8 Celebrities Who Were Reality TV Contestants Before The Fame

Next time you watch your favorite reality TV show, you might want to write down the names of every contestant, because there is a chance they might blossom into something special.

The 8 celebrities you see below all got their start as contestants on reality TV shows. So the next time you make fun of the dude with the long hair on that corny dating show, you should probably stop and think, “Wait, could this dude be the next Jon Hamm?




No. 8 – Miranda Lambert

Miranda Lambert is one of the biggest names in country music, but before she was telling you not to ride on her little red wagon, she was rocking the Nashville Star stage. Believe it or not, she didn’t actually win the singing competition. She came in third on the first season of the show.

The winner that first season? Buddy Jewell…



No. 7 – Emma Stone

This one surprised me. When Emma Stone was just a teenager, she entered VH1’s competitive reality show titled, In Search of the New Partridge Family. The title pretty much explains the show. They were searching for people to star in a TV series called The New Partridge Family.

Stone killed it on the show. She impressed everyone and ended up winning a role on the show, but sadly it never did get picked up. The actress spoke about the show during an interview with Vogue

“You go in there rolling your eyes, thinking, ‘this is just a reality search competition,’ but then you’re there for seven weeks, and you just really, really want to win.”



No. 6 – Jon Hamm

At the young age of 25, Mad Men star Jon Hamm appeared on a dating show called, The Big Date. Of course, now that he’s a famous actor and is considered one of the sexiest men alive, he would probably win any dating show he entered.

But back then? Things weren’t so easy for Mr. Hamm. He was the only guy (out of 3) who didn’t get picked by a woman. You can watch his appearance on the show by clicking this link.



No. 5 – Justin Timberlake

Before he was bringing sexy back under the name Justin Timberlake, he was bringing the country back under the name Justin Randall. That fella’ you see above there is 11-year-old Justin Randall Timberlake. He appeared on the popular talent show Star Search.

He was competing against reigning champion 10-year-old Anna Nardona. And unfortunately that ridiculous country outfit wasn’t enough to beat Anna’s perfect score.

You can watch his performance by clicking here.



No. 4 – Aaron Paul

Okay, you all probably know this one. Before he starred on the best television show ever (Breaking Bad), Aaron Paul was losing his mind on The Price is Right. He did pretty well on the show, making it to the very end, but he didn’t take home the grand prize.

“I bid on a Camaro and some other prizes, and was $132 over.”

Ouch! That has to hurt. Here is the magical video that has been viewed over 1 million times.



No. 3 – Laverne Cox

This is another one that surprised me. You all know Laverne Cox from the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black, but in 2008 the actress was chosen to compete on the VH1 reality show I Want To Work For Diddy. After appearing on the show, she discussed why she thought it was important to take on the challenge…

“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.”



No. 2 – Elisabeth Hasselbeck

Before she started pissing people off with her rants on The View, Hasselbeck was actually a lovable character on Survivor. The host of the show, Jeff Probst, claims every member of the crew was in love with her…

“When she was on the second season of ‘Survivor,’ I will tell you this: Every guy on the crew fell in love with her. Every guy. We watched this young girl mature into this fighting phenomenon, and everybody wanted to date her. They thought about marrying Elisabeth. It was all in our fantasies.”

Damn. Marriage? To Elisabeth? No thank you.



No. 1 – Lucy Hale

Does anyone remember a little show called American Juniors? Probably not. The American Idol spin-off aired for one season during the summer of 2003, and one of the contestants on the show was Pretty Little Liars star Lucy Hale.

You can watch her perform, I’m Gonna Make You Love Me by clicking this link.