It’s probably common knowledge by now that Lauren Conrad and Kelly Clarkson found stardom on reality TV, but what about big names like Emma Stone and Nicole Scherzinger? Yup, you might be surprised to learn that these A-listers are among the ranks of reality TV’s most notable finds.
Long are the days of working your way up from indie darling to box office queen. (Though that definitely still happens, too.) Nowadays, celebrities take any chance they get to make it big—even if that means starring on the “Real World” for a few episodes. And we don’t blame them! Hollywood is a difficult place to be (or so we’ve heard…). Have a peek at all the surprising celebrities who got their start on reality TV.
Though it's unlikely that the "Breaking Bad" producers discovered the actor from his 2000 stint on "The Price Is Right," it is interesting to note that the game-show appearance was among Paul's first on-screen creds.
instagram / @glassofwhiskey
Like her "PLL" co-star Lucy Hale, Parrish also got her start on "American Juniors." The actress's performance failed to woo the judges, but luckily, like Hale, she scored a role years later as Mona Vanderwaal in Freeform's popular teen series.
instagram / @janelparrish
Before the singer locked down her role as the lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls, she actually auditioned for a spot in another girl group, which she later won. The process was televised on the reality show "Pop Stars," where Scherzinger got her start in the music biz by scoring a place in the early 2000's girl group, Eden's Crush.
Before she started wielding a sword as Mulan on ABC's "Once Upon a Time," the actress was just a cast member on Season 14 of MTV's the "Real World," where she lived with a bunch of strangers and was portrayed as a responsible college student. She hasn't dropped the squeaky-clean image since.
As a 25-year-old, the "Mad Men" star apparently had a problem with the ladies—which is why his first TV appearance was on the '90s dating show, "The Big Date," where he was turned down by a woman named Mary Carter. Better luck next time, Jon.
Before the singer made it big in the music world, she actually auditioned twice on two singing competitions. When she was 12, Kelly found herself belting Christina Aguilera on the stage of "America's Most Talented Kids." (She eventually lost to country singer Hunter Hayes, another reality TV find.) The YouTube star tried her luck again on Season 9 of "American Idol," where she was cut by Simon Cowell before the top 24. We need to talk, Simon.
instagram / @torikelly