You might think that being on a reality television show is a one-way ticket to fame and stardom but let’s be honest, that’s rarely the case. Yes, there might be a few shining stars like Lauren Conrad or Cardi B, but most people who end up on reality tv eventually melt back into everyday life.
These reality stars tried their hand at becoming huge stars but in the end, went back to working plain old 9-5 jobs. Reality stars…they’re truly just like us!
Jon Gosselin Has Worked Every Minimum-Wage Job In The Book
We met Jon as a wholesome father of eight when his reality show, Jon & Kate Plus 8, debuted on our screen. Then we watched his marriage and life essentially crumble in front of our eyes. Jon ended up leaving the show (which quickly got renamed to just Kate Plus 8) and has been working normal 9-5 jobs ever since.
Some of Jon’s side-gigs include being a DJ, a male stripper, and working as a server at his local TGI Fridays.
Ty Pennington Does What He Does Best: Builds Furniture
Who could forget contractor Ty Pennington’s spiked hair, soul patch, and 24/7 excitement? He got his start on two of the original home renovation shows—Trading Spaces and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Unfortunately, he fell from grace in 2010 after being charged with a DUI.
After the DUI, Pennington stepped away from the spotlight and opened up his own furniture company based out of Atlanta. He also became the spokesperson for a Chicago-based mortgage lender for reasons we can only assume center around needing extra cash.
Keep reading to see which American Idol alum almost became a senator.
Stacy London Turned To Writing Essays
Stacy London was one half of the hosting duo on TLC’s What Not To Wear. The reality show that made over contestants ran for more than a decade and after it ended, London’s life kind of fell into shambles. She needed a wake-up call from her accountant to stop spending money and get on track.
Eventually, she got a real job that didn’t include trying on clothes. Now, London is a freelance writer and has published essays in various fashion magazines.
Clay Aiken Tried His Hand At Politics
Aiken is best known for being the runner-up on the second season of American Idol. Since 2003, he tried his hand at acting in bit parts and even did a season of The Celebrity Apprentice. Aiken must not have loved his reality television roots or acting career though because, in 2014, he stepped into politics instead.
Aiken ran for U.S. Congress as a Democrat but once again ended as a runner-up, losing to North Carolina’s incumbent. The American Idol alum says he’s not done with politics so we’ll see what the future holds for Clay Aiken.
Clay may not have made it into politics but this next reality star did.
Sean Duffy Left The Real World For Real World Politics
Duffy made a living by appearing on several different reality shows throughout the 1990s. He starred in everything from The Real World: Boston to Road Rules. In nearly every series he appeared on, Duffy was described as the “center of attention.”
After his run on reality shows in the ’90s, Duffy decided to run again but this time for the U.S. House of Representatives. He won his seat as a Republican in 2011 and is still in office today!
Keep reading to see what one of Hugh Hefner’s old girlfriends is up to today.
Spencer Pratt Sells Healing Crystals (Seriously)
Every teenage girl in the late 2000s hated Spencer Pratt. I mean, he single-handedly ruined Heidi and Lauren’s friendship! After The Hills, Pratt and his wife Heidi Montag have tried staying relevant. They went on numerous other reality shows but by 2018, no one wanted to see him on TV anymore.
As a backup plan, Pratt has now had to start his own company to pay the bills. He runs a company called Pratt Daddy and they sell the “purest, most exclusive” healing crystals. Seriously, we can’t even make this stuff up.
William Hung Fights Crime Now
It may only have been 15 minutes of fame but after William Hung’s legendary audition for American Idol where he sang Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs,” he became a sensation. At the time of his audition, Hung was studying civil engineering at US Berkeley. He left school to pursue a record deal after he went viral but it failed miserably.
Eventually, in 2011, Hung gave up his dream of being a singer and now works at a technical crime analyst for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Bridget Marquardt Runs An Etsy Shop
Marquardt is best remembered for being one of the late Hugh Hefner’s girlfriends. Along with Kendra Wilkinson and Holly Madison, Marquardt was on the reality show The Girls Next Door. Marquardt left the show to “find herself” in the fourth season and ended up getting a master’s degree in communications.
While she pursued some other acting jobs, she eventually settled into being a social media influencer. Marquardt posts favorite recipes, makeup tutorials, and more on her various platforms. She even runs an Etsy shop where she sells aprons.
You might recognize the next former reality star since she had a short gig in the White House.
Omarosa Had Some High-Profile Normal Jobs
After staking her claim to fame on season one of The Apprentice, Omarosa has gone down as the most hated villain in reality television history. She has returned to The Apprentice and other reality tv shows over time but she’s also tried her hand at some normal 9-5 jobs.
In 2013, she became an ordained Baptist Minister working in an orphanage, and of course we’ll never forget her “normal” 11-month stint as President’s Trump’s director of communications.
Farrah Abraham Sells Pasta Sauce
Abraham was one of the most memorable (and stuck up and sassy) cast members on MTV’s Teen Mom. Her attitude made her one of the most hated people on the show but all the hate didn’t slow down her entrepreneurial spirit. In order to provide for her daughter and pay the bills, Abraham started a company called Mom & Me Foods.
The food company sells pasta sauce and wine, AKA, everything a mom needs to survive after a long week of parenting.
Angelina Pivarnick Will Come Save Your Life
Angelina Pivarnick only lasted a few episodes on the inaugural season of MTV’s Jersey Shore but she left her mark. After a series of explosive fights on the show, she packed her bags and left to go home. It seems like she knew reality television wasn’t for her and since the show has lived a completely normal life.
Pivarnick trained with the Fire Department of New York and now spends her days working as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). She returned to reality tv briefly for Jersey Shore Family Vacation but she still believes the EMT life is for her.
The Gotti Brothers Are 99% Less Hair Gel
Growing Up Gotti was one of the first iconic reality shows. The series followed the daughter of infamous the infamous mob boss John Gotti, and her three sons, Frank, Carmine, and John Jr. The show ended after three seasons but the brothers found another way to make ends meet.
A 10-year reunion special showed the Gotti brothers got rid of all the hair gel and started their own auto parts business. The shop was raided by the FBI in 2016 so maybe their 9-5 job isn’t so “regular” after all.
Amber Portwood Flips Houses
Portwood became famous after being one of the women featured on the first season of MTV’s 16 And Pregnant and later on Teen Mom. Portwood’s time in front of the camera showed the demise of not one, but two relationships, an addiction to prescription medication, an alleged suicide attempt, and then a stint in jail.
Since her release from jail, Portwood has flipped her life around by starting a house flipping business. It looks like she saw that realty was more valuable than reality.
Jen Bunney Traded Stilettos For Scrubs
Jen Bunney got her start on Laguna Beach and The Hills. Unfortunately, she got the villain edit and will forever be remembered for the “that shady thing” she did in season two with Lauren Conrad’s boyfriend Brody Jenner (2007 was a wild time).
After the not-so-favorable edit, Bunney left reality television and decided to go into the healthcare field. She earned her master’s degree in public health and today works in neuroscience. She’s still in touch with her famous past co-stars though and will occasionally make an appearance on Heidi Montag’s Instagram.
Bam Margera Owns A Bar
In the early 2000s, Bam Margera was the idol for most teenage boys. The professional skateboard and stunt performer made his name on MTV’s Jackass and went on to star in other reality tv shows like Viva La Bam and Bam’s Unholy Union.
Unfortunately, his health and struggle with alcoholism forced him out of the spotlight. He picked up a normal life and opened up a bar in Pennsylvania until a series of relapses and trips to rehab ended with his being committed against his will to a mental health facility. We hope he’s able to return to his “regular” life soon.
Evan Marriott AKA Joe Millionaire Runs A Contracting Business
The premise was simple: Marriott would pretend that he’d just inherited $1 million and was looking for a bride, but really, he was a broke construction worker who just happened to be very good looking. Considering the fact that Marriott started out with a normal job it isn’t surprising that after the show ended, he went back to it.
With his money from his brief reality tv stint, Marriott started his own contracting business and told People magazine that “everything is great.”
Kwame Jackson Followed In His Boss’ Footsteps
After placing second on the first season of The Apprentice, Kwame Jackson decided to not continue on the reality TV path that most other contestants did. Instead, he opted to get into the real estate business and became an investor.
Jackson must have been inspired by his former boss Mr. Trump. He still works in the real estate business, owns a firm, and tours the country as a public speaker. Not too bad for Trump’s runner-up.
Jaime Gleicher Is Now A Psychotherapist
Gleicher was one of the two stars of MTV’s reality show Rich Girls. She and then-BFF Ally Hilfiger (yes, Tommy Hilfiger’s daughter) would basically just travel around New York City spending money. The show didn’t last long, and Gleicher was forced to find a new line of work since she couldn’t live off her parent’s money forever.
Gleicher ended up going to school and getting degrees from Barnard and New York University. Today, she works as a psychotherapist in New York City helping others combat their mental health struggles.
Fiona Horne Is Now A Pilot
When Horne began hosting the SyFy reality show Mad Mad House, she was focused on improving her singing career. After the series ended, she landed some acting jobs but admitted that eventually, she just got bored.
Since then, Horne has done a variety of odd jobs. She published several books about witchcraft and at one point even took flying classes to become a pilot. Today, you might catch her in the cockpit if you’re flying a charter plane to the Caribbean.
Deena Cortese Became A Puppy Trainer
After Angelina left the Shore, she was replaced with Snooki’s real-life BFF Deena Cortese. The little meatball was one of the crazier members on the show so it must have been a rough hangover when the show ended. Luckily, she found a new calling and decided to become a dog trainer.
After Jersey Shore ended, most of Deena’s Instagram feed was filled with adorable puppy photos and sponsored ads for detox teas. Hey, she has to make a living somehow.
Boston Rob Tried To Become A Poker Player
Boston Rob is one of the most memorable Survivor contestants of all time. His thick Boston accent and showmance with fellow contestant Amber Brkich left the two bonafide reality stars. The pair ended up getting married and competing on two or seasons of Survivor and two seasons of The Amazing Race.
Eventually, Rob ran out of reality television shows to appear on and had to get a job. He tried his hand at professional poker and did okay, but he’s been most successful as a stay-at-home father with his four beautiful daughters.
Tanner Tolbert Will Sell You A Car
Longtime fans of the Bachelor franchise might remember Tolbert from his various appearances. He first arrived on season 11 of The Bachelorette then returned for Bachelor in Paradise. The entire time, he was still employed as a car salesman at a Toyota dealership.
Talbert promised his boss he’d get kicked of Bachelor in Paradise in two weeks, but when he fell in love, he decided to risk it all. Luckily, his boss had a heart, and after Tolbert left the show, he was promoted to sales manager. He still sells cars but now for Honda.
Brooke Hogan Is Basically Just An Instagram Influencer
The daughter of professional wrestler Hulk Hogan starred for years on reality television. She appeared on the Hogan family series, Hogan Knows Best, and was so popular that she got her own spin-off, Brooke Knows Best.
The spin-off only lasted one season though and since its cancellation, she’s been struggling to stay in the limelight. Brooke tried her hand at wrestling and singing but now, she mostly just makes ends meet by promoting products on Instagram. And yes, being an Instagram influencer is practically a normal 9-5 job now.
Adrienne Curry Went From Top Model To Top YouTuber
Curry walked the catwalk to fame after winning the very first seasons of American’s Next Top Model. The show launched her modeling career and landed her spots on other reality shows like The Surreal Life. Eventually, Curry got tired of the modeling industry and left in 2011.
To make ends meet, Curry now follows the path many 16-year-olds do and has a thriving YouTube channel. She hosts a show that’s geared toward comic book fans.
Alex Michel Fell Off The Face Of The Earth
In the golden era of reality television, Alex Michel was the very first guy to be on The Bachelor. Things didn’t work out with the woman he chose and after the show ended, he tried to stay in the limelight. Michel became a spokesperson for Match.com and Princess Cruises until he finally realized Hollywood wasn’t for him.
Since then, he essentially dropped off the face of the earth until one superfan found his LinkedIn profile. According to the profile, Michel is the head of strategy for Microsoft in New York City and yes, ladies, he still appears to be single.
David “Puck” Rainey Makes His Chicken Farm Cluck
Rainey became a popular reality tv star after being cast on The Real World: San Francisco. He was the second houseguest eliminated but in his short time, he caused a lot of memorable drama. One of his fights actually ranked #7 on Time’s “Most Epic Moments In Reality-TV History.”
After the show, Rainey kept up the attitude and was arrested numerous times for drunk driving and battery. He seems to have straightened out though and now pays the bills by owning a chicken farm.
Jo Frost Returned To Her Nanny Career
Best known as being the scariest nanny kids have ever met on the show Supernanny, Jo Frost cemented herself as a certified reality star. Frost focused on the behavioral issues children have but with absolutely zero educational background in the subject. Instead, Frost pulled on her 30-years experience as a nanny in England.
After the show ended, Frost published six books but in the end, she returned to being a nanny. We can only assume she could charge a lot more after her brush with fame.
Frankie Delgado Runs The Clubs He Used To Party At
Delgado became a reality tv star simply because he was Brody Jenner’s best friend. That meant he made regular appearances on shows like The Hills. Most of the time Delgado was simply shown partying with Jenner at different night clubs around California.
More than a decade after the show’s end, Delgado is now married with kids and is on the other side of the clubbing experience. Delgado works for SBE management which owns and operates more than 100 clubs in the Hollywood area.
Justin Bobby Will Brush Your Hair
Oh, Justin Bobby, the most infamous man with two first names. Before he rose to fame as Audrina’s slightly dirty but also really handsome boyfriend on The Hills, he was a hairdresser. No one believed it at first because of his gross, shoulder-length hair but yes, it’s true.
After The Hills ended, many cast members tried to become famous but Justin Bobby went right back to cutting hair. He now owns a salon called “Brush Your Hair” in Costa Mesa, California.
Amber Turner Pays The Bills As A Receptionist
Turner was a drama-starter for much of her time on The Only Way Is Essex. She basically made her name being Megan McKenna’s best friend but many viewers saw her as stuck up and snooty. Turner also had a drama-filled relationship with Dan Edgar and their breakup was described as being “very bitter.” Yikes.
Off-screen though, Turner is apparently very down to earth. That might explain why she left the limelight of TOWIE and picked up a job at a law firm as a receptionist.