A hillbilly is, by definition, a “person who lives in the country far away from cities and who is often regarded as someone who lacks education or is stupid.” But the idea of the hillbilly also encompasses many other insulting labels, such as white trash, trailer trash, redneck, etc. All of these labels, which are often used interchangeably, have negative connotations, and these types of people are generally looked down on in America. “Hillbilly” can also be more than the above definition, as it is a sort of mentality, as well. It is possible to act like a hillbilly, without actually being poor or uneducated or living in the country, for example.
It is hard to believe that there are some celebrities out there who come from these beginnings, or who embody hillbilly characteristics. And they are not only celebrities, but they are hot ones. When you picture a hillbilly or any related term for a person, you definitely do not think of some of the people on this list; you would never know, looking at them now, that they were once hillbillies, themselves. Money, hair, and makeup can completely transform a person, as you will soon see. From being born in prison to living in a trailer park and everything in between, the following 15 celeb hotties have one thing in common: their shared current and/or previous hillbilly status.
15. Bristol Palin
Our favorite Alaskan hillbilly (and spawn of our would-be Vice President) is Bristol Palin, who became famous when her mother, Sarah Palin, ran alongside John McCain in the 2008 presidential election. The whole Palin clan are hillbillies, really, from teen mom Bristol to little sis Willow who was accused of bullying and partying, to brother Track who was arrested on domestic violence charges, to all of Sarah’s nonsense (don’t get me started). Bristol, who is reasonably attractive, was also involved in a bar fight, and became pregnant out of wedlock not once but twice while being an advocate for teen abstinence. During the bloody, drunken Palin brawl, she punched a man in the face over sunglasses, and she has been accused of yelling homophobic slurs in other fights. Classy family.
Country singers are breeding grounds for hillbillies, since they largely hail from the South and have those accents and whatnot. And Jewel, while talented and beautiful (snaggle-tooth, and all), is no different. She did go to college, which true hillbillies do not, but she grew up singing in bars in and around her tiny little hometown of Payson, Utah, but then moved to Alaska, where she and her family lived with no indoor plumbing! After college, which it is unclear if she graduated, Jewel moved to San Diego and lived out of her van while performing around Southern California. Her lifestyle was part hippie, part hillbilly, it seems, but she made it happen for herself. Now Jewel is happily married to nine-time pro rodeo champion cowboy Ty Murray.
13. Megan Fox
Ok, just hear me out on this one. Megan Fox is a total snob who hates “white trash, hillbilly, anti-gay, super Bible-beating people in Middle America”. But she should take a look in the mirror. While sex symbol Megan looks like the typical popular cheerleader and not your traditional hillbilly, there are several signs that prove she is in fact, a hillbilly, at least in spirit. First, she was born and raised in Tennessee, and attended Catholic school. But she would steal her mother’s car to sneak out with boys, was banned from the local Wal-Mart for shoplifting, had to do community service as punishment, once had a relationship with a female stripper after moving to Los Angeles, and has even said she pursued acting to avoid going to college! These are all quite hillbilly things to do, and there are many anti-Megan Fox’ers out there who claim she is actually the exact “white trash hillbilly” she so hates. Oh, and she has tons of tattoos (including one that has since been removed of the trashy Marilyn Monroe, another sex symbol), and she once owned dogs, cats, birds, and a pig as pets. Yep, she is definitely a hillbilly. Just check out that Pabst Blue Ribbon shirt.
12. Britney Spears
Moving right along with the hillbilly singers, next up is the infamous Britney Spears, who most people agree was once a total hillbilly. In fact, people like to call her white trash and trailer trash, too. As successful as she has been, she has endured a ton of criticism for everything under the sun. She was born in McComb, Mississippi and raised in Kentwood, Louisiana (two places that are surely hillbilly country), and her family is the definition of hillbilly, especially given their location. Her little sister became a teen mom, and her ex-husband was a white trash deadbeat many suspected only married her for the money. Britney, herself, is no stranger to trashiness of many kinds. She spent much of her childhood in her aunt’s trailer, hiding from her fighting parents, something that likely contributed to said trashiness.
11. Leighton Meester
Would you believe this Gossip Girl was a total hillbilly? It is true. The girl who so convincingly played Queen of the Upper East Side, Blair Waldorf, on Gossip Girl, did not come from the classiest place. In fact, she comes from the exact opposite of class. Her mother was pregnant with Leighton in prison, and gave birth to her while serving time in a Texas federal prison for smuggling marijuana. After the birth, mother and baby were allowed to stay in a halfway house until Leighton was three months old. Then, Mom went back to jail and Leighton was raised by a relative. Leighton’s father, grandfather, and aunt all did hard time for drug dealing, as well. Continuing the trashiness, Leighton went on to make a sex tape and take nude pictures, but did a shockingly good job playing Blair Waldorf. Hmm, who’d have guessed?
10. Miley Cyrus
Really, it is more Miley Cyrus‘ father, Billy Ray Cyrus, that is known for being a hillbilly, but that also means that his children were at one point, too. Billy Ray even made a song about being a hillbilly! Obviously, he is proud of it. His daughter Miley, who started out playing the title role on the Disney show Hannah Montana but is now a world-famous pop star was born Destiny Hope Cyrus (the name is hillbilly proof enough) in Nashville, Tennessee. She is not formally educated, loves Jesus, goes for older guys, and has shown so much skin that while we have no doubt she is hot, she has also been considered quite trashy. Make that white-trashy. Daddy’s little girl seems to have followed in his hillbilly footsteps- he must be so proud.
9. Hilary Swank
Nebraska native Hilary Swank moved to Washington state when she was quite young, and it is there that she lived in a trailer park, an experience that has, according to her, given her empathy with the characters she has portrayed. She also lived out of a car in Los Angeles after she and her mother moved there to pursue her acting career. She dropped out of high school and did not attend college, which is characteristic of hillbillies. Her history is one reason she says she is drawn to playing women who have to struggle against the odds. She says, “Growing up in a lower-income family… you have to find creative ways to get by. That infuses your character with a lot of drive and determination.” Well, she may not have the most glamorous background, but her attitude, at least, is not that of a hillbilly, at all.
8. Kellie Pickler
The sixth-place finalist on American Idol Season five, Kellie Pickler is so darn cute, and America fell in love with her Southern charm and sweet persona right away. But that does not change the fact that she was once (and probably still is, in many respects) a total hillbilly. She is lovable in part because of her complete ditziness, as well as her bubbly personality. Hailing from Albemarle, North Carolina, she is a self-professed small-town girl, and proud of her roots. But sadly, growing up, her father was in and out of jail, and her mother left when Kelly was very young, so she was raised by her grandparents. Kellie became a teen beauty queen and cheerleader. This cute, blonde hillbilly-at-heart worked as a waitress, has a hard time with big words, and is all-around the complete hillbilly package- and we love it!
7. Jessica Simpson
There are a ton of country music sensations of the beautiful blonde variety that were once hillbillies, and Jessica Simpson is one more example of them. Born and raised in a small Texas town, Jessica Simpson fits into the hillbilly category for a few reasons- even today. She was once the picture of elegance, but before that and also in recent years, Jess has strayed from that flawless image. She may have made it out of small-town Texas and become a wildly famous singer, but she only has a GED, she likes to burp aloud, she is quite ditzy (chicken of the sea ring a bell?), and she has made some questionable business decisions. Jessica’s younger sister Ashlee, who is also a famous singer, can be classified the same way, for the same reasons.
6. Demi Moore
Demi Moore is now a rich and famous celebrity, and the ex-wife of mega-stars Bruce Willis and Ashton Kutcher. But she was born and raised in much less glamorous surroundings: a trailer park. She grew up in a trailer park in New Mexico with her mother and stepfather (her biological father had left before she was born), both of whom were violent alcoholics. She dropped out of high school at the age of 16 to become a model, and that eventually led her to where she is today. She obviously struggled very publicly over her break-up with Ashton Kutcher, the love of her life, but what many people did not know was that Demi had been through much worse, and came out on top.
5. Minka Kelly
Minka Kelly‘s mother was a stripper who raised her daughter on her own. Some nights, Minka said in an interview, Maureen Kelly would come home in the middle of the night, wake Minka up, and take her to the supermarket to shop for food, and every Friday the two would go to Payless to buy shoes. Her mother encouraged skipping school to go “spend money” on some of those Fridays, but Minka would insist she needed to stay in school. Minka recently lost her mother to colon cancer, and she says she did not appreciate that she and her mom were such good friends during her youth, because she wanted her to be more of a parent. This is a great example of someone who suffered the hillbilly mentality (at the hands of her mother), but not necessarily characteristics of a tried-and-true hillbilly.
4. Kate Gosselin
Kate Gosselin‘s upbringing definitely qualifies her for this list. In Pennsylvania, which is an Appalachian state (although not a southern one), she was raised by her strict pastor father, who regularly beat her and her siblings. Alleged early sexual abuse at the hands of a family member (something par for the course with hillbillies, I’m afraid) led Kate to be sexually promiscuous in her teenaged years. She even became pregnant in high school (I thought she couldn’t get pregnant naturally, hence the twins and sextuplets…?). But her “religious” father forced her to have an abortion, then kicked her out. Kate attended nursing school with the sole purpose of meeting and marrying a rich doctor, and went on dates with doctors, even if they were ugly. She was caught cheating on one of them. Kate did not deserve her rough childhood, but apparently, the hillbilly was so ingrained in her that she was never able to get rid of it.
3. Sadie Robertson
Sadie Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame is not the only woman in the famous family of bearded hillbillies, but she is the hottest. Thus, her place on this here list. Sadie is 19 years old, and the reality starlet belongs to a clan of duck hunters who became famous for their beards, their Christian views, and most of all, their family-operated business, Duck Commander. The Robertsons live in hillbilly country, Louisiana. Between their southern accents, all that camo, the fact that they are hunting ducks, the redneck beards and beer bellies of the family’s men, and their ultra-conservative views on life, they are most definitely hillbillies, and if I had to guess, they are quite proud of that fact. But Sadie has another side to her too, as she is also an author, a public speaker, and was the first runner-up on Season 19 of Dancing With the Stars.
2. Reese Witherspoon
It is common knowledge that Reese Witherspoon is a southern belle. She was born in New Orleans and raised in Tennessee, and retains her southern drawl even today. But the reality is not so simple, nor is it pretty. The fact is that the pretty blonde actress comes from a troubled family, including her alcoholic, cheating, hoarding father who was recently sued for bigamy. Reese, herself, is not perfect, and got in trouble for disorderly conduct- not very ladylike of her. As one hater put it, she has a would-be rapist brother, a busybody mother, and a drunk for a father. She may not have grown up poor, but a lack of money is not the only hillbilly qualifier. The people from her hometown certainly have a lower opinion of her than the rest of America, and they resent the fact that she has used her “southern belle” background to further her career.
1. June Shannon
Perhaps you know her by a different name- does Mama June ring a bell? Well this is the new and improved matriarch of the Here Comes Honey Boo Boo world, after she lost 150 pounds. She looks amazing! While she will probably never be the hottest woman on the face of the earth, she deserves credit for this stunning transformation. I mean, this is the woman who has tons of photos on the internet of her “neck crust”, for crying out loud. There is no need to even delve into all of the reasons that she is the epitome of the word “hillbilly”, but maybe along with her transformed appearance, she has turned a new leaf in that aspect, as well (but probably not). Still, her crazy physical change is what earns her the number one spot on this list, because she is by far the biggest hillbilly ever (on this list or elsewhere), and she is half the size she used to be, and apparently taking care of herself for the first time ever. So there you have it.