So, you wanna be famous? Well, go ahead and try, cuz there's a pretty good chance you'll succeed. The term "celebrity" no longer refers to people with an extraordinary talent, as demonstrated by the Kardashian klan and "Jersey Shore" phenoms of modern day--sure, we love those guys, but they don't exactly play a mean sax or know how to cry on cue like Meryl Streep.
We're not saying it's such a terrible thing, but with the immense growth in popularity of reality TV shows, just about any Joe Shmo with an Affliction T-shirt and penchant for saying inappropriate things (Jon Gosselin comes to mind first; Lindsay Lohan's dad is at a close second) can get their face on a magazine cover. Even the "Real World" goons are considered celebs in certain parts of the country.
Still, not every Real Worlder is doomed to just 15 minutes. We'd be remiss if we didn't take a minute to recognize some of the cast members from seasons past who smartly used the show as a stepping stone to a successful career. That's why we've put together this here list of alum who've built up a reputable name for themselves and garnered praise among their industry peers (and us, which is hard to do) despite being caught on camera pissing in public/having a threesome/etc., etc., etc.
Real Worlder: Mike "The Miz" Mizanin
Show Season: "Real World: Back to New York"
Career Achievement: We all kinda scoffed when he vowed to his roommates that one day he'd become a professional wrestler, but doggonit, "The Miz" is currently the reigning WWE champion and pretty much the biggest thing since "The Rock"!
Real Worlder: Jamie Chung
Show Season: "Real World: San Diego"
Career Achievement: Now a bonafide movie actress, you may recognize Jamie from the horror flick "Sorority Row." Unfortunately, she got killed off, but you can look for her now in "Sucker Punch" or the upcoming sequel to "The Hangover."
Real Worlder: Sean Duffy
Show Season: "Real World: Boston"
Career Achievement: In 2010, this sweet, All-American man-boy was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in Wisconsin's 7th congressional district. Need we say more? (Fun fact: He's also married to Rachel Campos from "Real World: San Francisco," who was in the running twice to be a co-host "The View"--she lost out to Lisa Ling and Elizabeth Hasselbeck.)
Real Worlder: Jacinda Barrett
Show Season: "Real World: London"
Career Achievement: Over the years, Jacinda has become a well-respected and sought-after movie actress, co-starring in popular films such as "The Last Kiss" with Zach Braff and "Ladder 49" with Joaquin Pheonix. The girl's got some major talent!
Real Worlders: Pam Ling and Judd Winick
Show Season: "Real World: San Francisco"
Career Achievements: These ex-roomies stayed in close touch after the show's taping, eventually marrying each other. Deeply affected by their friend Pedro Zamora's struggle with AIDS (he passed away in 1994), they now spend much of their lives educating the masses and searching for a cure. Pam is a doctor who specializes in HIV and AIDS research, and Judd lectures on AIDS and is a writer/illustrator who created the award-winning graphic novel "Pedro and Me: Friendship, Loss, and What I Learned."
+ Did we miss anyone? Give us the intel on other successful Real Worlders!