The famous used to be an exclusive world of millionaire musicians, actors, and sports stars, but with the Internet, now anyone with a bit of sparkle and determination can achieve huge audience figures. These days a kid with a video camera can be even more popular than the latest pop star in terms of online downloads and viewing figures, and it really is possible to become a sensation overnight. Here are just ten of the famous people in the world that started off as online celebrities.
1. Perez Hilton – Celebrity gossip blogger
Perez Hilton is now a household name when it comes to Hollywood gossip and has slots on ABC’s Good Morning America and MTV. However, Hilton start off as a celebrity blogger whose controversial statements and poison pen style soon attracted millions of fans. The self styled ‘Queen of Mean’ is so massive now that even the top Hollywood stars fear his wrath and millions of people still eagerly lap up all the caustic comments he sees fit to post online or spout in his television and red carpet appearances.
2. Tila Tequila – Singer/songwriter, glamour model, and reality TV star
Tila Tequila (real name Tila Nguyen) is a Singaporean-born television personality and model who also does a bit of singing and songwriting as well. Perhaps best known for her appearances in top men’s magazines, Nguyen first came to prominence as a singer through her MySpace profile and soon became one of the most popular artists on that website (2006). Nguyen also started her own website in 2001 entitled ‘Tila’s Hot Spot’, which started off as an adult-only site and was later revamped to make it available to all ages as a social media site. Nguyen also launched a fashion website in 2005 entitled ‘Tilafashion’ and a dating website in 2009. 2010 sees this online empire continuing with a celebrity blog site. Nguyen has also appeared in a number of reality TV shows and had a brief role in mainstream 2007 film I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. She has also started her own record label, imaginatively entitled ‘Tila Tequila Records’, and has signed acts like Raz-B of B2K.
3. Jessica Lee Rose (AKA Lonelygirl15) – Actress and YouTube star
Lonelygirl15 was a popular ‘home shot’ online video blog on YouTube that had millions of fans. It followed the video diaries of a homeschooled 16-year-old known as Bree. However, it was later revealed that Bree was a fictional character played by 19-year-old actress Jessica Lee Rose. The popularity of Lonelygirl15 made Rose a posterchild for the YouTube generation, and she went on to attain success as an actress in movies. She also recorded a commercial for the anti-poverty campaign run by the UN.
4. Markos Moulitsas Zuniga – Political blogger
Markos Moulitsas Zuniga runs one of the most prolific political blogs online and is known to his millions of fans as ‘Kos’. His caustic and insightful comments cause powerful men in politics to tremble, and his blog has been a thorn in the side of the Republican Party in particular for some time. The blog is called ‘Daily Kos’ and Markos Moulitsas Zuniga’s influence has spread out into mainstream politics with active roles in supporting certain democratic primary candidates.
5. Seth Godin – Marketing guru
Seth Godin is a god in the online marketing world, and his understanding of the Internet and how business works in this field is highly-respected. Godin started off with online e-books and high profile blogs and is now a successful entrepreneur, best selling author, and highly sought after speaker. Seth Godin’s work is often quoted and used in marketing educational programs.
6. Mark Lisanti – Entertainment blogger
Mark Lisanti is another powerful online blogger who rose to fame as the sarcastic host of the entertainment blog ‘Bunsen.tv’. Lisanti then went on to become editor at the gossip site Defamer and has attracted a legion of fans for his witty and often derogatory slant on Hollywood lifestyle and fame. Lisanti is widely thought of as being one of the leading experts on the entertainment industry and is often quoted in other gossip based blogs, websites, and magazines.
7. Amanda Congdon – Video blogger
Amanda Congdon achieved online fame as the host of the irreverent daily video blog ‘Rocketboom’. She was popular for her good looks and quirky humor, and her video blog soon become one of the most downloaded programs on the Web. These days Congdon can be seen in the mainstream media in entertainment news shows for ABC network; a new show for HBO is also currently in the works.
8. Hosea Frank (aka ZeFrank) – Video blogger
Hosea Frank is another prominent video blogger whose eclectic mix of essays, short films, and animations soon attracted millions of fans. His blog won a Webby Award for ‘Best Personal Website’ in 2002. His daily ‘show with ZeFrank’ has become one of the most watched programs on the Internet, which is an impressive feat when you think of all the thousands of video downloads out there.
9. Harry Knowles – Movie critic
This unlikely celebrity made his debut online by launching his own website dedicated to film news. His expert content and insightful movie trivia soon made this one of the most popular entertainment news websites online and Knowles went on to publish his own book and even feature in cameo roles in several films.
10. Violet Blue – Sex educator
Sex educator Violet Blue started off as a microblogger and is now a best-selling and award-winning author who has published over a dozen books on sexuality and sex. She also writes a popular sex column for The San Francisco Chronicle. Violet Blue is all over the net and contributes to a wide number of sex-related websites, including one of the most popular pod casts, ‘Open Source Sex’. Violet Blue is a highly respected expert on sex and sexuality and her frank, sympathetic approach has endeared her to a generation of fans.