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When Reality Stars

Become REAL Stars

9/3/2006 7:06 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Hasselbeck, Clarkson and KnoxvillePuck. Omarosa. LC. If you're a fan of reality TV then you probably recognize those one name monikers and the "characters" that go with them.

With every passing day there seem to be more and more reality shows filled with an endless pool of wannabe stars clamoring for fame. While most will be forgotten faster than you can say Darva Conger, a rare few have managed to eek out legit careers. And by legit we mean more than just appearing on more reality shows.

TMZ reveals which reality stars have beaten the odds and gone on to become real stars.

Kelly ClarksonKelly Clarkson

At first, things didn't seem to look too good for America's first "Idol" winner. Shortly after obtaining the now illustrious crown, Kelly Clarkson co-starred in the 2003 film "From Justin to Kelly" with "Idol" loser Justin Guarini - may he rest in peace. The film turned out to be a flop of epic proportions. But the talented singer endured long enough to obtain new management and release the 2004 multi-platinum album "Breakaway," which featured 5 hit singles including the monster track "Since U Been Gone." While past "Idol" winners (and Clay Aiken) have gone on to earn platinum-selling albums, Clarkson is the only "Idol" to receive the biggest musical career legitimizer there is -- two Grammy awards. We'd like to see Simon Cowell badmouth that!

Johnny KnoxvilleJohnny Knoxville

Not even Paris Hilton could have imagined that videotaping yourself getting kicked in the groin or barbecuing your steak-covered body on a grill could lead to a legitimate acting career. Well, that's exactly what happened to Johnny Knoxville after his MTV stunt show, and it's big screen version, "Jackass" became a huge hit. Soon Knoxville's fearless attitude and rockstar looks had the studios knocking down his doors. Johnny has gone on to star in over ten films including last summer's hit "The Dukes of Hazzard." While Knoxville hasn't abandoned his reality show roots, "Jackass: Number Two" comes out this month, nothing says you've arrived quite like being linked to your on screen co-star (Jessica Simpson).

Jacinda BarrettJacinda Barrett

Another MTV alum who's caught Hollywood's eye is former London "Real World" roommate Jacinda Barrett. Since appearing on the reality show in '95, the former model has been steadily building a solid resume. She's co-starred with A-listers like Anthony Hopkins and Nicole Kidman in "The Human Stain", and with Renée Zellweger and Hugh Grant In "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason." This summer she starred in the remake of "Poseidon" and will next be seen with Zach Braff in "The Last Kiss" and with "Napoleon Dynamite's" Jon Heder in "School For Scoundrels." We think it's safe to say you won't be seeing Jacinda on a "Real World/Road Rules Challenge" in the near future.

Elisabeth HasselbeckElisabeth Hasselbeck

Elisabeth Hasselbeck's experience roughing it in the wilds of "Survivor:The Australian Outback" was nothing compared to her mornings spent sparring with the other ladies on "The View." After her jungle days ended, Ms. Lizzie hosted E!'s "The Look for Less." That led to the high profile gig on "The View" and, eventually, to becoming Barbara Walters' conservative crybaby. And now that Meredith Vieira and Star Jones have left the show, Hasselbeck has firmly cemented her place at the gabfest's table. But with outspoken talkshow vet Rosie O'Donnell joining the morning show on September 5, all eyes will be on Elisabeth to see if she holds her own or crashes and burns under Rosie's reign. Regardless, as far as her career goes, and at least for now, it appears the tribe has spoken.

Jennifer HudsonJennifer Hudson

Jennifer Hudson, like Clarkson, got her start on "American Idol" but unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, she didn't win. After being voted off midway through the third season of the "Idol" finals, many thought Hudson would wind up just another reality show contestant ... waiting tables at Applebees. But Hudson surprised everyone by beating out hundreds of singers, including "Idol" winner Fantasia Barrino, to land a role in the big screen adaptation of the Broadway musical "Dreamgirls" alongside Beyoncé and Jamie Foxx. Although the film doesn't come out until December, early buzz says Hudson is so good she could get an Oscar nod for Best Supporting Actress. Nomination or not, Jennifer Hudson is already turning out to be a true American idol.


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Good lord, just because Guarini sucks doesn't mean he dead. Ouch.

2939 days ago


It's great to see the truly talented break through the reality tv mold and go onto legit careers. I love Clarkson...I think she's supremely talented.

2939 days ago


Kelly Clarkson looks like a muppet in the picture shown.

2939 days ago


since you been gone was the worst song that i have ever heard. it sounded like barry manilow trying to do hard rock; very, very bad. i never understood why people liked that song and i never will. stick to ballads, kelly. you have a great voice, USE IT

2939 days ago


who are we talking aBOUT?

2939 days ago


I think it takes talent and strenght to do what they have all done. If we could all have the guts to do it. I personally think Since you Been Gone is a Great song !!!!

2939 days ago


It is unbelievable. The Snark never ends. How anyone can be called an american idol "loser" after going through the intensely rigorous process, being chosen over thousands of other competitors because of his impressive talent, eduring week after week of performances and elimination to be stil standing and then being voted as their choice for American Idol by millions and millions of fans across the country (i believe Justin got 48% of the vote?) and then to be called a loser? That is an ACCOMPLISHMENT by any standard and something to be very PROUD OF!
And Justin is certainly not dead either. He will be appearing in concert Sept 29th at the Commerce Bank Arts Center in Sewell New Jersey. TicketMaster. It is going to be a fantastic concert. And he is working on his third cd .

I'm wondering. Do you get paid to write snark about certain people while always giving a break to the ones you seem to favor, because obviously you never do any homework and you are unbelievably biased. Reminds me of the radio payola days.

2939 days ago

Joe Cool    

I think if you want a music career you should work at it YOURSELF and not go audition for some lame reality show. I dont pity any of them for going through a "rigorous" process. Its not like they endured a military bootcamp like our troops in iraq. I for one am for the artist who once had nothing. And them theirselves worked up to the top by doing what they thought was right .. and by ARTIST i mean writing and playing your own music.. not being a puppet for others to mold you into what is "cool" today.

2939 days ago

the wise old owl    

Wow, this is a really WEAK post. I know it's a holiday weekend but I could write more entertaining sh#t than this. YAWN...........ZZZZ...............SNORE. WHAT !! HUH ..........................oh yeah I was checking out TMZ. , stumbled onto this and than fell alsleep. COME ON OVER THERE, LET'S GET ON THE BALL At least Paris HIlton keeps us up. ( no pun intended )

2939 days ago

brian scott miller    

Krusty the clown said it best,
"What's the use of Fame, if you don't have the "Kablinky" to back it up??!!"

You loosers will burn in hell, ( ie: wait in line with the rest of the "Great Unwashed" to get into the hipp clubs)

Ha! I giggle at you!

2939 days ago


Elisabeth Hasselback is a joke!
Everything that she says is just plain stupid.
I think the only reason that she is still on the view is because Barbara wanted to get rid of Star Jones worse than she wanted to dump Elisabeth.
She'll be gone by next season!
Can't wait for least she is funny, philanthropic and smart!

2939 days ago


Pat, is Justin Guarini's concert set for September 29 not yet cancelled? The promoter is likely to lose a bundle on that one unless the entire crew has decided to donate their time free of charge. I hope the venue box office has been selling some tickets because ticketmaster has sold maybe two of them in the last two months.

2939 days ago


By the way TMZ, it wasnt E! taht had "the look for less" when Elisabeth Hasselbeck hosted it it was Style network. taht was bugging me! : )

2938 days ago

Valerie Johnson    

#9 is totally right on about Elisabeth Hasselbeck she isvery " " immature and needs to find a new job. I liked her at first and know I totally dislike her.

2938 days ago


kelly clarkson sucks!

2937 days ago
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