From MTV’s “The Real World” and “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” to “Survivor” and “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” the impact of reality TV over the last three decades can’t be denied.
While the “unscripted” nature of the programming may be questionable at times, viewers don’t seem to care. These reality stars have developed a fan base for being themselves, good or bad, and taken their influence from the TV screen to to social media.
10 reality TV influencers
Jonathan Van Ness
Perhaps best known as the grooming expert on “Queer Eye,” Jonathan is a hair desser, activist, and author. He hosts a podcast called, “Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness” and worked on the web series parody “Gay of Thrones.” He keeps his 5.4 million Instagram followers engaged with fun fashion takes, announcements about his upcoming appearances, and highlights from his hair vlog.
Nicole has come a long way since her party girl days as beloved “Snooki” on “Jersey Shore.” She married boyfriend Jionni LaValle, had three children, opened her own boutiques, and even released her own brand of wine, Messy Mawma. With 15 million fans on Instagram, Nicole is as entertaining as ever.
One of the best-known survivalists in the world, Bear starred in seven seasons of the “Man vs. Wild” TV series and hosted “You vs. Wild,” among several other shows. He’s written more than 95 books, including his autobiography, “Never Give Up.” His 4.7 million Instagram fans love to watch him eat bugs, wrestle snakes, and partake in life-risking stunts.
Lauren has grown so much since her days on “The Hills.” She’s now married with two boys and launched her own fashion and beauty lines, as well as a bedding collection. Her many books include a New York Times bestseller, L.A. Candy. Her personal Instagram account has 5.8 million followers who get intimate glimpses into her lifestyle, family, and even her dog, Fitz.
After winning the fourth season of “Project Runway,” Christian launched his own fashion line. Since then, he has designed pieces for former First Lady Michelle Obama, Gwen Stefani, and Lizzo, among many other celebrities. In 2021 he released his book, Dresses to Dream About and that same year, his headquarters was featured in Architectural Digest.
Starting his rap career as a founding member and hype man for Public Enemy, Flavor Flav went on to release a solo album. He has starred in a number of reality TV shows, including “Flavor of Love” and “The Surreal Life,” the latter of which was about his adventures with actress Brigitte Nielsen. His 251K fans on Instagram follow the Grammy winner and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer for his photos with other celebrities and celebrations of sobriety.
After appearing in “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” from 2012 to 2021, Porsha left to star in her own spin-off series, “Porsha’s Family Matters.” The actress and author of The Pursuit of Porsha now shares snippets of her life on Instagram with her 6.7 million followers, including what she’s reading, how she has fun, and buying her mom a new house. Don’t miss her radio interview in which she gives updates on her life.
Abby St. Germain
Abby, who is also known as Armi Dubell, caused quite a bit of drama as a cast member on “90 Day Fiance,” but later went on to marry Louis Dubell. The Haitian actress now lives in the U.K. with her husband, who has recently learned he’s in remission for testicular cancer after undergoing chemotherapy. Her Instagram fans now get to know more about Abby’s daily life, including hikes, her cat Lily, and what she and Louis are up to after three years together.
Rising to fame on “Too Hot to Handle,” where he met ex-girlfriend Francesca Farago, Harry went on to pursue a career as a model. On the October 2021 podcast, “Trading Secrets,” he admitted that he had made more than $1 million on OnlyFans. Harry appeared on the cover of Men’s Fitness in 2021 and co-founded Kensington Sunglasses.
“Love Island UK” fans were thrilled when Olivia married co-star Alex Bowen. She appeared on “Say Yes to the Dress” and the couple filmed two programs for TLC: “Olivia and Alex Said Yes” and “Olivia and Alex: Happily Ever After.” Now the two are expecting their first baby together and managing their clothing label, Exempt Society. Olivia also has her own line of hair extensions, too.