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Your Favorite Reality Stars: How Have They Changed?

Gettyimages | Tristan Fewings
By Francesca O'Hern

Reality-style TV programming has been around for almost as long as TV itself. However, our generation has experienced an explosion in the genre's popularity. In the last ten or so years, reality TV has become an almost essential, if trashy, form of escapism. And during those years, certain TV stars have made their way to the forefront of our culture's collective memory, and become icons of our current social climate. Because of this, they've all had to change over the years in order to keep up with the times.

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Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, 'Jersey Shore'

Gettyimages | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin

Snooki first made headlines as the loud, tan, bumpit-wearing cast member of Jersey Shore. Since the show premiered in 2009, Snooki has gone from being a party girl, who once even got arrested for public intoxication, to a married mother of three. In the professional realm, she owns a boutique, but has not completely left the world of entertainment: She's hosted How Far is Tattoo Far on MTV and her own podcast, t's Happening with Snooki & Joey. Despite this, it looks like Polizzi is leaving reality TV behind, as she declined to appear in Jersey Shore: Family Reunion's fourth season,

RuPaul, 'RuPaul's Drag Race'

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The drag queen and hostess RuPaul is partially responsible for bringing the art of drag into the mainstream. RuPaul recently became the first drag queen to be on the cover of Vanity Fair, appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, hosted Saturday Night Live, and will soon host the next season of RuPaul's Drag Race. Ru seems to be doing well for himself: When Fallon mentioned that he was a drag queen, RuPaul replied, "A drag queen? I am the queen of drag!"

Stassi Schroeder, 'Vanderpump Rules'

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Stassi Schroeder has come a long way since we first met her in 2013. Then, she was a server at SUR with a cheating boyfriend. Schroeder had to go through a lot of the same throughout her years on Vanderpump Rules, quitting her job at the restaurant only to come back to ask for Lisa Vanderpump's forgiveness and dating a slew of unworthy men. These days, she's engaged to Beau Clark, planning their wedding in Italy, and the bestselling author of Next Level Basic.

Nene Leakes, 'Real Housewives of Atlanta'

Giphy | T. Kyle

Nene Leakes is one of those TV stars who is recognizable even if you don't watch Real Housewives of Atlanta. The icon has dealt with her fair share of stress, divorcing and then remarrying her husband Gregg, and engaging in a years-long feud with Kenya Moore. She doesn't have too much of a professional life (being a housewife and all), but has done some acting, appearing on the TV shows Glee and The New Normal and in the musical Chicago.

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