He looks barely recognizable with that long hair and 90s outfit. Hamm spoke about his experience as a game show contestant on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. “I was 24 years old and making some questionable decisions in my life as you could see.”

Jon Hamm at a film gala in LA in 2019. / Jon Hamm is smiling on The Big Date stage.
Source: CraSH, imageSPACE, Shutterstock.com / salon.com

The Big Date had a strange premise. It was nothing like The Bachelor or Bachelorette. The lead chooses three contestants of the opposite sex to try and hook up with. Host, Mark Walberg asks the potential couple three questions, and if two of the answers match, they become a couple!

Arnold Schwarzenegger- The Dating Game

It seems like once upon a time, Arnold Schwarzenegger may have been struggling in the love department. Back in 1973, the actor appeared on The Dating Game, and let’s just say he wasn’t the A-lister he is today. At the time, his only credit was playing in Hercules in New York. Although this was over four decades ago, Schwarzenegger hasn’t aged much.

Arnold Schwarzenegger today in a blue blazer. / Arnold and Amanda Jones are standing with skis on the game show.
Source: Wikimedia Commons / YouTube

The Dating Game was a show that first aired back in 1965. This classic dating game-show featured one woman who would question three men or one man questioning three women. Based on the answers, they choose who they want to date. This is very different than current dating shows, but at least the show pays for their date.

Vanna White- The Price is Right

Nowadays, Vanna White is famous for being the stunning woman who turns the letters on Wheel of Fortune. However, back in 1980, she appeared as an optimistic contestant for another popular game-show, The Price is Right. The young contestant even made her own custom T-shirt that said ‘Get Serious.’ Bob Barker definitely appreciated that one.

Vanna White behind the wheel at the Wheel of Fortune set. / Vanna White giving her guess in The Prices is Right.
Photo by Carol Kaelson, nypost.com / Source: imgur.com

Vanna White started off as a beauty pageant contestant for Miss Georgia in 1978. She moved to LA in her twenties, hoping to become a star. In 1982, Vanna competed against 200 other women to be the Wheel of Fortune hostess, and she won. Did you know that since the show started, the star has worn over 7000 dresses?! I don’t think I have even seen 7000 dresses!

Steve Martin- The Gong Show

If you ever feel like watching old episodes of The Gong Show, you may come across Steve Martin. Yep, the very famous Steve Martin was a guest panelist on one of the episodes. The actor even played the Banjo under his two alter-egos, “The Mad Banjo” and “Wild Stringed Instrumentalist.” It’s nice to see that the actor always had his incredible sense of humor. The actor does, however, have musical talent. He even released 12 studio albums. Billboard bluegrass charts named half of them as number one.

Steve Martin with a small black bow in his hair. / Steve Martin was playing the banjo with the host of The Gong Show.
Source: Twitter / YouTube

The gong show was similar to American Idol only not. Well, Amateur performers compete in front of a panel of three celebrity judges. However, if a judge really didn’t like a particular act, they can make it stop by striking a gong! Instead of a record deal, the winner of each season got a small cash prize.

Aaron Paul- The Price is Right

Aaron Paul is arguably one of the most famous faces that was a game-show contestant. Way before he was the star of Breaking Bad, Aaron Paul was a contestant on the iconic show, The Price is Right. Even watching it now, Paul brightens up the stage with his enthusiastic personality. Aaron Paul spoke about his time on the show on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Aaron Paul on The Price is Right with Drew Carrey. / Aaron Paul on The Price is Right back in the ‘90s.
Source: tvline.com / CBS

It’s been about 20 years, but the actor appeared on the show when Bob Barker was still the host. He went to the taping with his friends, and he was chosen to come down to ‘contestant’s row.’ The overly optimistic future celeb yelled, “You’re the man, Bob!!!!! You’re my idol!!!” You can easily find this hilarious clip on YouTube.

Kirstie Alley- Match Game

Back in 1979, Kirstie Alley was just an interior designer from Kansas, trying to start an acting career. She was so great on camera that she was asked to come back for a few more episodes. She impressed Audiences with her looks, charm, and she was pretty incredible at the game. Well, that’s not such a surprise after seeing where her career went since then.

Kirstie Alley out walking in the streets of New York. / Kirstie Alley on The Match Game sitting behind a microphone and red lights.
Photo by Curtis Means, Ace Pictures, Shutterstock.com / Twitter

When the star was featured on Match Game in 1979, she won both rounds. The future actress won $500 in the first round $5,500 in the second. That’s a nice chunk of change! However, this isn’t the only game-show that Alley appeared in. Back in 1980, she was also on the show Password Plus.

John Ritter- The Dating Game

Before he starred on Three’s Company, John Ritter was a contestant on The Dating Game at just 19 years old. It’s funny to look back because Ritter described himself as a drama major, a huge baseball fan, and a soon-to-be millionaire. It looks like choosing drama as a major was a good choice. Who says dreams don’t come true?

John Ritter in New York in 2003. / John Ritter as a contestant on The Dating Game in 1966.
Photo by Charles Sykes, Shuttesrtock.com / Source: Pinterest

John Ritter’s father was actually an actor, but he didn’t want his son to be. In the end, he was extremely proud of his son and his successful career. His dad was particularly excited with his son when he got cast in The Walton’s because that is his favorite show! It’s always nice to make your parents proud! We miss you, John Ritter!

A.J. McLean-Guts

Way before he was a backstreet boy, A.J. McLean was a contestant on the Nickelodeon show, Guts! The 14-year old even called himself “Mean” McLean. In his biography, the future singer described himself as a cartoonist and slam dunker! He wanted “to patent a new basketball.” Well, his dreams of becoming an inventor didn’t happen, but it’s okay.

A.J. McLean was posing at a theater opening in Las Vegas. / A.J. McLean was wearing a helmet and gear on the show Guts.
Source: KCR, Shutterstock.com / Twitter

McLean did pretty well for himself, considering part of one of the most iconic and successful boy bands. Guts was a popular fun show where kids got together and competed in “extreme” sporting events. The series ran in the early 90s and was shot in Universal Studios in Florida. They filmed at Sound Stage 21, which was nicknamed “Extreme Arena.”

Farrah Fawcett- The Dating Game

Back in the 1960s, Farrah Fawcett was a young blonde and single. The beautiful bachelorette appeared on The Dating Game. She got to take a man of her choosing on a skiing vacation in Austria. What a lucky guy! Who would have thought this girl would ultimately become a five-time Emmy Award nominee and six-time Golden Globe nominee!

Farrah Fawcett at a 2004 Winter Fashion Show in New York. / Farrah Fawcett is smiling on the Dating Game.
Photo by Charles Sykes, Shutterstock.com / Pinterest

I’m sure none of you would be surprised by this, but when she was in ninth, tenth, and eleventh grade, Farrah Fawcett was elected “Most Beautiful” girl in her class. She clearly didn’t go through any ugly phases like most of us. When she got to college, she was easily chosen as one of the “Ten Most Beautiful Coeds in Campus.”

Lady Gaga- Boiling Points

Before becoming a megastar with chart-topping hits, Lady Gaga was making appearances on MTV’s Boiling Points. Only she was 19 years old at the time and went by the name Stefani Germanotta (her real name). In the singer’s TV debut, she threw a fit after she was served a salad covered in trash. So many questions, but don’t get me started.

Photograph of Lady Gaga in the middle of an interview. / Photo of Lady Gaga on the show Boiling Points.
Source: Wikimedia Commons / MTV

Ever since Lady Gaga took the world by storm with hit songs like ‘Just Dance’ and ‘The Edge of Glory.’ She then came back to the screen only this time; it was the big screen. She took the world by storm when she got to show off her talents in “A Star is Born” alongside Bradley Cooper.

Hunter Hayes- Figure it Out

Before he became a huge star in the country music world, Hunter Hayes made an appearance on Nickelodeon’s Figure It Out when he was just six years old. On the show, panelists were supposed to guess the predetermined phrase that described the talent of each contestant. Well, you might be able to get his talent. ‘Cajun singing and accordion playing.’

Hunter Hayes at the CMT Music Awards in 2019. / Hunter Hayes appearing behind a podium on the show Figure it Out.
Photo by Andrew H. Walker, Shutterstock.com / Source: Pinterest

Did you know Hayes got his first accordion from his grandmother when he was only two! If his accordion ever broke, his father replaced it for him. Hunter Hayes now has a total on 30 accordions! The Grammy-nominated singer has come far since his Nickelodeon days. In addition to his love for accordions, Hayes tends to get uncomfortable without his guitar.

Joey Fatone- Nick Arcade

Here is another boy member who appeared on Nickelodeon in his early days. NSYNC member Joey Fatone was on Nickelodeon Arcade back in 1997. Fatone admitted to the host, Phil Moore, and to the rest of the world that he likes to sing in the shower. But honestly, who doesn’t? Sadly, Fatone made his team lose when he answered a question incorrectly.

A headshot of Joey Fatone in a grey suit with a light blue shirt. / Joey Fatone and a contestant named Danielle standing behind the microphone holding joysticks.
Source: moviefone.com / Nickelodeon

He identified Abe Lincoln as a democrat. His teammates didn’t seem to mind; they were just happy that someone famous was on their team. Did you know that Joey Fatone worked as a voice actor? He lent his voice to shows like Robot Chicken and Kim Possible. Then in 2002, he landed a starring role in the hit comedy, My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

Sally Field- The Dating Game

If you were around in 1967 and watching The Dating Game, there is a chance you saw Sally Fields appear as one of the contestants. During an interview on The Talk, Fields recalled her appearance. “I refused to go on a date. It probably would have changed my life. Honestly, he was probably the one!” Well, she’s right it could have been. I mean, just look at all the successful couples that come from dating shows!

Sally Field at the 71st Annual Tony Awards in a dark blue off the shoulder dress. / Sally Field is biting her finger, looking at the camera on The Dating Game.
Photo by Andrew H Walker, Variety, Shutterstock.com / Source: Tumblr

Did you know that an actual serial killer was on The Dating Game? When he first appeared on the show, Rodney Alcala already spent three years in jail for raping and beating an eight-year-old. He was in the middle of a killing spree when he stopped by the show. Thankfully, the girl didn’t go out with him, calling him “creepy.” He is now on Death Row, where he belongs.

Simon Cowell- Sale of the Century

Before he was judging and hosting his own game-shows, Simon Cowell was staring in them. Believe it or not, there was a time where this future American Idol judge was a contestant on Sale of the Century. Simon Cowell was introduced as a record company producer who enjoys watching motor racing during the episode. What’s not surprising is that Simon Cowell went on to win! His prize was a set of kitchen utensils. I guess some people are destined to be winners.

Simon Cowell is smirking with him, showing a thumbs up. / Screenshot of Simon Cowell on the Sale of the Century gameshow.
Photo by Anthony Harvey, Shutterstock.com / Source: YouTube

Sale of the Century was a short-lived British game show. The contestants are supposed to answer general trivia questions, and they get $5 for each question they answer correctly. However, they lose $5 if they answer incorrectly. Like most trivia shows, only one contestant can answer at a time.

Cynthia Nixon- To Tell the Truth

Cynthia Nixon can technically be considered a child star. We not exactly, but she did appear on TV at the tender age of nine. Her mom worked on the show, To Tell the Truth, and got her daughter a role as one of the imposters. Her job was to convince the participants that she was a professional horseback rider!

Cynthia Nixon in a black and white coat in the streets of New York. / Cynthia Nixon on To Tell the Truth holding up a paddle with the number 2 on it.
Source: glamour.com / YouTube

Cynthia Nixon is known mostly for her role in Sex in the City. Although her first on-screen appearance was on the game show at age nine, she didn’t start acting until she was twelve. The actress has publicly stated her support for LGBTQ rights in the United States. She even met her wife, Christine Marinoni, at a gay rights rally!

Tom Selleck- The Dating Game

Thomas Magnum doesn’t need help getting women today, but back in his younger years, Tom Selleck wasn’t as smooth with the ladies. When he needed some help in the love department in the 1960s, the star appeared on The Dating Game twice! Unfortunately, he lost both times. Well, I’m sure those bachelorettes regret their decision now.

Headshot of Tom Selleck in a black suit and tie. / Tom Selleck on The Dating Game
Source: / YouTube

Did you know that Tom Selleck could have been a pro athlete? The 6”4” actor got into the University of Southern California with a basketball scholarship. He was told he had “major league potential,” but he decided to pursue an acting career. Soon after, he dropped out of USC to sign a deal with 20th Century Fox. Good choice, I, for one, am not disappointed.

Linda Cardellini- The Price is Right

The Price is Right is a popular and classic game show that is well-known by Americans everywhere. Since the show has been on the air for decades, it’s no surprise that some familiar faces have been on there. Just like Jon Hamm, Linda Cardellini also got her start on The Price is Right. However, Hamm got turned down (twice), and Cardellini won a fireplace! The actress admits that she still has it today!

Linda Cardellini dressed in fluffy hot pink for the 91st Annual Academy Awards.
Photo by Andrew H Walker, BEI, Shutterstock.com / Facebook

Linda Cardellini is mostly recognized for her role in Freaks & Geeks and ER. However, the talented actress has more notable roles. She got her first acting credit in 1997 and has appeared in multiple other movies and TV shows. We can’t wait to see what Cardellini does next!

Richard Dawson- The Dating Game

Richard Dawson is famous for hosting his own game-shows, but he also appeared as a contestant. Dawson appeared in quite a few episodes of The Dating Game back in the 1960s and 1970s. He didn’t win, but things worked out for him. Quickly after trying to find love on TV, Dawson became the host of Family Feud and is a staple in the game show circuit.

Richard Dawson was hosting Family Feud. / Richard Dawson on The Dating Game.
Source: YouTube

Did you know that when Richard Dawson ran away from home as a teenager and spent three years serving in the Merchant Marines? He made money as an amateur boxer. Wow, three years! When I ran away from home as a kid, I came back after an hour… as soon as I started getting hungry.

Brad Garrett- Super Password and Hollywood Squares

Brad Garrett made his way around the game-show world. If you watch old episodes of Super Password, Hollywood Squares, or even Match Game, you can see the future star on the game-shows as a contestant and a panelist! He also appeared on Star Search as a child and won! That’s basically like winning the 80s version of Americas Got Talent, so that’s quite an accomplishment.

Brad Garrett at Fox Upfront skating rink in New York in 2008.
Source: Shutterstock

The actor quickly became a household name for his comedy; plus, his prize was $100,000! He began opening for major stars such as Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. Ever since, he has had a pretty impressive and blossoming career. What you may not know about this talented actor is that he is also a professional poker player.

Billy Crystal- All Star Secrets and The $20,000 Pyramid

To most of us, Billy Crystal is known as Harry Burns from When Harry Met Sally. However, some people may remember him as a game-show contestant. He appeared on both All-Star Secrets and The $20,000 Pyramid. Yep. Crystal is a record holder for getting to the top of the pyramid in the shortest amount of time. By the short time, I mean, he got all the way up in 26 seconds!

Billy Crystal at the 56th annual Grammy Awards. / Billy Crystal in his final round of The $20,000 Pyramid.
Photo by Ga Fullner, Shutterstock.com / Source: YouTube

Before his big break, Crystal worked as a part-time teacher, while he was trying to break into the entertainment industry as a comedian. He then moved to Hollywood, where he landed the role of Jodie Dallas in Soup, an ABC 1997 sitcom. He played one of the first gay lead characters on American TV.

Jamie Chung- The Real World

It might be hard to believe that when Jamie Chung was a college sophomore, she joined the Cast of, The Real World: San Diego. In 2017, the actress recalled her time on reality TV and told AOL that “It’s a great experience I wouldn’t change for the world. But you’re giving up a lot of your privacy.” Well, it seems to have been good practice for the actress who is now a highly recognized star.

Jamie Chung at The Hangover Part II premiere in LA. / Jamie Chung with the cast of Real World San Diego.
Photo by Kathy Hutchins, Shutterstock.com / Source: MTV

After realizing how much she loved to be in front of a camera, Chung transitioned into acting. If you remember the Disney movie Princess Protection Program, starring Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato, Chung appeared in it as one of her earlier roles. She was also a voice actress for Disney before landing her break out role in the X-Men Universe.

Lucy Hale- American Juniors

Do you remember the short-lived children’s version of American Idol called American Junior? It aired in 2003 and only lasted one season. Well, Lucy Hale was a contestant on the singing show and was one of the five winners! During one of the interviews, her mother predicted the future, saying, “10 years from now, I think everybody will know Lucy’s name.” And boy, was she right!

Lucy Hale now in a striped shirt. / Lucy Hale with curly hair singing on American Juniors.
Source: IMDB / YouTube

Even though she started off as a singer, Hale started acting in 2005. She had reoccurring roles on shows like Wizards of Waverly Place. Her breakout role was when she landed the part of Aria in the hit show, Pretty Little Liars. The star is now a recognized actress, but she didn’t let her musical dreams slip away. She released a country album in 2014 and is still very active in the entertainment industry.

Ke$ha- The Simple Life

Who can forget The Simple Life? There is nothing more entertaining than watching two rich socialites trying to work. Well, you would have never recognized future pop star Ke$ha when she was featured in a 2005 episode of the show! Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie tried setting her mom up on a date! The singer didn’t release her first album until five years later.

Kesha at the 40th American Music Awards. / Kesha and Paris Hilton are sitting on the couch in The Simple Life.
Photo by s_bukley, Shutterstock.com / Source: YouTube

Ke$ha looked like a completely different person back then, and it’s just so random that she was on that show. After an emotional, draining, and very public legal battle with Dr. Luke, Ke$ha bounced back in the music world. She sued the former producer for alleged emotion abuse and sexual assault. However, she finally released a new album in 2017.

Nicole Scherzinger- Popstars

Before becoming the lead singer of The Pussy Cat Dolls, Nicole Scherzinger was a contestant on the show Popstars. Thanks to the show, Scherzinger became a member of the group, Eden’s Crush. Unfortunately, they only lasted one year, and the singer was hoping for a solo career. Eventually, she was recommended to be in The Pussy Cat Dolls and rose to fame.

Nicole Scherzinger is watching Grace Davies’ audition judging the X Factor. / Nicole Scherzinger in an interview on Popstars.
Photo by Dymond, Thames, Syco, Shutterstock.com / Source: WB

Sadly, in 2009, the group disbanded. The singer, however, didn’t let it get her down. She now had the opportunity to broaden her horizons in the entertainment industry. She became a solo artist and a judge on The X Factor UK. She had a few roles as a voice actress and starred in the Dirty Dancing remake on ABC. For a girl who rose to fame on a reality show, she has a pretty impressive resume.

Emma Stone- In Search of the Partridge Family.

Today, Emma Stone is easily recognized for her beauty and talent. What you may not know about this actress is that she started off when she won the singing competition for the part of Laurie Partridge. She was only 16 at the time and looks almost unrecognizable. Unfortunately, The New Partridge Family never made it on air.

Emma Stone was posing in a lacy white dress with full hair and makeup. / Emma Stone was singing on In Search of the Partridge Family.
Source: Wikipedia / VH1

The persistent star didn’t let that get her down. She continued auditioning and finally landed her breakout role when she was cast in Superbad. Audiences loved her charm and how funny she was on screen. She quickly started landing major parts in movies, such as Zombieland, Easy A, and The Amazing Spider-Man. She even won an Oscar for La La Land. Saying she’s been successful since then is an understatement.

Analeigh Tipton- America’s Next Top Model

Before becoming an actress, Analeigh Tipton’s real passion was modeling. She even joined America’s Top Model, Tyra Bank’s modeling competition. She showed up in the 11th cycle of the reality show and came in third! After her time on the show, she signed a deal with Ford Models and even got to walk some runways!

Analeigh Tipton is at an ABC event in Beverly Hills. / Analeigh Tipton is jumping with a pitchfork and a tight black dress with wooden clogs for a photoshoot on America’s Next Top Model.
Photo by Kathy Hutchins, Shutterstock.com / Source: Twitter

She then transitioned into the acting world when she landed a small part in The Green Hornet. Now she is probably best known for portraying the babysitting in the romantic comedy, Crazy Stupid Love. She continued making appearances in movies and TV shows, expanding her career. Her latest movie role is in Summer Night, and she appeared in two episodes of the show, Why Woman Kill.

Jennifer Hudson- American Idol

Although Jennifer Hudson didn’t win her season of American Idol, it definitely helped launch her career. She made her mark on the show and reached the top seven before getting eliminated. Luckily, things worked out for the singer. The show gave her recognition, and in 2006, she got to star in the movie, Dreamgirls. The rising star then won an Oscar for her breakthrough role!

Jennifer Hudson at the 2nd Annual Mary J. Blige Honors Concert in 2011. / Jennifer Hudson was performing on American Idol in a hot pink dress.
Source: Fashionstock.com, Shutterstock.com / Associated Press

This talented girl still loves to sing and has been continuing to release music. However, she doesn’t want to give up acting! She can do it all and proving it to the world. She was recently a judge on another hit singing competition show, The Voice and her next acting role in Monster. That’s quite a success since her American Idol Debut.

Justin Timberlake- Star Search

When Justin Timberlake was just eleven years old, he was an aspiring musician. That’s right. There was a time before Justin Timberlake was famous. When he tried to get his big break on Star Search, he showed up in a cowboy hat, sang a country song, and went by the name of Justin Randall. Unfortunately, he didn’t win, but he was cast in Disney’s Mickey Mouse Club.

Justin Timberlake at the 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival in France. / A young Justin Timberlake was performing on the show Star Search.
Photo by Denis Makarenko, Shutterstock.com / Source: YouTube

Since then, Timberlake created a very successful and impressive career. He was part of the insanely popular boyband N*CYNC. In 2002 he started his solo career and released his first album. From there, his career skyrocketed. His first movie was Disney’s Model Behavior. His latest movie is Woody Allen’s Wonder Wheel.

Britney Spears- Star Search

Britney Spears also appeared on Star Search, but unfortunately, she didn’t win. However, she did gain recognition from the show, and similarly to Justin Timberlake, she was cast in the Mickey Mouse Club. In 1999, Britney Spears dropped her first album and became extremely popular. Her pop singles dominated the charts for years, and she became known as the “Princess of Pop.”

Britney Spears at the X Factor season 2 premiere. / Britney Spears as a young girl performing on the Star Search stage.
Photo by s_bukley, Shutterstock.com / Source: YouTube

Since then, she had two children with her ex-husband, Kevin Federline, and even dabbled in some acting. Unfortunately, fame wasn’t all; it was cracked up to be. Due to her popularity, Spears had no privacy, which led to anxiety and a few notable mental breakdowns. I don’t think I need to mention the 2007 head-shaving incident. Thankfully, she is much better now and seems to be extremely happy.

Beyoncé- Star Search

Britney Spears is another A-list performer who got her start on Star Search. Queen B competed in a group called Girl’s Time, which later changed its name to Destiny’s Child. Need I say more? The girl group was extremely popular, and then the girls started going solo. Beyoncé has been the most successful and known for her beauty and talent.

Beyoncé is attending an event at the Barclays Center in New York. / Beyoncé was performing on Star Search with her girl group.
Photo by JStone, Shutterstock.com / Source: YouTube

Her career skyrocketed and is arguably one of the best performers out there. She is married and still has an incredibly good body for someone who gave birth to three children. The mom still makes time to perform and never lets down her millions of fans. It’s strange to imagine a world without Queen B, but it might not have happened if it wasn’t for Star Search.

Julianne Hough- Show Me the Money

Julianne Hough got her foot in the door when she worked as an extra in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, but her career only took off from appearing on dance competition shows, such as Show Me the Money. She was becoming recognized and was eventually one of the professional dancers on Dancing with the Stars.

Julianne Hough at the premiere of Paradise in Hollywood. / Julianne Hough as one of the models on Show Me the Money.
Photo by s_bukley, Shutterstock.com / Source: YouTube

Julianne Hough’s success didn’t stop there. She took her dancing on tour and then showed the world she is more than that. She even recorded an album and acted in movies. Her most notable roles are in Dirty Grandpa and the footloose remake. Well, it looks like the reality show really sparked her career. We can’t wait to see what this triple threat will do next!

Matt Lanter- Manhunt

Matt Lanter is another famous face who started off on reality TV. He was a contestant on Bravo’s “Manhunt: The Search for America’s Most Gorgeous Male Model,” which let’s be honest, is not that surprising. He didn’t win, but he did gain recognition, which helped him start an acting career. Some of his early roles were in Point Pleasant and Commander in Chief.

Matt Lanter at the premiere of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. / Matt Lanter in Manhunt TV series.
Source: Featureflash Photo Agency, Shutterstock.com / YouTube

He then made a guest appearance on Gray’s Anatomy. However, Lanter’s big break came when he landed the role of Liam is CW’S, 90210. Ironically, his character on the show was also a male model at one point. Today you can find him on Timeless. NBC’s time travel drama. Well, I’ll take any opportunity to watch Matt Lanter.

Lauren Conrad –Laguna Beach

Lauren Conrad starred in her own reality show called Laguna Beach while she was in high-school. The success of the show led to an even more successful reality show called The Hills. Lauren was a fan favorite and earned many opportunities thanks to her recognition. The reality show was extremely popular and lasted four seasons.

Lauren Conrad at the 2nd Annual Autumn Party in Hollywood. / The Laguna Beach cast in August 2005.
Photo by DFree, Shutterstock.com / Matt Baro, BEI, Shutterstock.com

In the first episode, Lauren was introduced as a 19-year old college student who got an internship with Vogue. She obviously got the internship because of the show, but it definitely helped her with dreams of becoming a fashion designer. She is also running her own lifestyle website. Unfortunately, fans were disappointed when she didn’t show up to the reboot of The Hills. After all, that’s really the only reason she got famous.

Nicole Richie- The Simple Life

As Paris Hilton was being photographed all over Hollywood, Nicole Richie was relatively unknown. Nicole did eventually land her big break when she starred in The Simple Life, alongside her best friend, Paris Hilton. America was shocked and amused, watching these two rich girls work and live like an average person. At the very least, the show was entertaining.

Nichole Richie at the premiere of Camping. / Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie were painting the walls in their house on The Simple Life.
Photo by Kathy Hutchins, Shutterstock.com / Source: Snap Stills, Shutterstock.com

While she was starring in The Simple Life, Richie began gaining recognition. After rising to fame because of a reality show, Richie kept appearing on more and even starred in her own. She also landed some scripted roles, and you can currently catch her starring on the sitcom, Great News. It looks like Richie proved to the world that she is more than a reality star.

Jacinda Barrett- Real World: London

Jacinda Barrett is a stunning Australian-American actress. She got her foot in the door when she briefly worked as a model, but then she joined the cast of MTV’s Real World: London. After gaining recognition from the show, the model attended the British American Dream Academy and started to embark on her acting career.

Jacinda at the premiere of Whiteout in Westwood. / Jacinda and the cast of Real World: London.
Source: Featureflash Photo Agency, Shutterstock.com / MTV, IMDB

Performing came naturally to Barrett, and she quickly started to land roles. She was cast in Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason and Poseidon. She is now well-known for her starring roles in Bloodline and in Suits. Her career is now blossoming. Who could have guessed that a girl who used to be on a season of The Real World would become a successful movie star?

Heather Morris- So You Think You Can Dance

Heather Morris made a short-lived appearance on So You Think You Can Dance. She competed in season two and didn’t even make it to the top 20. Morris didn’t let rejection break her confidence. Soon after leaving the show, she became a backup dancer for the one and only Beyoncé. She joined the superstar on her 2007 world tour.

Heather Morris at an event in Los Angeles. / Heather Morris about to perform on So You Think You Can Dance.
Photo by Kathy Hutchins, Shutterstock.com / Source: YouTube

She also performed with Beyoncé on Saturday Night Live and Today. It sounds like a pretty nice job to have. Morris quickly started taking acting classes and even landed a small role in Fired Up, where she played a dancer. On Glee, the dancer was asked to teach Beyoncé choreography. From there, she was cast as Britney, her most notable role. She also appeared on Dancing with the Stars, another dance completion show.

Yaya DaCosta- America’s Next Top Model

Before becoming an actress, Yaya DaCosta appeared on cycle three of America’s Next Top Model. This stunner made it far and the show and was the runner up! After gaining recognition from the show, she started landing modeling jobs and appearing in commercials. Her first actual acting role was on Eve.

Yaya DaCosta at the Essence Celebrates Black Woman in Hollywood in February. / Photo of Yaya DaCosta in full hair and make up with tarantulas crawling on her for a photoshoot in the show.
Source: DFree, Shutterstock.com / Flickr

Ever since then, Yaya DaCosta’s career has skyrocketed. She became a well-known actress and a regular on All My Children. She even landed roles in Ugly Betty, The Kids Are All Right, and The Butler. If you want to see this beautiful actress today, she has a starring role in Chicago Med. She was a contestant on the reality show back in 2004, but it’s hard to believe how far she’s come since.

Katharine McPhee- American Idol

Katharine McPhee is another star who got her start on the hit musical competition show, American Idol. Although she didn’t win her season of the show, she was the runner up! Since then, she embarked on a successful musical journey thanks to the recognition she received on the show. She even released five albums.

Katharine McPhee at a private summer party in 2018. / Katharine McPhee was holding a very large bouquet of flowers at the American Idol finals in Los Angeles.
Photo by Kathy Hutchins, Shutterstock.com / Source: @katharinemcphee, Instagram

In addition to singing, McPhee realized she wanted to get into acting. Her natural talent and incredible stage presence made it easy for her to land roles. One of the earlier roles she landed was in The House Bunny. Soon after, she starred on Smash. This talented beauty is currently on Scorpion. She also made her Broadway debut when she took over the lead role on Jenna in Waitress.

NeNe Leakes- The Real Housewives of Atlanta

NeNe Leakes made her reality-show debut in 2008 on The Real Housewives of Atlanta. It’s crazy to see how much her career has grown since then. She started landing some scripted roles on hit shows, including Glee and The New Normal. The former reality star went on a comedy tour and was a co-host on Fashion Police.

NeNe Leakes at the Fashion Nova X Cardi B Launch Event in Los Angeles. / NeNe Leakes and Kim Zolciak were laughing about something while filming the Real Housewives of Atlanta.
Photo by Eugene Powers, Shutterstock.com / Curtis Means, Ace Pictures, Shutterstock.com

Leakes was not afraid to leave her comfort zone and broaden her career. She even launched a clothing line. One of her biggest accomplishments was when she made her Broadway debut in Cinderella. Thanks to her success, the actress left reality TV and Real Housewife, after the seventh season of the show. She did, however, surprise fans when she returned for season ten.

Taryn Manning- Popstars

Just like Nicole Scherzinger, Taryn Manning appeared in the show Popstars. Although she wasn’t recognizable at the time, she did start her acting career before competing in the reality show. Her resume had some minor roles, but after gaining attention from Popstars, Manning got cast in Crossroads, starring Britney Spears.

Taryn Manning is posing at the Annual InStyle Summer Soiree in West Hollywood. / Taryn Manning on Popstars recording music.
Photo by s_bukley, Shutterstock.com / Source: YouTube

Although her original intention was to become a singer, she was quickly becoming a famous actress. She starred in White Oleander, Hustle and Flow, and 8 Mile featuring Eminem! She didn’t give up her musical dreams. She is a duo called Boomcat, alongside her brother. Although I will always remember her from Crossroads, her most notable role is Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett, on the extremely popular show, Orange Is the New Black.