Before she became a household name with Orange Is the New Black, Cox competed on this VH1 reality series to become Diddy’s assistant. She didn’t win, but we think it all worked out juuuust fine.
Kristen Wiig, The Joe Schmo Show
The Joe Schmo Show was a hoax series that led a person into believing that he or she was a contestant on a reality show—except all the other contestants (including a pre-Saturday Night Live Wiig were in on the joke. Wiig played Dr. Pat the Quack on season one of the series.
Emma Stone, In Search of the Partridge Family
No, this is not a joke: A teenage Emma Stone sang Meredith Brooks’ “Bitch” on a VH1 reality show, and we have video proof above. (PS: Note how they call her Emily, Emma’s real first name!)
Jamie Chung, Real World: San Diego
Chung is known for her style smarts and roles in Once Upon a Time and Big Hero 6—but she first reached fame for appearing on The Real World: San Diego.
Lucy Hale, American Juniors
The American Idol spin-off American Juniors didn’t take off, but Lucy Hale’s career sure did. The Pretty Little Liars star has some pipes!
Heather Morris, So You Think You Can Dance
It’s no secret that the Glee star got her start as a dancer—she was even a backup dancer for Beyonce!—but did you know that she appeared on season two of So You Think You Can Dance?
Jon Hamm, The Big Date
Nowadays most folks would give anything for a date with Mad Men‘s Jon Hamm—but back in 1996, he had to compete for the chance to take out this lucky lady.
Aaron Paul, The Price Is Right
Who wouldn’t want a chance to win big on The Price Is Right? A pre-Breaking Bad (and very enthusiastic) Aaron Paul is no exception.
Kesha, The Simple Life
Before becoming a pop star, a young Kesha appeared on an episode of The Simple Life. In the episode, Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie attempted to be matchmakers for her mom, which leads to some hilarious moments.
Miranda Lambert, Nashville Star
Believe it or not, Lambert—a Grammy winner and country music superstar—placed in third on this competition series.
Jacinda Barrett, The Real World: London
Back in 1995, Barrett was an Australian model working in London as part of one of MTV’s early seasons of The Real World. Now she’s a successful actor who has appeared in shows and movies like Suits (with her real-life husband, Gabriel Macht), Bloodline, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, and Ladder 49.
Katie Stevens, American Idol
Before she got a leading role on The Bold Type, Stevens tried to make it big on American Idol, singing songs like The Beatles’ “Let It Be.”
David Giuntoli, Road Rules
He’s currently starring on ABC’s A Million Little Things and was a fan favorite on Grimm, but the actor got his start traveling around the South Pacific on MTV’s Road Rules.