Ticket to fame: Stars who gained their big breaks through reality TV shows.
A lucky few have managed to turn five minutes of fame on reality TV into a permanent career. Kerry Harvey profiles some of them.
For most reality stars, fame is fleeting. However, there are some, such as Kiwis Stan Walker and Michelle Ang, who have made the leap to acting success. While former Australian The Bachelor and Bachelorette star Sam Frost caused an outcry when she scored a plum permanent role on Home And Away, others have made the switch apparently effortlessly. Admittedly, not all have been as successful as Emma Stone, Hollywood’s most highly paid actress in 2017. Few people realise that the actress, who won an Oscar for the movie La La Land, began her career on the reality show In Search Of The Partridge Family. Closer to home, now New York-based Kiwi Michelle Ang, Emmy nominated for her role on the zombie drama spin-off Fear Of The Walking Dead: Flight 462, started her career on the 90s reality series Young Entertainers. She went on to star in Neighbours, Outrageous Fortune and Top Of The Lake before moving Stateside where she has had roles in shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, Drop Dead Diva and Rizzoli & Iles. Mt Maunganui-raised Stan Walker, Australia Idol winner in 2009, has enjoyed considerable success in the music industry but has also
The actress who won an Oscar for the movie Dream Girls is yet another who started her career as an American Idol contestant. The 36-year-old entertainer has since appeared in more than a dozen movies and will next be seen playing Grizabella in the big-screen adaptation of Cats.
proved his acting chops, making his screen debut in the 2013 movie Mt Zion alongside Temuera Morrison.
Since then, he has had roles in Hunt For The Wilderpeople, period drama The Stolen and this year’s Australian comedy Chasing Comets, which also stars former Home And Away alumni Dan Ewing and Isabel Lucas.
Here are some others who turned what could have been five minutes of fame into a screen career ...
The former The Bachelor Australia star (left) is the newest face in Ramsay Street. The 35-year-old one-time wellness instructor has joined the cast of the Australian soap Neighbours, playing Pierce Greyson, a wealthy investor with secrets.
The one-time award-winning television journalist is a woman of many parts. Her most high-profile TV stint lately was on Real Housewives Of Auckland, but she has made the switch from reality TV to drama several times in the past 20 years. Acting roles in Street Legal, Shortland Street and Agent Anna were interspersed with stints hosting The Weakest Link and time on Celebrity Treasure Island and The Apprentice NZ.
The 2006 runner-up in Australia Idol has forged a successful career in both music and acting. On the big screen, she has starred in Bran Nue Dae and The Sapphires (above) while her television work includes the lead role in two seasons of the Australian drama The Secret Daughter.
She became the first transgender person to be nominated for an Emmy Award with her role in Orange Is The New Black but her first screen outing was in the US reality series I Want To Work For Diddy in which contestants competed to work for musician Sean Combs.
The one-time Home And Away star began his show-business career on The X Factor Australia in 2011, finishing in third place. He was luckier the following year when he won Dancing With The Stars Australia and then scored the role of Chris Harrington in Home And Away. His career is currently on hold as he battles a brain tumour.
This former Australian model (left) made her television debut in the reality series Real World: London in 1995, before going on to roles in movies including Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason and Poseidon. Most recently she starred in the Netflix series Bloodline.
Few people probably remember it, but the Scorpion actress (right) first came to attention when she finished second in 2006’s American Idol. Her acting roles include the movies House Bunny, Shark Night 3D and a lead role in the television series Smash as, ironically, a struggling actress and singer clawing her way to success.
He played Coronation Street’s Aidan Connor for three years but this Englishman was already a well-known singer, having won the second series of the British version of The X Factor, and subsequently reaching number one in the UK singles chart with his song That’s My Goal. He was equally successful as an actor, winning a range of awards for his performance in the soap.
Michelle Ang and Jennifer Hudson
Stan Walker in Mt Zion
Louise Wallace Laverne Cox