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10 A-List Celebrities You Forgot Got Their Start On Reality TV Shows

The Free Britney movement, her subsequent provocative Instagram posts, and the announcement of her wedding and pregnancy have meant international superstar Britney Spears has been back in the news as much as she was in her heyday of the early 2000s. With such an outstanding career and personality that makes fans excited about every single detail of her personal life, it’s easy to forget how the young girl from Louisana got the start that catapulted her to worldwide fame in the late 1990s.

There are many celebrities that are now known for their iconic dance moves, melodic voices, or outstanding acting skills, but they were once normal hoping to gain fame through appearances on reality TV. Given their celebrity status, achievements and greatness it is hard to picture them in such a genre of television, but nothing has opened doors for celebrities quite like reality TV has.


Kesha (The Simple Life)

Split image of Kesha in the Praying video and on The Simple Life

Pebe Sebert, a single mom of three musicians of Nashville welcomes Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie into her home in an episode of The Simple Life. The iconic duo arrives to help her get a date after having a nonexistential love life for years. The surprise is that Pebe is the mother of Kesha, and she even cooperates with Paris and Nicole to get a prince charming for her mom.

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It’s shocking for most to see Kesha so young, wearing hairstyles and clothes from the early ’00s, and asking sexual or romantic-related questions to adult males. This episode of The Simple Life grants the viewer a very specific and particular approach to Kesha’s life and family. Fans could have never guessed that Kesha’s mother wanted to date a spiritual hippie.

Bella Hadid (The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills)

Bella and Gigi Hadid in The Real Life of Beverly Hills

She may now be internationally famous but before Bella Hadid found success as a model, she made multiple appearances on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, where the best fights were caused by her mom, Yolanda Hadid. There she appears with her sister de ella, Gigi, and fans get to see their daily lives and early stages of their modeling careers.

For most viewers though, more than being entertaining, the episodes where Yolanda interacts with her daughters are cringy and concerning. Scenes where she prohibits the young girls to eat, play sports, and be “masculine,” caused fans to worry about Bella and Gigi’s physical and mental wellbeing.

Emma Stone (In Search Of The Partridge Family)

Split image of Emma Stone

There’s a reason Emma Stone excels when it comes to lip-sync battles and her flawless dancing and singing skills in La La Land. Her celebrity origins de ella trace back to the reality show and competition In Search of the Patridge Family, where sixteen-year-old Emily Jean Stone was an outstanding contestant and won the part of Laurie Patridge, a role which Stone almost played but didn’t because the reboot got canceled.

Her most memorable performance on the show, “Bitch,” can be found easily on the internet. She sings with great charisma and stage presence and clearly wins the audience over with her personality. The pilot episode of the Patrick Family remake from VH1 can also be found online, with Emma proving to be as charming as always in the role.

Camila Cabello (The X-Factor)

Not that long ago Camilla Cabello was a 15-year-old girl from Miami auditioning for The X-Factor USA. It was 2012 when Camila introduced herself as a friendly and relatable teen with an impressive voice that would charm the judges. Simon Cowell, Britney Spears, Demi Lovato, and LA Reid gave their yeses to the soon-to-be international singing superstar.

While Cabello was eliminated as a solo artist at the “bootcamp” stage, she was put into the girl group Fifth Harmony, who eventually placed third in the show’s second season. Camila took the spotlight with her vocal abilities from her and it became predictable that she would follow the steps of many other group singers who went solo and found fame with numerous Billboard hits.

Justin Timberlake (Star Search)

Speaking of singers who left their groups to become solo artists, Justin Timberlake began his singing career dressed up as a cowboy in the reality TV competition StarSearch. In this performance, he was just an 11-year-old boy, but his dance moves and stage charisma are undeniably from the Justin we know today.

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Later on, I shared the mickey mouse club stage with other future big-name celebrities such as Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Ryan Gosling. For anyone who revisits their performances now, it is delightful to see how their talent shone through even at such an early age. It is incredible to think such impressive careers started on a children’s TV show.

Britney Spears (Star Search)

Split image of Britney Performing I'm A Slave 4 U and on Star Search

But Justin was not the only celebrity that got their start on StarSearch. Ten-year-old Britney Spears also delivered an outstanding performance and to the surprise of many she showed amazing powerful vocals singing “Love Can Build a Bridge.” A lot of fans have pointed out this audition as proof that the music industry made Britney change her singing voice for her pop career.

Even though she was eliminated from the competition, just like Justin, she got a call from Thand mickey mouse club where she became one of the leading child stars. Unlike her fellow famous participant, Britney has more than one performance on StarSearch that is easily accessible online for everyone to see and enjoy.

Beyonce (Star Search)

Split image of Beyonce on Star Search and the Love on Top music video

Yet another iconic pop star found her way to fame through StarSearch. Among the of four nine-year-olds who danced energetic steps and sang R&B, there was a young Beyoncé showing off her tremendous talent. Even though the group lost, they got a 3.5/4 stars grade, and later, they became the acclaimed girl group Destiny’s Child.

Beyoncé subsequently separated from the group and started a solo career. Since then there has been nothing but victories for Queen B, who is now considered one of the most important female artists of all time. Her her musical records, her numerous amazing albums, her contributions to black culture and cinema, and her unforgettable performances by her started all in that famous reality TV show that opened doors for many.

Lady Gaga (Boiling Points)

Lady Gaga appears on Boiling Points

Boiling Points was an MTV reality show where random people’s patience was put to the test in unbearable staged situations. If the person being pranked did not explode in anger and leave the place in fourteen minutes, he or she would win a hundred dollars, and in one of the episodes, Lady Gaga appears as an involuntary contestant.

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Even though her appearance is brief, Gaga goes inside a restaurant and orders a salad that later on gets filled with garbage. Her reaction to her is subtle and calm but ruthless at the same time, which is very characteristic of her personality. Nothing less is expected from the diva who has always stood up for herself, so some cursing here and there is not that surprising for fans.

Cardi B (Love & Hip-Hop: New York)

Cardi B on Love & Hip-Hop: New York

Cardi B was an absolute favorite on VH1’s hip-hop-themed reality TV show, Love & Hip-Hop: New York. Her feisty, energetic, hilarious, and unique personality provided the show with many iconic moments. In the space of a couple of minutes, the rapper could deliver a killer joke, do one of her exaggerated facial expressions or attack one of the other reality stars.

That same temperament shone through her rapping career. Her funny and shameless lyrics, impulsive screams, and her engaging production made her a sensation. The attitude she showed on TV while still working as a stripper also made admirable to many, given that she was always true to herself.

Meghan Markle (Deal Or No Deal)

Meghan Markle in Deal or No Deal

Meghan Markle has had an impressive career trajectory, from starring on deal or no deal to become the wife of a Prince. Her varied work background and acting gigs of her have shown how much of a normal person she is, and made her relatable and loved by many.

Although her commoner background and biracial identity reportedly outraged the royal family to the point where Prince Harry and herself decided to exclude themselves from royal duties, Markle’s road to success, fame, and love is still at its highest peak, and it’s amazing to think that it all started with a silver numbered briefcase.

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