These celebrities all appeared on reality TV shows, but went on to become famous for something completely different from what we first knew them for…
Rylan Clark first appeared in 2011 on Sky Living modelling competition Signed by Katie Price and was runner-up. He is of course more known for becoming Gary Barlow’s nemesis on The X Factor in 2012. However, Rylan was a hit with viewers and came fifth. The following year, Rylan’s popularity with an audience paid off even more when he won Celebrity Big Brother. His enthusiasm for BB was evident and he went on to bag a presenting job on Big Brother’s Bit on the Side, a role he’s still relishing. More ‘relishing’ came when he impressed Masterchef judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace with his fancy grub. All that, and, unlike his veneers, he seems very genuine!
Genuine is something that won over the public in the first-ever Big Brother in 2000. The winner, builder Craig Phillips, famously gave his £70,000 prize money to his friend Joanne Harris who had Down’s syndrome. Despite this donation, Craig has done well and was last year ranked 15th in Reality TV’s Richest Star List with his worth said to be £6.9m. This is down to hundreds of TV appearances, including shooting 80 episodes of 60 Minute Makeover since 2007. Craig, no stranger to charity stunts, has also amassed a property empire, made over 500 personal appearances and even given lectures on cruise ships (not about cruise ships, on them!)
One of Big Brother’s most famous contestants was dental nurse Jade Goody who appeared on the show in 2002. Ridiculed for not being very clever, Jade proved to be pretty bright by carving out a lucrative career. As well as many fly-on-the-wall shows, in 2005, Jade created and introduced her own fragrance, Shh… which became Superdrug’s third best-selling perfume. She wrote Jade: My Autobiography which was released in May 2006 and made it onto The Sunday Times Best Sellers List by December the same year. The following year, 2007, Jade returned to Big Brother’s celebrity version, but it was a big mistake. Accused of racially bullying the Indian actress Shilpa Shetty, Jade admitted her actions were wrong and made many public apologies. In August 2008, Jade appeared on the Indian version of Big Brother called Big Boss, but had to leave after she learned that she had cervical cancer. Jade died on 22 March 2009, and despite the controversy she caused, had been one of reality TV’s biggest stars.
Just a year after Craig Phillips, another contestant to get a TV career from appearing on Big Brother, was flight attendant Brian Dowling, who won the show in 2001. He went on to present kids’ show SMTV Live in 2002. In 2007 Brian had a famous on-air quarrel with Jim Davidson in Hell’s Kitchen. Brian’s biggest gig came when was named as the new host of Big Brother in 2011, replacing Davina McCall. But Brian was replaced by Emma Willis in April 2013.
In the Big Brother house in 2010, Josie Gibson had a romance with fellow Big Brother contestant John James Parton. She went on to win the show with 77.5% of the public vote, the highest ever. Josie has since transformed her body and is a personal trainer and ambassador for healthy eating. Josie released a workout DVD in 2013 and was a regular guest host on Channel 5’s OK TV. She’s written a column for Now magazine and has made many guest appearances, including on Loose Women and The Wright Stuff.
Cheeky chappie Olly Murs came runner-up on The X Factor in 2009. He’s gone on to have a successful music career, but is now just as well known as a TV presenter. Teaming up with Caroline Flack to co-present The Xtra Factor in 2011, the pair have now taken over hosting duties for the main event – The X Factor – and will be on our screens later this year.
Another X-Factor runner-up was Ray Quinn in 2006. It’s hard to say what Ray’s speciality is, actually, although he’d say music is his big love. Ray started out in Brookside at just 10 years old playing Anthony Murray. Although second on The X Factor, Ray went on to be a winner not once but twice! Coming first in both 2009’s Dancing on Ice and then the All Stars’ series in 2014. He’s also starred in a number of West End shows, including Grease, Dirty Dancing and Legally Blonde. And, more bizarrely, got to launch the pirate-themed aquarium, Sharkbait Reef by Sea Life at the Alton Towers Resort in 2009 (fantastic, Ray)!
Winning is something Kym Marsh knows something about! She successfully auditioned herself into a place in the band Hear’Say on Popstars. The band won the show and their single Pure and Simple got to No1 in March 2001. Kym left the group in 2002. A solo career followed and she had two top 10 singles. But it was in 2006 that Kym got her big break as an actress, when she nabbed the role of Michelle Connor. Kym is still on the cobbles to this day, and, as Michelle married long-term character Steve McDonald in May this year, it looks like she could be staying in Weatherfield for a while to come! She’s also the holder of the 2015 Rear of the Year award, so bottom’s up, Kym!
Popstars was followed in 2002 by Popstars: The Rivals – a show looking for a boy band and a girl band. Sarah Harding made it into the final line-up for Girls Aloud and they beat the boy band One True Voice and won the show. Their song Sound of the Underground also became the Christmas No1. Girls Aloud achieved massive success, but during the band’s ‘break’ Sarah turned her attention to acting and appeared in St Trinian’s 2: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold, Bad Day and Run for your Wife. She also appeared in the BBC television film, Freefall. The band officially announced their split in early 2013. This year, Sarah followed in the footsteps of singer Kym Marsh, by getting a role in Coronation Street as Robert Preston’s estranged wife Joni. Sarah had high hopes for her career as a soap star, but after failing to impress fans and critics, Joni’s storyline wasn’t extended past the four episodes Sarah was originally scheduled to appear in.
It’s fair to say the Girls Aloud ladies have done pretty well. None more so than Cheryl Fernandez-Versini. Cheryl had the same band success as Sarah, above, and then a pretty impressive solo career. She caught the eye of Simon Cowell, who appointed her as a judge on The X Factor in 2008, where she became the winning judge twice out of the three series she judged. In 2011, she was lured away to judge the American version, but left the show during the auditions stage. The rumour-mill went into overdrive with suggestions that Cheryl had been sacked and a spat with Simon Cowell followed. However, the pair have since buried the hatchet and Cheryl was back on the UK version of The X Factor last year as a judge, and has been signed up again as a judge on for this year. So all’s well that ends well!
Sacked from his first job in a fish market, Joey got himself onto TOWIE, through family contacts as Chloe Sims is his cousin. Since coming to our attention, the Essex boy (from Essex and called Essex, crazy!) hasn’t been off our screens! Notably in 2013, Joey entered the jungle for I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! and came fourth. On the show, Joey admitted that he couldn’t blow his nose nor tell the time. Maybe this is what prompted TV bods to come up with the Educating Joey Essex series in 2014. The following year Joey entered and won the second series of skiing show The Jump. He also pops up frequently on Celebrity Juice, has been on Loose Women, 8 out of 10 Cats, This Morning and Through the Keyhole. More recently he was on Safeword, ITV2’s roast show, where celebrities are dissed by other famous guests until they can take it no more. There may come a time when we can take no more of Joey Essex (only joking, Joey!)