When celebrities appear in music videos, it’s usually a marketing strategy. Either that or they are really good friends with the band or musician making the video. One way or the other, it’s always an exciting thing. But what about when celebrities appear in music videos before they rise to fame?
It’s not unusual for people to go back to old videos, only to find that the once irrelevant person in the background turned out to be one of their favorite actors. After all, music videos are as good a breakthrough as any.
8 Courteney Cox
There’s no question that Courteney Cox’s big break was her iconic role as Monica Geller in Friends. But once the actress became famous, people started recognizing her for another, smaller role she had played before the sitcom. The part of a lucky fan in the video for Bruce Springsteen’s song “Dancing In The Dark.” According to Courteney, she was incredibly nervous during her audition and she didn’t know what to do, but she just went with it, and she thinks that’s why she got the part.
“I think that’s why I got it because I was like, ‘Okay!’ I think that’s what they wanted, a fan that just couldn’t believe it.”
7 Jennifer Lopez
Before she became the pop star that she is now, Jennifer Lopez had chosen a slightly different career path. She wanted to be a dancer, not a singer. She still makes good use of her dance skills now, but before, dancing was a full-time job for her. That’s what she did when she appeared in a music video for one of her greatest inspirations, Janet Jackson. Jennifer was a backup dancer in the video for “That’s the Way Love Goes.”
6 Naomi Campbell
When watching Bob Marley’s music video for “Is This Love,” fans will most likely not be able to recognize Naomi Campbell, as she was just a kid when she was cast, but she still remembers the experience very well.
“Of all the videos, Bob Marley’s Is This Love was the most exciting,” she said. “Our family loved reggae. I was just seven, and didn’t know what it would involve. I didn’t realize Bob Marley would be standing right next to me, tucking me under a blanket. He was the most handsome man, with beautiful bone structure; mellow, too, and soft-spoken, with a strong Jamaican accent, the kind I already knew from home.”
5 Wesley Snipes
Just the fact that actor Wesley Snipes was in a Michael Jackson video would be huge, but knowing who he beat out of the role makes this story even more interesting.
“Me and Prince were auditioning together, and I blew Prince out of the water,” Wesley explained. “Michael had told Prince that he had the role, and then he met me.” Granted, that’s not exactly how Prince would tell the story, but regardless, Wesley was the one who ended up in the King of Pop’s video.
4 Alicia Silverstone
Alicia Silverstone was only 17 when she starred in Aerosmith’s video of their classic hit “Cryin’.” Nowadays, it’s an almost insignificant part of her successful career. And, if we’re being honest, her being cast as an over-sexualized teenager in a relationship with Liv Tyler (also a teenager at the time and Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler’s daughter) is kind of questionable today.
Believe it or not, if you go back to The B-52s music video for their hit “Love Shack,” you will find a young RuPaul there. Years later, the band was invited to appear on RuPaul’s Drag Race, in a beautiful full circle moment.
“Ru was a drag queen in Atlanta, and a bunch of people came up to New York and we all started hanging out,” The B-52s Cindy Wilson said. “That was a cool era for us, as well as a really hard time: the AIDS crisis, and losing so many friends back in the mid-’80s, in the early days of New York. It was really wonderful, because it was love and friends, and there was a wonderful sense of coming together, being silly and hoping for the future. It was really special. Of course Ru’s star rose, and she became an enormous star. It’s amazing that she got the TV show, and it’s one of the best shows on right now.”
2 Matthew McConaughey
Matthew McConaughey will always remember starring in Trisha Yearwood’s “Walkaway Joe” video as a huge opportunity.
It was a completely unexpected breakthrough for the young actor, who was only trying to make ends meet. He has since met Trisha again several times and has thanked her profusely for giving him a chance.
1 Matt LeBlanc
Another Friends alumnus joins this list. Before he became Joey Tribbiani, Matt LeBlanc appeared in more than one music video. All of them are iconic. He appeared in Alanis Morisette’s “Walk Away” video, in Jon Bon Jovi’s “Miracle”, and in Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ “Into the Great Wide Open.”