Chicago’s Reality Connection

Love 'em, hate 'em, or love to hate 'em, these reality TV stars call Chicago home.

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AP
Mount Prospect native Lee DeWyze became a hometown hero when he was named the ninth American Idol.
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Before becoming the runner-up on "American Idol", Crystal Bowersox was a struggling musician in Chicago, playing in coffee shops and at train stations.
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Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich joined 13 other celebrities on Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice. Blagojevich was the fourth celebrity eliminated.
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NBC Universal, Inc.
Blago's wife Patti participated on the second season of I'm a Celebrity... Get Me out of Here!, joining the likes of Heidi and Spencer Pratt and Daniel Baldwin in the jungle. Blagojevich placed fourth in the competition.
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Chicago native Jennifer Hudson may have placed seventh on American Idol, but she soon made a name for herself with an Academy Award for her role in "Dreamgirls" and starring in "The Secret Life of Bees".
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Brenda and Mary Maher, better known as the Cakegirls, have won the Food Network Challenge three times. Their storefront, in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood, was destroyed by fire on March 29, 2010.
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Before going on VH1's Rock of Love, Jes Rickleff bartended in her hometown Naperville.
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Humboldt Park native Jaslene Gonzalez was last year's America's Next Top Model winner.
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John Hancock
Season 4 Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard owns Chicago restaurant Scylla, 1952 N. Damen Ave.
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John Hancock
Chicago-born "Bachelorette" Jen Schefft is also author of the book "Better Single Than Sorry".
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Born in Joliet, 27-year-old Adrianne Curry went on to become America's Next Top Model in the show's first season.
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After graduating in 2005 from University of Illinois at Chicago, Megan Hausermann (and her dog Lily) went on to become a reality TV personality with her own show: Megan Wants a Millionaire.
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The first Apprentice winner, Bill Rancic, earned his way through college by starting a boat wash and wax business in the Chicago area.
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Chicago bachelorette Ed Swiderski's favorite restaurant in Chicago? Sushi Samba (source: Tribune)
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phillybiketours/Instagram
Joey Kovar , a former bodybuilder and now a star from MTV's Real World Hollywood, grew up in Bridgeport.
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Nicole D'Ambrosio, who starred in the 6th season of 'The Apprentice', owns her own real estate company in Chicago.
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A Lake Forest native, Britt "McKey" Sullivan went on to win Season 11 of America's Next Top Model.
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Real World San Diego star Brad Fiorenza was born in Orland Park and now lives in the Chicago area.
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Big Brother 11 cast member Jeff Schroeder, 31, of Park Ridge, won the title of favorite house guest and a trip to Hawaii on the show.
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