What the hell is a nerd these days? In the past, at least in the movies, anyone who wore glasses was pretty much a nerd. There were all those people who were interested in the sciences or mathematics as well, video games, comics or anything computer related. Essentially, nerdiness comes from intelligence mixed in with a little bit of quirkiness and a serving of social awkwardness. Things have changed, but we’re suckers for tradition.
Now that we’ve settled on a definition, we can deal with the political correctness of this whole thing. There’s none. If you checked in, you expected it, so leave your groans and your eye-rolls at the door. You may be able to argue that a movie character from this list isn’t a nerd, but if you were asked to give one word that describes each of the characters on this list, you’d likely say nerd or maybe geek, so don’t pretend you’re above generalizations. Oh, you’d also say delightfully gorgeous, too. That’s the most important bit. Ranking above intelligence, much better than temperament, and of course, more significant than one’s personality is their beauty. If movies have taught us anything, it’s that beauty is the one thing that every woman needs if they’re going to be important.
That’s why each of the nerdy women on this list are so pretty. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be starring in feature films and we certainly wouldn’t be writing about them. These geeks are necessary for the world. Each of them act as a mirage for nerdy men (or women, depending on your preference). One glimpse of the ladies herein is enough to fuel a nerd’s search for years. Many of us have searched long and hard for intelligent women who look like those on this list, but hot nerdy girls are like unicorns, there is just enough of them to let us know that they exist. Still, we keep looking. In the real world, you’re on your own, but we’ve hunted down the ones in film for you. Here are the 15 hottest nerds in cinematic history.
15. Laney Boggs – She’s All That
It was necessary for Not Another Teen Movie to mock She’s All That for pretending that Laney Boggs (Rachel Leigh Cook) was anything but hot, even when she had glasses on. It was pretty ridiculous, but that was the thinking that film had about nerds in the 90s. Boggs was a little eccentric. She painted and stuff, which apparently made her a loser. Then she got a makeover to show us the real woman that was hiding underneath, the woman who would change everything about herself so that she could be with the popular guy in school, a true lady. It’s funny when you think about it with today’s fashion sense. Nowadays, with those big glasses, Boggs would fit right in. She’d be considered stylish. Oh, cyclical fashion trends, you amuse us so.
14. Wren DeSantis – Fun Size
The fact that we were familiar enough with this movie to include it on this list is a bit embarrassing, but the film is honestly kind of funny. As far as Halloween movies go, it’s not bad at all. Moving on, the main character in this film is Wren, a nerd played by Victoria Justice, a really hot young woman who is probably the furthest thing from a nerd in real life. We’re not really sure why they chose to cast Justice as the nerdy character, other than the fact that she’s really good looking, but it does seem a bit unbalanced when she’s kissing the character, Roosevelt Leroux, played by Thomas Mann who is definitely a nerd in real life. Justice seems like the kind of girl who laughs when nerds talk to her. She seems a little uncomfortable spouting out smart talk too. But, even if we don’t buy her intelligence, we like the way she looks.
13. Olive Penderghast – Easy A
Olive (Emma Stone) isn’t all that nerdy, but she’s smart and driven and those are pretty geeky qualities to have, especially when you’re in high school. Worst of all, she’s a virgin. Ew! When word gets out that Olive lost her virginity—even though it’s a lie—boys start asking her to fake sex them up so they can increase their own popularity. Soon, Olive is acting as the resident ‘call-girl’ virgin who is fake sleeping with everyone in school for gift cards and other presents. It’s a strange premise but Olive is hot. Er. Emma Stone is hot because Olive was only like 17 or something. Stone was like 22 or something. Stone makes us wish we had a ‘call-girl’ virgin at our school.
12. Michelle Flaherty – American Pie
There’s something about Michelle Flaherty (Alyson Hannigan) in American Pie that stirs almost everyone’s drink. Really, when you break her down into her individual physical components, Michelle isn’t all that hot. Like, she is, but you know what we’re saying. Maybe it’s because she’s such a dweeb that she lowers our standards, making her look better than she is. Or maybe it’s her raging sexuality and inappropriate comments that rise our internal temperatures. We are surprised by her and that scores her some additional points. Or maybe she’s just hot and her nerdiness can’t contain it properly. Whatever it is, it works.
11. Aimee Finicky – The Spectacular Now
This may be a shock, but sometimes a girl is attractive because of her personality. Gross right? Well, that’s how it is with Aimee Finicky, the kind and weirdly attractive girl in The Spectacular Now. Finicky is played by Shailene Woodley and the actress is hot, so it makes sense that her characters are too, even if they try to dress her down. Sure, in the film, she doesn’t wear any makeup and that’s a horrifying thought, but, when you see her, your fears of natural skin and skin colored lips sort of fades away. You see, because she doesn’t wear makeup, we know that Finicky doesn’t care about superficial stuff. That puts us at ease when we’re around her because she doesn’t care if we’re nerds or what we look like. She cares about our feelings and that causes us to have feelings for her. It’s beautiful and so is Aimee Finicky.
10. Evelyn “Evie” Carnahan – The Mummy
How much of a dork does one have to be to become an Egyptologist? To make matters worse, Evelyn “Evie” Carnahan (Rachel Weisz) is clumsy. What a nerd! But it’s not all bad for Carnahan. She’s hot. She was also an Egyptian princess in a past life which begs the question, why doesn’t she look Egyptian at all? Ah, never mind. Carnahan’s character reminds us that we’re watching a movie every time we see her because there’s just no way a woman who looks like her would be into classics. If good looking girls ever started applying for jobs in the ugly girl fields, would the ugly girls become the new models and actresses? Wouldn’t that be a strange Bizarro World?
9. Kate Libby – Hackers
She’s not your typical nerd, but since Kate Libby understands computers, she’s fits the bill. The movie is Hackers. The actress is Angelina Jolie. Jolie was young and hot and hardly ever wore a bra in those days. In truth, Libby is more of a goth than a nerd in this film. She’s mysterious, has short hair, wears weird rings and lots of eye makeup. If that doesn’t scream goth than we don’t know what does. Seriously, we have no idea what screams goth, so we’ve assumed that Libby does. Regardless, this female hacker is like a nerdy dominatrix in a way. She’s powerful, independent and sexy. Everything that would terrify a male nerd in real life. But this is the movies. This is fantasy. The guy gets the girl in the end. In reality, the guy, Jonny Lee Miller, also got the girl, Jolie, but then got a divorce shortly after, as is tradition.
8. Gabriella Montez – High School Musical
In film, it’s usually the hot cheerleading girl that the nerdy guy goes for, but High School Musical was a film ahead of its time. A true classic in cinematic history. Zac Efron‘s character, whatever his name is, didn’t want the cheerleader in this film. Or maybe he did at some point, but he also wanted the nerdy girl who writes equations and stuff on the chalkboard, Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Hudgens). In her final year of high school, Gabriella is about ready to go to Stanford. If going to college doesn’t yell out “I’m a nerd” for you, then keep in mind that Gabriella was also in all the school musicals and walks around singing stuff instead of just talking. When you think about high school, weren’t the drama and theater kids the ones people considered nerds. Wouldn’t that also imply that most actors, the ones we considered celebrity royalty now, were probably nerds in school? It’s a weird world we live in.
7. Anita “Needy” Lesnicki – Jennifer’s Body
Anita “Needy” Lesnicki (Amanda Seyfried) is not quite a nerd, but she’s a dweeb, if that makes any sense. Either way, Needy makes out with Megan Fox‘s character in Jennifer’s Body and it’s an important moment in cinema. You know what? Even if that amazingly incredible make out session never went down, this movie would still be decent. Don’t listen to the haters. Back to the nerds though. So, Needy is a bit nerdy but she’s also a tad dirty, which makes us, as followers of the male gaze, happy. We like nerdy with a touch of naughty. This is why she makes the list.
6. Natalya Simonova – GoldenEye
We could have included Dr. Christmas Jones (Denise Richards), the nuclear physicist Bond girl from The World Is Not Enough, but even movie magic is not enough to make us believe that Richards is a nerd. Natalya Simonova, however, the programmer at the Russian Space Forces in GoldenEye, is both smart and hot. Played by Izabella Scorupco, the Bond girl Simonova is actually not nearly as good looking in the film as the actress, Scorupco, is in real life. It’s her hair. Scorupco is usually a blonde and she looks much better with it. That short mom haircut that Simonova wears in GoldenEye is just too nineties for us. It distracts us from how attractive she truly is. Simonova doesn’t necessarily act like a nerd, but she still qualifies because of her intelligence and profession.
5. Hermione Granger – Harry Potter (Senior Years)
Now before you guys get all gross, we’re talking late years here, adult Hermione. There was a point, early on, when the casting people attempted to make Emma Watson‘s Hermione as close to the Hermione from the books as they could, physically. But then, Watson grew into this uncontainable goddess and they just said screw it. Might as well just let her do her own thing and blow people’s minds. And she has. Oh boy, has she ever. Watson is easily the hottest wizard at Hogwarts. It’s just silly to pretend that Ginger Ron would ever stand a chance with her, but whatever, forget about Ron. Hermione’s a smart girl. In fact, she’s the brightest witch her age, so she’s probably got a plan. Still, movie Hermione should know that she could get anyone she wanted. Why settle for a Weasley?
4. Velma – Scooby-Doo
In the animated versions of Scooby-Doo, Velma is gross. The original character was inspired by Zelda Gilroy (Sheila James), if that means anything to you. She wasn’t meant to be attractive. In that, the artists succeeded. No one liked Velma. Well, no one was sexually attracted to Velma. That was until the live-action films came along and they cast Linda Cardellini in the role. Cardellini was already a nerd fantasy from Freaks and Geeks, but now she was legendary. This Velma was hot, really hot. Technically the casting is all wrong, but we aren’t complaining. Cardellini still had the Velma hair and the glasses and the talking and sometimes even the wardrobe, but all the other physical attributes were much different and much better than the original character. They even had her change her outfit from the turtleneck. That was just a great decision.
3. Kirby Reed – Scream 4
You might want to argue that Kirby (Hayden Panettiere) isn’t a nerd in Scream 4, but she knows everything about horror films and, whenever a girl knows everything about a topic like that, she’s automatically a nerd. Plus, she’s into Charlie (Rory Culkin) who’s also a nerd. Even though this girl is a nerd, she’s also Hayden Panettiere, which means she is wildly attractive. There’s something about being petite, perfectly proportioned and almost blemish and flaw free that makes her super hot, but we can’t quite put on our finger on it… but we’d like to. Nah. No good. Sorry about that.
2. Zoe – Fanboys
In the film Fanboys, Zoe, played by the lovely and talented Kristen Bell, isn’t really your everyday kind of nerd, but she is friends with nerds, so she fits this list for our purposes. The way that Zoe fits best on this list is that her beauty is destabilizing for onlookers. For nerds and fans of this film, Zoe dressing up as Princess Leia is like seeing an angel being born in front of you. They say that when Bell first walked out of wardrobe in that outfit, three terminally-ill cancer patients who had been visiting the set were miraculously healed of their ailments. This is the kind of thing we’re talking about. Disease-ridding hotness. That’s what hot nerdy girls bring the world.
1. Lt. Nyota Uhura – Star Trek
Call us crazy, but Lt. Nyota Uhura is the hottest person on the Enterprise. Keep in mind that we’re talking about the new Uhura played by Zoe Saldana and not the old one played by Nichelle Nichols; back then the hottest person on the Enterprise was Montgomery Scott played by James Doohan, no doubt about it. In the JJ Abrams Star Trek films, Uhura is like some type of nerd fantasy. Apparently in the future, perfect-looking people can also be smart, which is just about the craziest thing we’ve ever heard. How does that even make sense? How do they do all that reading while they’re working on their image and fashion sense? Crazy talk. But, how can you challenge the logic of the future? We’ll just have to wait and see if these crazy fantasies come true.