Call it the impossible dream: Making the the leap from reality television to serious working actor. For the lucky few, the uphill climb to legitimacy can be daunting, but oh-so-worthwhile. Take Jacinda Barrett, who got her start as a model and member of “The Real World: London” cast way back in 1995. Since then, she’s appeared in movies (“The Namesake”) and appeared in the sophomore season of “The Following,” the Kevin Bacon-helmed FOX series about a killer cult on the loose
Barrett does have a few fellow reality TV brethren who’ve managed to establish themselves as legitimate actors, such as Katherine McPhee, NeNe Leakes, and more. Click through to see 10 reality TV alums who’ve made the leap to legit acting careers.
Jacinda Barrett got her start as a model and member of "The Real World: London" cast in 1995, and managed to parlay it into a legit acting career. She's appeared in films ("The Namesake"), TV (the short-lived series "Zero Hour," and had a recurring role on the USA series "Suits") and she just signed on to appear in the sophomore season of "The Following," the Kevin Bacon-helmed FOX series about a killer cult on the loose.
Jamie Chung got her start on the "The Real World: San Diego," the 2004 iteration of the long-running MTV series (and honestly, long after we stopped watching.) Since then, she's become one of the most prolific post-reality TV actresses, with appearances in movies like "Premium Rush," "The Hangover" trilogy, and "Sucker Punch," and a starring role in the series "Once Upon A Time." We also happen to love the little Lipstick Jungle-themed fashion spread she did over at our sister site Beauty High earlier this year.
Nene was one of the original "Real Housewives of Atlanta," a weave-snatching sass-monster who was constantly getting into it with her fellow housewives, Kim and Sheree. But these days, Nene's all business, straddling the reality world with her series "I Dream of Nene: The Wedding," and roles on "The New Normal" and "Glee."
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Did you watch "Road Rules: South Pacific"? Then you might remember David Giuntoli from the cast. Alternately, if you watch the smash hit show "Grimm," you also might find Giuntoli familiar. He plays Detective Nick Burkhardt. He is also very hot.
It's hard to remember it now, but Kat McPhee came in fifth during her season of "American Idol" — nowhere near the top. But McPhee went on to star in "The House Bunny," "Shark Night: 3D," and the TV series, "Smash," a show, ironically, about a struggling actress/singer clawing her way to the top.
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Little known fact: "Glee"'s Heather Morris actually got her start on "So You Think You Can Dance," where she made it to "Las Vegas Week" before being cut. She then went on to work as a back up dancer for Beyonce before breaking big as Brittany on "Glee."
You really can't get much more inspiring than Jennifer Hudson, another "American Idol" finalist (but not winner) who went on to win a frickin' Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for her work in "Dream Girls." (Though she also appeared in the stinker "Sex And The City 2," so go figure.)
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Our pretty little Aria Montgomery was once on the 2003 "American Idol" spin-off show, "American Juniors." She was chosen as one of five finalists who was turned into a group called, oh-so-creatively American Juniors. They recorded two albums before breaking up (over creative differences, we imagine.)
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Emma Stone amazingly got her start in the 2005 reality competition show "In Search Of The Partridge Family." Winners would be tapped to play members of the Partridge clan in the made-for-TV movie "The New Partridge Family." Stone won the role of daughter Laurie. This is crazy news to us.
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