Is It Possible for a Celebrity to Make It These Days Without a Reality Show?

January 21, 2013  |  

Tamar Braxton is having her moment in the spotlight thanks to reality TV. Jennings/PictureGroup via AP IMAGES

In her instantly viral Golden Globes coming out speech, actor/director Jodie Foster remarked: “Now, I’m told, apparently every celebrity is expected to honor the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance, and prime time reality show.”

Indeed, back in the day, though gossip mags did their best to publicize celebs’ private lives and scandalous business, stars could get away with separating their person from their persona. Before Being Bobby Brown, for example, viewers had no real idea who Whitney Houston was beyond the honey-voiced, modelesque ingénue Clive Davis and Arista Records put forth.

Veteran music publicist Tresa Sanders has worked with Jay-Z, Dr. Dre, Common, Mary J. Blige, Keyshia Cole, Wu-Tang, Bootsy Collins, Nelly Furtado, and Snoop Dogg among others. She says, “In the past the artists that worked were ones that, for the most part, had good product, a really good strategic press plan and a person that implemented it well. Back then it was just the telephone and the fax in regard to communicating with a media outlet so you had to have someone that was a bull dog and at the same time creative. Someone that really was able to come up with angles and a great story.”

Today, not so much. The price of entry to stardom — and the pass to stay there — seems to be full and constant disclosure across a combination of platforms from Twitter to Instagram to reality shows.

Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta castmember K. Michelle told being on the show boosted her career tremendously. “For three years I was singing my little heart out, and y’all was not hearing,” she says of her struggle to find an audience before she went on the show. “Look, I even tried to leak [an] unclothed picture, y’all still didn’t hear. Lord have mercy. Everybody else was doing it… you still didn’t care to hear me sing. And all I wanted was my voice to be heard, my story.”

She continues, “So this show, even though I’ve caught a lot of backlash, I wasn’t selling out shows then. Now I am… Love and Hip Hop has been great for my career.”

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  • ieshapatterson

    This is true in tamars case.if it wasnt for the reality show,then how many if us would have actually known about her?? He husband works in the music industry and that still wasn’t enough to get her in.but after we see her on tv,she’s making songs and is performing everywhere.

  • Miyako

    It’s possible, but we are living in a time where it is expected for those who are and want to be famous to expose much of their lives to the point that those who aren’t will simply be ignored.

  • Miyako

    It’s possible, but we are living in a time where it is expected for those who are and want to be famous to expose much of their lives to the point that those who aren’t will simply be ignored.

  • KJ23

    I have to disagree from your well-written article. Even though people are getting their names out there by reality shows, very few people can parlay it to mainstream success. If you look at the main names in music and Hollywood, you don’t really know too much about those successful people because they keep their lives to themselves. Their success seems to be fueled by the fact that people don’t know everything there is to know about them, and it keeps people intrigued and keep people constantly searching for new information, and supporting their music.

    • totally agree! the more i don’t know the more intrigued i am about you
      people like rihanna and chris brown have turned me off because they seem to put everything out there, good and bad, just to stay ‘relevant’ and i find it really sad
      people who really have a talent have to fight even harder just to get their name out there and i find that unfair

  • JaneDoe

    Celebrity are just so over exposed its become a turn off to me. The mystery of what was by just a picture is long gone. I see everyday ppl over exposing themselves and leaving nothing to the imagination anymore on social network.. It’s disgusting. I only have a Facebook that I log onto once every 6 months bc it’s all become too much.. Besides their disposable income celebs lives are more pathetic than interesting

  • DTJ

    Its possible to have fame and a sound fanbase. Those that require social media connection are crazed stans and thats just unhealthy. If I like you I like you and could care less about you posting a pic of you in a lavish hotel I may never get the chance to stay in anyway