Although it is easy to forget, most celebrities were at one point just a normal (or somewhat normal) high school student. Even the most famous actors, singers and media personalities were at one point trying to survive the awkward years of high school just like all of us. Some celebrities on this list were already pretty well-known and working before they even graduated, and many were regular students just like us.
Okay, let’s be real, these are celebrities after all. They are all gorgeous human beings, and most on this list are known for their mad performance skills. So, it would only make sense that they would part of their school’s most elite and most beautiful group of girls; the cheerleading team. Even if you hated them, you can’t say that you didn’t sometimes imagine yourself in their adorable little miniskirts, high ponytails and poofy pom poms strolling around the hallways like you owned the place.
For many celebrities on this list, cheerleading is actually where they learned to be a performer, and helped give them confidence to start on their road to fame and success. From the adorable Meryl Streep to the stunning Kendall Jenner, here is the complete list of celebrities…when they were cheerleaders.
Before the blonde bombshell was on the big screen, she was on the cheerleading team at Long Beach Polytechnic High School. She clearly always had her beauty, and started modeling when she was just 16 years old, posing for Calvin Klein and Levi’s.
Diaz got her first big movie break in 1994 when she starred alongside Jim Carrey in The Mask. Diaz captured hearts of millions with her smile and her career soared off from there.
Well before she was the TV culinary sensation that she is today, Ray cheered at Lake George High School, in Lake George, New York. If you are a fan of her show you can probably understand why the peppy adorable Ray decided to hold pom poms and cheer on her school’s sports teams.
Nowadays, Ray is dominating the Food Network with her presence, writing best-selling cookbooks and has even recently designed her very own line of kitchenware. Way to go Rach!
Another shocker on this list…the blonde, beautiful and bubbly Jessica Simpson was once a cheerleader. She cheered at her Texas Junior High School, Richardson North Junior High School.
Simpson eventually dropped out of school at age 15 in order to pursue her career in singing. Her decision to drop-out came after big-time Columbia Records executive Tommy Mottola discovered her and offered her a record deal. It was obvious that this stunning girl was going places!
This super star singer from the late 80s actually cheered professionally before she got her big break in music. The former American Idol judge started her cheerleading career at Van Nuys High School in Lose Angeles, where she was also a honors student.
After she graduated she became a Laker Girl for the professional basketball team. Shortly after joining, she was given the title of head choreographer for the squad. Abdul made two successful albums before joining the judge’s table on the hit reality talent show, American Idol.
Before Couric became a legendary journalist and television host, she attended multiple high schools in Arlington, Virginia. In each school, she made it on the cheerleading squad. Couric gave up her uniform and pom poms for the television lifestyle.
She is now famous for being the anchor of Yahoo! News and 60 minutes. You can tell by the picture that Couric definitely had some impressive moves back in the day!
Halle Berry was clearly an over-achiever when she was in High School. The daughter of a hospital manager and psychiatric nurse, Berry was a cheerleader, honors student, editor of the school newspaper and was even prom queen at Cleveland’s Bedford High.
Two years after making her TV debut in 1989 she got her first big movie break in Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever. In 2001 the stunning actress made headlines by becoming the first African-American to win an Oscar for Best Actress for her role in Monsters Ball.
The daughter of a Wall Street trader, Lohan grew up on Long Island in New York. She cheered for Cold Harbor High School and Sanford H. Calhoun High School. Although she loved being a cheerleader, she eventually decided to do homeschooling so she could focus on her career.
Lohan started her career at a very young age as a child model for Abercrombie, Calvin Klein, Pizza Hut, Wendy’s and Jell-O. Lohan got her first movie roles in The Parent Trap and Freaky Friday.
The former Black Eyed Peas singer, Fergie or Stacie Ann Ferguson, was once a cheerleader and honors student herself. She attended Glen A. Wilson High School in Hacienda Heights, CA. After graduating, Fergie decided to study dance.
In 2003, she replaced a previous Black Eyed Peas singer Kim Hill and joined the bank to create the hit album Elephunk, which included hit singles Where is the Love? and Shut Up. Fergie’s experience with cheerleading helped her become the talented performer that she is today.
This Mexican-American actress cheered at Roy Miller High School, in Corpus Christi, Texas. She continued her cheering career in college when she attended Texas A&M-Kingsville.
Longoria’s beauty and charisma led her to winning the Miss Corpus Christi pageant where she was discovered by a theater agent from Los Angeles. Longoria got her big break on ABC’s series Desperate Housewives as the retired model and wealthy housewife, Gabrielle Solis. The show was an instant hit, and ran for eight seasons.
Ciara was not only on the cheerleading team at Riverdale High School, she was the captain. The now R&B singer admitted in an interview that she loved the dancing and energy that came along with the sport.
“Unfortunately, I couldn’t be as involved as I wanted to be because it was a year when my music started to become even more important to me.” While CiCi may have been sad to give up her cheerleading days, the decision to focus on her future in music was definitely a good one!
Before Mandy Moore was singing “Candy” and making us cry during her performances in A Walk to Remember and This Is Us, she was waving pom poms for Pop Warner.
Her background in cheerleading became especially helpful after she got cast as the popular cheerleader Lana Thomas in The Princess Diaries alongside Anne Hathaway. Moore definitely had talent at a very young age, and recorded her first hit single, Candy, when she was only 15 years old.
While Kirsten Dunst has a pretty long and impressive acting resume, we all remember her the most for her role at Torrance Shipman, the dedicated cheerleader in the cheer comedy Bring it On.
If you were pretty impressed by Dunst’s moves in the movie, it was probably due to the fact that the actress was a cheerleader herself throughout school, right up until the movie was released in 2000. Dunst started her career at a very young age when she was signed by Ford Modeling Agency at the age of 3!
Kathie Lee Gifford
Kathie Lee Gifford moved to Bowie, Maryland from Paris with her family when she was only four years old. By the time she was a teenager, she was a cheerleader. She went on to win Maryland’s Junior Miss Pageant in 1970, which is what ultimately launched Gifford’s career.
After she graduated high school, she studied theater and music at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She is known best for her 15 years as a cohost on the talk show Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee.
Before Madonna became one of the biggest pop music icons of all time, she was a cheerleader at Rochester Adams High School. Not only was the daughter of Italian-American immigrants on the cheer team, she was also able to maintain all A’s throughout her time as a student.
Madonna even received a dance scholarship to University of Michigan for her talent, but Madonna dropped out in order to move to New York City in 1978 and begin her career in music.
Nene Leaks is most well-known for starring in the popular E! reality series Real House Wives of Atlanta. From a young age, Leaks had a passion for cheering. She was a member of her school’s cheerleading squad since grade school all the way up to High School.
It is no wonder why the reality star is so spunky and energetic on the show! Doesn’t she look like a natural posing with her fluffy pom poms?
The Transformers actress joined Morningside Academy’s cheerleading squad after moving to Florida with her family from Tennessee. While it is hard to imagine, the perfect Megan Fox had a tough time in high school, despite being a cheerleader.
She said that being the new kid came with a lot of harsh bullying from her classmates. Fox moved to California, where she began her acting career. Ironically, Fox’s first role was in 2001’s Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen where she played alongside Lindsay Logan as, you guessed it, a cheerleader.
Like many kids growing up, Denise Richard went through her fair share of phases. From athletic tomboy to peppy cheerleader for El Camino High School.
After Richards graduated, she took over the 90s and early part of 2000s with her performances in Drop Dead Gorgeous, Wild Things and as a Bond girl in The World Is Not Enough. Besides her acting career, Richards is known best as being Charlie Sheen’s ex-wife.
The model/actress Brooklyn Decker could probably still pass as a high school cheerleader at the age of 30. Decker was a cheerleader at Butler High School in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she also served as senior class president.
Decker is still as successful as ever and is best known for gracing the covers of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and working as a Victoria’s Secret angel. While Decker’s main focus is modeling, she ventured into the world of acting after starring in Battleship and What to Expect When You’re Expecting.
During Olivia Wilde’s time at Philips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, she was a member of the step team, which is another form of cheerleading. In an interview, Wilde commented on this photo, “This was a great squad.”
She also noted one particular funny thing about it – the fact that a former U.S. president went to the same school and was also on the cheerleading squad. “And one of the most famous photographs of him was as head cheerleader in almost the exact same outfit,” she explained.
The step-daughter of an Air Force soldier, young Olivia Munn grew up in Japan. When her mother and stepfather divorced, Munn and her mom moved to Oklahoma City where she began cheering for Putnam City North High School.
Munn continued her education at University of Oklahoma, where she graduated with a degree in Journalism. After college, Munn decided to move to LA to pursue her acting dreams, she landed small roles here and there until finally landing a lead role in Iron Man.
Who would have thought that Meryl Streep was the cheerleading type? Luckily, someone was able to share this photo gem on the internet. In this yearbook picture, Streep is seen with her adorable uniform and familiar smile as varsity cheerleader at Bernards High School in New Jersey.
We are pretty sure Streep was one of the most powerful and passionate girls on the squad, but still grateful that she gave up her uniform for a long and legendary career in acting.
We are not surprised that the outgoing and adorable Kelly Ripa was once a cheerleader. Ripa grew up in southern New Jersey and attended Eastern Regional High School, where she also studied theater.
Ripa’s drama teacher, Jim Beckley, encourage Ripa to go after her dreams of becoming an actress. Ripa moved to New York City and landed her first major role on the ever successful soap opera All My Children. You can now watch the hilarious and fun-spirited Ripa on her talk show, Live With Kelly and Ryan.
The comedian who has been known to be quite controversial recently, is hardly recognizable in this astonishing yearbook picture! Griffin was 17 at the time, and was cheering for Oak Park High School in Oak Park, Illinois.
The loudly-spoken ginger has changed a lot since her cheering days. After her high school days came to an end, Griffin studied drama at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in LA and quickly became part of an improv comedy group, The Groundlings. By the 90s, Griffin was a staple in American stand-up comedy.
This photo of Alicia Silverstone only proves that she literally is ageless! While we are not sure if this photo was taken today or 20 years ago, the American beauty looks stunning in her uniform.
The actress cheered for San Mateo High School and eventually made her film debut in The Crush and later on the 90s classic Clueless. She thanks her cheerleading background for making her the confident performer that she became to be!
With an actor father and talent scout mother, it only made sense that the gorgeous and talented Blake Lively would follow in her parent’s footsteps. However, she initially was not interested in acting but eventually gave in to the spotlight.
Lively was a student and cheerleader at Burbank High School at the same time she was filming The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. She had to balance cheer practice, homework and filming a movie. Talk about multi-tasking!
While a student at Katy High School in Katy, Texas, Zellweger was jumping, flipping and cheering in the school’s cheerleading squad. Apparently, the Bridget Jones’s Diary actress still has the moves, she even shared her cheerleading tricks while she was a guest on the Jimmy Fallon Show.
She even had a chance to show off her incredibly toned legs. Just goes to prove, once a cheerleader, always a cheerleader!
Before Poehler was making us die laughing on Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation, Poehler was cheering on her high school’s football team at Burlington High School.
Poehler decided to further her education and went on to receive a degree in communications from Boston College. She later moved to Chicago, where she focused on her comedic skills. Poehler literally went from cheering for others to making others cheer for her!
The very lovable and down to earth Hunger Games actress, Jennifer Lawerence, grew up in Louisville, Kentucky. Not only was Lawrence on her school’s cheer team, she also played softball, basketball and field hockey.
Lawerence is still quite the over-achiever, and was even named the highest-paid actress in the world in 2015 and 2016. If that isn’t impressive enough, the talented beauty was listed in Time’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2013.
Even though Kendall Jenner was already quite famous during her high school years, thanks to her and her family’s reality show Keeping Up with the Kardashians, the now supermodel tried to live a somewhat normal teenage life.
Jenner was on the varsity team at Sierra Canyon School. Jenner eventually left cheerleading and her high school behind and finished her diploma via homeschooling, in order to pursue her dream on modeling.
Before the academy-award winning actress was one of Hollywood’s biggest movie stars, she cheered at pep rallies at Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, Virginia.
Her high school spirit didn’t stop there, she also performed in many of her school’s theater productions before she graduated in 1982. Seems like those years of plays and musicals came in handy! Little did she know that she would be holding an Oscar some years later.