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Beauty & Brains: Celebrity Babes with High IQs

Opinion by greedo posted over a year ago
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Last week I ran across an article about a gorgeous cheerleader for the Houston Texans who also happens to be an aerospace engineer for NASA (click for full story).

Of course the story got me wondering about other, more famous women with interesting academic pedigree or intellectual pursuits; because, as we all know, there really is nothing sexier than a beautiful woman with some serious smarts. I knew that if I could figure out who those women were, I might just be able to come up with a list of ladies more impressive than the annual popularity polls published by magazines like People and Maxim.

Now before I get started, a couple of caveats. First, this is not a list of geeks who happen to be beautiful. There are a lot of those, and they've been documented on other websites and publications. No, this is a list of gorgeous celebrities, models and actresses who have also got some educational pedigree behind them (because I've got no objective measure for a celeb's IQ, and their past scholarly accomplishments is all I've got to work with). Also, while there are plenty of actresses, for instance, who have studied performing arts at the undergraduate level, I've tended to give greater weight to celebrities who have excelled in a different field from their chosen profession.

But enough with the formalities. Here is my ode to the Beautiful and the Brainy. Argue with me if you will, but these women are forever near and dear to my heart...

1. Natalie Portman

You may know her from: Star Wars, Garden State, The Professional and a host of other great films.
Why she's beautiful: If she was hot enough for Darth Vader to go over to the darkside, she's hot enough for me (and don't get me started on her sexy voice!). And of course, when you're done go see Closer.
Why she's brainy: Finished high school with a 4.0 GPA. Attended Harvard University where she completed a Bachelor's degree in Psychology. Also engaged in graduate studies at Hebrew University. Speaks Hebrew, French and Japanese fluently.
Extra Credit: Did you know Natalie also raps? Check it out.

2. Cindy Crawford

You may know her from: The grocery checkout stand - she was on the cover of just about every fashion magazine you can think of during the 1990s.
Why she's beatiful: She made beauty marks cool (even supermodels can have a 'blemish'). And young 'uns take note, she's still gorgeous at 40.
Why she's brainy: High school valedictorian (4.0 GPA), enrolled at Northwestern University to study chemical engineering on full academic scholarship. Dropped out to pursue modeling full-time after a semester (but she coulda finished!!!).
Extra Credit: The classic Pepsi commercial. The girl is pretty nice too!

3. Aishwarya Rai

You may know her from: Any of the dozens of Bollywood films she's been in.
Why she's beautiful: She won the 1994 Miss World pageant. Declared the most beautiful woman of all-time by numerous web polls, magazine articles and Julia Roberts.
Why she's brainy: Was an A student at the prestigious Ruparel College in India (part of the University of Mumbai). Wanted to study medicine or zoology but ultimately ended up majoring in architecture. She is fluent in several languages including Hindi, Marathi, English and Tamil (her native tongue is Tulu).
Extra Credit: 60 Minutes segment on Aishwarya Rai.

4. Kate Beckinsale

You may know her from: Movies like Click, Serendipity, Underworld, Van Helsing and Pearl Harbor.
Why she's beautiful: Almost made me turn to vampirism with her Underworld films. Routinely places in FHM, Maxim and Stuff's annual lists of hot women.
Why she's brainy: Attended Oxford University (New College) studying French and Russian literature for 3 years. As a teenager she was a two-time winner of the W.H. Smith Young Writers' competition for her short stories and poems. Is also fluent in French, German and Russian.
Extra Credit: Kate Beckinsale's Diet Coke ad. She knows how to make guys, um, tingle.

5. Dr. Victoria Zdrok

You may know her from: Magazine spreads from Playboy.
Why she's beautiful: One of the few to achieve both the Playboy Playmate of the Month (October 1994) and Penthouse Pet of the Month (June 2002).
Why she's brainy: Skipped high school and attended college instead. Graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor's degree from West Chester University (Pennsylvania) at age 18. Obtained a JD law degree in 1997 as well as a Ph.D. in psychology from Villanova Law School and Drexel University. She most recently completed post-doctorate work in sex therapy at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

6. Elisabeth Shue

You may know her from: The Karate Kid, Adventures in Babysitting, Cocktail, Leaving Las Vegas and Hollow Man.
Why she's beautiful: Sure some girls are bad, but Elisabeth's always been the nice girl next door.
Why she's brainy: Attended Wellesley College and Harvard University. She left Harvard to focus on acting in the mid 80s, but returned 15 years later to complete her degree in Government (that's some nice perseverance).
Extra credit: Elisabeth doing her cute as a button dance from Babysitting...

7. Famke Janssen
You may know her from: Movies like GoldenEye (villaness), X-Men (Jean Grey).
Why she's beautiful (or in this case, hot): Crushed men to death with her thighs in the Bond film, Goldeneye. Be still my beating heart!
Why she's brainy: Attended Columbia University to study literature and writing. Later attended the University of Amsterdam to study Economics.
Extra credit: If you were wondering about the GoldenEye comment...

8. Hedy Lamarr:

Why you know her: If you're using the internet, you probably don't know her. Ask your grandparents.
Why she's beautiful: Film star of the 30s and 40s frequently cast as a seductress invariably because of her good looks rather than her acting skills.
Why she's brainy: While her formal educational credentials are not well documented, Hedy Lamarr's biggest claim to fame outside of acting is her joint patent with composer George Antheil for an early version of spread spectrum communication technology (U.S. patent #2,292,387) - a concept that was later incorporated into wireless telephones and internet wifi.

9. Aisha Tyler

You may know her from: Television's Talk Soup, Friends, Ghost Whisperer and 24.
Why she's beautiful: Not only is she tall and beautiful, but she's also got a serious sense of humor having pursued a standup career.
Why she's brainy: Earned a Bachelor's degree from Dartmouth in Government with a minor in Environmental Policy. Fluent in French Russian and Swahili. She's also a serious poker player (big points in my book).

10. Jennifer Connelly

You may know her from: Movies like Career Opportunities, The Rocketeer, Inventing the Abbotts, Requiem for a Dream, A Beautiful Mind, Blood Diamond.
Why she's beautiful: It's all in her eyes (um...well and maybe a few other parts of her body)
Why she's brainy: Attended Yale for 2 years (English) then transferred to Stanford to complete her Bachelor's degree. Is fluent in French and Italian.
Extra credit: Nobody else has made riding a coin operated pony look so, um, fun.

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liono said:
Wow, another FANTASTIC article Greedo! It's great to see women appreciated not only for their bodies but their minds. And in this case most definitely BOTH. Other great actresses who are brilliant:
Sigourney Weaver - Stanford (English) and Yale Drama
Rashida Jones (Karen from the Office) - Harvard
Joy Bryant (Bobby, Get Rich or Die Tryin, Antowne Fisher) - Full-scholarship to Yale
Jennifer Beals (Flashdance, The L Word) - Yale (American Literature)
posted over a year ago.
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harold said:
I like your list because it breaks from tradition and doesn't mention several of the women that are usually listed at the top of such lists, such as Sharon Stone (high IQ) and Mira Sorvino (magna cum laude in Chinese, Harvard). Here are some others that aren't often listed elsewhere: Emma Thompson (English Literature, Cambridge), Alicia Keys (valedictorian at 16), and Reese Witherspoon (studied English Literature at Stanford).
posted over a year ago.
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greedo said:
Nice, thanks for the additional celebs liono and harold. I was aware of some, but not all, of those.

By far my favorites not included on the list above were:
- Tera Patrick (porn star): BS in microbiology from Boise State
- Asia Carerra (porn star): Full scholarship to Rutgers.
- Leann Tweeden (model): Allegedly deferred Harvard...allegedly
- Rebecca Ramos (oldest Playboy Playmate): JD from St Mary's Univeristy (Texas)

I also came across this Ukranian porn star, Vicca, who was studying optical electronics at some Siberian institute before emigrating to the U.S. to become an adult actress (talk about changes!).
posted over a year ago.
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Thanks for such a great article! It's interesting how Hollywood and the like can sometimes de-emphasize these women's accomplishments. I wanted to mention one more actress that I've only recently become aware of: Kristin Chenoweth. She received an MM in Opera Performance from Oklahoma City University.
posted over a year ago.
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badguy111 said:
Interesting! Maybe brains aren't so hard to find in Hollywood. I have one to add too

Jodie Foster: Yale University, BA Literature, Magna Cum Laude 1985
posted over a year ago.
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dusty said:
I think you are all forgetting about Matt Damon! He went to Harvard.
posted over a year ago.
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heres a show were beauty's are not as smart:

posted over a year ago.
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elizabeth said:
yayy for females!
posted over a year ago.
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MarchHare said:
Nice list - so many more actresses you could add to it, though. However, according to imdb.com (I know, not the greatest source), Natalie Portman only knows some conversational Japanese, French, and German - very far from being fluent. Not that she isn't wicked smart anyway.
I'm so glad you didn't include Scarlett Johansson - articles are always claiming that she is unique among actresses her age because she's allegedly so intelligent, but I've never seen evidence that she is.
posted over a year ago.
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elizabeth said:
Where's the Asian females that are bright. I mean comeon... math= asian ?:-(
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If you want to see very BEAUTIFUL and VERY SMART Russian Girls check out this link.


The girl in the 3rd photo for example is studying to be an Electronics Engineer.

Have fun,

posted over a year ago.
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Famke, Famke, Famke!
posted over a year ago.
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DIC said:
Now here's one person who's definitely not going to make it on the list:

posted over a year ago.
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dutch said:
Although she may not be famous, I think that you would agree on a local hot, smart female. Chemical engineer and Colts Cheerleader.... Yeah, Jennie

posted over a year ago.
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funkygeek said:
I work with a really beautiful Aussie genius.

posted over a year ago.
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oldharold said:
good article - beauty and brains are a wonderful combo -
posted over a year ago.
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Why the heck isn't Anna Nicole Smith on this list. She is one of the smartest women to ever live considering all the $$$ she got away with. Well...untill she died.

posted over a year ago.
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JohnnieB said:
Dr. Victoria Zdrok also speaks 5 languages. I have just picked up her new book "Dr Z on Scoring" and it is very well-written. I love intelligent women!
posted over a year ago.
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JohnB said:
Those women are blessed: good looking and very beautyful. My personal fav is J. Conelly...
posted over a year ago.
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Fast426 said:
Very lucky ladies, indeed. I teach with a woman at my school, 29 years old, drop dead gorgeous, teaches ESL and dance, has the face of an angel and legs like Juliette Prowse!! She has is mensa rated (IQ of 160 +) and got a masters from Oxford when she was 25.....needless to say as an older single guy she is driving me #$%^&$ NUTS!!!!! HELP!!!!!
posted over a year ago.
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trystkit said:
Hello greedo, nice thread you started. I grew up in the 60s and beauty with brains was a non-sequitir. Let me tell you about a cool thing from the older side of life. If you are ever blessed with a beautiful daughter, and women find out your daughter is also smart, you (dad) are suddenly much more attractive than when you first entered the room!
posted over a year ago.
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blahface said:
This list makes females (such as myself) who rely on their brains to make them attractive because they weren't blessed with beautiful faces nor with hot bodies feel VERY inadequate! God can be cruel...with women like this, what do I have to show for myself now!?
posted over a year ago.
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hey Blahface Hi
Take heart.It is not the face or the body that really shines it is the brain and the heart.Beauty is relative.Even the most beautiful or handsome people feel inadequate in their looks but the brainy men and women dont lack confidence.More over beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.It does not last for ever.by the time you are fort wrinkles start appearing, skin starts to sag.But the brain keeps growing if you use it.Brain has no competition but only for the wiser men.So be jolly and celebrate the gift God has given you.Any one who does not know your value does not know any thing.I for one enjoy intelligent women more than the beautiful ones.
posted over a year ago.
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IQof160 said:
Hey author you are an absolute r3t4rd. Its like sheep following sheep. Academic performance does NOT indicate Intelligence Quotient. It may give the person the higher ability to do well, but without hard work and determination, they will never get there.

Please refrain from posting things like this, or the baa-ing masses will believe you. Also @ Women, men are statistically more intelligent than you, more so by approximately 4 points on average.

Also, if you actually take this guys word as the law, then you yourself are an idiot, and its most likely that you have an IQ below 130 (US) or 148 (Intl.).

Women, please refrain from saying you are intelligent unless you have taken a Mensa membership test to prove it. Also, OP is a r3t4rd, with an IQ of < that of the 98th percent of the population.
Please note, I know that the baa-ing masses will not like this, therefore let me put it to you bluntly, those with higher IQ's are genetically superior to yourselves. LOL.
posted over a year ago.
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Sallyloo said:
It's rather refreshing to find that there is something behind the shallow culture of Hollywood. And btw, I find it extremely amusing that IQof160 uses his IQ as identification and authority while putting down these incredible women. Inferiority complex much? Goes to show that not all internet IQ tests are equal...
posted over a year ago.
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Chicadee2 said:
When asked in a New York Times interview what his IQ was, Stephen Hawking replied that he had no idea. He then stated, "People who talk about their IQ are Losers." At the time, I thought he was being a bit harsh in his judgment. Then I happened to read the comments to this article posted by "IQof160". And I suddenly realized that not only did Mr. Hawking make a valid point; he was in fact spot on in his judgment.
posted over a year ago.
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elenadima said:
Kate B... nice photo very sexy madamme
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Turns out that brains and beauty are linked more generally, in our own minds, and genetically. The scientific article published in the journal 'Ingelligence' that shows this is reviewed here: http://www.highiqpro.com/recent-iq-reseear­ch/­hig­h-i­q-b­eau­ty
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sj2500 said:
If non-celebs count ... I have a BS in electronics engineering from MIT, MS in computer science from Cornell, MBA from Wharton, have a few research papers and patents, currently working with a tech firm and working on my PhD simultaneously. Always thought that people stared at me because I was ugly and that they were making fun of me when they said that I looked good. Only recently, I figured out that their reason was the opposite. ;)

I guess being raised by a single dad, relocating too often to make close female friends, and being too engrossed in academics when you developed from an ugly duckling into womanhood can do that to you! Anyway, now I'm told that men find me intimidating because I look good and I'm too accomplished. :(

After I changed from drab clothing and simple ponytail hair to fashionable clothing and stylish hair cuts three years ago, I've been asked several times to be a model (not comfy with fame though). My point is that some intelligent women are beautiful and do not know it or do not want to be celebs.
posted over a year ago.
last edited over a year ago