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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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.