Talk About A Come Up: 12 Models Who Turned Rap Video Appearances Into Acting Careers And More
It’s rare that you tune into a music video and not see a beautiful girl smiling at the camera or half-naked woman running around a pool, especially in the hip-hop world. It’s more than just the norm, it’s expected. There are thousands, maybe millions of girls who’ve had a taste of what it’s like to showcase their beauty in a video, but not all have used the opportunity to build solid careers of their own in media outside of four-minute music videos. Here’s a look at a few of the exceptions, women who not only look cute in videos, but used them to to propel their careers as actresses.
Nicknamed “Jessica Rabbit,” Melyssa Ford’s booming body was hard to miss in any video she was in. She tantalized hip-hop heads all throughout the late ‘90s and early 2000s, sprinkling her potion in videos like Jadakiss’ “Knock Yourself Out,” Usher’s “Yeah,” Jay-Z’s “Big Pimpin” and 112’s “Anywhere”—just to name a few. The knockout vixen eventually made her way to acting and hosting gigs, guest starring and appearing in films and shows such as Love For Sale, Three Can Play That Game, Soul Food, Entourage and The Game. She’s also hosted a couple shows on BET (BET Style and How I’m Livin’) and even had a radio gig on Sirius Satelite Radio’s “Hot Jamz.” Without a doubt, Ford is a veteran in the game and one of the most successful and prominent video models to ever do it.
Regarded by many as one of the sexiest video vixens of all time, Esther Baxter is equipped with drop-dead looks and perhaps the biggest pair of boobs in hip hop history. Her huge blinkers were the focal point in numerous rap videos (you probably remember seeing them—and maybe even her—in Petey Pablo’s “Freak-A-Leek” or Ludacris’ “Number One Spot”). She retired from videos in 2007 and has since transitioned to several other business endeavors, including, of course, acting. So far, her resume includes an appearance on “Meet the Browns” and several indie films like Video Girl, Speed-Dating and Just Another Day. But don’t be surprised if you see Baxter and the twins in some major motion flicks in the future ‘cause homegirl is definitely making moves.
A lot of you first laid eyes on this beauty in Pharrell Williams’ “Frontin” video, where she stole the show with her almond eyes and gorgeous dimples. From there, she’s shined alongside stars like Snoop Dogg, Ludacris and Common. In 2006, she made her big screen debut as the super ghetto love interest of rapper T.I. (aka Rashod) in ATL. Ever since then, it’s been open doors and red carpets. London has had roles in big-time TV shows like The Game and Entourage and radiated in films such as Madea’s Big Happy Family and This Christmas.
She broke into the video industry as the leading lady in Joe’s “If I Was Your Man,” and transformed into one of the most talked about vixens in the game. With spreads in countless mens magazines, the busty model has filmed a few commercials and netted roles in the indie films See D**k Run and Eleven Hundred, alongside Wood Harris. Besides acting, Bryan is involved in the fashion industry and has been a regular guest on radio shows hosted by entertainers like Rasheed Wallace and Jamie Fox.
Karren “Superhead” Steffans
Although she’s among the handful of hip-hop video models who dominated the late ‘90s and early 2000s, the woman popularly known as “Superhead” is probably most famous for controversy. Her Vixen book series flipped lids, exposed rappers and caused more buzz than bumblebees. So it’s clear that her booty-shaking days have definitely upped her from the gutter and propelled her writing career, but it also garnered Steffans the role as Larenz Tate’s wife in the 2003 action-thriller, A Man Apart. Humph, it’s amazing what a pair of Areola pasties and booty shorts can do.
Okay, she didn’t really get her start in music videos (she starting building her reputation at age six, acting in commercials and dancing background for stars like Bow Wow, Missy Elliot and Pharrell. She even had a small role in Parent Trap and scored a role on Lizzie McGuire before getting heavily involved in videos) but strutting alongside some of the industry’s hottest stars certainly didn’t hurt her acting career. For a lot of us, her face looks familiar because we’ve seen her in videos like Musiq Soulchild’s “B.U.D.D.Y,” Akon’s “Lonely,” or John Legend’s “Used to Love You.” She got a major break when she starred in 2009’s Honey 2, but the light-eyed beauty has also played in handful of TV series like Hannah Montana, Strong Medicine and The Vampire Diaries, in which she currently stars. Not bad for a 23-year-old.
Before she was on “Love and Hip Hop Atlanta” playing all big and bad for the cameras and helping Vh1 rake in huge views for the reality show, Faust was another pretty face in music videos. She was one of Pharrell’s leading ladies in the “Frontin'” video, alongside sistas like Lauren London and Lanisha Cole, both on this list. But she also turned this exposure into the opportunity to become an entrepreneur, the owner of Keep It Clean, Inc.
Most famous for her relationship with former boo Kanye West and current relationship with fiancé Wiz Khalifa, Amber Rose is perhaps the hottest “It Girl” of today. A fierce fashion icon and pop culture diva, she has performed in videos that range from Fabolous’ “You Be Killin’ Em” to Young Jeezy’s “Vacation,” and was probably first seen by most folks in Ludacris’ “I Know What Them Girls Like.” After exploding into superstardom, the flaming Philadelphian has explored a long list of entertainment gigs, including acting. She’s flexed her skills in everything from Smirnoff commercials to TV shows and the modern Western, Gang of Roses 2: Next Generation.
She started off acting in videos for Busta Rhymes, Kanye West, Ne-Yo and Dru Hill, but eventually made her way to the big screen as Rashod’s (T.I.) crazy ex-girlfriend in ATL. The half black half Korean knockout landed a role as the beautiful gold-digging groupie Jazz on BET’s The Game and is working on scoring more roles in the future.
Cole broke through the industry as an extra in Lil Kim’s “No Matter What People Say” video and has been shining ever since. One of the few one’s who didn’t have to shake her a** for a little attention, you’ve seen her as the leading lady in videos such as Avant’s “My First Love,” The Roots “Break You Off,” and mostly from Pharrell’s “Frontin” clip. The ebony doll then landed a role as one of “Barker’s Beauties” on The Price is Right from 2003 to 2010. She was also a model on NBC’s “Deal or No Deal” and earned a small role in Soul Plane. You may too recognize Miss Cole from the TV series Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files and MyNetworkTV’s Watch Over Me.
An actress first, Angell Conwell has done more than a little dabbling in music videos, and boy did she turn heads. From Eric Sermon’s “I’m Hot” to Nelly’s “Ride Wit’ Me,” it’s hard to not notice this Conwell. She’s also known for her roles in films like Soul Plane, Baby Boy and The Wash and has appeared in several popular sitcoms. But the fact still remains, Miss Conwell sure as hell set a few music videos ablaze.
A popular leading model throughout the 2000s, the hazel-eyed belle was actually a fashion model before she got her start in the music industry. But her acting skills in videos alongside stars like Ne-Yo, 50 Cent, Ludacris, Fabolous and Lloyd Banks opened the doors for roles in everything from Soul Plane and Friday After Next to CSI: NY and The Scorpion King. With a hefty list of acting gigs, it’s safe to say that this one is a go-getter.