7 Reality TV Stars Who Prove You Can Successfully Make The Jump To Acting

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 15: NeNe Leakes attends the 2014 NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment Upfronts at The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on May 15, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)
Source: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Another day, another reality TV show star trying to make the Hollywood crossover. Tanisha Thomas of Bad Girls Club Season 2 fame posted a picture to her social media outlets a few days ago intimating that she had been approached to be on Orange is The New Black Season 3. Although TMZ says it's not happening, we can't help but raise a quizzical brow... Maybe Tanisha will escape the reality tv ghetto, despite the fact that we know her primarily as the "pop off" woman. 

Now, reality TV is one big chance for a viewer to convince themselves out of liking the stars. If you show yourself to be a lunatic, a back-stabber, or just a boring human, you may be a hard sell to any casting directors. However, this doesn't stop plenty of reality TV stars from attempting that precarious jump from pretending to be yourself to pretending to be another person. Some of the people who have tried are actually doing pretty well for themselves. Check 'em out!


Jamie Chung

We got to know her on The Real World 26: San Diego in 2011. Since then, she’s built quite a career for herself in the celluloid city. Chung played Mulan on the most recent season of Once Upon a Time. She has also snagged roles in The Hangover Part II, Sucker Punchand Sorority Row. Essentially, her roles have been pretty true to her real life of being a party-hardy sorority girl. That is, excluding the ancient Chinese warrior role. 

Jacinda Barrett

Once can say that this Aussie actress’ career kicked off with a spot on The Real World: London in 1995. However, she was on the entertainment track far before that. Barrett has been a professional model since her teens. Also, she went straight from The Real World house to acting school at Oxford. She snagged roles in Ladder 49, Poseidon, and The Human Stain. TV-wise, she’s been in Suits and Zero Hour. Apparently, getting to know her as a person didn’t turn casting agents off.  

Nene Leakes

Easily the most prominent member of The Real Housewives of Atlanta and arguably the richest bitch this side of the Mississippi, Nene Leakes lets nothing stand in the way of what she wants. Leakes was tapped to play a role in The New Normal that was pretty close to her reality TV persona. Go figure, this came naturally to her, and she excelled. She had a recurring role on Glee, and is continuing to build her acting resume. Oh, and also she’s destroying Birkin bags

Analeigh Tipton

This America’s Next Top Model alum impressed the judges on Cycle 11, and Hollywood has been kind to her thus far. Tipton had roles in Crazy, Stupid Love, The Green Hornet, and Warm Bodies. How’s that for smizing, Miss Tyra?

Yaya Dacosta

We all remember Yaya as the resident scholar of ANTM Cycle 3, but these days she spends less time in the library and more time on set. First of all, she’s playing Whitney freakin’ Houston in the made for TV biopic of the singer’s life. Her other gigs include roles in The Kids Are Alright and Ugly Betty. See? The reality/Hollywood crossover can happen!

David Giuntoli

Giuntoli got his start on Road Rules: South Pacific, but has since worked on Grimm, Veronica Mars, and Hot in Cleveland. Great choice foregoing The Challenge circuit, David. 

Tanisha Thomas

We got acquainted with Tanisha Thomas as the pan-clanging maniac from The Bad Girl’s Club Season 2 who was so scintillatingly insane that you needed to start watching the show. We can’t confirm or deny that Tanisha will actually show up on OITNB Season 3, but she certainly is broadcasting that message. She tweeted a photo of the cast (which has since been deleted) with the caption “And guess who just got invited?!!! #blessed #oitnbseason3 look out for your girl.” However, TMZ reached out to Netflix, and the company denied that Thomas has been cast. In other news, my brain hurts.