A a sex tape scandal first put Kardashian’s name in the tabloids, but she’s managed to keep it there with her enterprising approach to reality stardom. With her family’s TV show and an ever-growing amount of retail ventures, Kardashian has set the bar for a new kind of "making it" in Hollywood.
After a series of unsuccessful UPN shows and a string of mixed movie reviews, Kristin Cavallari, the tanned, sun-streaked blonde star of MTV’s Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County and its spin-off, The Hills, has shed her catty high-school demeanor and beloved jean cut-offs for a recent Italian Vanity Fair article that reveals a striking new side to a woman who still knows how to get our attention.
Yaya (insert: A Tyra Banks practiced pause of unbearable suspense and uncertain meaning) was the last to pack her things and go. Finishing as runner-up on cycle 3 of America’s Next Top Model, the elegant 5-foot-8 Harlem-native parlayed her flash in the reality TV pan into a burgeoning film career that most recently brought her acclaim in The Kids Are All Right and a feature in the September issue of this magazine.
Even more conniving than Hatch, she pioneered “reality-TV villainess” on Donald Trump’s The Apprentice in 2004. Nonetheless, she reunited with Trump this past summer to star in a buppie dating show titled The Ultimate Merger.
Adopting the hairstyle, eyewear, and occasionally even the ascot of Seventies-era Yves Saint Laurent, Scarlett became the first great Project Runway peacock. Apropos of his flair for high drama, he now specializes in bridal wear and costume design and stars in a new reality series, On the Road With Austin and Santino, in which he explores small-town America alongside a fellow Project Runway alum.
Outspoken and maroon-haired, this model of postmodern motherhood devised the idea for The Osbournes, and then leveraged her chutzpah into gigs on America’s Got Talent and other subpar competitions. A colon cancer survivor, Osbourne founded a patient support program at L.A.’s Cedars-Sinai and sells T-shirts reading GET SOME BALLS AND CHECK YOUR ASS.
After losing to Fantasia in season three of American Idol, angel-voiced Jennifer Hudson made the ultimate comeback by landing the role of Effie White in 2006’s Dreamgirls. Critical praise and an Academy Award followed, making Hudson the first Oscar-winner to have her start in reality TV. Seemingly more grounded than most, Hudson continues to thrive in music, film and charity work.
In 2001, roughly thirty million people met aspiring shoe designer Elisabeth Hasselbeck in the Australian outback during primetime every Thursday. Despite ultimately getting the boot from Survivor after 39 days, Hasselbeck’s TV career went on to flourish with millions still tuning in to watch her fend for herself on The View and, most recently, as a contributor on Good Morning America every weekday morning.