5 Stars Who Transcended Guilty Pleasure TV

From the dregs of reality television, these 5 stars rose like a phoenix to become household names, street style stars and more

Emma Stone on In Search of the Partridge Family
Back when she was “Emily Stone,” Emma starred on a reality show that was basically a long audition for a Partridge Family reboot. She won the role of Laurie Partridge, but the show wasn’t picked up so we will never know what could have been. Instead of a VH1 series, she went on to star in The House Bunny, Easy A, Crazy Stupid Love and Spider-Man, and later received an Oscar nom for her role as Michael Keaton’s troubled daughter in 2015’s best picture, Birdman. You win some, you lose some.

Olivia Palermo on The City
Whitney Port met her fashionable match with Olivia Palermo, a socialite who had no qualms about stepping over co-workers (in latest It stilettos, of course) to make it in the magazine world. Palermo may have been a reality TV newbie, but she did have a lot of experience in cutthroat social circles, and she has long been rumoured to be the inspiration behind iconic mean girl Blair Waldorf. Today, Olivia has major style cred, covering fashion magazines (including FLARE!), sitting front row at fashion week for designers like Caroline Herrera, DVF and Valentino, and serving as a major street-style influencer with a PhD in print mixing.

famous reality tv stars

Palermo at the Christian Dior PFW show this month (Photo: REX/ShutterStock)

Beyoncé (with Girls Tyme) on Star Search
If you’ve ever wanted to hear Ed McMahon say, “Beyoncé,” here’s your chance. Showing her young feminist stripes with her first girl band (which included a member of the first iteration of Destiny’s Child), Queen Bey demonstrated her killer voice—and nascent style chops in high tops and a neon jacket—on the legendary TV talent show. Sadly, Girls Tyme lost the battle, but obviously Beyoncé won the war.

Jamie Chung in The Real World
One of the biggest success stories to come out of the Real World franchise is Jamie Chung. After a season in San Diego, she continued onto Real World/Road Rules Challenge (her team, the “Good Guys,” won), and then launched a legit acting career with small roles on soaps, police procedurals and comedies. Today, she has a recurring role as Mulan in prime time hit Once Upon a Time, and runs a popular fashion and lifestyle blog, whatthechung.com.

 famous reality tv stars

Chung at the Banana Republic NYFW presentation in February (Photo: Rex/ShutterStock)

Laverne Cox in I Want To Work for Diddy
Back when P.Diddy was a thing, Laverne Cox was one of 11 hopefuls vying for a spot on his staff. Laverne later told Jezebel that she didn’t succumb to the usual reality TV drama tropes, and she was eliminated on the second episode. From there, she starred in her own show, TransForm Me, a makeover-style series that featured a “Glambulance.” That wasn’t the hit Cox hoped it would be, but all of it has helped her evolve into the trans activist and Orange is the New Black breakout star she is today.


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