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Famous Careers That Started On MTV's 'The Challenge'

While some reality TV stars disappear into obscurity, others rise to real stardom.

What started out as a one time crossover between The Real World: Boston and Road Rules: Islands, has now become one of the most exciting reality competition shows on TV. The producers saw how high the ratings were for this small competition and decided to make a new spin-off show that would eventually be called the "Real World/Road Rules Challenge." The Challenge would pit former cast members from the popular show The Real World against cast members from its sister show, Road Rules. Over time the show has been opened up to cast members from the show "Are You the One?" as well as complete strangers on the seasons "Fresh Meat I & II." Over the course of 29 seasons, there have been hundreds of competitors on the show. Most of them have retired and live out normal everyday lives like the rest of us. However, some of them used The Challenge as a stepping stone for bigger and better things.


Sean Duffy- The Real World: Boston

Courtesy of The Daily Beast

Before this Presidential election you wouldn't normally associate reality TV with the United States Government. Sean Duffy was the pioneer of turning a reality star into a career in Washington. Duffy was on the sixth season of The Real World, and he later appeared on Road Rules: All Stars, which he won, as well as Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Battle of the Seasons.

Since his Challenge days, Sean Duffy became a district attorney and then eventually was elected Congressman in Wisconsin's seventh congressional district. Who knows, maybe one day this reality star will become President.


Theo Von- Road Rules: Maximum Velocity Tour

Courtesy of MTV

Theo is one of my personal favorite cast members to ever be on The Challenge. After his Road Rules season he went on to compete in: Battle of the Seasons, The Gauntlet, Battle of the Sexes 2 and Fresh Meat. Theo won 2 out of the 4 seasons he appeared in and dominated almost every challenge. His humor made him likable and his athleticism made him formidable. He seemed like someone who would be a long time cast member, but he had his hopes on something greater. 

Theo appeared in several comedy shows, like "Last Comic Standing" and "Reality Bites Back." After his famous Crank Text blog went viral, his comedy career really began to take off. His first one-hour comedy special "Theo Von: No Offense" was released on Netflix in February of 2016.


Mike "The Miz" - The Real World: Back to New York

Courtesy of MTV

Before The Miz became a WWE superstar he was just Mike from Ohio. We first met Mike on the 10th season of The Real World and it was there the world was introduced to The Miz. Mike was calm and collected but when he was his alter ego, The Miz, he became competitive and combative. Over the course of his Challenge career, The Miz became a household name for his personality as well as his performance on the show. The Miz competed in Battle of the Seasons, The Gauntlet, The Inferno, Battle of the Sexes 2, and The Inferno 2. He made it to the end of 4 out of 5 seasons and he won Battle of the Seasons and The Inferno 2. 

Since The Challenge, The Miz has had a very successful wrestling career. In total, he has won 15 championships in WWE, is the 25th Triple Crown Champion in company history, the 14th Grand Slam Champion, and he won the 2008 Tag Team of the Year Slammy Award. 

David Giuntoli- Road Rules: South Pacific

Courtesy of MTV

Dave went from being cast in a reality show to playing the lead in a primetime show on NBC, which sounds pretty successful to me. After his debut on the 12th season of Road Rules, Dave went on to compete in his only Challenge, The Gauntlet. He immediately solidified himself as one of the best competitors on the Road Rules team and went on to win that season.

Since his short reality TV career, Dave (now David) was in minor television roles until he landed the role of the main character Nick Burkhardt on NBC's Grimm. 

Jamie Chung- The Real World: San Diego

Courtesy of MTV

Jamie is probably the biggest star to ever come out of the Challenge. Even though she was only in one season, she surprised people with her athleticism and fortitude. After The Real World: San Diego, Jamie went on to compete in The Inferno II. Jamie was a part of the "Good Guys" team that competed against the "Bad Asses." Each team had 5 men and 5 women at the start of the season. By the last episode Jamie was the only woman left on the Good Guys team, but she was able to hold her own and help them win that season.

Since The Inferno II, Jamie has had an illustrious career, with roles in Dragonball Evolution, Grown Ups, Premium Rush, Sorority Row, The Hangover Part II, Sucker Punch, Big Hero 6, Eden, Once Upon A Time and many others. 

If you get your start in reality TV it's often hard to break away from that role of "reality TV star." The people on this list have found a way to not only break the mold, but flourish.  

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Famous Careers That Started On MTV's 'The Challenge'
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