From sideline cheerleading to competitive cheerleading, these girls sure know how to fascinate the fans with their attractive attire and eye-captivating routines. For a long time now, cheerleaders have been not only promoters of their schools and communities, but over the years, they have shifted their status into an iconic one! Being a cheerleader is an honor. And being a leading cheerleader is already something like being a two-Michelin chef among a bunch of McDonald’s employees! The history of cheerleading is closely tied with that of American football. But it wasn’t before 1923 that women were allowed to cheer. By the 1960s, cheerleading could be found in practically every high school across the country, and also in the Pee-Wee and Youth leagues. All-star, competitive cheerleading started in the 1980s, and rapidly grew throughout the following decade, further confirming the already established stereotype of the cheerleaders as popular, hypersexual, and vicious teen girls. Nowadays, the very word “cheerleader” is so overloaded with cultural meaning, it already feels like an abstract idea rather than a regular extracurricular hobby. Cheerleading was and still is one of the most prestigious organized activities for girls.
Meet fifteen outstanding and sexy actresses who once were sweet 17-year-olds, prancing around with pom-poms. Go, go, go-o-o-o, girls!
15 Kirsten Dunst
The girl who stole the heart of Spiderman himself was born in New Jersey to a German father and a Lufthansa flight attendant (we can already guess how these two met!). The marriage, however, didn’t last forever, and when Dunst was eleven, her mom filed for divorce, and moved to LA together with her two children. Kirsten became a fashion model at the age of three and had a promising modelling career ahead of her, but her first big step towards fame and glory came with her role as the child-vampire Claudia in the horror movie Interview With the Vampire. The early start of her professional acting career led to periods of anxiety and teenage rebellion, during which she blamed her mother for being too pushy and demanding. The young actress did everything in her power to relieve the pressure of rising fame by involving herself into a number of activities natural for a child her age. And what’s more normal than becoming a member of the cheerleading squad and hanging out with your girlfriends at the mall… well, besides shooting movies with Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise, of course?
14 Meryl Streep
Oh, this never fading beauty of Meryl’s! She is one of those blessed women who haven’t changed much since her high-school years. And those were really busy for the aspiring actress. Actually, she got her first audience approval at the age of twelve when she sang a Christmas song in French at a school concert. For some time she took singing lessons with the famous coach Estelle Liebling. She proved to be quite a promising student and everything went just fine… until the day she started favoring boys over music. She quit the lessons and put all her artistic talent into cheerleading. At the age of fourteen, she was so obsessed with the thought that she had to be perfect in order for the boys to notice her that she refused to wear dental braces, and dyed her hair blond. Outside the football season, she’d also keep herself pretty busy– she sang in the choir, worked for the school newspaper, and, because she was popular, pretty, athletic, and had good vocabulary, she was elected the homecoming queen of her graduating class.
13 Jayma Mays
We know her best from the Fox show Glee. As Emma Pillsbury she was part of the main cast of the first three seasons. Then she made recurring appearance in seasons 4-6. Jayma Mays was raised in Virginia and when she was a teenager she got herself probably the weirdest job a 15-year-old had ever been offered– she worked at a local radio station reading the obituaries. No matter how boring and somber by nature her job must have been, her joyful temperament was impossible to restrain, and she joined the cheerleading team of her Grandy High School. The reason wasn’t so much to “catch” some football player’s eye, but rather to have fun and waste some accumulated energy. Twenty years later, Mays is already a mellow, even-tempered woman, with a husband and a five-month- old baby. But the foxy look of the cheerleader clearly still sparkles in her eyes.
12 Halle Berry
The gymnastic skills that the 50-year-old Academy Award winner, mastered during her cheerleading years must have stayed with her, as we all remember her skillful jumps from roof to roof as Catwoman in the 2004 movie of the same name. Halle Berry's teen years were no less eventful than the following years as a professional actress; one of the top paid ones in Hollywood, as a matter of fact. Halle is actually her middle name, and her parents chose it from Halle’s Department Store, which in the late 1960s was the main attraction in her birth place of Cleveland, Ohio. While a student at Bedford High School, she was not only an honor student and the editor of the school newspaper, but also a cheerleader and, of course, prom queen! In 1986, she became the first African-American to enter the Miss World beauty pageant, where she finished sixth. In a recent interview for W Magazine, she shared that her beauty actually hindered her acting career in many ways. “I came from a world of models and beauty contests, and for many years, after I announced my desire to become an actress, people wouldn’t take me seriously and turned me down.” Well, we figure, some people might be too beautiful even for Hollywood…
11 Megan Fox
In the picture, Megan Fox looks like a regular cheerleader– slender body, long blond hair and the attitude of a popular chick. And yet, in her school years she was far from being the stereotypical cheerleader. She admits to having a very aggressive personality, for which the girls avoided her. She’d hang out with boys instead, which infuriated the girls even more. As a result, she was bullied on a regular basis. The kids would throw ketchup packets at her whenever they saw her enter the canteen, so she was left with no other choice but to eat her lunch in the bathroom for a long period of time. However, Fox never accepted the role of the ugly duckling, and being very aware of her beauty, she started modelling at the age of 13. Four years later, she moved to LA, which finally put an end to her high-school hardships.
10 Lindsay Lohan
Looking at that sweet, innocent face, nobody must have thought this natural red-head was to become one of the baddest chicks in Hollywood. It was probably the very early start of her professional career that made her slip down the road to success and get herself into too much trouble– from jewelry theft and reckless driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs to indecent behavior in public and resisting to arrest.
Actually, Lindsay Lohan must have taken after her father in some way– the guy, a former Wall Street trader, has also been in trouble with the law on various occasions. Her school years, however, never presupposed the turbulent years that were to come. She attended Sanford H. Calhoun High in Merrick, NY where she showed remarkable results in math and science. During her senior year, she started homeschooling. Recently, her cheerleading experience has come handy. Lohan has been going through another, let’s call it, 'strange' period in her life. Last year, she became a fervent supporter of the Turkish president Erdogan and ever since she has enthusiastically cheered for his rather controversial policy.
9 Renee Zellweger
Yes, the 47-year-old actress’ face has changed so much in the course of the last two years that she is now barely recognizable to the girl with the pony tails from the picture. Zellweger vigorously denied the rumors of plastic surgery, and in September 2016, she announced that the reason why her features changed so drastically was because two years earlier she was diagnosed with the neurological syndrome ALS. We don’t know how much of that is true (then again who would lie about that?), but we do know that in high school, the actress was nothing like her most famous character Bridget Jones, that is disorganized, clumsy, and not much of a sports person. Just the opposite— as a young girl, Zellweger was physically very active. Besides being a cheerleader, she was also a member of the basketball, soccer, and football teams of Katy High School in Texas. But the girl wouldn’t stop there. She was also a gymnast, a very talented debate team member, and, of course, one of the best performers of the theatre club. Being multi-talented though didn’t guarantee her a prestigious and well-paid job right away. The Hollywood actress’ first job (and role, if you will) was in a beef commercial.
8 Eva Longoria
Here is another former cheerleader who, before undertaking acting, shone as a beauty queen in her home town of Corpus Christi, Texas. She was the youngest of four sisters born to parents of Tejano origin. The Desperate Housewives actress had a pretty standard childhood and adolescence. While still in high school, she started earning her own money by waiting tables at Wendy’s. After graduating from the Texas A&M University-Kingsville, she decided to test her talent and luck and entered an acting contest, which turned out to be her ticket to LA. Presently, the beautiful Latina is not only shooting movies, but is also putting herself out there as an avid activist of various social and political issues. Eva Longoria even delivered a speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Are you thinking what we're thinking? The Americans haven’t had a president-actor for quite some time… or ever?
7 Dakota Fanning
How time flies! The little starlet has turned into a full-grown 22-year-old with delicate beauty. She became a sensation when, at the age of eight, she was the youngest nominee in history at the Screen Actors Guild Awards for her role in the heart-breaking movie I am Sam (2001). Dakota and her younger sister Elle, also an actress, come from a family of sports aficionados– their father played for a minor league baseball team, and their mom was a professional tennis player. Fanning’s active acting career didn’t get in the way with her studies and she almost never missed classes. Before graduating from Campbell High School in Studio City, California in 2011, Fanning was a member of the varsity cheerleading squad, and because of her sweet personality, but mostly because of her world-wide fame at that point, she was voted homecoming queen.
A quick catch-up with Fanning’s life today shows that the girl is rocking it! Beside acting, she is also taking classes at New York University, leading a busy social life, and… dating.
6 Jennifer Lawrence
She used to cheer hard for the Kammerers at her middle school in Louisville, and now, twelve years later and already a celebrated worldwide actress, she brings Christmas cheer to sick kids at the local hospital in this very same town of Louisville not only with her presence, but also by donating $2 million!
If we go back to the 1990s when Lawrence was herself a kid, she felt more like a misfit among her peers. She remembers she was a very troubled girl, with a lot of anxiety. Beside acting (and she’d perform mostly for her dad at home, dressed as a clown or a ballerina) and cheerleading, she was doing also a lot of sports, including softball, field hockey, and horseback riding. As a basketball player, she was a member of the boys’ team! Back then, Lawrence pictured herself becoming a doctor and a mom living in Kentucky, but her dreams went in a totally different direction when one day, while on a family vacation in New York, she was spotted on the street by a talent scout who later introduced her to some agents in showbiz. And this is how her story of success began…
Madonna Louise Ciccone had a troublesome childhood— her mother, whom she dearly loved, died of breast cancer, and her father married the housekeeper, for which she despised him. This led to her becoming a handful of a girl with a very rebellious attitude. Nevertheless, she kept on with good marks– she attended Rochester Adams High School in Michigan where she was a straight-A student and an admired-by-all cheerleader. It must have been a good prep experience for the career she wished to pursue, which at that point of her life was dancing. She even received a dance scholarship at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance. However, the course of her career changed drastically when she, in collaboration with an ex-lover, Stephen Bay, formed the band Emmy. The music they made impressed an influential record producer, who arranged for Madonna to meet a guy from Sire Records. As they say, the rest is history…
4 Jessica Simpson
Blond, blonder, Jessica Simpson! We bet the Vikings couldn’t have been luckier with Jessica Simpson cheering for them. Despite the notorious image of cheerleaders as teens fatales, Simpson was different. Her father, minister by profession, gave her a purity ring as a token of chastity when she was 12. Jessica must have taken this gesture very seriously because she remained a virgin until the day of her (first) marriage in 2002. But once she got rid of her virginity, she kept herself quite busy. After the failure of her first marriage, she dated a professional football player, for which she was vastly hated by the team’s fans– they were blaming Simpson for their favorite quarterback’s poor performance on the field. Eventually, she broke up with him, but her cheerleader affinity for football players must have stuck with her because presently, she is married to Eric Johnson, a former NFL tight end.
3 Cameron Diaz
Blond, tall, and incredibly funny! Besides, she is one of the chosen few who love to tease us by refusing to age. That’s her. We cannot think of a person, be it a man or a woman, who wouldn’t date Cameron Diaz even when she is 75! In 2017, she looks exactly the same as the girl from the picture taken some 30 years ago! Except for the tacky hair, of course, but one should blame the 1980s for this! Diaz’s beauty is very much due to her complicated gene-soup ancestry: her father’s family originated from Cuba, and her mom’s roots can be traced back to English, Scot-Irish, German, and even Cherokee! The actress was born in San Diego, California, but the family moved to Tampa, where she attended the same high school as the rapper Snoop Dogg.
During the past couple of decades, she messed with the hearts of some tough and popular men; Carlos de la Torre, Matt Dillon, Justin Timberlake, and the baseball star Alex Rodrigez, to name a few. But the one who finally stole the cheerleader from the others was the musician Benji Madden, whom Diaz married in 2015 after only a 17-day engagement!
2 Sandra Bullock
You haven’t been living on the planet Earth if you haven’t seen at least one movie with Sandra Bullock starring in it! Speed, While You Were Sleeping, Practical Magic, 28 Days, Miss Congeniality, The Blind Side… So many indeed! It seems that the 52-year-old actress has been around for many, many years. And she is definitely going to stick around for some more… But knowing her past, it is obvious she was destined to succeed. Born into the family of an opera singer and voice coach, she began at a very early age to attend a children’s choir. When she was 12, her family moved from Germany to USA, where Bullock was enrolled in Washington-Lee High School. Although she was brought up in Europe, she had no problem fitting in, largely because she was a popular addition to the cheerleading squad and there was no school play that would go on without her until she graduated in 1982.
As a matter of fact Bullock’s first paid acting jobs were kind of a joke, but we remember her remarkable breakthrough with the box-office thriller Speed (1994). From that point on, her career took off. We guess, she can use the following 50 years to win one or two more Academy Awards…
1 George W. Bush
We know what the title of this article reads, and yet, we couldn’t resist the temptation… Oh yes, the 43rd President was not only a cheerleader; he was the head cheerleader. The first child of George Herbert Walker Bush and Barbara Pierce, George W. Bush was raised in Texas, but his family moved to Houston when he had just finished seventh grade. When he reached appropriate age, he was sent to the Phillips Academy– a boarding school with notoriously rigid rules– where he played baseball. Bush was far from being an outstanding baseball player, but his performance as a cheerleader was inspiring. Having discovered his true talent, the young Bush kept on cheerleading even during the years he attended Yale University. Between 1964 and 1968, along with his favorite activity, he was also an active member of a fraternity, which he even presided during his senior year of studies.
Do you see the beauty of the alternate universe in which George W. Bush decides to devote his life to coaching other talented cheerleaders instead of pursuing a political career?