Entertainment

Reaching for the Stars: Before Becoming Hollywood’s Top of the Class, These Celebs Attended Prestigious Ivy League Schools

For the most part, celebrities are known for their work on stage, in the studio or on the silver screen. Whether it be an acting role in the latest show or motion picture or a hit song that’s about to storm the charts, these stars have worked their way to worldwide headlines. Hype Galore is here to set the record straight and tell you that these A-listers are looking to do much more than entertain.

Reaching for the Stars  Before Becoming Hollywoods Top of the Class These Celebs Attended Prestigious Ivy League Schools 23
Image: Time Magazine

The term “reaching for the stars” couldn’t be applied to a more fitting bunch! Over the years, these celebrities have wowed us by taking their careers one step further. Sure, it’s nice to receive an Oscar award, but what about a degree? Here’s our roundup of super-ambitious stars who achieved more than fame and fortune by attending some of the most prestigious ivy league schools.

The Brainiest Brit at Brown

This is one Brit who’s really made a name for herself over the years! She may still be young, but Emma Watson has gracefully made her way into Hollywood, and with those acting talents, we’re certain that the woman is here to stay. Would you believe, there’s a whole load of brains to pair with that beauty?

Reaching for the Stars  Before Becoming Hollywoods Top of the Class These Celebs Attended Prestigious Ivy League Schools 16
Image: HawtCelebs

She’s a movie star, a fashion icon, and it would appear this woman is even a genius, too! Back in 2014, the actress who is best known for her role as Hermione in the Harry Potter movies headed to Brown University, where she completed a bachelor’s degree in English literature. We’ve never seen someone look so stylish in a graduation gown.

Harvard’s Best Actress

Over the years, the globe has been captivated by the uber-talented actress that goes by the name of Rashida Jones. Keen to make her performance portfolio a great one, it seems there’s not a single Hollywood hit the star hasn’t got involved in! Once you do the digging, you’ll come to realize this actress may have worked harder than most for a spot on the big screen.

Reaching for the Stars  Before Becoming Hollywoods Top of the Class These Celebs Attended Prestigious Ivy League Schools 7
Image: Harvard Magazine

Hard work pays off, and Miss. Jones is the evidence you need to believe it! In 1997, the starlet was pictured getting her hard-earned degree from none other than Harvard University. What did she major in? That would be acting. Considering the entertainment awards she’s achieved today, we’d have to say that the tassel was most definitely worth the hassle!

Pennsylvania Prodigy in-the-making

You’ve never heard vocals quite as smooth as John Legend’s. Believe us, this singer/songwriter certainly lives up to his surname! As a member of Hollywood’s A-list community and the father to a beautiful family, Mr. Legend is well and truly living his best life. As if the man couldn’t impress us enough, this fact might just top it all off.

Reaching for the Stars  Before Becoming Hollywoods Top of the Class These Celebs Attended Prestigious Ivy League Schools 9
Image: Access Hollywood

Get ready to be stunned! Not only did John beat the celebrity airhead stereotype by attending college, but he enrolled early! That’s right, at just 16 years of age this superstar graduated with a degree in English, with a special focus on African American literature. We don’t know about you, but we couldn’t be prouder.

Yale Drama School to Hollywood

As both a filmmaker and an actress, we immediately knew there was something special in Lupita Nyong’o! The minute this Kenyan-Mexican beauty stepped onto our screens in 2013’s 12 Years a Slave, we were all left wanting more. It may not come as a surprise to learn that this star attended a couple of lectures in her time.

Reaching for the Stars  Before Becoming Hollywoods Top of the Class These Celebs Attended Prestigious Ivy League Schools 22
Image: Forbes

Let’s rewind to 2012. Exactly one year before this woman’s acting career officially kicked off, she was keeping herself busy by hitting the books! Miss. Nyong’o achieved her MFA degree from Yale School of Drama. In many ways, this woman’s success was written in the stars given her hard-working past. Keep doing you, Lupita! 

Comedians at Columbia College

Anyone who knows anything about the movie industry will have heard of James Franco at least a couple of times in their life. Pair those effortless good looks with that witty charm, and you’ve got yourself an actor that can bring just about any motion picture to life! If you were wondering how brainy this star is, we’ve got the evidence you’ve been looking for.

Reaching for the Stars  Before Becoming Hollywoods Top of the Class These Celebs Attended Prestigious Ivy League Schools 6
Image: The Morning Call

Traveling back to 2010 now, and the world-renowned movie star was putting on his graduation gown, all ready to get that degree from Columbia’s MFA program. Now we know this, it wouldn’t be so surprising if it turned out that Franco had thought of all those witty comments himself in his movies. This guy is a brainbox like no other!

The Most Theatrical Man at Brown

We’ll admit it, NBC’s The Office would be nothing without Jim, more commonly known as John Krasinski in the real world! For several years now, this US actor has taken part in acting projects that have made us laugh our heads off. It turns out, this talented star knows exactly how it feels to ace an exam or two.

Reaching for the Stars  Before Becoming Hollywoods Top of the Class These Celebs Attended Prestigious Ivy League Schools 10
Image: YouTube/Brown University

The surprises on this list just keep on coming. Back in 2001, and just a few years before getting his big break on the hit comedy series, Mr. Krasinski graduated as a playwright from the prestigious Brown University in English. It’s good to know that if he ever gets tired of the acting life, he’s got a career following in Shakespeare’s footsteps to fall back on!

Yale’s Acting Royalty

As a relatively new member of the acting world, Allison Williams has made an impressive start, to say the least! From the NBC series Girls to the ultra-disturbing thriller, Get Out, this actress has certainly been keeping herself busy. If you’ve looked into what this star was getting up to just before acting, the chances are you won’t be left unimpressed!

Reaching for the Stars  Before Becoming Hollywoods Top of the Class These Celebs Attended Prestigious Ivy League Schools 4
Image: Take Daily News

The headlines might not tell you about Miss Williams’ English degree she earned from the prestigious Yale University in 2010, but we certainly will! We were impressed when this woman made her debut into the Hollywood world of acting, but now we’re just radiating pride. Keep on wowing us with those brains of yours, Allison!

Oscar-Winning Columbia Student

Known today as an international heartthrob, audiences only need to hear that the latest motion picture is starring Jake Gyllenhaal to form an orderly line at the movie theater! Renowned for his various box office hits over the years, would you believe that this talented actor is way, way more than just a pretty face?

Reaching for the Stars  Before Becoming Hollywoods Top of the Class These Celebs Attended Prestigious Ivy League Schools 29
Image: Business Insider

You heard it here first! Before his heyday on the big screen, Mr. Gyllenhaal was jotting down seminar notes at Columbia University. He may not have seen the course through to the end to get that iconic graduation pic, but for two whole years, the hunky Los Angeles star worked hard at his major in Eastern Religions. Never stop making us proud, Jake!

From Princeton to The Office

It wouldn’t be long before we had to give a mention to another cast member from the hit comedy, The Office! We all know Ellie Kemper for her iconic role as Erin Hannon in the popular NBC show, but one of the lesser-known facts about the talented star is that she was a big name on campus, back in 2002! Here are all the details.

Reaching for the Stars  Before Becoming Hollywoods Top of the Class These Celebs Attended Prestigious Ivy League Schools 8
Image: Princeton University

Just before this woman was walking down the red carpet, she was getting all of her points across in seminars! That’s right, during the early noughties the redheaded actress attended one of the best colleges in the business, Princeton University, and majored in English! If we were Ellie Kemper, we’d give ourselves a huge pat on the back.

Major Success Bred at Harvard

Natalie Portman is up there with some of the biggest stars in Hollywood. 2010’s drama Black Swanracked up over $300 million at the box office, and we think a great deal of its success was down to Miss. Portman being the lead. It would appear this US star has quite a lot to feel proud about, just check out what the actress was up to in 2003!

Reaching for the Stars  Before Becoming Hollywoods Top of the Class These Celebs Attended Prestigious Ivy League Schools 12
Image: Hollywood Reporter

Harvard University has opened its doors to many legends over the years: former US president Barack Obama, Facebook inventor Mark Zuckerberg, and even Natalie Portman! Just before this woman started hitting our cinema screens, she was learning how to read minds, with her Psychology major at Harvard University! You learn something new every day.

Yale’s Most Prolific Actress

There are people who work hard to get their name out there, and then there’s Jodie Foster. This actress has got involved in so many movie projects over the years, we wouldn’t be surprised if she started reciting script lines in her sleep! Proving that the work doesn’t stop at acting though, the Los Angeles native is an alumni member from a pretty smart institution.

Reaching for the Stars  Before Becoming Hollywoods Top of the Class These Celebs Attended Prestigious Ivy League Schools 21
Image: Time Magazine

What institution is this exactly? None other than Yale University! Back in 1985, Miss. Foster was photographed posing with a big, flashy-looking diploma that detailed her major in English. We’ve got to give it to the woman, she’s achieved great things in her lifetime that some people could only dream of. 

Biopic Queens from Yale

Looking for an actress to star in the next biggest biographical movie? Angela Bassett is your girl! This New Yorker made a real name for herself when she acted out the role of Tina Turner in 1993’s What’s Love Got to Do with It, and ever since she’s been impressing us all, as the queen of biopics! It turns out, acting was the plan all along for this star.

Reaching for the Stars  Before Becoming Hollywoods Top of the Class These Celebs Attended Prestigious Ivy League Schools 17
Image: News 1130

Well, isn’t this impressive? Throwing it right back to the year of 1980, and the US legend was busy getting her MFA degree from the Yale School of Drama. When you work hard at achieving your wildest dreams, anything is possible. Miss. Bassett couldn’t be a bigger example of that! We hope the successes keep on coming for this woman.

Columbia’s Most Charming Actor

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has got involved with so many movie projects over the years, it would appear there isn’t a genre the acting legend can’t nail! If you took an even closer look at this international heartthrob’s life over the years, it turns out that acting isn’t the only thing the star is versatile in. Get a load of this!

Reaching for the Stars  Before Becoming Hollywoods Top of the Class These Celebs Attended Prestigious Ivy League Schools 5
Image: The Daily Beast

In the year 2000, Gordon Levitt decided to take a brief hiatus from acting. Why? He wanted to hit the books and study History, Literature and French Poetry at Columbia University. The actor may not have stuck it out right until the end, but we couldn’t commend Joseph more for giving such an intense course a real go for four years, it’s more than most people could do!

Dartmouth’s Funniest Graduate

Here’s an actress that knows exactly how to get an audience crying with laughter. Comedian Mindy Kaling got the crowds going so much during her gig on NBC’s The Office, she was given her own sitcom, The Mindy Project.She can act, she can get up on stage and tell a good few jokes, but the woman also knows how to study hard!

Reaching for the Stars  Before Becoming Hollywoods Top of the Class These Celebs Attended Prestigious Ivy League Schools 11
Image: Women in the World Summit

In the year 2001, before Miss. Kaling knew she wanted to pursue a career on screen and at the stand-up shows, this Cambridge, Massachusetts local considered herself the next aspiring playwright! That’s right, Mindy majored in this field at the ever-so-prestigious Dartmouth College. We commend this star for working her head off!

Legends Coming From Brown

The ABC-watching community has been hooked ever since 2014 on a television show that goes by the name of Black-ish. Not only is the plot super original, but it’s beyond hilarious! We owe a special thanks to actress, Tracee Ellis Ross, for making the show a great one. Alongside her superb performance on the sitcom, Tracee makes us all proud for one other reason.

Reaching for the Stars  Before Becoming Hollywoods Top of the Class These Celebs Attended Prestigious Ivy League Schools 27
Image: Pinterest/Glamour Magazine

What reason is this? Back in 1994, Miss. Ellis-Ross joined her peers by throwing her graduation cap in the air, as she celebrated earning her theater degree at Brown University! The next time you try and slate a celebrity for getting everything handed to them on a silver platter, just think back to this diligent woman.

Pennsylvania Graduate to Fashion Icon

As the daughter to the current US President, it would only follow suit that Ivanka Trump received the most prestigious education! What many people may not know though, is that the glamorous businesswoman took her studies further than most. Let’s take a trip back to the year 2004, and check in on what Miss. Trump was up to!

Reaching for the Stars  Before Becoming Hollywoods Top of the Class These Celebs Attended Prestigious Ivy League Schools 26
Image: Time Magazine

So, what was she getting involved with? During this year, the future fashion designer finally got to see the fruits of all her labor, as she got her degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s business school. You best believe the whole Trump clan were present on this special day to congratulate the smart scholar!

Icons Beginning at Yale

While most of us picture Meryl Streep as the singing-dancing wonder that features in some of the highest-grossing movies, she didn’t get it all handed to her at the click of a finger! Indeed, Miss. Streep joins this long line of celebrities that worked pretty hard before making a name for themselves.

Reaching for the Stars  Before Becoming Hollywoods Top of the Class These Celebs Attended Prestigious Ivy League Schools 25
Image: Evening Standard

Just before this woman had to practice her speeches for winning academy awards, she was learning about the most common stage directions to take in a play! That’s right, the star got her MFA degree at Yale School of Drama in 1975, and pride would be an understatement for how this fact makes us feel.

Harvard’s Most Famous Talker

Talk show hosts are a talented specimen of people! Who else do you know with the capabilities to turn a quick catch-up into an unmissable event? Proving this kind of industry takes a lot of hard work and dedication is Conan O’Brien. Don’t believe us? Just check out what this comedian was getting up to in his past.

Reaching for the Stars  Before Becoming Hollywoods Top of the Class These Celebs Attended Prestigious Ivy League Schools 28
Image: Hollywood Reporter

This guy didn’t just go to college, but he went to Harvard University! If you cast your minds back to the year 1985, the aspiring star was getting his degree in American History. It’s quite clear that this man wasn’t messing about in his quest to make something out of his life, and we couldn’t be more impressed!

Ruthless Pennsylvania Graduates

Here we present to you, the funniest star of them all! Ever since Whitney Cummings started cracking jokes on our television screens in her stand up show, Money Shot, the world has fallen in love with this women’s fearlessness to create ruthless comedy. She may be known now for telling a taboo joke to the world, but years ago this woman had other ideas!

Reaching for the Stars  Before Becoming Hollywoods Top of the Class These Celebs Attended Prestigious Ivy League Schools 24
Image: Jezebel

Back in the year 2004, Miss. Cummings was working day and night to get that degree in Communications at the University of Pennsylvania. Would you believe this star initially wanted to become a journalist after her time studying? We’re glad she had second thoughts after discovering how hilarious she was!

From Columbia to the Red Carpet

We bet there was a lot of sibling rivalry going on in the Gyllenhaal household when they were growing up. Why is that? Both of the public figures have earned a pretty successful living over the years! Showing that Jake isn’t the only family member who could get themselves a degree, was his big sis, Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Reaching for the Stars  Before Becoming Hollywoods Top of the Class These Celebs Attended Prestigious Ivy League Schools 1
Image: South China Morning Report

So, was Maggie a fellow Columbia student just like her younger brother? You bet she was! Back in 1999, Miss. Gyllenhaal received her degree in English literature. It’s insane to think how much of a journey this talented actress and producer has been on ever since that moment. It’s safe to say, good things were in store for this one!

Movie Legends From Brown

Laura Linney is a high-class actress, we just have to hear her name in the cast for a new production to know it’s going to be a good one! She may be best known for her roles in movies such as Hyde Park on Hudson, but back when the actress was growing up, she was setting a morning alarm for something completely different to filming! 

Reaching for the Stars  Before Becoming Hollywoods Top of the Class These Celebs Attended Prestigious Ivy League Schools 20
Image: Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare

What was the star up to? Back in 1986, Linney graduated from Brown University; this came after a decision to transfer from Northwestern. It’s safe to say, this was one of the best decisions she’s ever made! Getting a degree from such a highly-respected institution put this woman on the fast-track to earning all of her successes of today.

Harvard’s Top Inventor

One of the most successful multi-taskers in the entertainment business has got to be B.J. Novak. As both the writer and executive producer of NBC’s The Office, this talented star has given us a lot to feel thankful for over the years! Enjoying such a good career in the limelight certainly took some time for this comedian, but he got there in the end. Here’s how he achieved it!

Reaching for the Stars  Before Becoming Hollywoods Top of the Class These Celebs Attended Prestigious Ivy League Schools 19
Image: Business Insider

If you ever wondered just how intelligent Mr. Novak really is, here are your answers. In the year 2001, the aspiring star was receiving his degree from Harvard University, majoring in English and Spanish literature. These subjects may be a little different from his career choice today, but we’re sure it gave him a confidence boost to get his talents shown to the world!

Yale’s Biggest Comic Series Star

The legend that is Winston Duke rose to worldwide fame after his superb performances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe series, kicking it all off with 2018’s installment, Black Panther. While it may seem like an acting career was written in the stars for this talented man, it certainly wasn’t achieved without a little (or a lot of) hard work!

Reaching for the Stars  Before Becoming Hollywoods Top of the Class These Celebs Attended Prestigious Ivy League Schools 14
Image: News Chief

Back in 2013, the Tobago native was overjoyed to pick up his MFA degree in acting, from none other than the Yale School of Drama. If you told this man what his future would look like all these years ago, you’d probably have to pinch him a few times! This actor deserves all the successes coming his way.

Dartmouth’s Finest Vocals

Vocals like Connie Britton’s don’t come around so often. Getting this powerhouse a spot on ABC’s country drama, Nashville, was one of the smartest moves casting directors have ever made. Before this star realized her voice would earn her the big bucks, Miss. Britton was spending all her time hitting the books in the library!

Reaching for the Stars  Before Becoming Hollywoods Top of the Class These Celebs Attended Prestigious Ivy League Schools 2
Image: Villainesse

You heard it here first! Before this redheaded legend was belting out the lyrics to the next country hit on our television screens, she was working hard to get that degree at Dartmouth College, majoring in Asian Studies! It may be a little different from the work she specializes in now, but we’re amazed this woman has succeeded in both!