25 Celebrities You Never Knew Were Cheerleaders
So much of what is great in this world was invented right here in the United States. Where would the world be without barbed wire, Play-Doh, rubber bands, the teddy bear, Viagra, the zipper, the atomic bomb or the automatic bread slicer? Seriously, we invented sliced bread!
And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
America also revolutionized sports with more inventions than you can shake a stick at. AstroTurf, the drinking fountain, the skateboard, light bulbs, Kevlar, miniature golf, sunscreen and the digital wrist watch were all invented in the U.S. Some are more important than others, but imagine sports without light bulbs and sunscreen.
Oh, and where would Canada be without our precious Zamboni?
Ideally you already know where I'm going with this, otherwise you are probably extremely confused about the introduction so far based on the title, but in case you don't: Cheerleading was obviously made in the U.S.A. as well.
What started as an all-male activity at Princeton in 1877 has become one of our national pastimes, which is why some of our most beloved celebrities, revered singers and controversial politicians have all served admirably as cheerleaders at some point in their lives.
Here are 25 of our most famous cheerleaders.
25. Sandra Bullock, Actress
Way before she won an Oscar for her role in The Blind Side, actress Sandra Bullock attended Washington-Lee High School in Virginia. Bullock performed in school theater production and was obviously a cheerleader before graduating in 1982.
24. Kirsten Dunst, Actress
It turns out that when Kirsten Dunst was cast as Torrance Shipman in Bring it On, she didn't have to go all out to figure out her character.
Dunst was actually a cheerleader all four years at Notre Dame High School in Los Angeles, Calif.
23. Oliva Munn, Actress
Today actress Olivia Munn enjoys hanging with the comic book geeks and making them sweat dressed as Princess Leia, but that wasn't always the case.
Munn took a more traditional route her senior year of high school in 1998 as a cheerleader at her high school in Oklahoma City.
22. Jessica Simpson, Singer
Poor Cowboys fans still remember Jessica Simpson's stint as Tony Romo's biggest cheerleader back in the day, but it turns out that Ms. Daisy Dukes was also a cheerleader way back in the day.
Like her junior high days in Abilene, Texas. I say junior high because Simpson dropped out of high school at age 15 to pursue her singing career.
21. Megan Fox, Actress
Actress Megan Fox played a demonic high school cheerleader in 2009's Jennifer's Body. She probably had the cheerleading bit down because she was a cheerleader her sophomore year in high school.
20. Snooki, Reality TV Star
Way back before she was in Jersey Shore, Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi was a high school cheerleader in Marlboro, N.Y.
Perhaps the least disgusting thing I've ever seen her do. Congrats, girl!
19. Brooklyn Decker, Model/Actress
At age 25, model-turned-actress Brooklyn Decker could probably still pass for a high school cheerleader. Decker attended and cheered for Butler High School in Charlotte, N.C. in 2005.
18. Alicia Silverstone, Actress
Before she got her big break playing Cher Horowitz in Clueless, actress Alicia Silverstone was just a regular high school student with school spirit.
Silverstone cheered at San Mateo High School in California before dropping out to act full time.
17. Cameron Diaz, Actress
This photo of actress Cameron Diaz as a high school cheerleader has been floating around the Internet since…well…the invention of the Internet.
Diaz hasn't talked much about her cheerleading past at Long Beach Polytechnic High School, but since she dropped out at age 16 to pursue modeling in 1989, the photo was probably taken pretty early in high school.
16. Blake Lively, Actress
Coming from a family of actors, actress Blake Lively wasn't particularly interested in the business during her formative years, which gave her time to attend, cheer for, and actually graduate from Burbank High School in California.
Apparently the acting bug bit at some point, though, because this girl has been everywhere lately.
15. Kelly Ripa, TV Personality
In case you couldn't tell, Kelly Ripa, currently the host of Live! with Kelly and Michael, grew up in suburban New Jersey in the '80s.
But I know you could tell. Ripa attended Eastern High School in Voorhees Township, where she was obviously the cheerleader with the biggest hair.
14. Dakota Fanning, Actress
Actress Dakota Fanning has been acting regularly since the age of 5, which is why I was so surprised to learn that she actually attended any school at all. Not only did Fanning graduate from Campbell Hall School in Hollywood in 2011, she found time to participate in varsity cheerleading and was even voted homecoming queen.
Homegirl is apparently studying at NYU at the moment. Is there anything Fanning can't do?
13. Fergie, Singer
Before making it big time as the star of Kids Incorporated, Stacy Ann Ferguson was a regular California girl attending Glen A. Wilson High School. According to her Wikipedia page, Ms. Fergie was a cheerleader, a straight-A student, a spelling bee champion and a Girl Scout.
And now she's a member of the Black Eyed Peas. Where did it all go so wrong?
12. Trent Lott, Former U.S. Senator
Republican Trent Lott is a former U.S. senator from Mississippi who resigned his seat in 2007, but had resigned from party leadership five years earlier after controversial comments in support of segregation.
Richard Barrett, a segregationist, commented on Lott's days as an Ole Miss cheerleader back in 2002:
"Trent Lott began as a cheerleader at Ole Miss. He ran onto the field carrying the Confederate flag--that's how he became popular. Would he have become popular running onto the field carrying a picture of Martin Luther King? I don't think so."
11. Miley Cyrus, Actress/Singer
I prefer not to delve too deeply into the life and times of Ms. Miley Cyrus, mostly because I think she's one of the most irritating human beings on the planet.
That being said, it seems that before she was Billy Idol, Cyrus was a grade school cheerleader.
10. Kirk Douglas, Actor
Legendary actor Kirk Douglas starred in many of the greatest movies of his generation, which includes his leading role in Spartacus.
But before he was an actor, and even before he was in the Navy, Douglas was a cheerleader at Amsterdam High School in Amsterdam, N.Y.
9. Phyllis Smith, Actress
Actress Phyllis Smith of NBC's The Office made headlines in summer of 2011 when her past as a burlesque dancer and NFL cheerleader was revealed while promoting a film.
In the 1970s, Smith was a cheerleader for the St. Louis Cardinals.
8. Kirstie Alley, Actress
Actress Kirstie Alley hit it big in the late '80s getting cast in NBC's legendary sitcom Cheers. Even back then it would have been hard to tell that this little girl from Kansas would turn into the actress we know now.
Alley cheered at Wichita High School in Kansas.
7. Ronald Reagan, Former U.S. President
Everyone knows Ronald Reagan had a lengthy career as a movie star, including a stint in the U.S. Army Reserve making propaganda films for the government, before becoming President Reagan in 1981.
Not as many people know of his cheerleading past at Eureka College where he was also a frat boy.
6. Halle Berry, Actress
Actress Halle Berry was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio and was a cheerleader at Bedford High School in the mid '80s.
Before eventually getting into acting, Berry also competed in beauty pageants and won Miss Teen All-American in 1985, Miss Ohio in 1986, and was first runner-up in the Miss USA pageant later that year.
5. Katie Couric, Journalist
I never would have guessed Katie Couric would look so adorable as a cheerleader, but it seems we're all wrong at some point or another.
Before graduating from the University of Virginia and beginning her career in journalism in 1979, Couric attended various public high schools in Arlington, Va. where she was a cheerleader.
4. George W. Bush, Former U.S. President
Decades before being elected president in one of the most controversial elections in history, George W. Bush was following in the Skull and Bones footsteps of his father and grandfather at Yale University.
Like the Bushes that came before him, W. was also a cheerleader at Phillips Academy and then later a frat boy. Those must have been some weird days.
3. Lindsay Lohan, Actress
Can you believe a member of the Lohan family actually attended school for any period of time—especially Lindsay? Apparently she attended Calhoun High School in Merrick, N.Y. where she was an adorable cheerleader.
Or at least she pretended to be one at one point. And look at her now...
2. Madonna, Singer
Pop legend Madonna, who seriously just won't quit, was born Madonna Louise Ciccone outside of Detroit where she attended and cheered for Rochester Adams High School.
That was back in the mid '70s. Sadly nearly 40 years have gone by, but almost nothing has changed.
1. Meryl Streep, Actress
In 2012, someone got their grubby little paws on Meryl Streep's high school yearbook. Apparently before she was the world's greatest living actress, Streep was a varsity cheerleader at Bernards High School in New Jersey.
I bet she was the world's greatest living cheerleader at the time, too.
I was never a cheerleader, but I was on the dance team in high school, which is why you should follow me, Amber Lee, on Twitter: @blamberr