While American Idol has presented more than a few lasting household names to the world, most reality show stars are more known for their antics than their talent. However, since reality TV is such a prevalent force in modern-day pop culture, it may be no surprise that a few of your favorite stars actually got their start in the genre. From country crooners to silver-screen starlets, these are the stars that got real before they got Hollywood.
Emma Stone is undoubtedly one of the biggest breakout stars of the past few years. Before her starmaking performances in The Help, Superbad and the upcoming The Amazing Spiderman, Emma (or Emily, as she was then known) got her first taste of the spotlight on the VH1 reality series In Search of the Partridge Family. Following several live performances, Stone sang and danced her way into the role of Laurie Partridge on the aptly titled The New Partridge Family. Unfortunately, the show didn’t make it past the pilot episode and Emma had to say goodbye to tambourines, bell bottoms and Danny Bonaduce and settle for starring roles in Academy Award-nominated films, big budget blockbusters and high-fashion beauty campaigns.
While many people now know country singer Blake Shelton from NBC’s smash reality hit The Voice, he isn’t the only one in his family with reality TV ties.Shelton’s wife and fellow multi-platinum country star Miranda Lambert actually got her start on the series Nashville Star. Miranda failed to make the cut after her initial audition, saying, "I auditioned for Nashville Star in Dallas with 250 people, and I didn't make the Top 30. I wore a hideous outfit – tight black pants and a sparkly blue shirt – sang a Shania Twain song and I kind of sucked. My heart wasn't into it. Two weeks later, I went to another audition in Houston, sang Crazy and ended up winning." While Lambert didn’t go on to win the series (she came in third), she is the show’s most successful graduate.
Jamie Chung may not yet be a household name, but with major roles in films like The Hangover II, Sucker Punch
and Grown Ups
, the Real World
alum is well on her way there. When Real World: San Diego
premiered in early 2004, viewers were quick to notice the beautiful San Francisco native. Unlike most Real World
’ers, the daughter of Korean-American immigrants steered clear of the house drama and landed herself a spot in the spin-off series, The Real World/Road Rules Challenge,
as a member of the “Good Guys” team. After winning the show’s grand prize, Jamie then gave up reality TV to embark on a career in acting. Since then, she has shared the screen with the likes of Adam Sandler, Bradley Cooper and Chris Rock.
This year, Chung is set to star in no less than five films including the hotly anticipated Premium Rush
with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and The Man with the Iron Fists
with Russell Crowe.
Also getting his start on MTV was Grimm star David Giuntoli. In 2003, the then-23-year-old appeared on the now-defunct Road Rules. Like Chung, Giuntoli went on to appear in The Real World/Road Rules Challenge. Four years after his foray into reality TV, Giuntoli moved out to the City of Angels to pursue acting. He went on to do guest spots in shows likeCold Case, Grey's Anatomy, Ghost Whisperer, Without a Trace and Nip/Tuck before landing the lead role on the NBC supernatural crime drama Grimm.
While we often look at reality show stars as either having no talent or no career, these famous faces prove that reality TV isn’t all showboats and Snookis, and sometimes, genuine talent lurks behind the low-budget shadows.