24 Celebs You Probably Forgot Were On Reality TV Before They Were Huge Stars


Every celebrity has to start somewhere. For many of them, a reality TV appearance helped get their name out there before most people knew who they were.

Here are 24 celebs who were on reality shows before they became big names in Hollywood:


When Zac Efron was 17, he chose which of three girls he wanted to ask out after rifling through their bedrooms on the MTV dating show Room Raiders.

he seemed very excited to be on the show

MTV / Via youtu.be

Since this was before his High School Musical days, he introduced himself as the star of Summerland.


Britney Spears was only 10 when she auditioned for Star Search in 1992.

she had a powerful voice

Syndication / Via youtube.com

She lost to 12-year-old Marty Thomas, who was sure Britney was going to beat him.


Early in her TV career, Meghan Markle briefly held a briefcase on Deal or No Deal.

she alternated between cases 24 and 11

GSN / Via youtube.com

She told Esquire, “I would put that in the category of things I was doing while I was auditioning to try to make ends meet. I went from working in the US Embassy in Argentina to ending up on Deal… It helped me to understand what I would rather be doing.”  


Laverne Cox competed for a job as a celebrity assistant on I Want to Work for Diddy in 2008, but she only made it to the second week.

she got her own VH1 show after this

VH1 / Via youtube.com

She told the Observer, “I thought it was important for the audience for that show to see a Black rapper and media mogul embracing a trans woman of color on television.  I was hoping it might change things for me and other trans women of color on the streets and in Black communities. I never really wanted to be a personal assistant. I have always wanted to be an actor.”


Before he joined Big Time Rush, Carlos PenaVega competed on the boy band–forming competition show Making Menudo.

it was 2007

MTV / Via youtube.com

The MTV series sought to re-create the success of the ’80s boy band Menudo, which originally brought stars like Ricky Martin and Robi Draco Rosa into the spotlight.


Lucy Hale won the American Idol spinoff American Juniors in 2003, and she formed a pop group with the other winners.

this was even before her


Orange Is the New Black star Jackie Cruz took an art class with Kourtney Kardashian on Kourtney & Kim Take Miami.

they hung out for a few episodes


Nine-year-old Beyoncé competed on Star Search with her group Girl’s Tyme, who later changed their name to Destiny’s Child.

Beyoncé was a child

Syndication / Via youtube.com

The group’s original lineup lost the competition, but Beyoncé featured footage of their performance in her “Flawless” music video.


Kesha assisted Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie in finding her mom a date on an episode of The Simple Life.

she was about 15

EndemolShine / Via youtube.com

For this episode, Paris and Nicole were interning with a wedding planner.


Before she joined the Saturday Night Live cast, Melissa Villaseñor competed on America’s Got Talent.

she stood out by wearing shoulder pads and a big bow


In 2008, the then-unknown singer Lady Gaga headlined an event where the cast of The Hills was filming.

they helped her get the zipper up on her catsuit


Under her real name, Emily, Emma Stone won the singing competition In Search of the New Partridge Family in 2005.

she was one of several winners

VH1 / Via youtube.com

She was awarded the part of Laurie, but only one episode of the reboot ever aired.


JoJo Siwa, complete with her iconic bows, got her start at the Abby Lee Dance Company on Dance Moms.

Maddie Ziegler was also on the show

Lifetime / Via youtube.com

She joined the cast in 2015 and stayed on for two seasons. 


Before they were an actor, Lio Tipton came in third on the 11th cycle of America’s Next Top Model.

they played the babysitter in

CBS Television Distribution / Via youtube.com

They’re known for movies such as Crazy, Stupid, Love and Warm Bodies.


Julianne Hough was one of the professionals on Dancing with the Stars before leaving to pursue music and acting.

her brother Derek was also a professional on the show


Miranda Lambert placed third in the singing competition Nashville Star the year before her first album went #1.

she sang


Cardi B joined the cast of Love & Hip Hop: New York in Season 6.

she was a social media star too


Jordin Sparks won a local TV singing competition called Arizona Idol, which let her skip the line at her American Idol audition.

she was 16 when she auditioned


A few years before creating Escape the Night, Joey Graceffa competed on The Amazing Race.

he was 22 at the time


In 2003, Carly Rae Jepsen made it to the final three on Canadian Idol.

she played guitar for her audition

CTV / Via youtube.com

Five years later, she hit the top of the charts with “Call Me Maybe.”


When she was 14, Alanis Morissette auditioned for Star Search.

she went on to to release her hit album

Syndication / Via youtube.com

She didn’t win, but she went on to record her first hit five years later. 


Before he was a YouTuber, Phil Lester competed on the quiz show The Weakest Link.

you know him from


Before she was the lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls, Nicole Scherzinger competed on Popstars.

she sang

The WB / Via youtube.com

She was part of Eden’s Crush, which was comprised of Popstars winners, before joining the Pussycat Dolls.


And finally, Kacey Musgraves placed seventh on Nashville Star‘s fifth season.

she's the

USA Network / Via youtube.com

She told Yahoo! Music, “It was a great platform to get myself kind of accustomed to being in the industry and seeing what it was like being away from my tiny little hometown in Texas.”

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