These Celebrities Were Cheerleaders Before They Got Big
Published in Sep 2021 / Updated in Oct 2021
Many celebrities today are famous sports athletes, and in case you never knew, many of your favorite stars were cheerleaders before they got famous. So, it is not just the athletes on the pitch that got a shot at fame.
A few of those cheering them from the sidelines turned into big celebrities as well.
Some of these celebrities were cheerleaders in high school, others cheered their teams in college, while others were NBA cheerleaders. Today, these people are famous musicians, chefs, and actors. So, check out this list. You might be shocked to discover that some of your favorite celebrities were cheerleaders back in the day.
1. Kendall Jenner
Kendall Jenner is arguably the most famous model in the world today, and she comes from one of the most famous families in the world.
Even if you aren't among the hundreds of millions of people who follow her on social media, the chances are that you know her based on her role in the long-running show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
So, Kendall Jenner is as big a celebrity as anyone can get, and she has been incredibly successful as a model. However, it looks like she got some of the skills she uses as a model today while she was a cheerleader in high school.
2. Brooklyn Decker
If you have watched Just Go with It and the TV series Grace & Frankie, then you probably know and love Brooklyn Decker. However, her big break came after she appeared in Sports Illustrated as a model.
Decker was born and raised in Ohio, and in addition to being a cheerleader, she was also the class president. She later moved to New York.
3. Reese Witherspoon
Reese Witherspoon is a very talented actor. She was incredible as the "dumb-blonde gone smart" in Legally Blonde.
From there, she went on to play iconic roles in some of the top television shows, such as Big Little Lies and Little Fires Everywhere.
Witherspoon is a woman of many talents.
So, it's not that surprising that she was a cheerleader while in high school. She was pretty proud of her ability to play around with her pom-poms, and you can probably guess she was quite good at it.
She once posted a throwback picture from when she was a cheerleader, and she seemed quite proud of the achievement.
4. Cameron Diaz
Cameron Diaz is very captivating on screen, and she has been in many movies over the years. Her first significant role was in The Mask, where she starred alongside the iconic Jim Carey in 1996.
In 2000, she appeared in Charlie's Angels alongside Lucy Liu and Drew Barrymore. She is also the voice of Princess Fiona in Shrek films.
She went on to star in Bad Teacher and Annie, and she didn't stop there.
However, before she became a film star, Diaz was a cheerleader in her high school days. In addition to cheering during half-time football games, she also took part in the dance-drill team.
5. Sandra Bullock
Who would have guessed that the legendary Sandra Bullock was a cheerleader back in high school? Today, most people remember her for her roles in Gravity, Ms. Congeniality, and TheProposal.
Bullock was born in Arlington, Virginia, and she spent much of her adolescence in Germany. However, when she was in high school, she returned to the United States, turning into a cheerleader while attending Washington-Lee High School.
6. Halle Berry
Halle Berry is one of the most famous actresses in Hollywood, having won important awards for her many roles in the film business. So far, she has starred in Gothika, Catwoman, and the X-Men films.
Recently, she has appeared in Kingsman: The Golden Circle, which shows that film fans can't get enough of her.
Like many other actresses on this list, Halle Berry also happens to have been a cheerleader before she got in the limelight. That was back when she was a teenager.
She was born in Ohio, and she was cheering for Bedford High School.
7. Megan Fox
Megan Fox is quite the actress, and her role in the Transformers movies evidenced her acting prowess. She was also impressed with her performance in Jennifer's Body in 2009.
She was also unforgettable for her recurring guest role in the fifth season of New Girl. Fox played a sharp and feisty girl, which she nailed perfectly.
Although Megan Fox is a superstar today, she was a cheerleader in high school while attending Florida's Morningside Academy.
8. Kelly Ripa
It might surprise you to know that Kelly Ripa was just a high school teenager when she was discovered as an actress. In high school, she tried her hand as a theatrical actress when Cathy Parker, a manager, spotted her during her role in the play, The Ugly Duckling.
However, acting did not take up all her time in high school, as she was also a cheerleader. This is apparent considering that she has a reputation for being a dancer, an actress, and a talk show host.
Fergie entered the entertainment industry as an actress when she was quite young.
She also took a shot at singing as a child as well. However, her star truly shone when she became part of the Black-Eyed Peas in her 30s.
When she joined the group, she became world-famous, and she enjoys that attention to this day. However, she eventually left the group and set out on her own, occasionally taking up acting roles.
Even as she worked hard to turn into a star, Fergie was a cheerleader for her high school team.
Madonna is famous today for her role as the Queen of Pop than for anything else. However, before she mesmerized millions of fans with her singing and dancing skills, she was a cheerleader.
Considering her well-known rebellious attitude, this comes as quite a surprise to many. After her cheerleading days, she turned into one of the greatest influences in the music industry with her incredible voice.
While in high school, she was not just a fantastic cheerleader but also a straight-A student. Madonna grew up getting all she ever put her mind to.
11. Eva Longoria
Thanks to The Young and the Restless, Eva Longoria made us fall in love with her as an actress. Her role in the series made her incredibly famous even before she starred in Desperate Housewives from 2004 to 2012.
However, in addition to her outstanding acting talent, she was also quite the cheerleader back in the day.
She was a cheerleader both in high school and college as a teenager, and she was also a dancer for The Pussycat Dolls. In other words, Longoria is immensely multi-talented.
12. Lindsay Lohan
Lindsay Lohan is one of the most famous actresses in the world today, thanks to her controversial life choices. After impressing many movie fans with her role in the teen movie, Mean Girls, she went to earn herself a lot of notoriety for her bizarre life choices.
She described herself as having been a "floater" in high school because she played soccer, tennis, and basketball. She was also a cheerleader, which means she tried a bit of everything.
She also tried her hand at art and to get along with everyone and therefore "didn't have to deal with the drama in one specific clique."
13. Denise Richards
With her roles in Starship Troopers, Wild Things, and The World is Not Enough, Denise Richards managed to win the hearts of many film fans. She also starred in The Bold and Beautiful and Paper Empire.
However, when she was in high school, she entertained a lot of people as a cheerleader. The skills eventually paid off after she appeared in a cheerleading film, The Secret Life Of Cheerleaders, in 2019.
Ciara is quite an intense performer, making it less surprising to learn that she was once a cheerleader. Even today, she appears to have the perfect form.
She was a cheerleader when she was a teenager, and she often puts many hip-hop dancers to shame with her skills on the dance floor.
She was more than a cheerleader because she was also the captain of the cheerleading team as a senior in high school.
She loved the dancing, the game, and the adrenaline.
According to her, the entire experience was nothing but fun for her.
After she finished school, she made a career out of her singing skills, becoming one of the most famous musicians in the world today.
15. Paul Rudd
Throughout the nineties, Paul Rudd kept his fans intrigued with his superb acting skills. He proved that he can play many different roles and still keep fans glued to the screen.
He has appeared in romantic comedies like Clueless and even sci-fi movies like Ant-Man. The actor proved that there is little he can't do, and the fact that he was a cheerleader cements this.
Rudd was a male cheerleader as a teenager. That makes a lot of sense, considering that he has such a bubbly spirit.
16. Chrissy Teigen
Most people associate Chrissy Teigen with modeling and her marriage to the world-famous singer, John Legend. She has also worked as a TV host for Lip Sync Battle and other shows.
The multi-talented celebrity has also dabbled in acting, appearing in films like Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation and Seeing Double.
However, before she entered the show business, she tried being a cheerleader while in high school. Although she was not as good at it as she would have liked, she can joke about it today.
She later recounted that she had no idea how she got to be part of the team, and she was part of a cheerleading team that was cheering volleyball and wrestling teams while another team focused on football and basketball teams.
17. Nene Leakes
Nene Leakes was one of the most popular actresses in Real Housewives of Atlanta, and it comes as no surprise that she was a cheerleader as a teenager. She cheered her high school team.
Even today, it is not that hard to imagine that the celebrity had some excellent skills to put on display during her cheerleading days.
18. Jessica Simpson
Jessica Simpson was one of the most beloved pop singers from the '90s. Although she has always had a huge interest in singing, she found time to become a cheerleader when she was young.
She began singing when she was 16 and ended up dropping out of high school as a result. However, she was also a cheerleader for Richardson North Junior High School, where she used her cheerful and energetic spirit to encourage her team.
19. Rachael Ray
If you are having a hard time imagining that Rachael Ray, the famous chef, was once a cheerleader, then you are not alone. However, her cheerful and bubbly disposition offers some clues as to how this might have happened.
Rachael Ray is always excited and cheerful, and her photos from when she was a cheerleader demonstrate this fact. She was a cheerleader in high school in New York before she got into cooking.
20. Olivia Wilde
When House came out, it was a huge hit, and it starred Hugh Laurie, Lisa Edelstein, and Olivia Wilde. She brought quite a lot of energy into the show, and these days, she has tried her hand at directing. Her directorial debut was Booksmart, which has gotten lots of great reviews.
Over time, she has been in interesting acting roles, and she was showing off some of the skills she picked up as a cheerleader on the Step Dance.
21. Mandy Moore
Mandy Moore won over the hearts of many with her 1999 hit album, "So Real." Soon after, she tried acting, and she became a popular cheerleader in The Princess Diaries, where she acted alongside Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews.
However, during her teen years, making music was not all she cared about. She later revealed she loved cheerleading, although she was not the most physically accomplished cheerleader in the group.
However, her loudness and her passion made her an important part of the team.
22. Kathie Lee Gifford
Kathie has been a leading TV show host for many years, thanks to her skills and talent. She has also tried being an actor and was a voice actor in Hercules, the TV series.
However, many don't know that she was a cheerleader in high school before she became a famous television host.
23. Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep is one of the most remarkable actresses ever, and her performances are always mind-blowing. Her roles in Sophie's Choice,The Devil Wears Prada, and many other films have proven that there is little she can't do to impress movie fans.
Before she became a movie star, Meryl Streep was also an accomplished cheerleader in high school. She also happened to be a Prom queen, which shows that she has been an outstanding person all her life.
24. Blake Lively
Blake Lively was incredible in Gossip Girl, where she was a very convincing high school queen. She also took on the role of a teen athlete in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.
So, as far as teen films and shows go, Blake Lively has been quite bankable.
Considering that she was a cheerleader in high school, her success as an actor in teenage roles might not come as a huge surprise. She confessed that she was "impressively athletic" while posting a throwback picture from her cheerleading days.
25. Kathy Griffin
Kathy Griffin is among the most popular faces of comedy, thanks to her sharp and keen wit. Before she was a comedian, she was a cheerleader in her high school soccer team.
She later admitted that she spent most of her time as a cheerleader baking cookies for the team. She posted a TBT photo of herself as a cheerleader where she said that she was a soccer cheerleader and claimed to be proud of her "D-List cheerleader status."
26. Jennifer Lawrence
It is hard to imagine that as challenging and feisty as Jennifer Lawrence seems today, she was a cheerleader at some point in her life. Like many people on this list, she was a cheerleader in high school when she tried everything from basketball, hockey to cheerleading.
However, she might not have loved it as much as some of the other actresses on this list.
She took part in athletics and sports at her parents' insistence. However, her acting skills confirm that she was born to be a film star.
27. Alicia Silverstone
In the '90s, Alicia Silverstone got a lot of fame for her role in Batman & Robin. She starred as the Batgirl along with Hollywood heavyweights like George Clooney, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Uma Thurman.
She was also brilliant in The Crush and Clueless.
However, years before she became a star, she was a cheerleader for San Mateo High School.
28. Renee Zellweger
The 2002 musical, Chicago, made us all realize just how impressive Renee Zellweger was. During an appearance on The Tonight Show, starring Jimmy Fallon, she surprised everyone with her 7th-grade cheer routine. During the show, she even tried to teach Fallon the steps to "Get ready! Get set! The Tiger team is the best yet!"
In case you missed it, this means she was a cheerleader before she was a teenager, and that is truly impressive. What is even more incredible is that she can recall the chants and the cheer routine after all those years.
29. Amy Poehler
Amy Poehler has a warm effortless charm and a hilarious disposition, making her quite a famous actress today. She was quite a hit on Saturday Night Live.
She proved she was an even more impressive person with her role as Leslie Knope in the popular series Parks & Recreation.
On-screen, she never seems to take on serious roles but instead plays goofy and comedic roles. That is clearly easy for her as she is naturally energetic and full of charm.
That must have played a role in helping her get a spot in her high school cheerleading team when she was younger.
30. Diane Sawyer
America considers Diane Sawyer one of her greatest anchorwomen ever. Many people know her as the host of ABC World News Tonight and Good Morning America.
She also made history when she became the first female co-anchor for 60 Minutes!
Although she always seems glamorous and prestigious, she apparently could yell and cheer with a bubbly personality back when she was a cheerleader as a teenager. That is hard to imagine, but it is pretty cool to imagine that she could do this.
31. Miley Cyrus
Many people have watched Miley Cyrus grow, which is why it might seem like we all know everything there is to know about her. However, before she became the rebellious and energetic woman she is today, she was part of a cheerleading team.
In addition to starring in Hannah Montana and writing songs when younger, she was also a cheerleader in high school. She pas part of the Premier Tennessee All-Star cheer team, which is quite impressive.
That said, we can always expect surprises from Miley, and this is clearly among them.
32. Dakota Fanning
Dakota has been famous ever since she was a child, and many people have difficulty understanding how fast she has grown up. She is a fully grown woman today, and there is plenty of history behind her.
She starred in War of the Worlds, Uptown Girls, and other films in the 2000s and convinced most people she was a sweet and innocent girl.
However, as a teenager, she was part of Campbell High School's cheerleading team.
33. Jayma Mays
It might not seem like it, but Jayma Mays was a spirited cheerleader back in high school. This goes to show that she went through the same teenage challenges as the rest of us.
Although most people see Mays as a cute and innocent girl, she was also a high school cheerleader. She was incredible in Red Eye and Glee.
34. Paula Abdul
Paula Abdul is an incredible superstar, and there is nothing she can't do. She managed to win the hearts of many with her musical talent and went on to earn worldwide fame with her role as a judge in American Idol.
Although many know her incredible dance moves, not everyone knows she has a past as a cheerleader. As a matter of fact, she was the head cheerleader and even managed to become a Laker Girl for the L.A. Lakers, which is truly incredible.
35. Rashida Jones
Just like Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones was also in Parks & Recreation. Another similarity between the two stars is that they were both cheerleaders back in the day.
Today, Jones is quite the star with her outstanding roles in both TV and film.
She recalls being social and overachieving. She was also a cheerleader, although she was also a member of the math club and the National Honor Society.
Apparently, she was also a teacher's pet.
36. Phaedra Parks
Like fellow real housewife Nene Leakes, Phaedra Parks was also a cheerleader at some point in her life. Today, she is incredibly famous for her role on The Real Housewives of Atlanta, but in high school, she was famous in her school as a cheerleader.
Besides being a reality TV star, she is also a lawyer and the owner of The Parks Group.
It is truly shocking to learn that some of our most popular stars were cheerleaders. A great example is Ann-Margret, who was terrific in the 1963 movie Bye Bye Birdie and Carnal Knowledge in 1971.
However, like many other stars on this list, Ann-Margret was also a cheerleader back in the '50s. She was cheering for the New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois.
38. Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi
Most people have heard of Jersey Shore, one of the most popular shows of all time. Snooki was among the eight housemates living together and bringing joy and excitement to viewers with their hilarious antics.
Snooki was a cheerleader when she was in school. She recently tried to pass on some of the cheerleading skills she learned to her daughter, which is adorable.
39. Lucy Hale
It's not that difficult imagining Lucy Hale as a teenager, considering that she has played a teenage role in Pretty Little Liars for nearly a decade. When she was an actual teenager, she was a real cheerleader, and that spirit is evident in her to this day.
Apparently, the cheerleading thing runs in the family, as she has a picture of her grandmother as a cheerleader. As far as she is concerned, this old photo is the "greatest photo of all time."
40. Jenna Dewan
She might not seem like a cheerleader due to her graceful and fearless personality, but Jenna Dewan can really bust a move on the dance floor. In Step Up, she showed everyone what she was capable of, and everyone was impressed.
However, even before she proved her dancing prowess on the big screen, she was a cheerleader. When you think of all the energy she brings to her roles, it's not hard to imagine that she was a cheerleader.