Celebrities can typically be separated into two groups: those who have achieved fame due to some sort of talent or skill, and those who have achieved fame for all the wrong reasons.
The individuals in the latter category usually owe their fame either to rich parents, famous friends, or sex tapes. Some would say they’re living the American dream. Whatever the reason, they hold onto that fame until their fingers are bloody.
Here are 10 celebrities who, had they not become famous, would probably never have been able to get a job.
1. Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi
Nicole Polizzi (Snooki) first gained notoriety after starring on MTV’s Jersey Shore. She is arguably one of the most famous members of the reality show simply due to her habits of getting insanely drunk and public urination. Like most “celebs”, Snooki knew since she was a young girl that she would one day be in the limelight, but we’re not sure if this is how she saw her fame coming about.
Since the end of the show that launched her career into stardom, Snooki has appeared on other reality shows such as Cake Boss and Dancing with the Stars, as well as co-starring in another reality show with her Jersey Shore housemate, Jenni “Jwoww” Farley. She’s also written five books and currently has her own fashion line.
2. Tila Tequila
Tila Tequila categorizes herself as a model, singer, and television personality; however, her career took off when the editor-in-chief of now defunct Stuff magazine wanted to feature somebody on the cover who “has a lot of Myspace friends”. After ten seconds of searching online, Tequila’s profile was chosen, and she was subsequently featured on the cover of the April 2006 edition of Stuff magazine. Since then, she has posed nude for a number of magazines and starred in two seasons of her own reality show, titled A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila on which she revealed her bisexuality and waded through a sea of hopeful men and women vying for her heart.
Tequila’s wild antics and willingness to publicly explore her sexuality on her reality show really thrust her into the spotlight, opening the door for a singing career. She has since released several sexually explicit songs and continues to milk her status as an American sex symbol.
3. Heidi Montag
Heidi Montag first graced television sets as the first friend Lauren Conrad makes in fashion school after her move from Laguna Beach to Los Angeles on MTV’s The Hills. Throughout the reality series, Montag meets Spencer Pratt and seemingly becomes brainwashed into choosing Pratt over her longtime friends. As if Montag’s naïve and childish behavior on The Hills didn’t already seal her identity as a vapid, human version of a Barbie Doll, she followed her antics on the show by undergoing ten plastic surgery procedures in one day.
Montag and Pratt have continued to make reality TV history as the most deluded, narcissistic pseudo-celebrities ever to appear on MTV. After getting married, the duo appeared on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!, the British version of Celebrity Big Brother, Famous Food, Celebrity Wife Swap, and Marriage Boot Camp. In true D-List celebrity fashion, Montag coupled her string of reality television cameos with the release of her album, Superficial. Needless to say, the album was not a hit.
4. Nicole Richie
Before appearing on Fox’s The Simple Life with frenemy Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie’s only claim to fame was being the daughter of beloved musician Lionel Richie. As she was plunged into the spotlight more and more due to her father’s success, she began drastically losing weight and collecting minor traffic violations. After garnering a considerable amount of attention from the media, she went on to star in The Simple Life alongside Hilton, increasing her fame to international status and simultaneously creating a reputation for herself as a dumb blonde. In recent years, however, Richie has gained positive attention for her personal fashion style and her philanthropy. She also addressed issues about her weight, telling Vanity Fair, “I know I’m too thin right now, so I wouldn’t want any young girl looking at me and saying, ‘That’s what I want to look like.’"
Currently, Richie is married to Good Charlotte front man Joel Madden with whom she has two children. Since her stint on the The Simple Life, Richie has appeared on NBC’s Fashion Star, created a reality show called Candidly Nicole, released two novels, debuted a jewelry line, enrolled in an anti-drink driving program, and relocated to Australia.
5. Paris Hilton
Paris Hilton is considered a twofer when it comes to being famous for no good reason. Her family’s wealth – her great-grant father was Hilton Hotels founder Conrad Hilton – paired with her sex tape has helped launch her into the spotlight.
Not one to miss an opportunity, Hilton used the recognition from her sex tape to earn star spots on a few reality shows including The Simple Life along fellow pseudo celeb Nicole Richie and My New BFF, launch her debut self-titled album, and land a handful of small (and ghastly) movie roles including House of Wax with Chad Michael Murray. Like any true talentless star, Hilton has a few misdemeanors under her belt as well. As of late, Hilton is working on her second album called Never Be Alone, which is slated for release later this year.
6. Farrah Abraham
For the record, we are definitely not suggesting that having a baby is an easy task. We have major respect for moms everywhere – dads too! But, does having a baby make you worthy of massive fame and fortune?
After landing a role on MTV’s 16 and Pregnant series and then subsequently starring in the spin-off series Teen Mom, Farrah Abraham just wasn’t ready to give up the limelight. She debuted an album entitled My Teenage Dream Ended and released a memoir of the same name.
Not unlike other stars on this list, Abraham starred in her own sex tape; however, hers did not get leaked by accident. Abraham filmed the sex tape with pornography actor James Deen, one would assume, to gain even more fame. The release of a second sex tape leads us to believe that our assumptions are correct. She has also been a guest on Howard Stern’s radio show and appeared on Couples Therapy as the only cast member without a partner after her hired boyfriend quit. Apparently she can’t even pay someone to be around her.
7. Bristol Palin
Predictably, there’s another teen mom on the list. Bristol Palin acquired her fame when she got pregnant at the tender age of 18 while her mother, Sarah Palin, was running for Vice President for the Republican Party. Palin and the father of her child, Levi Johnston, had planned to get married (perhaps to try and soften the blow of the news during her mother’s campaign), but that never happened.
After her mother lost the election, Palin used her newly procured fame to land a role on Dancing With the Stars. Her presence on the show caused quite an upset, as viewers believed talented contestants like Audrina Patridge and Brandy were sent home when Palin should have been the one eliminated.
From there, Palin took a page out of the D-List Celebrity handbook, so to speak, and released a memoir called Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far and starred in a Lifetime special entitled Bristol Palin: Life’s a Tripp.
8. Amber Rose
If your only claim to fame is being the girlfriend of Kanye West, we’re forced to ask: Is it really worth it? Amber Rose, while seemingly always in the public eye, has no other concrete reason for acquiring her fame aside from the fact that she once dated the father of Kim Kardashian’s baby. Rose refers to herself as a model, recording artist, and actress, but has anyone witnessed anything from her that would fit into either one of those categories? We didn’t think so.
Apart from a small number of cameos in some music videos and appearing as a guest judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race, Rose’s shaved head seems to be the only factor allowing her to rake in media attention.
Since her split with West, Rose married and divorced Wiz Khalifa, with whom she has a child. At present she is dating another rapper Machine Gun Kelly. She certainly has a type!
9. Teresa Giudice
First garnering media attention for starring on Bravo’s The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Teresa Giudice is considered the breakout star of the franchise. Also, on her reality television resume is a stint on The Celebrity Apprentice on which she placed fifth.
Because every reality star needs to publish a book (or two or three), Giudice has co-authored three successful cookbooks: Skinny Italian, Fabulicious, and Fabulicious! Fast & Fit. She has also created a line of cocktails as well as a line of hair care products.
Most recently, Giudice has filed for bankruptcy and is currently serving time in federal prison for fraud. Her scheduled release date is February 16, 2016.
10. Kim Kardashian
While Kim Kardashian already had some form of fame by association since her late father was on the team of lawyers that defended O.J. Simpson while he was on trial for murder, she used a sex tape with rapper Ray J to fast track herself into the spotlight. Since then, she has starred in numerous reality shows including Keeping Up With The Kardashians and Kim and Kourtney Take New York. Her “ugly crying face” and childish behaviour has made her a constant in gossip magazines and Internet jokes.
Kardashian has followed up her reality television career by releasing several fragrances, creating a makeup line with her sisters, finalizing her divorce from Kris Humphries, giving birth to her daughter, marrying rapper and long-time friend Kanye West, and posing nude for Paper magazine alongside a bottle of champagne. She doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.
Celebrities who are famous for being famous have become such a prominent part of popular culture that the phrase has its own Wikipedia page. The reason these celebrities are constantly photographed and followed is a mystery since they possess no discernible talent. If you don’t know anyone on this list, thank your lucky stars – they would not enrich your life in any way!