Do you ever encounter overachievers and just want to shake them and be like, “it’s cool, calm down, you don’t need to be the CEO of that awesome start-up AND be the star of your SoulCycle class AND be polite to strangers AND wear matching socks every day even though no one can actually see them under your boots”? No? Just me? Well, regardless, that’s basically how I feel about Natalie Portman—you know, right after I basically bow down to her very existence because she’s pretty much the best thing since sliced bread. In case you weren’t already aware, not only is she an extremely talented actress, but homegirl is SMART. She graduated from Harvard University with a 4.0 GPA and a B.A. in Psychology, then went on to take graduate courses at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. And, as if all of that weren’t enough to make us revere her, she is also fluent in French, Hebrew, and Japanese. And all this time I’ve been so proud of the fact that at age 21 I’ve managed to kick my habit of using the word “literally” in every other sentence.
Anyway, in honor of Natalie’s 33rd birthday today and her insane ability to be both extremely smart and even more extremely talented, here are 11 other actresses whose brain-to-talent ratio is simply off the charts.
1. Emma Watson
Hermione Granger’s not the only one with all the brainpower; Emma Watson just graduated from Brown University a couple of weeks ago with a degree in English Literature. I consider myself to be her long lost twin because that was what I received my degree in as well. Please try to contain your awe.
2. Julia Stiles
After completing extremely popular movies among us 90′s-era folk such as 10 Things I Hate About You and Save the Last Dance, Julia wasted no time with the silly fodder of everyday luxuries. Instead, this smartypants graduated from Columbia University in 2005, also with a degree in English Literature. So, yes, I consider myself her long lost twin as well. I’ve just always wanted a twin, okay?
3. Brooke Shields
A girl can’t get by just on
eyebrows looks alone. In addition to being a Calvin Klein model and starring in film and TV roles ranging from the 1980 The Blue Lagoon to Miley Stewart’s mother on Hannah Montana, Shields got her B.A. in French Literature from Princeton University in 1987, for which she abandoned her modeling career. Gotta love a girl with priorities.
4. Jodie Foster
Jodie Foster isn’t just one of the most instantly recognizable actresses of our time. She also has a brain that’s probably bigger than all of Hollywood put together (author’s note: I have not measured this exactly and cannot comment on the absolute scientific validity of this statement). An actress from the very early moments of her life, she received a bachelor’s degree in Literature from Yale in 1985.
5. Jennifer Connelly
Jennifer Connelly clearly did not want to waste any time, despite the fact that she appears to want others to do so. I can only imagine her intent is to distract them so that she continue being awesome without having to worry about being overshadowed by others. No that that would be an easy thing to do; she is both a highly-regarded actress and an alumna of Stanford University, to which she transferred after spending two years at Yale. You know, because she’s kind of a little bit smart.
6. Anne Hathaway
In addition to teaching us that makeovers are the best thing to happen ever in the world, The Princess Diaries showed us that being smart and kind of nerdy and working hard in school can lead to great things, like becoming a princess of a fictional country. Anne Hathaway herself really understands that whole concept. In addition to completely overhauling her style over the course of her rise to A-list status, Hathaway is a Vassar College alumna. Not too shabby…I think Fat Louie The Cat would approve.
7. Reese Witherspoon
With logic like that, it’s no wonder Elle Woods got in Harvard Law School in Legally Blonde. Reese Witherspoon is no slacker either; she might not have a law degree, but she does have a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Stanford University. Besides, whoever said law degrees were the new English degrees was seriously disturbed.
8. Mayim Bialik
You may know Mayim Bialik as Amy on The Big Bang Theory, but she and her character have something else in common other than their looks. Mayim is actually a neuroscientist in real life. After earning a B.S. degree in Neuroscience, Hebrew studies, and Jewish studies at UCLA, she went on to receive her Ph.D. in neuroscience from the same school. I’m sure all of that studying helps her understand what she’s talking about when she plays her character on Big Bang, because I know I don’t.
9. Amy Poehler
Amy Poehler may, indeed, be the best in the world (though I’ve been known to exaggerate so don’t quote me on that). Her time as co-anchor of Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live are eternally memorable and loved, and Park and Recreation is not to be missed. But Amy (we’re on a first-name basis, clearly) is so much more than her spectacular achievements in television; she’s also quite the scholar. She received her bachelor’s degree at Boston College, the first step on her way to greatness.
10. Rashida Jones
Ever the wordsmith, it only makes sense that Rashida Jones should follow her Parks & Rec co-star Amy Poehler on this list. Like Natalie Portman, Jones attended Harvard University where she earned a degree in philosophy and religion, the two most useless majors that any university has ever offered in the history of the world. I can say that because I was a religion minor. Calm down.
11. Mindy Kaling
Is it completely inappropriate to say that I am 100% obsessed with Mindy Kaling to the point where it would probably be considered stalking if I wasn’t too lazy to engage in the actual activity of stalking itself? Probably. Fine. But Mindy is hilarious (if you haven’t seen The Mindy Project you’re doing something wrong) and she is extremely bright, a fact that she (charmingly) made sure we were all aware off during her speech at Harvard Law’s Class Day. She graduated from Dartmouth College in 2001 with a degree in Playwriting.