Screen Gems

8+ Celebs Who Were On Reality TV Before They Were Famous

Once upon a time, celebs were just like us.

They pumped their own gas, struggled to make ends meet, and binged guilty-pleasure reality TV shows.

Some even appeared on them! For these 8+ celebs, it was their first taste of fame. Since then, they've never looked back.

1. Jamie Chung


First Brown, then Chung.

The casting directors over at The Real World clearly know how to pick future stars!

Jamie Chung appeared on The Real World: San Diego after the casting call took place in the bar she worked at.

2. Cardi B

Cardi lived quite the life before becoming the star we know her as today.

In addition to being a stripper, she appeared on the sixth season of Love & Hip Hop.

She didn't need the show that much, though, since she already had one million Instagram followers by the time she joined.

“Yo, it’s so crazy, like, them [expletive] [the producers] really doubted me. It’s like, why would y’all doubt me? Like, I have seven hundred thousand bajillion followers,” she told THE FADER in 2016.

3. Heather Morris

YouTube | Aline Silva

She may have sung a lot on Glee, but Heather's first creative love has always been dance.

She even appeared on the second season of So You Think You Can Dance!

Sadly, she didn't make it very far in the series.

She then returned to her dancing roots as one of the contestants on Dancing With the Stars in 2017.

4. Laverne Cox


The Orange Is the New Black star hustled hard for P. Diddy in 2009 when she appeared on VH1's I Want To Work For Diddy.

Unfortunately, she did get fired in the end.

5. Karamo Brown

YouTube | MTV

Karamo has publically embraced his sexuality for a long time.

For example, he does so now as the culture expert on Netflix's Queer Eye, where his positive spirit uplifts and inspires everyone he meets.

And he also did back in 2006 when he appeared on "The Real World: Philadelphia."

In this YouTube clip, he even took a trip down memory lane by watching old clips from the show!

6. Emma Stone

YouTube | Zorro710

If you thought the actress's big break came from a movie, think again!

Stone actually appeared (and won!) the VH1 reality show In Search of the New Partridge Family.

The goal was to find people to star in a new series called The New Partridge Family, but it never got picked up.

7. Lucy Hale

YouTube | AJuniors2003

Had no idea that a spin-off for American Idol called Amercian Juniors existed? Then you probably also don't know that Lucy Hale was on it!

She even finished in fourth place!

She may be known primarily as an actress, known for her roles in "Pretty Little Liars" and "Truth or Dare," but she also sings.

She even released a full-length album, "Road Between" in 2014.

8. Kesha

YouTube | MejGaGirlicious

Before Kesha was a mega-celerity, the singer was just living a simple life.


That's because her family hosted Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie during the second season of The Simple Life.

This ended up opening doors for her.

Kesha sang backup vocals on one of Hilton's tracks (yes, the heiress tried her hand at singing for a while) and then she eventually struck out on her own.

9. Lady Gaga

YouTube | adrii gaga agiilar

Before we knew her as Lady Gaga, the singer was Stefani Germanotta, one of the unsuspecting people caught on the MTV show, Boiling Points.

The show paid unsuspecting subjects $100 if they could keep their cool for 14 minutes when irritating situations went down.

Unfortunately, Gaga didn't make it through.

But that wasn't the only reality show she was on!


When Gaga appeared on the popular "reality TV" show, The Hills, in 2008, she was in the music scene but still relatively unknown.

Lauren Conrad and Whitney Port were responsible for styling her on the show.

People's Revolution boss Kelly Cutrone even referred to her as "some girl named Lady Gaga who apparently is their new big signing."

10. Jon Hamm

YouTube | Lighthearted Entertainment

At just 25, the Mad Men actor was on a dating reality TV show, The Big Date.

Back then, he was working as a waiter and had long, flippy hair.

He was after the heart of 25-year-old Mary Carter who loved a good foot massage.

When asked how he would make Mary feel special, he said that he would “start off with some fabulous food” then continue with “a little fabulous conversation with a fabulous foot massage for an evening of total fabulosity.”

11. Kristin Wiig


Before she was making us laugh on SNL, Wiig appeared on The Joe Schmo Show.

It was about placing a regular person into a mansion with eight other people who, unbeknownst to the "schmo," are all actors.

Wiig played "The Quack, Dr. Pat."

While producers provided the actors with their storylines, the dialogue was entirely improvised.

This helped the actress sharpen her skills!

12. Gigi and Bella Hadid

Before they were supermodels, they were just Yolanda Hadid's daughters on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

The sisters appeared on the series during seasons 3-6, along with their father, Mohamed Hadid and their former stepdad David Foster.

They were just getting their modeling careers off the ground then, with the help of their model mom.

Clearly, it paid off!