20 World-Famous Women with Beauty & Brains

They’ve provided the anthem of a generation, portrayed femme fatales, vampires, heroines and witches, and graced countless runways. But these women are so much more than a pretty face.

With I.Q.’s teetering in between genius and having superior intelligence and impressive college degrees, these women are the complete package: brains and beauty.

1. Jennifer Connelly


Her piercing blue eyes and alabaster skin keep her on “most beautiful” lists. But the star of The Rocketeer, Requiem for a DreamBlood DiamondA Beautiful Mind and Inventing the Abbotts attended Yale University for two years, majoring in English. She completed her English degree at Stanford University, and is also fluent in both Italian and French.

2. Aisha Tyler


She played a brainiac paleontologist on Friends, but the “talker” with a killer sense of humor (she’s been a stand-up comedian) Dartmouth with a Bachelor’s degree in Government and an Environmental Policy minor. Tyler is also fluent in Swahili, French, and Russian.

3. Hedy Lamarr


A frequent seductress in films of the 30′s and 40′s, it was her great looks, not brains or talent, that garnered studio executives’ attention. But she’s been reported as contributing to the early version of the U.S. spread spectrum technology with the famous composer George Antheil. Proving her staying power, this technology was incorporated into the Internet, Wi-Fi and wireless telephones.

4. Mayim Bialek


On the small screen she’s neurobiologist, Amy Farrah Fowler, on the Bing Bang Theory. In real life, NBC’s “Blossom” stepped out of the limelight to earn a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience and Hebrew/Jewish studies from UCLA in 2000. She set the books aside in 2005 to once again focus on acting, but finished her Ph.D. in neuroscience in 2007, specializing in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in adolescents with Prader-Willi syndrome.

5. Sharon Stone


Widely reputed to have an IQ of 154, Stone was offered a scholarship to Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, at age 15. Once there she studied creative writing and fine arts and described herself as “a nerdy, ugly duckling” in her online biography at Penn State University Library.

She also said, “I was never a kid. I walked and talked at ten months. I started school in the second grade when I was five, a real weird, academically driven kid, not at all interested in being social. Recess was a drag until I realized I didn’t have to play, that I could lean up against a wall and read.”

6. Alicia Keys


Not only did the soulful crooner graduate high school at 16, she did so at the top of her class. The former valedictorian passed up an ivy scholarship to Columbia University to pursue a career in music. And her fans couldn’t be happier!

7. Famke Janssen

Beauty_Brains_WomenFamke-JanssenPerhaps best known for her roles in the movies X-Men and Taken, the former Bond Girl studied  writing and literature at Columbia and took Economics after that at the University of Amsterdam. She speaks both English and French.

8. Elisabeth Shue


Her movie credits include Hollow ManLeaving Las VegasThe Karate Kid, and Adventures in Babysitting but Shue has had plenty opf academic adventures, too. She attended Wellesley College and Harvard.

Although she withdrew from Harvard in the mid 80′s to focus on acting, she went back 15 years later to complete her studies in Government.

9. Queen Rania of Jordan

Beauty_Brains_WomenQueen_RaniBefore becoming literal royalty as the Queen consort of Jordan, Rania Al-Yassin earned a degree in Business Administration from the American University in Cairo. She even got a job at Apple, before her ascension to the throne. Queen Rania is a world-renowned author, women’s rights activist, humanitarian, and a champion in education initiatives around the globe.

10. Kate Beckinsale


Playing with vampires doesn’t sound too smart, but this beauty seems brilliant. She attended Oxford University, where she studied Russian and French literature for three years. As a teenager, she also won two W.H. Smith Young Writer’s competitions for her very own poems and short stories and is fluent in German, Russian, and French.

11. Cindy Crawford


The ageless cover girl and runway staple has graced the covers of numerous magazines. Nut she also was her high school’s valedictorian with a GPA of 4.0. She followed that up by enrolling at Northwestern University, where she received a full academic scholarship to study chemical engineering.

12. Aishwarya Rai

Beauty_Brains_WomenAishwarya Rai Bachchan1EPS

Beloved in Hollywood and Bollywood, Rai is the recipient of the 1994 Miss World pageant award. But she also has brains achieving straight A’s while studying at India’s prestigious Ruparel College. She is also fluent in many different languages, including English, Tamil, Marathi, and Hindi.

13. Natalie Portman


The number one spot on this list of the 10 famous beauty and brain chicks is none other than Natalie PortmanStar WarsBlack Swan, and Garden State are just some of her greatest movies. Just look at her and there is no need to explain why she is beautiful. Her looks are not the only thing that made her so popular – she is also very intelligent.

She graduated from her high school with a GPA of 4.0. She attended Harvard University where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She speaks six languages fluently including Japanese, French, and Hebrew, and has twice been published in scientific journals. Portman once proclaimed to the New York Post, “I’d rather be smart than a movie star.”

14. Shakira


The former The Voice coach and “Hips Don’t Lie” Columbian singer’s I.Q. is said to be 140.

The multi-continent success is also fluent in, English, and Portugese and speaks some French, Catalan, Arabic and Italian. When her Oral Fixation tour ended in 2007, Shakira attended classes in Los Angeles at UCLA Extensions studying  History of Western Civilization.

15. Emma Watson


The British beauty was catapulted to world-wide stardom playing Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter movies. And in Watson’s case, her alter-ego’s smarts is a case of art imitating life.

While filming Potter, she reportedly studied up to 5 hours every day. Taking the GCSE exams in June 2006, Watson earned all A’s. Forgoing the path most starlets take, she swapped scripts for textbooks upon the end of the Potter franchise. She was reportedly accepted into Harvard, Yale and Columbia but chose attend fellow Ivy League university, Brown. Watson went on to study English in Worcester College, Oxford University as a visitor student. You can now find her as a UN Ambassador, fighting for women’s equality.

16. Jodie Foster


There’s no denying Foster’s acting range. She portrayed a preteen prostitute in Taxi Driver, an FBI rookie in Silence of the Lambs and a gang rape victim in The Accused. But this Oscar winner cum director calls Yale University her Alma mater, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in literature.

Foster also attended the Lycée Français de Los Angeles, the famous French prep school, and received an honorary doctor of fine art’s degree from Yale. Fluent in French and Italian, Foster also understands German as well as Spanish and has dubbed a lot of her movies in French.

17. Ashley Judd


The political activist has an acting career spanning more than two decades. But she also spent four years at the University of Kentucky where she majored in French and minored in anthropology, history, theater and women’s studies. Judd also dedicated a year studying in France and earned a Master’s Degree in public administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of government in 2010.

18. Mira Sorvino


Fluent in Mandarin Chinese, Sorvino gained fame playing a dim-witted prostitute in Woody Allen’s Mighty Aphrodite.

In real life, the Oscar winner is quite the intellectual, attending Harvard University where she graduated magna cum laude in East Asian Studies after majoring in Chinese. She also wrote a Hoopes prize winning thesis on racial issues and conflict in China, after spending a year in Beijing conducting research.

19. Geena Davis


This MENSA member who boasts an I.Q. of 140 studied drama at the Boston University and is fluent in Swedish. The star of the iconic buddy adventure Thelma & Louise also plays piano, flute, drums and organ .

20. Madonna


The Material Girl is reported to have an I.Q. of 140. A straight-A student in high school as well as cheerleader, and disciplined dancer, Madge graduated from high school a semester earlier than the rest of her class.

In 1976, the University of Michigan offered her a full scholarship to their dance program. With earnings nearing one billion, she’s proven her smarts by demonstrating staying power and the ability to adapt.


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