Top 10 Celebrities Who Were in Music Videos Before They Were Famous

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Top 10 Celebrities Who Were in Music Videos Before They Were Famous

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Rachel Goldman
Before they were famous, these celebrities were in music videos. Our countdown includes Angelina Jolie, Wesley Snipes, Katy Perry, and more!
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Top 10 Celebrities Who Were in Music Videos Before They Were Famous


Welcome to Ms Mojo and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Celebrities Who Were in Music Videos Before They Were Famous.

For this list, we’ll be looking at famous people who appeared in music videos before they broke into mainstream fame.

Tell us about your favorite celebrity music videos in the comments.

#10: Angelina Jolie
“Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through” (1994) by Meat Loaf



Angelina Jolie has the natural presence of being rock n roll. She can be both glamorous and vulnerable. Thus, the "Rock and Roll Dreams" part of this song title pretty accurately describes her. In the music video for the Meat Loaf remake, Angelina plays a runaway girl who interacts with an eccentric fortune teller for guidance. In tune with the song’s message about how, with rock and roll, you are never alone, the character increasingly becomes more confident in her rock and roll self and ultimately reunites with her family. What Angelina Jolie does with the role here becomes somewhat of a blueprint for her earliest work in the early ‘90s, when she played sensitive, gritty young women..

#9: Channing Tatum
“She Bangs” (2000) by Ricky Martin



In the past, this video, which includes a gyrating mermaid, has been criticized as being too sexual. Ricky Martin himself emphasized that the song and video are primarily about “freedom”. For Channing Tatum, who is briefly seen as a shirtless bartender and dancer, this early gig was a sort of freedom. “She Bangs” was Channing’s first ever on screen role. Years later it's interesting to watch the performance as a reminder of how far his career has come. NOW he’s perhaps most fondly known for being a shirtless stripper in Magic Mike - a film loosely based on his days before being cast in “She Bangs.”. One thing's for sure: it will be interesting to see what Channing does next.

#8: Josh Duhamel
“Genie in a Bottle” (1999) by Christina Aguilera



Who knows: maybe Josh Duhamel did rub a genie “the right way” and got some wishes. He was an extra in the music video for the Xtina track, in which he played an enthusiastic beachouse partygoer. The same year that Josh did said background work, he nabbed an award-winning role in the daytime show, “All My Children”. Even more sweetly, Josh mentioning his “Genie in a Bottle” appearance was an icebreaker on his first date with his former wife Fergie. Outside of his subsequent good luck, the role was not significant to his career. It is, however, a significant visual example of a time when models - like Duhamel - could take on a career path that’s different from being a social media influencer. Keep rubbing that bottle, Josh!

#7: Elijah Wood
“Forever Your Girl” (1989) by Paula Abdul



Straight up, Paula, we’re very confused about this music video. The song, “Forever Your Girl,” is about Paula Abdul proclaiming that she will always be loyal to her man, she is "forever [his] girl". Fairly straightforward. The music video is about… Paula Abdul enthusiastically directing and choreographing kids for a performance. That’s right: instead of chasing her man, Paula is teaching children how to dance, while a young Elijah Wood tries to make himself look busy while sitting behind a desk. To make things even stranger, the video is directed by David Fincher, master of the psychological thriller. Maybe he thought Elijah, “my precious,” had the ring.

#6: Benicio del Toro
“La Isla Bonita” (1987) by Madonna



“La Isla Bonita” is Madonna’s love song to Latino-American culture with Latin rhythms, Spanish lyrics, and a video that is noted for its use of Hispanic fashion. Ultimately, this is a Madonna music video, which means that we are meant to primarily look at Madonna. Queen Madge does not disappoint either, flamboyantly alternating between playing two different characters: a restrained, shy young woman, and a vivacious flamenco dancer. In the midst of Madonna’s theatrics, Benicio del Toro, who would go on to win an Academy Award 14 years later, can be seen sitting on a car hood. At this moment, the future star is merely a stand-in for the audience, amused and amazed by Madonna's ambition and talent.

#5: Wesley Snipes
“Bad” (1987) by Michael Jackson


Categorizing “Bad” as a music video is misleading. What we have instead when considering the full version is an 18 minute short film conceptualized by The Wire writer, Richard Price and directed by Martin Scorsese. The resultant project is an homage to West Side Story in which Michael’s character struggles to ingratiate himself to his former gang members, who believe he is no longer “bad”. A mostly unknown Wesley Snipes plays Michael’s now-rival in a role that he reportedly beat out Prince for during the audition. Although Michael’s character Darryl warned Wesley’s Mini Max that he was headed for a fall, in real life, the actor’s breakout role in “Bad” helped him catch director Spike Lee’s attention. He also branched out of playing characters working within the confines of the gritty New York streets thanks to a variety of projects. Not too bad, Mr. Snipes.

#4: Jennifer Lopez
“That’s the Way Love Goes” (1993) by Janet Jackson


["Janet, listen to us when we're talking to you”]: for many, perhaps this was the first time they heard Jennifer Lopez speak. Even as Janet Jackson's backing dancer, Jennifer’s star quality is evident. From this one line, you get a sense that Jennifer knows camp, she is aware of the humor in everything she is doing, and it's one of the reasons she shines as a performer. It's also funny to watch her deliver it, knowing that it spurred Jennifer to embrace a career in acting instead of joining Janet Jackson on tour as a backup dancer. Now when Jennifer Lopez does anything, everybody listens.

#3: Katy Perry
“Cupid’s Chokehold” (2005) by Gym Class Heroes feat. Patrick Stump


Cupid's Chokehold is right: at the time, Katy Perry was dating band member Travie McCoy and had the honor of playing "girlfriend #3" in the “As Cruel as School Children” version of the Gym Class Heroes music video. Interestingly, while Katy’s presence is minimal, the screen time she does have precedes the beginning of her fame, with her final outfit in the video resembling the aesthetic and branding of her breakout “One of the Boys” album: raunchy, cartoonish, playful, and confident. Sadly, Katy wasn't in cupid's chokehold much longer, as she allegedly wrote the song "Circle the Drain" after she and Travie broke up.

#2: Matt LeBlanc
“Walk Away” (1991) by Alanis Morissette



By the premiere of this video, audiences might have already known Matt LeBlanc as the handsome man who has ketchup poured off the side of a building or as Vinnie Verducci on ‘Married...with Children.” Here, he continues to shine with the undeniable charisma of a star-to-be. “Walk Away,” the second single from Morrisette’s self-titled record features LeBlanc as a boyfriend with nothing but excuses. He may be cute, but Morrisette is ready to, wait for it, walk away if he doesn’t step up his game. It’s okay though, he has friends to help him land on his feet either way.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Kesha, “I Kissed a Girl” (2008) by Katy Perry
She Didn’t Kiss a Girl in the Video, but She Did Show Off Her Dance Moves

Aaron Paul, “Thoughtless” (2002) by Korn
Jesse Pinkman Looks Upset

RuPaul, “Love Shack” (1989) by The B-52s
Even Then, He Put the Bass in His Walk

Jason Statham,“Comin’ on” (1993) by The Shamen
Three Words: Animal Print Speedo

Matthew McConaughey, “Walkaway Joe” (1992) by Trisha Yearwood with Don Henley
He Walked Away to Become a Leading Man

#1: Courteney Cox
“Dancing in the Dark” (1984) by Bruce Springsteen



To many, this is the pinnacle of music video performances. Perhaps that’s because it’s just that: a simple, straight up performance of “Dancing in the Dark”, with The Boss giving it his all in front of an adoring crowd. When Courteney is called up to dance, you can’t help but relate to her. Maybe it’s the way Courteney’s eyes bug out of her head and her cheeks turn pink. Maybe it’s the way shes hesitates to dance for a split second on stage. But what ultimately ensues, is an easy rhythm and a lightning in the bottle moment that catapulted her career. In the following years, Courteney has continued to share her moves with us and The Boss has made calling up a fan to dance a tradition during his live performances.
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