8 Female Stars Who Got Their Start On MTV


MTV started out as a music channel geared toward young adults, primarily teenagers and college students. While it still caters to a younger audience, it’s now branched out from music content and into reality TV, drama and comedy. Back in the ’80s and ’90s, MTV was at its peak and many aspiring actors used the popular channel as a stepping stone to Hollywood. Here’s a look at 8 female stars who got their start on MTV!

8. Vanessa Minnillo

Vanessa Minnillo, who’s better known as Vanessa Lachey now, got her start on MTV as a host. She started as a host for The Real World‘s reunion shows and later moved onto Total Request Live and Entertainment Tonight in 2005. Prior to this, she’d done a few small acting gigs, but it was her face on MTV that really brought her into the limelight. In 2006 she began dating 98 Degrees singer Nick Lachey after she appeared in the music video for “What’s Left of Me” and the two got married in July 2011. They now have three children together: Camden, 4, Brooklyn, 2, and Phoenix, 9-months.

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7. Hilarie Burton

She’s best known for her role as Peyton Sawyer on One Tree Hill, but before that she broke onto the acting scene, she had a gig on MTV as a VJ and co-host on Total Request Live. It was only supposed to be a one-time role as a guest commentator for one segment, but it quickly turned into a full-time job. She was there from 2000 to 2004 and even went on to present at the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards and MTV’s Iced Out New Year’s Eve! Burton has now moved on to bigger and better things with recurring roles in shows like Extant, Hostages, and Grey’s Anatomy, as well as a co-starring role in the films The List and The Secret Life of the Bees. She’s also in a relationship with fellow actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan. The two welcomed a son named Gus in 2010, and are expecting a second.


6. Lauren Conrad

Most people are familiar with Lauren Conrad’s rise to fame through reality TV. She started out as the star of MTV’s Laguna Beach, a documentary style show that followed a group of friends through high school. From there she landed her own spin-off series called The Hills which followed her life in L.A. as she navigated her way through post-secondary school, breaking into the fashion industry and building friendships and relationships. Conrad became a full-blown celebrity who capitalized on her fame with a best-selling book series and now several fashion lines.


5. Christina Hendricks

Christina Hendricks is best known for her role as Joan Holloway in the AMC series Mad Men, but long before that she made her television debut on MTV’s Undressed! She was only on the show for four episodes, but it was one of her first on-screen gigs. The show went on for six seasons and followed a group of people, often high schoolers, college students and young adults as they navigated through their relationships.


4. Jenny McCarthy

Jenny McCarthy’s modelling career started after she posed nude for Playboy and became Playmate of the Year, but her first acting gig was on MTV as co-host of the game show, Singled Out. She hosted alongside Chris Hardwick but left the show early on in 1997 to pursue other opportunities like starring in her own sitcom, so she was replaced by Carmen Electra in the last season and a half.


3. Kristin Cavallari

Similar to Lauren Conrad, Kristin Cavallari got her start on MTV’s Laguna Beach. She appeared in 28 episodes before moving to L.A. to pursue her dreams of becoming an actress. She jumped on the reality TV bandwagon once again as a main cast member on The Hills in season 5 and 6 and managed to get a few one-episode appearances on shows like CSI: NY, Veronica Mars, and Cane, but her acting career never really took off. Cavallari instead turned to the fashion industry and wrote the book Balancing in Heels. She’s also married to NFL player Jay Cutler; the two have three children, Camden, 5, Jaxon, 3, and Saylor, 2.

Source: MTV

2. Jamie Chung

It seems Jamie Chung used reality TV to break into the acting world. She first appeared on MTV’s The Real World: San Diego in 2004 and then the spin-off series Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Inferno II in 2005. After that, she began landing small roles as an actress in shows like Veronica Mars, Days of Our Lives, and ER. She also broke into the film industry and is credited with roles in projects like Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Grown Ups, Office Christmas Party and Flock of Dudes. Chung had a recurring role on Once Upon a Time and currently has a recurring on Gotham and is a series regular on Resident Advisors.


1. Whitney Port

This fashion designer, author, and TV personality rose to fame as Lauren Conrad’s work bestie on MTV’s The Hills and later in her own spin-off, The City. While she hasn’t become as successful as some of her co-stars, she’s still active in the fashion industry and popular among fans. Right before she began starring on her own show, Port debuted her first fashion line “Whitney Eve.” The show only lasted for two seasons, and since then she’s continued to develop her line and remained active with cameos in the film What to Expect When You’re Expecting, a judge on Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model and released the book True Whit: Designing a Life of Style, Beauty and Fun. She has one child, a son named Sonny, with her husband, Tim Rosenman.

Katherine G

Katherine G

Katherine is the Managing Editor for Health and Parenting, but she has a soft spot for entertainment. She loves binging shows on Netflix, reality TV is a guilty pleasure, and country music is her go-to playlist. When she's not writing, she's spending time outdoors, especially with her puppy Zoey!