It’s hard to believe that it’s been 10 years since Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County first premiered on MTV. What’s crazier to think about is that America’s Next Top Model has been on air for 21 cycles, The Real Housewives franchise has expanded from Orange County to six other cities in the U.S. alone, and New York no longer refers to the city or state. Over the past decade, these reality shows have produced a number of stars who have built a career around being on reality TV. Just look at Bethenny Frankel, who first got started on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart before becoming a household name on The Real Housewives of New York.
And after leaving the show to pursue solo projects, it was announced on Wednesday that she is returning to the long-running franchise for its seventh season. Frankel can certainly be considered a person who can’t quit reality TV, but she’s not the only one. Caprice Bourret, Kelly Cutrone, Frankel, Brody Jenner, NeNe Leakes, and Lisa Vanderpump are all career reality stars, and each one has current or upcoming projects that have extended their shelf life beyond their original appearance on reality TV. And for better or worse, we continue to watch them each week. Take a look at their long-running history in front of the cameras, below.
Caprice Bourret (2000 – Present)
Bourret, a model and owner of By Caprice Lingerie, first appeared in the docu-reality series, Being Caprice, which involved a hidden camera recording her life for 10 days. In 2005, she filmed two mammoth reality shows, Celebrity Big Brother (UK) and The Surreal Life, back-to-back. Both series documented her life living with other celebrities with her taking a typically soft approach to all the drama. In the years since, she has served as a guest judge on Britain’s Next Top Model and Project Catwalk and was head judge of Ireland’s Style Wars. In 2013, she competed on Splash, the celebrity diving series and currently stars on Bravo’s Ladies of London.
Nicole Richie (2003 – Present)
Richie certainly has evolved as a celebrity and entertainer over the past decade. When she first grew to prominence on the pop culture scene, Richie was the doughy best friend to Paris Hilton and problem child of Lionel Richie. She turned her club rat image into a marketable brand by co-starring with Hilton on The Simple Life in 2003. The show followed the two as they struggled to work low-paying jobs across America. After shedding herself of Hilton and making over her image into a fashionista and a mother, Richie appeared as a guest judge on Project Runway and a permanent judge and mentor on Fashion Star alongside Jessica Simpson and John Varvatos. After the series was canceled, she started a web series based on her candid Twitter feed. The show, Candidly Nicole, was eventually picked up by VH1. It has been renewed for as second season, which will air in 2015.
Watch a clip from Candidly Nicole as Richie explores life as a guest editor of a magazine. It’s certainly a far cry from the work she did on The Simple Life:
Bethenny Frankel (2005 – Present)
Photo: Bravo/Warner Bros.
The first of several housewives on this list, Frankel actually got her start on The Apprentice spin-off, which featured Martha Stewart as the main boss. Frankel came in second place but found a consolation prize as an original cast member of The Real Housewives of New York. She left the series in 2010 to focus on her spin-offs, which included a wedding special (Bethenny Getting Married?) and life with a baby (Bethenny Ever After). She also competed on Skating With the Stars, also coming in second place. After she dabbled in daytime with her own reviled talk show it was announced she was returning to the Bravo franchise.
Brody Jenner (2005 – Present)
Jenner may be most famous for his on and off-again romance with Lauren Conrad on The Hills but he really should be pegged for introducing America to Spencer Pratt on the FOX’s Princes of Malibu. After the show ended, the two found their way onto the MTV hit. In between seasons, he filmed his own spin-off competition, Bromance, in order to find a new best bro to replace Pratt. Once The Hills ended, Jenner reconnected with his step family, the Kardashians, on the long-running E! series Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
Shanna Moakler (2005 – Present)
Initially an actress, the former Playboy model and pageant queen became a reality star when her and then-husband Travis Barker starred in the MTV series, Meet the Barkers. The show followed in the footsteps of other hit family shows, such as The Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica and ‘Til Death Do Us Part: Carmen and Dave. After the series ended, Moakler hosted the CW series, Crowned: Mother of All Pageants and competed on NBC’s Minute to Win It in a special beauty competition. Eventually, Moakler’s marriage to the Blink 182 drummer fell apart and filed for divorce. Now she’s on the latest season of VH1’s Hollywood Exes.
Kelly Cutrone (2007 – Present)
When Teen Vogue decided to part ways with The Hills that meant Conrad and Whitney Port needed to get new jobs. In came Cutrone, owner of the fashion PR company People’s Revolution. On the show, she quickly built a brand as a tough as nails boss with little appreciation for any tears. She followed Port to New York City where she became the budding designer’s mentor and parlayed that into her own Bravo series, Kell On Earth. Only one season, the series went inside People’s Revolution and helped her coin the phrase, “If you have to cry, go outside” (which was eventually the title of her 2010 memoir). Since then, she has become a permanent judge on America’s Next Top Model where she unleashes her brand of barbs on unsuspecting models.
NeNe Leakes (2008 – Present)
Probably one of the biggest personalities to come out of Bravo’s long-running franchise, Leakes has become a star in her own right. As Atlanta’s only original cast member, she commands most of the attention (and money) on the show. (The series returns for a seventh season on Nov. 9.) In between seasons, she stepped out on her own with The Celebrity Apprentice, I Dream of NeNe: The Wedding, Dancing With the Stars. While she dabbled in acting (Glee, The New Normal), it’s reality TV where she truly shines — and belongs.
Ray J (2009 – Present)
Arguably a music star way before he was ever a reality TV regular, Ray J hasn’t released an album since 2008. He gained notoriety for his infamous sex tape with then-girlfriend Kim Kardashian, and in 2009 he starred in his first reality series, For the Love of Ray J. He followed up two seasons of that competition with Brandy and Ray J: A Family Business. He took a brief break from VH1 to host Bad Girls All-Star Battle before returning to the network. Now he’s one of the stars of Love & Hip-Hope: Hollywood, which is currently airing its first season.
Lisa Vanderpump (2010 – Present)
Vanderpump is the latest star to achieve reality TV ubiquity. She joined The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills as one of the show’s original cast members in 2010. Shortly after making a splash on that show, she served as a guest judge on Top Chef: Just Desserts. In 2013, she starred in her own spin-off, Vanderpump Rules, which chronicled the drama from inside her Beverly Hills restaurant, Sur. In that same year, she competed on Dancing With the Stars and was eliminated second. Now she’s one of the most prominent housewives of Bravo’s franchise and both Beverly Hills and Vanderpump Rules have been renewed for a fifth and third season, respectively.