Stars Who Appeared In Music Videos Before They Were Famous

The glow up is real!

Music videos in the ’80s and ’90s were full of struggling thespians grateful, for a bit part and a day’s work. But now some of those actors and actresses are MAJOR A-list stars in the Hollywood galaxy. And these aren’t just cameos: in many cases these actors are the most memorable part of the video! From Oscar winners like Angelina Jolie and Benicio Del Toro, to TV king (and queen) pins like Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul and Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks, music vids gave these folks big exposure to a mass audience. They might be a little embarrassed of these first steps , but for the rest of us they act as a fascinating glimpse into their early days.

  • Channing Tatum in “She Bangs”by Ricky Martin

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    Catch him at 1:04, 1:31 and 2:59

  • Christina Hendricks in “One Hit Wonder” by Everclear

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    Hendricks has a starring role as a girl named “Loopy.”

  • Wesley Snipes in “Bad” by Michael Jackson

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    Snipes has a starring role as a rival gang leader. Apparently Prince auditioned for Snipes’ part in the vid, directed by Martin Scorsese.

  • Jeremy Renner in “Trouble” by P!nk

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    Renner plays a sheriff and even smashes a bottle over P!nk’s head!

  • Jennifer Lopez in “That’s the Way Love Goes” by Janet Jackson

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    Lopez danced backup, but also had a line of dialogue in the video’s opening bit.

  • Zooey Deschanel in “She’s Got Issues” by The Offspring

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    Yep, she’s the starring role and embodying the girl with “issues” sung about in the song.

  • Aaron Paul in “Thoughtless” by Korn

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    Looking very Jesse Pinkman in the lead part.

  • Matthew McConaughey in “Walkaway Joe” by Trisha Yearwood ft. Don Henley

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    McConaughey was 23 when he played “Joe” in this black and white music video.

  • Angelina Jolie in “Rock ’n’ Roll Dreams Come Through” by Meat Loaf

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    Jolie was 22 when she played a runaway teenager in this Meat Loaf masterpiece.

  • Courteney Cox in “Dancing in the Dark” by Bruce Springsteen

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    Cox was catapulted to fame after The Boss pulled her up on stage.

  • Jack Black in “Sexx Laws” by Beck

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    Black appears in a hilarious “Vision Warrior Men’s Circle” at the beginning of this surrealist video, and at the end, dressed as a trash robot, giving out free violas. It doesn’t make sense to us either, but it’s a great song.

  • Josh Duhamel in “Genie in a Bottle” by Christina Aguilera

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    Head to the 2:11 mark to see young Josh hanging with his friends by their ride.

  • Kesha in “I Kissed a Girl” by Katy Perry

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    Kesha is rocking the eff out at :53!

  • Elijah Wood in “Forever Your Girl” by Paula Abdul

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    Wood plays the kid in a suit breaking pencils at the 1:44 mark. Incidentally, this video was also one of director David Fincher’s first big projects.

  • Keri Russell and Carla Gugino in “Always” by Bon Jovi

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  • Josh Holloway in “Cryin” by Aerosmith

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    Before he was “Sawyer” on Lost, Holloway starred alongside Alicia Silverstone in this vid.

  • Liv Tyler in “Crazy” by Aerosmith

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    Yup, Liv’s in her dad’s music video. How…sweet?

  • Naomi Campbell in “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya” by Culture Club

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    The future model got offered a job a a back up dancer for Boy George’s band when she was just 12, but this wasn’t her first video. She also had a bit part in Bob Marley’s 1978 video for “Is This Love” at age 7.

  • RuPaul in “Love Shack” by The B-52s

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    Before Ru was Supermodel of the World, fellow Georgians, the B-52s had Ru start a Soul Train line in their iconic video.

  • Benicio Del toro in “La Isla Bonita” by Madonna

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    The future Oscar-winner can be seen hanging out behind Madonna during a block party at the 3:14 mark.

  • Wentworth Miller in “We Belong Together” by Mariah Carey

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    Miller also appeared in Mariah’s vid for “It’s Like That.”

  • Jason Lee in “100%” by Sonic Youth

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    Directors Tamra Davis and Spike Jonze shot then-skateboarder Jason Lee. Jonze himself held the camera while riding his own skateboard.

  • Sofia Coppola in “Deeper and Deeper” by Madonna

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    Coppola can be seen eating a banana at the 1:10 mark.

  • Patrick Swayze in “Rosanna” by Toto

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    Swayze plays a backup dancer to Rosanna, played by Cynthia Rhodes. Rhodes would dance with Swayze again when she played Penny in Dirty Dancing.

  • Matt LeBlanc in “Miracle” by Bon Jovi

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    Bonus Points: Matt also appeared in the video for Alanis Morissette’s 1991 song, “Walk Away.”

VH1 Music Editor + Seltzer Enthusiast
@jordanruntagh