Reality Stars Who Went On to Mainstream Success

01
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Lucy Hale

Lucy Hale
'Pretty Little Liars' Star Lucy Hale. Mike Pont/WireImage

"Pretty Little Liars" star Lucy Hale gave singing a shot before she decided to follow her dream of being an actress. Back in 2003, Lucy appeared on the Fox singing competition "American Juniors" at the tender age of 13.

While it took a few more years for Lucy to hit the big time, it's clear her family knew she was destined for great things. "Ten years from now, I think everybody will know Lucy's name," her mother, Julie, said prophetically in a clip from the short-lived reality show. 

02
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Jamie Chung

Jamie Chung
Actress Jamie Chung. John Sciulli/Getty Images

Actress Jamie Chung may be a household name these days, but back in 2004, she was just another college student looking for her big break. Jamie's first taste of stardom came via a role on "The Real World: San Diego," which she followed up with "Real World/Road Rules Challenge II: The Inferno" the following year.

After she had gotten her fill of reality TV, Jamie began her scripted career with a small role on "Veronica Mars." It wasn't long before the parts started rolling in, with roles on "CSI: NY," "Castle," "Grey's Anatomy," and a multi-episode arc as Mulan on "Once Upon a Time" coming shortly after. Jamie has also found success on the silver screen, with roles in "Big Hero 6," "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For," and the second and third installments of "The Hangover."

03
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Emma Stone

Emma Stone
Actress Emma Stone. Donato Sardella/Getty Images

Emma Stone may be an A-lister these days, but long before movies like "Birdman," "Easy A," and "Superbad" put her on the world's radar, she was trying to get her singing career off the ground by way of reality TV. In 2004, Emma, who then went by her legal name, Emily, was a fresh-faced young talent singing her heart out on VH1 reality show "In Search of the New Partridge Family."

Emma's talent was clear from the beginning and landed her a spot on the reboot of "The Partridge Family," but her singing career wasn't meant to be — the show was canceled after the pilot episode aired. 

04
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Katharine McPhee

Katharine McPhee
Actress Katharine McPhee. John Lamparski/WireImage

Katharine McPhee's career started on a high note when she came in second place, losing to Taylor Hicks, on the fifth season of "American Idol." It wasn't long before Hollywood came calling for this multitalented star, who showed off her acting chops on the big screen in "The House Bunny" and in her leading role in NBC musical drama "Smash." 

05
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Elisabeth Hasselbeck

Elisabeth Hasselbeck
Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Brent N. Clarke/FilmMagic

Long before Elisabeth Hasselbeck was dishing the dirt on "Fox & Friends" and "The View," the bubbly blonde was roughing it in the wild as a contestant on "Survivor: The Australian Outback," which ran from 2001-2002. While Hasselbeck didn't achieve victory, only ranking fourth in the competition, the show was a great stepping stone, career-wise.

Hasselbeck parlayed her success into a hosting gig on "The Look For Less" on the Style Network, followed by her 10-year stint at "The View." 

06
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Laverne Cox

Laverne Cox
Laverne Cox. Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Laverne Cox may be best known for her role as lovable inmate Sophia on "Orange is the New Black," but before prison dramedy called her name, she was at the beck and call of none other than Diddy. In 2008, while working as a hostess in New York, Laverne was a contestant on "I Want to Work For Diddy."

In between Diddy and OITNB, Cox managed to snag herself a few more TV roles, including parts on "Bored to Death" and "Law and Order: SVU." 

07
of 14

Mike 'The Miz' Mizanin

Mike 'The Miz' Mizanin
Mike 'The Miz' Mizanin. Early Gibson III/Getty Images

Before he was crushing opponents in the ring, Mike "The Miz" Mizanin was living it up in New York City during his time on "The Real World: Back to New York," which aired on MTV in 2001. After the show wrapped, Mizanin spent the next four years working with MTV on various installments of "The Real World/Road Rules Challenge," including "Battle of the Seasons," "The Gauntlet," "The Inferno," "Battle of the Sexes II," and "The Inferno II."

Mizanin's taste for reality TV didn't end there, however — he's also made guest appearances on "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?," "Fear Factor," and "Ghost Hunters," in addition to poking fun at the genre that started his career on two episodes of Joel McHale-hosted clip show "The Soup." 

08
of 14

Nicole Scherzinger

Nicole Scherzinger
Nicole Scherzinger. Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic

Singer Nicole Scherzinger first introduced the world to her vocal talents as a contestant on reality TV competition "Popstars," showcasing her serious range with a performance of Whitney Houston's hit song, "I Will Always Love You." 

Since then, she's been a member of pop groups Eden's Crush and The Pussycat Dolls, in addition to serving as a judge on "The X Factor" and embarking on a successful solo career. Nicole has even managed to land a few big screen roles, including a part in "Men in Black 3" in 2012. 

09
of 14

Julianne Hough

Julianne Hough
Julianne Hough. David Livingston/Getty Images

Julianne Hough's acting and singing talents are known to fans around the world, but it was her fancy footwork that first got her noticed. The blonde beauty made a name for herself as a professional dancer on "Dancing With the Stars," which she appeared on for twelve seasons before finally making her exit in 2015. 

Julianne's focus is now primarily on her acting career, with movies like the reboot of "Footloose," "Rock of Ages," and Nicholas Sparks tearjerker "Safe Haven" under her belt. 

10
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Jennifer Hudson

Jennifer Hudson
Jennifer Hudson. Rob Kim/Getty Images

Jennifer Hudson is a household name these days, thanks to her impressive set of pipes and her equally large acting talent. Prior to her Oscar win for "Dreamgirls," Hudson was a contestant on the third season of "American Idol," taking home seventh place. 

After "Idol," Hudson went on to great acclaim in movies like "Sex and the City," and "The Secret Life of Bees," in addition to her multi-episode roles on TV hits like "Empire" and "Smash."

11
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Nicole Richie

Nicole Richie
Nicole Richie. Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images

Nicole Richie's timeless sense of style may be what she's known for these days, but not long ago, she made her name as a reality star, appearing opposite then-BFF Paris Hilton on "The Simple Life." After five seasons on the show, Richie moved on to bigger and better things, including her fashion lines, House of Harlow 1960 and Winter Kate, but the lure of reality TV never faded completely.

In the past few years, Richie has made appearances on a number of fashion-based reality shows, including "Project Runway" and "Fashion Star," on which she served as a mentor. In 2014, Nicole returned to the helm of a reality show, starring in VH1's "Candidly Nicole." 

12
of 14

Kendall Jenner

Kendall Jenner
Kendall Jenner.

Kendall Jenner's meteoric rise to stardom has nearly eclipsed the reality role that made her a household name. These days, Kendall is walking runways for international fashion houses like Marc Jacobs and Chanel and rubbing elbows with the glitterati of the fashion world, but the world got to know her when she was just a little kid goofing around with younger sister Kylie and the rest of the Kardashian clan on E!'s "Keeping Up With the Kardashians."

While Kendall doesn't use her last name professionally these days, it's going to take a lot more than that to make the world forget she's one of Kris Jenner's ilk. 

13
of 14

David Giuntoli

David Giuntoli
'Grimm' star David Giuntoli.

Before tackling the role of Detective Nick Burkhardt on NBC hit "Grimm," David Giuntoli was traveling with a group of strangers as a cast member on "Road Rules: South Pacific." Giuntoli stayed with MTV for one more show, competing on the seventh season of "Real World/Road Rules Challenge," before going out for scripted roles.

After a few years of smaller parts on shows like "Privileged" and "Hot in Cleveland," Giuntoli hit it big when he landed the lead role on "Grimm" in 2011. 

14
of 14

Jacinda Barrett

Jacinda Barrett
'Bloodline' star Jacinda Barrett. Mike Pont/FilmMagic

Jacinda Barrett's television career, like so many of her contemporaries, started on MTV. The Australian-born beauty was a member of the 1995 cast of "The Real World: London" before trying her hand at scripted work.

Since then, Barrett has had roles in movies like "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason," "School For Scoundrels," and "The Last Kiss," in addition to a major role on Netflix drama "Bloodline" and a multi-episode arc on "Suits," opposite her husband, Gabriel Macht.