Famous people you may not have known are from Orlando

Before they went to Hollywood or signed to major sports teams, they got their start in Central Florida.

by Gianna Aceto
July 18, 2022

Photos via Getty Images

Orlando is home to the perfect mix of sports and entertainment, but did you know that some of the top names in the spotlight started right in your area? Before they went to Hollywood or signed to major sports teams, they got their start in Central Florida. Here is a list of the top famous people you didn’t know were from the City Beautiful.

Mandy Moore

HOLLYWOOD – NOVEMBER 14: Mandy Moore arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of “Tangled” held at the El Capitan Theatre on November 14, 2010 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)

New Hampshire-born and Orlando-raised actress, Mandy Moore, spent the majority of her adolescent years in Central Florida. Her career began in the music industry and progressed into film and TV, where she is most recognized for her roles as Rapunzel in Disney’s Tangled and NBC’s This Is Us. She has since been Golden Globe-nominated, Emmy-nominated, and 2x SAG award-winning.

Wesley Snipes

LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS — Episode 261 — Pictured: Actor Wesley Snipes during an interview on September 21, 2015 — (Photo by: Lloyd Bishop/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

Wesley Snipes was born in Orlando and attended Jones High School in Florida before pursuing the arts in New York. His career has spanned decades with major box office films such as White Men Can’t Jump, Blade, and Demolition Man. 

Kathryn Newton

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 19: Actress Kathryn Newton attends the 26th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 19, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Chelsea Guglielmino/Getty Images)

Kathryn Newton is a young actress born in Orlando who did not wait to jump-start her career in entertainment. She began acting at age 4 and has since starred in popular projects such as HBO’s Big Little Lies, Netflix’s The Society, and Pokémon Detective Pikachu alongside Ryan Reynolds. Like many Central Floridians, she has a strong passion for golfing.

Chase Stokes

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 27: Chase Stokes attends the 2022 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 27, 2022 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Arturo Holmes/FilmMagic)

Netflix newcomer Chase Stokes was introduced to the spotlight after his starring role in the popular oceanside mystery show called Outer Banks. Although he was born in Maryland, Stokes grew up in Orlando attending Timber Creek High and the University of Central Florida before withdrawing to focus on his acting career.

Beth Littleford

DOG WITH A BLOG – “Stan Rescues His Princess” – Princess’s owner want to take her away to summer camp, but Stan devises a plan to keep his family together. This episode of “Dog With A Blog” airs Friday, August 07 (9:30 PM – 10:00 PM ET/PT), on Disney Channel. (Photo by Eric McCandless/Disney Channel via Getty Images)

Nashville-born and Winter Park-raised, Beth Littleford found success in her acting career often appearing in comedic roles such as Ellen Jennings on Disney Channel’s Dog With a Blog and more recently as Sarah on Hulu’s Love, Victor. As a child, she attended Park Maitland School in Winter Park.

Wayne Brady

LOS ANGELES – SEPTEMBER 15: — Host Wayne Brady stepping up the stairs as he has his sights on another trader to make deals, on a special Family Episode of LET’™S MAKE A DEAL, Tuesday, Nov. 20 (check local listings) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images)

Comedian and entertainer Wayne Brady was raised in Orlando and frequented SAK Comedy Club in downtown Orlando as a teenager while attending Dr. Phillips High School. His on-stage presence has earned himself multiple Emmy award wins and a long resume of films, television shows and theatrical productions. Some of Brady’s most notable works are Whose Line Is It Anyways, Let’s Make a Deal and The Wayne Brady Show.

Charlotte McKinney

LOS ANGELES, CA – DECEMBER 03: Model Charlotte McKinney attends the GQ 20th Anniversary Men Of The Year Party at Chateau Marmont on December 3, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for GQ Magazine)

Charlotte McKinney is an Orlando-native who is known for modeling and her part in a Carl’s Jr. burger advertisement during the 2015 Super Bowl. She is signed to one of the top modeling agencies in the world, Wilhelmina Models, and has made guest appearances on several TV shows. McKinney has been featured on the cover of Vanity Fair, GQ and Harper’s Bazaar magazines.

Ashlyn Harris

ORLANDO, FL – JANUARY 22: Ashlyn Harris #18 of the United States during a game between Colombia and USWNT at Exploria stadium on January 22, 2021 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

Ashlyn Harris was born in Cocoa Beach and grew up dedicated to playing soccer. Post-college graduation in North Carolina, her passion for the sport would return to Central Florida when she played as the goalkeeper for the Orlando Pride women’s soccer team. During her time with the Orlando Pride, she was named Goalkeeper of the year in 2016 by the National Women’s Soccer League and multiple Saves of the Week. Harris participated as a member of the winning teams in the 2015 and 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Joey Fatone

Members of the American Pop group N’Sync pose in front of a green screen during a publicity photoshoot, Boston, Massachusetts, 1998. Pictured are, from left, Chris Kirkpatrick, Joey Fatone, Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, and Lance Bass. (Photo by Mikki Ansin/Getty Images)

Brooklyn-born singer and entertainer Joey Fatone moved to Orlando as a child where he attended Dr. Phillips High School and worked as a performer at Universal Studios. A friend of Fatone, Chris Kirkpatrick, was also working as a performer at Universal before they became a part of the world famous boy band *NSYNC- the other members being JC Chasez, Lance Bass and Justin Timberlake. The group’s song “This I Promise You” spent 63 weeks at #1 on the Billboard music charts and *NSYNC shifted pop culture history forever. Fatone has since returned to his roots and started a business called Fat Ones in Orlando, which specializes in hot dogs and Italian ice.

Gianna Aceto is a photographer and writer from Orlando, Florida. She is passionate about art, specializing in portrait and concert photography. Her writing skills cover a variety of topics such as mental health, entertainment, music and beauty. Gianna is currently studying at the University of Central Florida to receive her Bachelor's degree.

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