Power rankings: NZ reality stars

Spy News,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 28 October 2015, 9:16PM
Nadia Lim, Chelsea Winter and Benny Tipene. Photos / Dean Purcell and Supplied
Nadia Lim, Chelsea Winter and Benny Tipene. Photos / Dean Purcell and Supplied

We may not live in a big country, but New Zealand has certainly produced its fair share of reality TV "stars".

From cooking shows to singing competitions, certain contestants and characters have managed to capture the nation’s attention - but only a few have succeeded in keeping it. We check out reality TV's biggest hits (and some of the bigger misses).

1. Nadia Lim

The winner of the second season of MasterChef NZ has not looked back since disposing of her fellow finalist, Jax Hamilton, on the show in 2011.

Amongst her accomplishments, 'Good Food Cook' Nadia Lim has just published her fourth cookbook and is a guest judge on TV2's My Kitchen Rules.

But it's her involvement in My Food Bag which sees Lim atop the reality TV power rankings. As co-founder of the company and its head chef and dietician, she is in the driving seat as the business goes from strength to strength and expands into more regions of New Zealand - and Australia.

And life is about to get even busier for Lim, with the news she's expecting her first baby in April.

2. Chelsea Winter

Another success story to emerge from the MasterChef NZ franchise, Chelsea Winter has also built a large and loyal following.

The bubbly blonde has easily shut up the naysayers who claimed she only won the 2012 season of the show because she was more "sponsor-friendly". All three of Winter's cookbooks have been wildly popular and she currently has over 250,000 followers on Facebook, 50,000 more than Lim's already impressive Facebook total.

Put simply, the masses adore her!


Found my old pal backstage at @thefoodshownz! @simongault #judgyjudge

A photo posted by chelseawinter (@chelseawinter) on Sep 3, 2015 at 3:27pm PDT

3. Brett McGregor and Jax Hamilton

Winner of the first season of MasterChef NZ, Brett McGregor is a little further down this pecking order, keeping himself busy with a number of food-related projects.

But, whether they like it or not, both he and MasterChef runner-up Jax Hamilton are best recognised these days for their Countdown ad campaigns. It's not the most exciting of gigs, but we figure it must pay the bills.

4. Benny Tipene

As is usually the case with televised singing contests, the eventual series winner is often surpassed by a fellow contestant once the competition is over.

And so it was with the first season of The X Factor NZ. While winner Jackie Thomas may have more or less sunk without a trace, the third-placed Benny Tipene has enjoyed continuing chart success.

And as for the second season? For all the judges' talk about whether or not each contestant was a viable recording artist, from what we've seen so far, it's hard to imagine any of this year's singers bothering the charts any time soon.

5. Danielle Hayes

It's been a while since New Zealand's Next Top Model graced our TV screens, but one of the show's winners is still carving out a successful international modelling career.

Danielle Hayes, she of the amazing photos (and major attitude), has walked fashion catwalks around the world, most notably in Jean Paul Gaultier's show at Paris Fashion Week last year. And her magazine credits include Vogue Italia and Harper's Bazaar.

Not bad for a kid from Kawerau, eh?

Rocking the bangs and pony tail at the neith nyer show the other night #pfw

Posted by Danielle Hayes on Thursday, 8 October 2015

6. Art Green

Becoming New Zealand's very first 'Bachelor' has done Art Green's image - and business - no harm. The food manufacturing company he co-founded with friends, cricketer Mitchell McClenaghan and Ryan Kamins, basked in money-can't-buy exposure during Art's search for love on the telly.

Now, he is a firm fixture on Auckland's social scene, alongside his sweetheart, Matilda Rice, and life looks pretty swell for the duo. Getting to spend her birthday hanging out with Jimmy Choo is just one of the perks Rice has enjoyed since winning Art's heart.

7. Chrystal Chenery

But one of the biggest winners out of The Bachelor NZ's first season is a contestant who didn't even make it through to the "meet the family" round.

Chrystal Chenery, easily the most polarising of the Bachelorettes, threw herself into TV3's reboot of Dancing With The Stars after her stint on the dating show, dazzling audiences with sparkles, smiles and some incredibly fancy footwork.

But what next for this Bachelorette? Chenery told Spy earlier this week she has some career announcements to make before the end of the year.

The Also-Rans

Now, here's a fun game. These are the names of some winners of New Zealand reality TV shows. How many of them can you remember from their TV heyday?

Ben Lummis, Rosita Vai, Matthew Saunoa, Christobelle Grierson-Ryrie, Brigitte Thomas, Renee Maurice and Aaron Brunet.

Those names, of course, are but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to contestants who became the topic of conversation around the nation's watercoolers for a brief time, before making way for our next TV obsession. How 2015's reality TV winners fare remains to be seen...

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