Las Vegas Sun

January 19, 2018

Currently: 49° — Complete forecast

Las Vegas has its share of reality TV stars


Adam Taylor / ABC

Tom Bergeron, Amy Purdy of Las Vegas and Derek Hough on Season 18 of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” on Monday, May 12, 2014.

It's a hot week for Las Vegans on reality TV shows, with Amy Purdy in the finale last night of "Dancing With the Stars" and former UNLV football player Marquel Martin debuting on "The Bachelorette" on Monday night.

Judging by the past, it won't be the last time Las Vegas is represented on reality TV. Many Southern Nevadans or people with local connections have appeared on such shows in the past few years.

Sun columnist John Katsilometes recently wrote a cover story for The Sunday on the "Real lives of reality TV stars." Click here to read the story.

And read on for a look at just a few of the previous Las Vegans to live in the spotlight.

    • Christina Trainor from "The Real World: Paris." Photo from 2003.

      Christina Trainor, "The Real World: Paris," 2003, MTV

      MTV's original reality show got its first Las Vegas house member when Christina Trainor joined the cast of "The Real World: Paris" in 2003. Her bio from the show says Trainor, a military brat and UNLV criminal justice graduate, had stayed in Las Vegas to work as a cocktail waitress after her parents moved away.

      MTV described her as a party girl who had "adopted the Vegas lifestyle." After she spent season 13 in a French chateau with her castmates, Trainor's reality career came to an end. She didn't participate in any episodes of "Real World/Road Rules Challenges."

    • "The Voice" winner Javier Colon and second-place finisher Dia Frampton during NBC's live finale show Wednesday, June 29, 2011.

      Dia Frampton, "The Voice," 2011, NBC

      Dia Frampton, a Utah native, attended Shadow Ridge High School. She graduated early so she and her sister could pursue their music careers.

      On "The Voice," Frampton, 23, was on country singer Blake Shelton's team and made it to the final two, finishing as runner-up in the show's first season. Although she didn't win the $100,000 prize money and a record deal with Universal Republic, she went on to make music with her independent band, Meg and Dia.

    • Rahman "Rock" Harper, "Hell's Kitchen," 2007, Fox

      Chef Gordon Ramsay said Rahman Harper's "rock solid" cooking skills are what earned him the top spot in season three of "Hell's Kitchen." In the final challenge, Harper prepared surf and turf and rib-eye steak, securing his spot as the winner.

      The title came with a $250,000-a-year head-chef position at Terra Verde at Green Valley Ranch Resort. Harper hosted a dinner at the restaurant as a special guest in season four of "Hell's Kitchen." He left the Henderson restaurant in 2008 when his one-year contract expired.

    • In this photo provided by CBS, Maggie Ausburn, third from left, speaks to fellow contestants and family memebers after she was declared the winner of the CBS show "Big Brother 6" Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2005, in Los Angeles. She is speaking with, from left, show host Julie Chen, fellow houseguest Eric Littman, her boyfriend Dave Bray, mother Ann, and father Ron.

      Margaret "Maggie" Ausburn, "Big Brother," 2005, CBS

      In a jury vote of 4-3, Las Vegas emergency room nurse Maggie Ausburn won season six of "Big Brother." The Summerlin Hospital nurse spent 80 days isolated from the world with cameras watching her every move in the Big Brother house before she was awarded the $500,000 grand prize. By avoiding weekly eviction, she beat houseguest Ivette Corredero.

    • Brittany Rubalcaba was a model on the cover of Las Vegas Weekly last year.

      Brittany Rubalcaba, "America's Next Top Model," 2008, the CW

      Henderson native Brittany Rubalcaba was the third contestant eliminated in cycle 11 of "America's Next Top Model." The Foothill High School graduate, who at the time she was on the show was a recreation assistant at Black Mountain Recreation Center, was sent home when Tyra Banks said that although she saw potential in her, she came off as too commercial in her final photo shoot. Rubalcaba appeared on the cover of Las Vegas Weekly in 2007.

    • The 10th edition of CBS' "Survivor," set in the Pacific island nation of Palau, includes these 20 castaways, shown in this undated photo from CBS, who will try to outwit, outplay and outlast each other to win the $1 million prize. "Survivor Palau," premieres Thursday, Feb. 17, 2005. Back row,from left: Angie Jakusz, Jonathan Libby, James Miller, Coby Archa, Ian Rosenberger, Jolanda Jones, Janu Tornell and Ibrehem Rahman. Middle row, from left; Gregg Carey, Tom Westman, Kimberly Mullen, Stephenie Lagrossa, Bobby Jon Drinkard and Ashlee Ashby. Bottom row, from left; Wanda Shirk, Williard Smith, Katie Gallagher, Caryn Groedel, Jeff Wilson and Jennifer Lyon.

      Janu Tornell, "Survivor: Palau," 2005, CBS

      Born and raised in Las Vegas, beauty queen Janu Tornell (back row, seventh from left) competed in "Survivor: Palau" in 2005. Tornell voluntarily left the show in its 10th week, becoming the fourth person to quit the game since the reality show's start in 2000. Tornell said she quit because she was done with the "Survivor" experience and to give cast member Stephanie LaGrossa a chance to win.

      She is fluent in Spanish, Italian, French and English, and after the show she taught in UNLV's foreign language department. She was crowned Miss Nevada in 1989 and is a former Tropicana "Folies Bergere" showgirl.

    • Michael Grimm performs at Ovation Lounge at Green Valley Ranch on May 9, 2011.

      Michael Grimm, "America's Got Talent," 2010, NBC

      Southern soul singer Michael Grimm called Henderson home after he won the fifth season of "America's Got Talent." Grimm received $1 million and earned a spot as a headliner of the AGT Tour Show that came to Caesars Palace in 2010.

      His performance of "When a Man Loves a Woman" won him the grand prize and, he says, his wife. He said his girlfriend was the inspiration for the performance, and he later proposed to her on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."

      They were married the next year. Grimm signed a record deal with Epic Records in 2010, releasing his self-titled album this year.

    • Cast of "Pawn Stars" 2010, History Channel: Richard Harrison, Rick Harrison, Austin "Chumlee" Russell, Corey "Big Hoss" Harrison

      One of many reality TV series to be filmed in Las Vegas, the History Channel's "Pawn Stars" chronicles the lives of four Las Vegas natives who work at the family-owned and -operated Gold & Silver Pawn Shop on Las Vegas Boulevard.

      Richard Harrison, his son, his grandson and his grandson's friend all work at the now well-known shop, trading and selling a variety of artifacts. said that an original episode of "Pawn Stars" was watched by up to 7 million viewers, making it the History Channel's most popular series.

    • American Idol Season 4 contestant Mikalah Gordon performs at the Summer With the Stars' All Star Jam in Cancun, Mexico, Friday June 17, 2011. The concert, featuring a host of American Idol contestants, is organized by a local hotel.

      Mikalah Gordon, "American Idol," 2005, Fox

      Mikalah Gordon auditioned for "American Idol" when the show came to Las Vegas, her hometown. At 17, she made it to the top 11 and was eliminated after singing a rendition of "Love Will Lead You Back."

      After the show, Gordon returned to host two seasons of "American Idol Extra," was a contestant on CMT's "Gone Country 2" and made an appearance on "The Tyra Banks Show." She played Dorothy in a Lubbock, Texas, production of "The Wizard of Oz."

    • Julianne Hough, "Dancing with the Stars," 2007, ABC

      Julianne Hough spent a year at the Las Vegas Academy of International Studies, Performing and Visual Arts before she moved to Los Angeles to begin a career in music and dance. She won two seasons of "Dancing With the Stars," performing with five celebrities.

      She was nominated for a Creative Arts Primetime Emmy in 2007 for choreography.

      Hough went on to release a country music album and dated "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest. She starred in the 2011 MTV film adaptation of "Footloose."

    • Vic Vegas, "Next Food Network Star," Food Network, 2011

      Chef Vic Vegas grew up on Staten Island but has lived in Las Vegas since 1989 and was the chef for Addiction at Rumor Las Vegas. He was in all 12 episodes of the "Next Food Network Star" in 2011 and has appeared on other Food Network shows. In 2013, he opened a new restaurant, Vic's, in Anthem.

    Join the Discussion:

    Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

    Full comments policy