MTV is banking on chic Brit girl Alexa Chung and her variety show to be its next big hit. Here, a look back at some of the network’s most iconic personalities.
1981. MARTHA QUINN: A member of the network’s first cast of VJs, Quinn won viewers over with her girl-next-door looks and accessible style.
This story first appeared in the May 13, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
1985. “DOWNTOWN” JULIE BROWN: As famous for her “Wubba, Wubba, Wubba” catchphrase as she was for her supercurly locks and sporty-meets-sexy look, the Jamaican-English Brown hosted the dance show “Club MTV” and early iterations of the network’s Video Music Awards.
1989. HOUSE OF STYLE: From its debut with host Cindy Crawford, this fashion and lifestyle show became a revolving door for charismatic beauties like Shalom Harlow, Amber Valletta, Rebecca Romijn and Molly Sims. This past March, Bar Refaeli and Chanel Iman tried their hand at hosting a revamped version, though their effort was panned critically.
1992. KENNEDY: As a host of “Hangin’ With MTV” and “Alternative Nation,” Kennedy (née Lisa Kennedy Montgomery) spoke to offbeat Generation Xers with her pithy delivery, mall-rats-be-damned style and horn-rimmed specs.
1995. JENNY MCCARTHY: This bodacious blonde made a name for herself as the co-host of “Singled Out,” where her form-fitting outfits and crude sense of humor scored major points with teens of both sexes.
1996. SERENA ALTSCHUL: As the daughter of Wall Street tycoon Arthur G. Altschul, this “MTV News” anchor never strayed too far from her Upper East Side roots with her sophisticated wardrobe and hairstyles.
1997. DARIA: The animated star of this “Beavis & Butthead” spin-off, Daria Morgendorffer had an acerbic wit and a no-nonsense, grunge-influenced uniform to match: jumbo coke bottle glasses, army jacket, dark pleated skirt and combat boots.
1998. JESSE CAMP: This lanky New England boarding school grad (born Josiah Holden Camp 3rd), who won the first “Wanna Be a VJ” contest, had viewers and execs thinking he was homeless because of his strung-out persona and dumpster-chic look.
2006. LAUREN CONRAD: The star of “The Hills” became a mainstream celeb on the pseudo-reality show, now in its fifth season. On camera, the fashion student (and lover of Chanel bags and oversize sunglasses) spars with friends and interns at Teen Vogue and People’s Revolution. Off camera, Conrad launched a now-defunct namesake contemporary line, financed in part by MTV, and in April 2009 announced a new collaboration with Kohl’s.