Ryan Starr, born Tiffany Ryan Montgomery, burst into fame as the top 7
finalist on the first season of “American Idol” (2002). Her
debut single “My Religion” (2004) topped the Billboard Hot
Digital Songs and was one of the highest selling exclusive singles on
iTunes. She also has appeared in other reality shows like “The
Surreal Life” (2004), “Battle of the Network Reality
Stars” (2005) and “Gimme My Reality Show” (2008) as
well as in scripted television programs and films. Starr is of French,
Colombian, Peruvian, and Irish decent.
Childhood and Family:
Ryan Starr was born Tiffany Ryan Montgomery on November 21, 1982, in
Sunland, California, to Columbian parents. Her nickname is Stizzarre.
She attended Verdugo Hills High School in Tujunga, Los Angeles. She
was head cheerleader and prom queen while in high school.
In late 2004, Ryan purchased a home on the Santa Monica coastline with an estimated value of $3.4 million.
At age 19, Ryan Starr auditioned for the first season of
“American Idol” in Los Angeles, California by using her
birth name. Her audition song was Bill Withers' “Lean On
Me.” In the Hollywood rounds, she performed Bill Withers'
“Ain't No Sunshine,” and chose Nat Kin Cole's “The
Frim Fram Sauce” the first semi-final. Starr became the singer
from Group 1 to be voted into the Top Ten .
In the next week, Starr became the first contestant to perform on
American Idol's first live show. She performed Stevie Wonder's
“If You Really Love Me” and earned kudos from the judges.
During the 1960s week, she performed “You Really Got Me” by
The Kinks and was panned by the judges for faltering. She ended up at
the bottom 2. Starr received praise for singing Donna Summer's
“Last Dance” in the following week, but was eliminated. She
became the fourth finalist to be voted off, after Ejay Day, Jim
Verraros and A. J. Gil.
Starr returned with the rest of the finalists during the shows' finale
and performed Nancy Sinatra's “These Boots Are Made For
Walkin',” and went on a nationwide 32-city tour with the
other finalists. Seeing her potential, RCA, in partnership with
American Idol, signed her. Starr, however, declined to record an album
with RCA after she felt producers wanted to turn her into an Avril
Lavigne type singer. Following an intense three year legal
battle, she was released from the contract in 2004.
In September 2004, Starr released a single on iTunes called “My
Religion.” The song went on to become one of iTunes' highest
selling exclusive singles, with an estimated 360,000 units sold, and
reached No, 1 on the US Billboard Hot Digital Songs. After “My
Religion,” she had three singles posted on her MySpace:
“Love Gone Bad,” “Stranded” and
“7am.” Other singles, “Blue” and
“Broken,” are available on the Curtain Call, Volume 1
After her performance on “American Idol,” Starr made a
guest appearance in the popular Fox comedy show “That '70s
Show” (2002). She also appeared in “Entertainment
Tonight,” “Access Hollywood” and “Fox
News.” In 2003, she played Sophia Renatta in an episode of
the hit CBS drama “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and also
had a two episodic role as Pam in “What I Like About You.”
The same year, she also appeared in a stage production of “Joseph
and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat” in California, where she
played the part of The Narrator. In 2004, Starr made her television
movie acting debut as Stacy in “Ring of Darkness.” The same
year, she made striking appearance in the VH1 reality show “The
Surreal Life.” in the next year, she participated as a contestant
in the reality show “Battle of the Network Reality Stars.”
Starr was cast as Brigitte Douglas in the 2006 film
In fall 2008, Starr appeared in Fox Reality's “Gimme My Reality
Show,” where she competed with such D-listers as Kato Kaelin and
A.J. Benza for the chance to star in her own reality show. She was
eliminated after the second round.