When you think of nerds, you’re probably thinking of bookworms, math freaks, comic book fiends, and video game fanatics. You’re correct in associating those things with nerds, but nerds come in all walks of life. To me, a nerd is someone who’s just completely obsessed with something. Whether they can tell you the entire history of the Star Wars galaxy or can name every Heisman Trophy winner, every hobby is made up of groups of nerds. Hardcore sports fans are some of the biggest nerds that I know. Most people wouldn’t consider them nerds — but anyone who can tell you the entire history of their favorite sports team is a certified nerd.
The nerds on this list, though, are your stereotypical nerds. You’ll be familiar with the nerd level of some of these actresses, but you might not have realized just how attractive nerds can be. Underneath thick-rimmed glasses or hidden behind a textbook, some of these nerds have been hiding their beauty for years. Alternatively, there are a few women on this list that you had no idea were the biggest nerds on the planet. Who would have suspected a contestant on America’s Next Top Model is obsessed with World of Warcraft?
15. Kari Byron
Kari Byron rose to fame in one of our favorite science shows of all time: Mythbusters. Byron worked on the Build Team, which was basically a team of hosts who weren’t considered as important as Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage. Despite hosting a show that focused on a scientific way to debunk movie myths, Byron didn’t have the same science background as some of the other hosts. She’s a nerd for another reason.
Kari Byron is an art nerd. Before you say that art nerds don’t count, just remember that to be a nerd, you just need to be obsessed with something out of the ordinary. And Byron is. She can’t go a single day without creating art of some sort. She told a reporter that she would go crazy if something prevented her from expressing herself through her art. Whether it’s clay sculptures, drawings, or paintings, Byron loves art. In fact, she loves it so much that she married an artist back in 2006!
14. Anna Kendrick
For the last 10 years or so, Anna Kendrick has been every nerd’s celebrity crush. While she originally entered the limelight playing Jessica in the Twilight series, it wasn’t until Kendrick appeared in 50/50 that she got her big break. Typically, Kendrick has been typecast to play awkward characters that get flustered easily. She’s a pretty down-to-earth actress, but a lot of people think that her humbleness is all an act.
Despite playing dorky characters in movies and on television, Anna Kendrick isn’t a nerd in a stereotypical sense. Instead of obsessing over video games or comic books, Kendrick is obsessed with the internet. She’s admitted to being a daily user of the website Reddit, one of the most popular websites around the world. Kendrick has said that she’s fairly active on her account but will never reveal herself. In an interview, Kendrick admitted to first learning Pitch Perfect‘s famous ‘Cup Song’ on a video posted to Reddit. If she’s still not nerdy enough for you, Kendrick does an annual marathon of The Lord of The Rings extended editions.
13. Melissa Rauch
Melissa Rauch will more than likely be defined by her character Dr. Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz on The Big Bang Theory. When you luck out and get offered a role on one of the most popular shows on television, you accept the fact that people will always know you for that character. Either you can accept that fact like Matt LeBlanc did, or you can work toward putting that role behind you like Jennifer Aniston has tried to do.
The fact that just about everyone assumes Melissa Rauch is a massive nerd speaks to her acting ability. In real life, Rauch is just another actress. The voice she uses on the show is massively different from her actual voice. For her role as Bernadette, Rauch combined the voices of her parents. I was relieved that her voice on the show is made up because I think it’s one of the most annoying voices ever. But Rauch’s Jersey accent is surprisingly pleasant to listen to.
12. Alison Brie
In her personal life, Alison Brie is somewhat of a free spirit. She was a borderline full-time nudist in college and won’t hesitate to show off her wild side. This is in direct contrast to the prude characters Brie typically played, like Annie Edison on Community. But because she’s portrayed one of the hottest bookworms of all time, she makes the list.
Annie Edison was a bookworm who hadn’t realized how sexy she was. Brie, on the other hand, was well aware of her looks and seemed to tease them to her fans for years. In her latest show, G.L.O.W., Brie appears completely topless and didn’t have a problem doing so. But before men drooled over her, Brie starred in a web series called My Alibi. The fact that Brie started off as a web star more or less proves that she’s in tune enough with the internet to be on this list. And, I mean, she stars in a show about a women’s wrestling league. Wrestling fans might not look like nerds, but deep down, they know what they are.
11. Adrianne Curry
Adrianne Curry is one of the hottest supermodels to date. Originally born in Italy, Curry found her big break when she was named the winner of the first season of America’s Next Top Model. She’s modeled for publications such as Life & Style Weekly, People, Max, Us Weekly, Ed Hardy, and Beverly Hills Choppers and even posed nude in the February 2006 edition of Playboy. In addition to being drop-dead gorgeous, though, Adrianne Curry is a massive nerd.
She may not look like it, but Adrianne Curry is as nerdy as it gets. She regularly plays World of Warcraft and attends comic book conventions as often as she could. Since comic books have become a little more mainstream, Curry has become more outspoken about her inner nerd, hosting her own comic book web series with Stan Lee titled Adrianne Curry’s Super Fans. In 2014, one of Curry’s friends was sexually assaulted. Dressed as Catwoman, Curry used her bullwhip to beat the attacker until he ran away. She’s sexy. She’s brave. But most importantly, she’s a nerd.
10. Meg Turney
Meg Turney popped onto every nerd’s radar when she rose to fame while working as a host for the YouTube series SourceFed and SourceFed Nerd. Turney left soon after her cosplay career took off and took a hosting role on Rooster Teeth’s series The Know. In addition to posting her own vlogs, Turney continues to cosplay as some of the most iconic characters in entertainment. Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite, Princess Leia, and once as a member of Team Rocket, there’s no character that Turney can’t make sexy.
A few years ago, Turney was involved in a controversy with Twitch.tv. The streaming website had just put in a rule that streamers were no longer allowed to shoot videos in lingerie, swimsuits, pasties, or underwear. Turney, who had an account but didn’t stream, was asked to change her profile picture. Commenting on the change to Twitch, Turney said, “If someone has a big push-up bra and a low cut-shirt while they play League of Legends or a guy streams shirtless, who cares?”
9. Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman is one of those people who was destined to succeed. She appeared in Mars Attacks, her first major role, when she was 16 years old. When she was only 18 years old, Portman got her big break in Star Wars: Episode 1 — The Phantom Menace. It’s not the best movie ever made, but it was a stepping stone to a number of other roles for Portman. Through Closer, V for Vendetta, Brothers, Black Swan, and most recently Jackie, Portman has been proving she has the talent to thrive in Hollywood. In fact, she can have any role she wants.
When her acting career was starting to pick up as a teenager, Portman was asked if she would attend college. She responded by saying, “I’m going to college. I don’t care if it ruins my career. I’d rather be smart than a movie star.” And, as you’re probably aware, Portman is one of the smartest actresses in Hollywood. She’s a Harvard graduate with a degree in psychology and has published papers in scientific journals. Additionally, Portman is fluent in Hebrew, French, Japanese, German, and Arabic. Is there anything this bookworm can’t do?
8. Marina Orlova
You won’t know her name, but if you’ve wasted your weekends on YouTube, you’ll be familiar with her YouTube series. For years, Marina Orlova was the host of the series HotForWords. The series used Orlova’s sex appeal to teach people not only about the definitions of words but also the origins of those words. It takes a special type of nerd to make every syllable of ‘floccinaucinihilipilification’ sound sexy. I think it’s her Russian accent.
Orlova has two degrees in philology, which is the study of language in written historical sources. She moved to America to pursue her education and instead ended up teaching a massive audience about her love of words. When asked why she used borderline seduction techniques to educate people, Orlova said that the only way to attract people to words was through sex appeal. Following HotForWords, Orlova started an online series for a personal financial website to explain the meanings of financial and economic terms.
7. Megan Fox
Megan Fox gets way too much hate. Sure, she acted immaturely on the set of Transformers — but she was cast in the role when she was only 21 years old. If you were asked to be an international sex symbol at that age, you wouldn’t be the best-behaved person either. After starring in the first two Transformers films, Fox appeared in Maxim, Rolling Stone, and FHM. Before all the negative publicity, Fox was considered one of the sexiest women on the planet.
Not only is Megan Fox stunning, but she’s also a little bit of a nerd. In numerous interviews with reporters, Fox has talked about her love for video games. In an interview with Collider, Fox said, “I have a complete addiction to Halo: Reach. It is sick. I play online mostly and other gamers have no idea. They make fun of my gamer tag, too, because it is funny.” It’s surprising that Megan Fox hasn’t started streaming on a website like Twitch, but she probably wants to avoid all the abuse that she would receive in the chat section.
6. Mila Kunis
Mila Kunis is just one of those girls whom every guy wants to hang out with. She might have been a total b*tch in That 70’s Show, but she was only 14 years old when she was cast as Jackie. It was a requirement for all actors and actresses auditioning for the show to be at least 18 years old. Kunis worked around this by telling producers she was turning 18; she just never mentioned when. After That 70’s Show ended, Kunis started getting cast in roles that suited her laid-back personality.
Kunis is always the chill girl in movies. She’s not complicated and is rarely the source of any drama. Because of this, men around the world are drawn to her. It helps that Mila Kunis used to be massively obsessed with World of Warcraft. She played it so much that she had to quit the game cold turkey because it was starting to affect her life so much. It just goes to show you, even one of the hottest women in Hollywood can’t resist one of the greatest games ever made.
5. Felicia Day
Felicia Day is known is an actress who’s huge in circles of nerds. As a working actress, Day’s had roles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Undeclared, and Supernatural, but her bread and butter has been the web series that she made and starred in. The Guild is a series that’s loosely based around Day’s life as a female gamer. It ran for six years and won six Streamy Awards during that time. She’s seen as one of the pioneers who helped legitimize YouTube content.
Following The Guild, Day starred in a few other web series, including Dragon Age: Redemption. She was on the board of directors of the International Academy of Web Television from 2009 to the end of 2012, launched a premium YouTube channel called “Geek & Sundry,” and even wrote a song called (Do You Wanna Date My) Avatar. It’s safe to say that Felicia Day is as nerdy as she is beautiful.
4. Rosario Dawson
Rosario Dawson is sort of a grand slam for comic book fans. Not only does she appear as Claire Temple in five different Marvel shows (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Defenders), but she’s also as big of a nerd as you’ll find.
Dawson is a self-professed Star Trek fanatic and has demonstrated her ability to speak in fluent Klingon, a made-up language used in the Star Trek universe. In addition to appearing in as many comic book conventions as possible, Dawson co-created the comic book miniseries Occult Crimes Taskforce. It’s a four-issue mini-series that follows a team of New York Police investigators who patrol an area infested with magic practitioners. The comic book series was such a hit that A&E has announced that it’s trying to create an Occult Crimes Task Force television show.
3. Rashida Jones
Rashida Jones has a special place in my heart because she’s one of the nicest actresses in Hollywood. She more or less stumbled into fame and accidentally became a sex symbol in the process. As a teenager, Jones loved reading and spending time on the computer and never drank, never smoked, was president of the varsity club, was the star of the math team, and was a member of her student government. There’s no other way to put it: she was a nerd.
Her nerdy tendencies followed her into adulthood. Instead of obsessing over math equations, Jones channeled her inner nerd to create a comic book series of her own, Frenemy of the State. Jones’s series focuses on a socialite who’s recruited by the CIA, and a movie from Universal Pictures is currently in development. Jones (who hopefully stars in the film) is helping to write the screenplay. Hopefully Hollywood gives Jones the recognition that she deserves.
2. Zooey Deschanel
You either love Zooey Deschanel or cringe every time you see her in movies. For some people, Deschanel’s quirky girl persona is just an act to sell tickets to movies. To other people, like me, Zooey Deschanel is that quiet girl from high school who ended up getting famous. Even if she’s acting, you have to give her credit for somehow recreating every awkward interaction we’ve ever had.
Many people describe Zooey Deschanel as adorkable because of how she presents herself. In interviews, Deschanel has told interviewers that she’s lived a life that most of us can relate to. She knows all the words to the movie This is Spinal Tap, she’s super competitive at board games, she’s driven her mom’s car for way too long, and she’s a nerd. The proof is in the pudding. She’s the quirky girl that she plays in movies. To see it, just watch an interview with her. People are only turning on Deschanel’s quirks because of how mainstream she’s become.
1. Danica McKellar
Danica McKellar broke into the acting world in her teenage years when she landed the role as Gwendolyn “Winnie” Cooper on The Wonder Years. She was the main love interest of Kevin Arnold, played by Fred Savage. Fans of the show hoped the two characters would end up together, and even though Savage was McKellar’s real-life first kiss, well — I won’t spoil the ending of the 1980s sitcom.
In her personal life, McKellar has taken a step back from acting to pursue her true passion: mathematics. Before she graduated with a bachelor’s degree from UCLA, McKellar co-authored a scientific paper with her professor and fellow student titled “Percolation and Gibbs states multiplicity for ferromagnetic Ashkin — Teller models on Z2.” The results from the paper were named the “Chayes—McKellar—Winn theorem.” Following her graduation, McKellar released five non-fiction books about mathematics to encourage teenage girls to pursue mathematics, as well as give girls the confidence they need to succeed in that field of academics.
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