Beauty & Brains: The Most Educated Celebrities
But some celebs have it all. Beauty, money, power and an impressive academic pedigree. So here is Starpulse's list of the most erudite celebrities, and some might come as quite a surprise. (Conan O'Brien went to Harvard?)
Ashley Judd may have found critical acclaim for for her roles in 1995's "Smoke" and "Heat," but the Southern native first spent four years at the University of Kentucky, where she majored in French and minored in anthropology, art history, theater and women's studies (most people can barely handle one major, let alone four). Judd even spent a semester studying in France.
Julia Stiles made a name for herself from roles in teeny-bopper romance comedies ("10 Things I Hate About You" and "Save the Last Dance"). In Stiles' personal life, however, it seems she prefers subjects with a little more depth. She graduated in 2005 from New York's prestigious Columbia University with a degree in English.
Late-night talk show host Conan O'Brien has made a living by keeping his viewers up past their bedtimes with jokes. It could even be argued that O'Brien's humor, which often sophomorically pokes fun of celebrities and entertainment, is anything but intellectual. But O'Brien graduated from the country's most revered university, Harvard, in 1985 with a degree in American history. He even graduated magna cum laude.
Before she became famous for her acting, 14-year-old Brooke Shields was the youngest fashion model to ever appear on the cover of the top fashion publication "Vogue" magazine. Later that same year, Shields appeared in controversial print and TV ads for Calvin Klein jeans. The TV ad included her saying the famous tagline, "You want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing." After that, Shields somehow found time to attend Princeton University, where she graduated in 1987 with a degree in French Literature. Her senior thesis was titled, "The Initiation: From Innocence to Experience: The Pre-Adolescent/Adolescent Journey in the Films of Louis Malle, 'Pretty Baby' and 'Lacombe Lucien.'"
Most people revere Natalie Portman as the epitome of beauty, brains and talent. She has, so far, stuck to critically-acclaimed films and seems to be involved in a new form of political-activism every day. It's no secret that Portman is a brainy beauty. She finished high school with a 4.0 GPA then attended Harvard University where she completed a Bachelor's degree in Psychology. Portman even took her education one step further with graduate studies at Hebrew University. Even more, she speaks Hebrew, French and Japanese fluently.
Aishwarya Rai has been in dozens of Bollywood films and won the 1994 Miss World pageant. Numerous web polls, magazine articles (and Julia Roberts) have declared her the most beautiful woman of all time. Before her fame, though, Rai was an A student at the prestigious Ruparel College in India (part of the University of Mumbai). She wanted to study medicine or zoology but ended up majoring in architecture. She is fluent in several languages including Hindi, Marathi, English and Tamil (her native tongue is Tulu).
You may know her from movies like "Click," "Serendipity," "Underworld," "Van Helsing" and "Pearl Harbor," but Kate Beckinsale once found fame for her writing - she was a two-time winner of the W.H. Smith Young Writers' competition for her short stories and poems. Not only is Beckinsale fluent in French, German and Russian, she also attended Oxford University in England where she studied French and Russian literature for 3 years.
'80s teen queen Elisabeth Shue ("The Karate Kid," "Adventures in Babysitting," "Cocktail," "Leaving Las Vegas," and "Hollow Man") has always been the quintessential nice girl next door...with a degree from Harvard University. Shue attended both Wellesley College and Harvard, where she left to focus on acting in the mid 80s but returned 15 years later to complete her degree in Government.
Famke Janssen once crushed men to death with her thighs in the Bond film "Goldeneye." Not exactly the behavior you might expect from a former student of Columbia University, where Janssen studied literature and writing. She later attended the University of Amsterdam to study Economics.
"Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion" probably isn't a pillar of intellectualism, but one of its stars, Miro Sirvino, pretty much is. Sorvino attended Harvard, where she majored in Chinese and graduated magna cum laude in 1989. She wrote a Hoopes Prize-winning thesis on racial conflict in China, written and researched during a year she spent in Beijing. She's even fluent in Mandarin Chinese.
Other Smart Celebrities
Funny girl Aisha Tyler has hosted the comedic show "Talk Soup," she's appeared on "Friends," "Ghost Whisperer" and "24." And not only is she tall and beautiful, but she has a respected sense of humor and has pursued a career in standup comedy. Tyler, then, must be the ultimate quadruple threat: beautiful, successful, hilarious, and well-educated. Tyler earned a Bachelor's degree from Dartmouth University in Government with a minor in Environmental Policy. She's even fluent in French, Russian and Swahili.
The hauntingly beautiful Jennifer Connelly has appeared in countless critically-acclaimed auteur films ("Requiem for a Dream," "A Beautiful Mind" and "Blood Diamond," just to name a few). She's even recently dabbled in modeling (or finally succumbed to the many designers that beg her to lend their lines her face). Connelly also attended Yale for two years, where she studied English, then transferred to Stanford to complete her Bachelor's degree. She is also fluent in French and Italian.
Model and actress Joy Bryant was blessed with intelligence as well as a drool-worthy figure. An excellent student throughout her high school years, Bryant was awarded a full academic scholarship to Yale University. While enrolled as a full-time student at Yale, Bryant was discovered by a modeling scout from Next Models Management and subsequently pursued a career as a fashion model in Paris.
It is widely reported that Hollywood big-timer Will Smith was turned down a scholarship to attend the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). While he told "Inside the Actor's Studio" that he never applied to MIT, he says he was admitted to a "pre-engineering program" there. We say that's not too shabby.
One of the pivotal supermodels of our time, Cindy Crawford (and her famous mole) has more to her than a perfect aesthetic. She was on the cover of just about every fashion magazine during the 1990s. Crawford, though, was also her high school valedictorian (4.0 GPA), where she must have been the envy of every single one of her female classmates. She later enrolled at Northwestern University to study chemical engineering on a full academic scholarship, but she dropped out to pursue modeling fulltime after a semester.
Story by Sarah Lavery
Starpulse.com contributing writer
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