Laverne Cox to Emma Stone: VH1’s Biggest Breakout Stars

  • Laverne Cox 1

    [Photo: VH1]
  • “Orange Is The New Black” Second Season – Red Carpet

    [Photo: Getty]
  • K. Michelle

    [Photo: VH1]
  • K. Michelle

    [Photo: Getty]
  • David “Punk” Otunga

    [Photo: VH1]
  • David “Punk” Otunga

    [Photo: OnlineWorldOfWrestling.com]
  • James Gunn

    [Photo: Joke Productions/Lionsgate]
  • James Gunn

    [Photo: Getty]
  • Rosie O’Donnell

    [Photo: Getty]
  • Rosie O’Donnell

    [Photo: Getty]
  • Tiffany New York Pollard 1

    [Photo: VH1]
  • Tiffany New York Pollard

    [Photo: Getty]
  • Zach Galifianakis 1

  • Fesitval Supreme

    [Photo: Getty]
  • La La Anthony 1

    [Photo: VH1]
  • “Think Like A Man Too” Atlanta Premire – Arrivals

    [Photo: Getty]
  • Zachary Quinto

    [Photo: VH1]
  • Zachary Quinto

    [Photo: Getty]
  • Emma Stone aka Emily Stone

    [Photo: AndPop.com]
  • Emma Stone

    [Photo: Getty]

Many celebrities – Flavor Flav, Bret Michaels, Lil’ Scrappy – transition to TV but some stars actually got their start on VH1, you may just not have known. Whether they were a reality star or an actor, we’re digging through the VH1 vault to find some of the most famous faces before they were stars. From Zachary Quinto to La La Anthony from Emma Stone to Emmy nominee Laverne Cox, you might be surprised to find out who was once trying to work for Diddy or hosting the Flavor Of Love reunions. I mean, did you know the writer-director of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy was once a judge on VH1’s Scream Queens? Click through our gallery and see what some of these celebs had to say about VH1 and the doors it opened.

Laverne Cox, I Want To Work For Diddy season 2, TRANSform ME

In an interview with BuzzFeed in March 2014. Cox said about her experiences on VH1, “I never wanted to do a reality television show…but at the same time, for years I wondered what it would be like for a trans person to be on a show like MTV’s The Real World. I just never imagined I’d be that person.” An aspiring actress, Cox joined I Want To Work For Diddy as a business move, “I’d done some off-Broadway theater, independent films, student films, but I hadn’t had a breakthrough. So a lot of it was about advancing my career professionally. And I just thought it was so powerful, you know. Diddy, a black mogul, embracing me, a black trans woman, on national television.”

On her experience as a producer and cast member on makeover show TRANSform ME in 2010, Cox told BuzzFeed, “The critique was — and now, I think it was right — that the premise of the show presupposes that all trans women are hyper-feminine and that trans people exist for the entertainment of cis people.”

David “Punk Otunga, I Love New York season 2

In 2013, Otunga, now an actor and WWE wrestler engaged to Jennifer Hudson, told Ebony of his time on reality TV, “People are always saying, ’Oh, Punk! I loved you on that show.’ That was my first acting job. Everybody knows reality is not reality. People come up to me and say, ’I felt so bad when you got eliminated. You really were in love with her.’ They should have given me an Academy Award then because people believed it. That just tells me I did a good acting job.”

K. Michelle, Love & Hip Hop Atlanta seasons 1 &1, Love & Hip Hop season 4, forthcoming K. Michelle series

In 2012, K.Michelle, then a singer with moderate success told the LA Times prior to the premiere of Love & Hip Hop Atlanta, “I think with any decision you make there’s always the hesitation. I was going to do Love And Hip Hop: New York, and when Love And Hip Hop: Atlanta came around it was a great fit to my personality, everything. I thought about the pros of doing the show and they outweighed the cons, but all in all it was about me telling my story and being myself and letting the world know the real K.Michelle.”

Tiffany “New York” Pollard, Flavor Of Love seasons 1 & 2, I Love New York seasons 1 & 2, New York Goes To Hollywood, New York Goes To Work

In an episode of LifeAfter in 2012, Pollard said of her time on VH1, “People always ask me, ‘Are you the same as New York or is New York Tiffany?’ And it’s weird because until I saw myself on television, I didn’t know I acted like that.” As far as breaking out from Flavor Of Love and getting her own series, she said, “Oh my, goodness, it was so awesome to be the bachelorette. Finally, you know, the guys fighting for my love and trying to impress me and treating me like the queen that I am.”

Rosie O’Donnell, VH1 VJ, Host of Standup Spotlight

In 2013, O’Donnell spoke of her time on VH1 on Alec Baldwin’s podcast Here’s The Thing. “Everyone said not to do it. People who were “advising my career.” Ultimately she did take the job as a video jockey, explaining her decision, she said, “Because I knew it was in 23 million homes and I thought it would teach me to be conversational versus presentational. Presentational is what you do with standup…I did that for about two years and that was how [director of League of their Own] Penny Marshall saw me.” O’Donnell revealed that her agent at the time got a call asking the comedian to audition for the film, “She gets a phone call, ‘Hi, do you represent that VJ? Can she play baseball?’”

Emma Stone, In Search of The Partridge Family

In 2011, The Amazing Spiderman star told The Daily Beast of her time on reality TV, “It was totally, 100 percent a reality show. My mom had never pushed me to audition for anything, but she saw a commercial on TV for it and said, ’You look like Susan Dey a little, and just dyed your hair brown…Why don’t you give this a shot? I have a weird feeling.’ I did it and ended up winning. I don’t regret it for a minute.” In May 2014’s Vogue cover story, Stone continued, “You go in there rolling your eyes, thinking, ‘this is just a reality search competition,’ but then you’re there for seven weeks, and you just really, really want to win.”

Zach Galifianakis, Late World with Zach

In a 2002 interview with the New York Observer, just months after Late World with Zach had been canceled, Galifianakis said of VH1 and his show: “Hollywood is just such a f***ing idiot machine…That was one of the good aspects of the show – we were making fun of Hollywood as much as we could. We were also trying to mock the late-night talk show. I really didn’t deserve to have a show. I was the last person.”