From the Great Lakes to the small screen: Michigan’s reality TV stars

From The Great Lakes To The Small Screen: Michigan’s Reality TV Stars

Photo courtesy of Taylor Hale via Instagram.

By Britteny Dee

May 1, 2024

Michigan is known for many things—the Great Lakes, Motown, being the birthplace of the American automotive industry—but a large number of reality TV show contestants who hail from the Mitten also help keep it in the national spotlight.

From esteemed chefs to teenage singers, keep reading to learn more about some of Michigan’s most successful reality show contestants and how they fared in their respective competitions.

Champions

Taylor Hale

Detroit native Taylor Hale won the 24th season of “Big Brother” in 2022—and in doing so, she made history. Twice. Hale was the first African American woman to win the series, as well as the first to win the regular season and take home the title of America’s Favorite Houseguest.

Hale returned to “Big Brother” in 2023 to compete in a holiday spin-off season, “Big Brother Reindeer Games.” This time around, Hale didn’t win, but she was the runner-up (she lost to another Michigander—more on that below).

Nicole Franzel

Nicole Franzel was crowned the winner of “Big Brother Reindeer Games” in 2023. But that wasn’t the Ubly native’s only time on the show—or her only victory. Franzel previously appeared on “Big Brother” 16 and 18, as well as “Big Brother: All Stars” Season 22. She was victorious in Season 18 and placed third in the “All Stars” edition.

From The Great Lakes To The Small Screen: Michigan’s Reality TV Stars

Photo courtesy of Nicole Franzel-Arroyo via Instagram.

David McIntyre

David McIntyre, who is originally from Pennsylvania but now lives in Kentwood, Michigan, competed in and won Season Two of The History Channel’s survival show “Alone.” McIntyre beat out nine other contestants who were all dropped off in a remote location in Vancouver Island, British Columbia and forced to survive with minimal supplies.

Gabriella Baldwin

Gabriella Baldwin, the executive chef at Testa Barra, a farm-to-table Italian restaurant in Macomb, has appeared on multiple Food Network shows, including “Guy’s Grocery Games,” “Family Restaurant Rivals,” and “Beat Bobby Flay.” Baldwin was victorious on “Guy’s Grocery Games” and “Family Restaurant Rivals” but did not beat Bobby Flay on his namesake program.

Baldwin also competed in “24 in 24: Last Chef Standing,” a new Food Network series that aired on April 14. Another Michigander, Josie Clemens, is also a participant. At the time of writing, the show’s winner had not been announced.

From The Great Lakes To The Small Screen: Michigan’s Reality TV Stars

Photo courtesy of Gabriella Baldwin via Instagram.

Finalists

Grace West

Grace West made it all the way to the finale of Season 23 of “The Voice.” Coached by Blake Shelton, the 19-year-old from Canton finished in second place. West currently lives in Nashville, but she traveled back to Michigan to sing the national anthem for the Detroit Tigers on opening day.

From The Great Lakes To The Small Screen: Michigan’s Reality TV Stars

Photo courtesy of Grace West Music via Instagram.

Brayden Lape

A season before West competed on “The Voice,” 16-year-old Brayden Lape of Grass Lake appeared on the show. Lake made it to the finals—and was the youngest of the five finalists—but ultimately took fifth place in the competition.

From The Great Lakes To The Small Screen: Michigan’s Reality TV Stars

Photo courtesy of Brayden Lape via Instagram.

Rachel Mac

Romeo, Michigan’s Rachel Mac earned a spot on Team Nick at just 15 years old, making her “The Voice” season 20’s youngest contestant. While she didn’t win, Mac made it to the finals and finished fourth.

From The Great Lakes To The Small Screen: Michigan’s Reality TV Stars

Photo courtesy of Rachel Mac via Instagram.

Jena Irene

There’s no shortage of great singers and songwriters from the Mitten. Farmington Hills native Jena Irene appeared on the 13th season of “American Idol” and made it all the way to the finals, where she lost to Caleb Johnson.

Although she didn’t win, Irene did make history on the show when she became the first female Wild Card contestant to make it to the finale.

From The Great Lakes To The Small Screen: Michigan’s Reality TV Stars

Photo courtesy of Jena via Instagram.

Honorable Mentions

Rupert Boneham

“Survivor” fans are sure to recognize the name Rupert Boneham. Boneham, who was born in Detroit, competed in several seasons of the reality TV show. He made his debut in 2003’s “Survivor: Pearl Islands” and later appeared in “Survivor: All-Stars,” “Heroes vs. Villains,” and “Blood vs. Water.” He placed fourth in the “All Stars” edition, sixth in “Heroes vs. Villains,” and 20th in “Blood vs. Water.”

Notably, during “Survivor: America’s Tribal Council,” a special episode of “Survivor: All-Stars,” Boneham became a fan favorite and was voted a million-dollar winner. He was also the first contestant to compete in two consecutive seasons (“Pearl Islands” and “All-Stars”).

From The Great Lakes To The Small Screen: Michigan’s Reality TV Stars

Photo courtesy of Rupert Boneham via Instagram.

Keith Famie

Farmington Hills’ Keith Famie is another Michigander who competed on “Survivor.” Famie competed in the second season, “Survivor: Australian Outback”, and placed third. Famie is now a well-known chef-restaurateur, as well as a cookbook author, film director, and producer.

Jaclyn Schultz

Jaclyn Schultz might not have won “Survivor,” but she is the only female Michigander to have competed on the show. Schultz, from Wyandotte, competed on “Survivor: San Juan del Sur” and was named the runner up.

This article first appeared on Good Info News Wire and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.From the Great Lakes to the small screen: Michigan’s reality TV starsFrom the Great Lakes to the small screen: Michigan’s reality TV stars

Author

CATEGORIES: LOCAL PEOPLE

Politics

Local News

Related Stories
Share This