Home LifestyleCareer Local Celebrities: Hoboken + Jersey City Residents on Reality TV

Local Celebrities: Hoboken + Jersey City Residents on Reality TV

by Jordan and Joelle Hernandez
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Hudson County has been the subject of many television shows, movies, and even song lyrics. It also is home to nearly two dozen residents who have graced the small screen on reality or competition television shows. From competitive chefs to individuals finding love, Hoboken and Jersey City have been represented well on some of the country’s favorite programs. We’ve rounded up all of the local residents who have been seen on television and even had a chance to hear from a few on their experiences. Read on to find out who from Hoboken and Jersey City have been on tv shows.

Jordan and Joelle Hernandez | Baking It on NBC

Jordan and joelle

(Photo credit: @jordanandjoelle)

Hoboken residents and identical twin sisters Jordan and Joelle Hernandez competed on the first season of Baking It, a holiday baking competition show which aired on NBC and Peacock. Baking It, hosted by SNL Alumni Maya Rudolph and Andy Samberg, showcased eight pairs of bakers as they participated in holiday-themed baking challenges and shared heart-warming stories. “It really was a dream come true,” shared Joelle. “To be able to be in the same room as these talented bakers, Maya and Andy was unbelievable and something I never thought I’d be able to do,” said Jordan. The twins both agreed that it was “totally worth the hard work!”

Michele Fitzgerald | Survivor on CBS + The Challenge on MTV

Michele Fitzgerald

(Photo credit: @mich_fitz)

Michele Fitzgerald is a Hoboken resident. While she can typically be seen around town with her new puppy, Michele knows a thing or two about making it in the wilderness and she appeared on two seasons of Survivor. She won season 32 and came in as the runner-up of Survivor: Winners at War. Most recently, Michele appeared as a contestant on The Challenge: Spies, Lies & Allies hosted by and aired on MTV. Despite being known for her mental strength on Survivor, she showed true physical ability on The Challenge to advance through the competition.  When asked about why she made the decision to be on Survivor, she said, “Survivor checked every box for me because it challenged me mentally, physically, and emotionally. I loved that I was able to disconnect from the bustle of day-to-day life and connect with people from very different backgrounds. It gave me the opportunity to learn about myself and about how to be strong in difficult situations.” 

Christine Fiorentino | The Julia Child Challenge on Food Network

christine fiorentino three birds one stove

(Photo credit: Food Network)

Hoboken resident Christine Fiorentino is living out her childhood dream: cooking in Julia Child’s kitchen, or at least a replica of it. Christine was cast on the first season of Food Network’s new cooking competition show honoring the cooking legend. Christine shared more about what she did after finding out she would be on the show. “I’m pretty sure I jumped up and screamed. Then I FaceTimed my mom and we both cried happy tears. Julia had been in the kitchen with us forever, and now I was going to be in hers. It was a beautiful and emotional full-circle moment.”  

Courtney Roselle | The Titan Games on NBC

courtney roselle

(Photo credit: @courtney_roselle)

When The Rock is hosting a fitness competition, it’s sure to be intense. But, not too intense for Jersey City resident Courtney Roselle. Courtney appeared on Season Two of NBC’s The Titan Games. The Titan Games is a series of some of the toughest fitness challenges ever seen on television. Everyday individuals who have shown excellence in different areas of fitness compete head-to-head to advance through the competition. After defeating opponents throughout the competition, she was named Season Two’s ‘Titan of the East.’

Brian Davis | Wheel of Fortune on ABC

Brian davis

(Photo credit: @lebrian_davis)

Perseverance truly paid off for this Hoboken resident to land a spot on ‘America’s Game,’ Wheel of Fortune. Brian sent in his initial audition tape for Wheel in 2015 and after three attempts, he finally made it on the show. Brian’s episode aired in January 2020 where he represented Hudson County well by taking home $1,000 in winnings, which he donated to the Hoboken Shelter. 

Read More: Movie Scenes Filmed in Hoboken

Kate Griffith + David Benavidez | Temptation Island on USA Network

Kate Griffith and David Benavidez

(Photo credit: John Tsiavis/USA Network)

It’s not every day that love is tested on national television, but for Hudson County residents Kate Griffith and David Benavidez, this became a reality on Temptation Island. Back in 2019, the then-couple appeared on the reality show to take a stab at improving their relationship. In an interview with Hoboken Girl upon the show’s launch, both individuals agreed that the show was a good opportunity for self-reflection and growth.

Julianne O’Connell | Wheel of Fortune on ABC

Julianne O’Connell

(Photo credit: @jfel11)

Julianne O’Connell won a life-changing amount of money as a contestant on Wheel of Fortune: $57,000 in cash and prizes to be exact. The episode aired in September 2019 with the audition process starting nearly 18 months prior to that. In an interview with Hoboken Girl upon the launch of the show, Julianne shared what her plans were for the winnings. “My original plan was to save it all for a rainy day,” Julianne said. “But, since Margherita’s still isn’t open, I’m considering underwriting the rest of their construction so the people of Hoboken can get the penne vodka they all deserve!” Wheel was not Julianne’s first time competing on television. She made an appearance on the Price is Right back in 2012 as well.

Kristin Hopkins | The Bachelor on ABC

Kristin hopkins

Kristin Hopkins (left) with Bachelor Matt James (right) (Photo credit: Bachelor ABC via Kristin Hopkins)

Bachelor nation welcomed Jersey City resident Kristin Hopkins to the show for Season 25. More than two dozen women were hoping to find love with Bachelor Matt James on the show and Kristin was a part of the lineup. While Matt was not the one for her, she did learn a lot during her time on the show. She shared why she made the decision to participate. “Before being on The Bachelor, I had never seen the show as there weren’t too many contestants who looked like me. When Matt James was announced as the first Black Bachelor, I was excited not only about the possibility of finding love, but being able to represent Black love and all the forms it comes in on a major network. While the season itself was tumultuous, I am glad that I was able to be a part of the conversation and the change about what representation truly means for reality television,” shared Kristin.

Casey Repetti | Cooks v. Cons on Food Network

Casey-Repetti

(Photo credit: @casey2cook)

Chef and Hoboken resident Casey Repetti represented The Mile Square well on the Food Network’s Cooks v. Cons. She took home the big prize on Episode 11 of Season 4. When asked about her experience on the show she said, “Competing on Food Networks Cooks v. Cons was a dream come true. I live for the stress of a hot kitchen and fierce competition. Everyone was so nice and even though the day was long it was enjoyable. When I walked in and saw I was up against 3 men I knew I had to win it! PS. There is no camera/TV magic when those timers [go off] – they mean business!”

Kiersten Gormeley | Chopped on Food Network

While Chef Kiersten can be seen in the kitchen of Shaka Bowl while in Hoboken, on TV she was seen on Food Network’s wildly popular series, Chopped. Not only did she appear on the show, but she won. Krista’s sister and the business partner saw the initial email and called her screaming about it. Kiersten cooked her way to the top right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. “After getting re-scheduled twice because of COVID, it finally happened in Tennessee in November 2020. My sisters traveled with me there to support me and then later the show aired in May of 2021, where I could finally share my win with the world. It was an extremely exhausting yet the most fulfilling/best days of my life to date,” shared Kiersten. When it comes to being a Chopped Champion she says, “The euphoric feeling I still have is hard to explain. It’s such an honor especially since I’m a self-taught chef and restauranteur being able to have that a part of my journey.”

Emma Taylor | Chopped Sweets Showdown on Food Network

Emma Taylor

(Photo credit: Milk Sugar Love)

Emma Taylor of Jersey City’s Milk Sugar Love is known throughout New Jersey as one of the best ice cream makers in the state. All of America got to see just how good her skills are as she competed on Food Network’s Chopped Sweets Showdown. The episode aired in 2019 and was all about Emma’s specialty, unique ice cream. When asked about her experience she said, “I decided to be on Chopped because I was in the process of opening my second shop in the Heights in Jersey City (now closed due to the pandemic). It was an amazing opportunity to market the new shop and there’s no way I could say no. Plus they were doing a new dessert challenge, an entire episode just on ice cream which seemed tailor-made for my skill set. One of the best parts was seeing the judges and Ted [Allen] in real life – It was a huge fan girl moment for me.”

See More: Celebrities That Have Graced Hoboken

Paul Ruggeri | American Ninja Warrior on NBC

Being a World Champion gymnast definitely helps when making it as a Ninja. Hudson County resident Paul Ruggeri did just that. As a four-time world champion competitor for gymnastics, Paul decided to join the show after seeing many of his fellow gymnasts compete. His episode was a part of Season 10 of the show that aired back in 2018.

Mike Turner | Survivor on CBS

mike turner

(Photo credit: @hobokenmiket)

Hoboken native and retired firefighter Mike Turner is showing the world that individuals over 55 are a force to be reckoned with, even on Survivor. Mike is a contestant on the current season, Season 42 of Survivor, and will face opponents on both physical and mental challenges in Fiji. 

Anthony Vlachos | Survivor on CBS

Born and raised in Jersey City, Anthony “Tony” Vlachos, has made multiple appearances on CBS’s hit show, Survivor. Tony is a Jersey City police officer and is the second person to win more than one season. He won both Season 28 and Season 40 Winners at War where he beat out fellow Hudson County resident, Michele Fitzgerald. Tony also appeared on Season 34 where he was the second person voted off. 

Dale Talde | Iron Chef on Bravo, Chopped on Food Network, Iron Chef on Food Network + Beat Bobby Flay on Food Network

dale talde

^ Mario Lopez (left) with Chef Talde (right) (Photo credit: @daletalde)

When it comes to cooking television, Chef Dale Talde has lots of experience. His culinary talents can be seen on three seasons of Top Chef and he is considered one of the show’s most popular chefs. He has also appeared on multiple Food Network programs including Iron Chef and Chopped. He even came back as a judge on Chopped and has also served as a guest judge on Beat Bobby Flay. Chef Talde ran Talde restaurant in Jersey City from 2015-2019. 

Stephen El-Hassan | Man v. Food + Guy’s Grocery Games on Food Network

Stephen El Hassan

(Photo credit: @chef.selhassan)

When Guy Fieri calls, Chef Stephen El-Hassan answers. Owner of popular breakfast eatery O’Bagel, Stephen has been able to show off his skills on television alongside some of the best chefs in the country as a competitor on Guy’s Grocery Games multiple times. He even got to show off the Hoboken staple twice on Man v. Food with O’Bagel being named in the show’s Top 5 Breakfast Bonanza.

Victoria Alario | Ex On The Beach on MTV

victoria alario

(Photo credit: @victoria.alario)

Aside from being a fashion influencer, Victoria Alario is also an executive director for MONAT Global. The Hoboken local appeared on the first American season of MTV’s Ex On The Beach in 2018. Victoria moved to Hoboken a few months ago from Florida to be closer to her Northern roots she’s originally from Staten Island.

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