These celebrities have always had a natural gift to show, so it’s no wonder that they can do almost anything every time they are placed in front of a camera. But did you know it all started with cheerleading for these famous people? Whether they were the cheer captain and yelling at the bleachers, these are the most famous faces to shake some pom-poms; you can be sure that they helped the crowd scream their lungs out as they scream and cheer for anyone they cheer for!
First of all, Cameron was just a teenager like everybody else, before she was a movie star. This blondie at Long Beach Polytechnic High School was a peppy cheerleader in her teenage years. She was wearing green and yellow to represent the colors of the school, but later, those facial expressions came in useful for many auditions.
You can be sure, as a former cheerleader, that Diane Sawyer definitely got spirit! The cheerful and bubbly blonde Diane was part of the Seneca High School cheerleading team in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. After her kicks kicked off and eventually moved that personality to TV journalism, she spent a few years at the World’s Fair promoting the Coca-Cola Pavilion.
Olivia Munn and her family were stationed in Japan when her father enlisted in the Air Force. Once the couple split, Olivia and her mother relocated back to Oklahoma. That is where Munn became a cheerleader in Putnam City for the North High School team. She then went to college to study journalism, but where she found her real niche was in acting.
Ciara Princess Wilson at Riverdale High School was not just another cheerleading squad. She was a captain! Ciara is still a major advocate of sport and its benefits. “Unfortunately, I couldn’t be as involved as I wanted to be because it was the year when my music started to become even more important to me,” said Ciara, explaining why as she pursued music, she had to give it up.
Sure, she played the cheerleader character called Torrance Shipman in the movie Bring It On but this actress had real-world experience. She was a pom-girl when she attended Laurel High School and Notre Dame High School. She was in her own high school squad until the blockbuster film came out.
George W. Bush
President George W. Bush was both a cheer captain and a basketball player in Andover, Massachusetts, at Phillips Academy. Armed with a megaphone and tons of joy, the political figure roused the crowds with chants. Later he went to Harvard Business School and Yale University, but that’s where it all started.
The Mexican-American actress, Eva Longoria, actually had her big cheerleading breakthrough. While performing at Roy Miller High School in Corpus Cristi, TX, as well as at Texas A&M-Kingsville, Longoria fell in love with being in front of a crowd. She was discovered by a visiting LA agent who knew she had something special.
Kathie Lee Gifford
By the age of fourteen, Kathie Lee became a cheerleader at heart. Apart from cheerleading, she also competed in pageants and even won the Junior Miss Pageant of Maryland in 1970. She graduated in sports and went to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to attend the University of Oral Roberts. There she studied drama and music.
Meryl Streep is among Hollywood’s favorite actresses. She is known for her on-screen prowess and lovely attitude, the latter of which she learned at Bernards High School in New Jersey through cheering. She was a varsity member during her senior year, pictured here to be very proud of her achievement.
Did you know that the actress was actually a cheerleader in her hometown of Arlington, Virginia, at Washington-Lee High School before she was the cool spy in Miss Congeniality? Before graduating in 1982, she participated in sports and many of the school’s theater productions. She kept her eye on the prize!
This silver-haired comedian once had a head of brown locks hanging in the closet and a uniform for cheerleaders. The California Garden Grove team was peppy and hilarious and had some of the best cheers. That could be because a lot of them were written by the comedy legend Steve himself!
Back in her youth in Illinois, Denise was an athletic Tomboy. When she moved to Oceanside, California, she decided to change her style and to join the cheering team at El Camino High School. She began starring in shows such as Saved By The Bell and Married With Children, eventually courting her now-ex-husband, Charlie Sheen.
Kelly Ripa grew up as a performer in southern New Jersey. The future soap opera star joined the cheerleading team while attending Eastern Regional High School, chanting spirited sayings to the crowds. At school, she took drama classes as well. Her teacher, Jim Beckley, told her to continue acting, and she is probably glad to have followed that advice.
Before being the first African-American to win an Academy Award for Best Actress, she was just Halle, from Bedford High School in Cleveland, OH. Berry was a role model for students, taking part in cheerleading, honors classes, and the school newspaper. She even won the prom queen, and somehow in high school, she still didn’t peak.
Jenna Dewan is a dancing superstar thanks to her film, Step Up, starring herself and Channing Tatum. However, before she was in that franchise, she was a cheer queen in Texas. She fell in love with the physicality of the parts of the dance and continued to pursue it. She eventually got her big break while dancing backup for Janet Jackson in 2001.
Following her childhood star status, Lindsay went to a normal high school in Long Island, NY. Before switching to exclusively home education, she attended both Cold Spring Harbor High School and Sanford H. Calhoun High School, trying on a cheering team at both schools.
From her work at Forrest Gump or Mrs. Doubtfire, you might recognize this celebrity, but she was performing long before that. This star was a member of the cheering team for Birmingham High School in Van Nuys, California. Later on, though, she would be a star known for shows such as The Flying Nun and Gidget.
Born as Stacie Ann Ferguson, Fergie, because of her sunny attitude and pretty face, was a beloved member of her high school cheering team. She also defied the stereotype that cheerleaders are dumb, given that she was a straight-A student at Glen A. Wilson High School. Later on, she went on to join the Black Eyed Peas.
Before she left town at 18 for a career in NYC, this actress performed on a football field. At Deshler High School, the reality TV star and actress cheered for the home team in her home state of Alabama. The rest is history for this starlet.
Gabrielle Union captivated fans as a cheerleader in Bring It On, but she had a great amount of experience in the role. In Pleasanton, California, the star was a cheerleading superstar. The family was very much engaged in sports, according to her as she even said, “In my family, if you couldn’t talk Cornhusker football, then you don’t get to have an opinion.”
Whilst attending Katy High School in Katy, Texas, Zellweger was part of a team of cheerleaders. She’s still very active in the gymnastics aspect of the sport, once even appearing on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon to show off her flips and tumbles. You can’t keep this girl down!
This WWE wrestler did not always have the heart of a fighter. When she was the Baltimore Ravens’ professional cheerleader, it was more of a dancer’s heart. She jumped to WCW in 1999 and until 2001. From there the girl became a wrestling pro and exclusively worked with WWE.
Jesse James Decker
Singer or cheerleader… All right, why not both? The country singer-songwriter was writing hits and interviewing Nashville labels at fifteen, but on weekends she also screamed for the home team. Now she’s got a ton of hit songs, and she’s branched out into the fashion industry, too. Maybe she’ll redesign some uniforms.
Prior to playing Pom wielding Lana Thomas in The Princess Diaries of 2001, Mandy Moore wore her own cheering uniform. However, her experience, as she cheered for the Pop Warner Football Team, was a bit unusual. After this encounter with the cheery world, she went on to star in A Walk to Remember and later, This Is Us.
Although most cheerleaders-turned-actors begin performing on the field, Miley has been performing in her blood. As Billy Ray Cyrus’ child, she always had a knack for being on stage. The Cyrus star, though, had once been a seven-year-old cheerleader for her hometown’s Tennessee Premiere soccer team before she became Hannah Montana.⠀
It seems insane now but Blake only got into acting because she thought it would be good for her mom and dad. They were right. However, she left some extra time for friends, homework, and the cheering team on her schedule while attending Burbank High School. She did all of it between filming her first big movie, Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants.
Amy Poehler may be a top-tier comedian, but she was also once on top of the cheer pyramid! The legend of SNL cheered and sang for Burlington High School in Massachusetts. She then went to Boston College and eventually went to Chicago, where she learned not only to make cheers but to laugh as well.
Danielle Brooks is famous for her lead role in Orange Is the New Black, but back in high school, she was actually a member of her high school cheer squad. Eventually, because the short skirts made her feel uncomfortable, she left the team. She wrote about her experience on her blog later on by saying, “Never quit anything again because you’re scared of what others might think of you – unless you become an exotic dancer, the only exception. But even then, only quit because you want to.”
In Port St. Lucie, Florida, before she broke hearts in Transformers, Megan attended Morningside Academy. The bombshell was bullied at her school, turning to athleticism for comfort. She started starring in movies like Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, where she played a cheerleader!
One of the school’s “yell leaders” at Overland Park High School in Kansas was this Clueless heartthrob. Not only was he adept at hyping up a crowd, but he was also president of the Student Body. The actor learned how to cartwheel, flip, tumble, and lift a stunt while in high school, even though he doesn’t use film skills.
Back in the day, this Legally Blonde Star was at the top of the world and on top of the pyramid. The Walk the Line celebrity was part of her school’s cheerleading squad long before fame came into her life. Here she is in a throwback photo posted by Reese herself, cheering upon the Generals.
Ann was an accomplished singer, spry dancer, and peppy cheerleader at Winnetka, Illinois’ New Trier High School, and was born in 1941 in Sweden. She happily smiled at the cameras and the crowds even before she was famous. In pictures such as Bye Bye Birdie, Carnal Knowledge, Grumpy Old Men, and The Cheap Detective, the starlet went on to act.
The magnificent Sela Ward may be known for her acting career today, but the University of Alabama knows her as one of their cheering team’s prestigious alumni. The star was chanting for the Crimson Tide football team years before she was ever on screen. She graduated in 1977, having studied fine art and advertising.
Was Alicia Silverstone a cheerleader before? As if! In the cult classic comedy Clueless, for her iconic role as Cher Horowitz, this blonde beauty became known to people, but her teammates knew her as a base stunter. She cheered for San Mateo High School, home of the fighting Bearcats! Oh! Go, team!
Even though she is Emma Pillsbury, a high school guidance advisor on Glee, Jayma was actually a high school cheerleader back in the day. While gladly supporting their Wolves, their school mascot, she and her squad members are seen wearing blue and yellow here. That smile would lighten up a crowd!
Brooke Shields is renowned for being one of the world’s most beautiful women. Whether she was posing for the camera or acting in The Blue Lagoon at Emmeline in the 1980s, she did it all with a smile. That career-defining grin was one that she learned from her spirited cheer squad at her private high school in New Jersey.
Nene Leakes has had a long and illustrious career as a reality star in the past decade, but before that, she was waving her pom-poms in the air for the home team. Her spunky attitude on and off the field no doubt helped her with both cheering and her career, seen here sporting a combination of red and gold colors.
In a variety of media, such as modeling and acting, Jennifer Lawrence has tried her hand, but did you know she was also a high school student once? Aside from cheering practices, Lawrence filled her days with softball games, basketball warm-ups, field hockey scrimmages, and more. She is capable of everything!
Amsterdam High School in Amsterdam, New York, can proudly say that the esteemed actor, Kirk Douglas, once cheered for the winning teams. He has filmed over 100 films during his long life. Typically, these consist of genres such as serious dramas, old school westerns, and war movies.
As a cheerleader, Paula took it to the next level. Not only did she perform at Van Nuys High School in Los Angeles, but she was also an honor student. After graduation, she committed herself to dance by becoming a Laker Girl, then becoming a head choreographer, and supporting stars like Jamaal Wilkes, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Magic Johnson on the court.
Jessica Simpson’s cool-girl energy is incomparable, thanks to her cheering days. She got into the sport whilst attending Richardson North Junior High School in their home state of Texas. She was not there for long, however since she dropped out of school at age 15 to pursue singing, but she eventually became a cheerleader for the Dallas Cowboys.
Jersey Shore’s favorite cast member was once a regular teen. The star started cheering for her school in Marlboro, New York, but it cost her mental health. “Cheerleading was my life in high school, but it wasn’t always easy for me. I started to be anorexic. There were freshmen who were seventy pounds and I was, like, my spot as a flier is going to get taken away. So I ended up starving myself.” Snooki recalled.
Clarke Central High School in Athens, Georgia, was where this Real Housewives star and lawyer got her start. Noticed here in a red, white, and gold uniform, she had all of the spunk a cheerleader needs. This fiery spirit was especially helpful when she went to law school later on in her life.
Technically, The Andover, Massachusetts’ Phillips Academy did not have a cheering team, but it had a step team. There seems to be almost the same look and style of cheer, but with a different name and less stunting. According to Wilde herself, “It is just another form of cheering.”
Alley cheered for Wichita Southeast High School in Kansas before receiving her big break. She had much shorter hair at that time, too which was unusual for a cheerleader. It must have helped her character, however, because she was cast soon after high school on the Cheers show.
Today, she might be the world’s most famous woman, but only a few years ago, she was an awkward teen. Some relief from the school limelight was received from the Kardashian sister, Kendall Jenner. You can see her in a blue and white uniform here as a cheering team member for her high school.
Kathy is a comedian these days, but she used to be a young and amusing seventeen-year-old cheerleader. She got her kicks in Oak Park, Illinois, Oak Park, and River Forest High School…literally! Even though she later turned to comedy, she always had a charm for the spotlight.
On this list, Dakota was unlike many because, years after she was an established actress, she started cheering. She was already part of shows like ER, CSI: Investigation of the Crime Scene, The Practice, Spin City, Ally McBeal, and more. Campbell Hall School had her on their varsity cheering team. Whoo, go Vikings!
Remember that star of Ally McBeal? Calista Flockhart was always performing, even as early as cheering for Shawnee High School in her hometown of New Jersey. Then, she graduated and attended the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, where her career really started to gain traction.
Up until the 1950s, cheerleading was actually a predominantly male sport. Choate Preparatory School was where Douglas learned to cheer, chant, tumble, and stunt, as with the rest of them. He joined another former male cheerleader (Paul Rudd) as scientist Hank Pym when he was cast in the Marvel movies.
From the moment she was born, Rashida Jones was a celeb, as she is the daughter of world-famous record producer, composer, and songwriter, Quincy Jones. However before this gorgeous actress managed to make a name for herself, she grew up as a down to earth, well-grounded young woman. During her middle school days, Rashida loved cheerleading. She didn’t stick to the sport though as she decided to become a mathlete and a member of the National Honor Society. There’s no doubt that the 44-year-old is one multi-talented individual.
Katie Couric is an American presenter, author as well as a TV and online journalist. Couric was born and raised in Arlington, Virginia, and attended an elementary and middle public school. As she so loved to dance she decided to join the cheerleading squad, she was very well known to be highly dedicated and enthusiastic about the sport.
This next celeb truly comes as no surprise as she has truly taken the world by storm with her unbelievable voice. Soon after her days as a Mickey Mouse Club member, she became a talented cheerleader for North Allegheny Intermediate High School in Pittsburgh, PA. Even though she thoroughly enjoyed her time tumbling and throwing pom-poms, she instead opted to continue with her music career.
For those who don’t know, Chrissy Teigen is a TV personality and successful model. Although she was born in Utah, her family relocated to Washington. While she attended Snohomish High School, she was a big part of their cheerleading squad. Many times Teigen says that her love for dance and being in the spotlight stems from all the toe touches and high- v’s. This picture of Chrissy and her friends in their black Panther uniforms is one she posted herself.
Samuel L. Jackson
If this picture hadn’t been posted, chances are many people would not believe that Samuel L. Jackson was actually a cheerleader while he was at school. During his time at Riverside High School in Chattanooga, he was a part of the cheerleading squad. While being interviews, Jackson actually admitted that he only joined the squad as he thought it would be the easiest way to meet all the pretty girls.
The young 31-year-old is mostly famous for starring in Pretty Little Liars and Scream 4. Even though Hale was homeschooled for the majority of her school career, she was a part of a cheerleading squad. But that’s not all, during her childhood, Hale took both acting and singing lessons which definieltu shows that she was born to perform.
New York native, Rachel Ray was accustomed to good from a very young age. But, before she got the opportunity to serve the world some pretty amazing dinners, she spent many days after school shaking pom-poms and learning to backflip. Ray was a great cheerleader for her highschool’s sports team at Lake George High School. It seemed as though that wasn’t exactly what she wanted to continue doing, which is why she chose to become an on-screen super cook.
Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Melissa Rycroft studied dance from an early age. After graduating from the University of North Texas, Rycroft cheered for the team from 2006 through 2008. Being on the team allowed her to make her big break into Hollywood. Many may recognize her from Dancing With Stars and The Bachelor. It seems as though she needs to give her childhood sports career some major credit for all her current successes.
The Queen of Pop is a huge fan of the spotlight, and in actual fact, it all started when she was back in high school. When Madonna was around about 8 years old her father enrolled her in ballet class, this is where her love for dance truly began. She later attended Rochester Adams High School and not only was she a straight-A student but was a brilliant member of the cheerleading squad. Madonna was then offered a dance scholarship to the University of Michigan, however not long afterward she dropped out and began to pursue her singing career instead.
Sports Illustrated model has done some amazing things and she is just 33 years old. Brooklyn Decker has worked for Victoria’s Secret and also landed a modeling role in the movie, The Devil Wears Prada. But let’s rewind and go back to her highs school days. Born in Ohio, Decker attended and graduated from David W. Butler High School. How was she to know that her performances cheering on the sports team would later get her some big roles in Hollywood?
This next celebrity may be quite a surprise to many…Kylie Jenner is mainly known for being a huge socialite, the owner of Kylie Cosmetics, and of course a sister to the famous Kardashians. Before she became an international star, Jenner attended Sierra Canyon School. Along with her sister, Kendall Jenner, the two were very much a part of the school’s cheerleading team. It’s crazy to think in less than 10 years, she has become a billionaire and a mom of an adorable daughter.
Most people might only know her from her role in The Office, however, she has also starred in a few other films and TV shows. Some of them include The 40-year old Virgin, Bad Teacher, and The Middle. But before she became an actress, Phyllis Smith had quite an interesting past. During the 70s and 80s, Smith worked as a burlesque dance and a cheerleader for the St. Louis Cardinals football team. As she later suffered from a knee injury she was not able to continue, which how her acting career actually began.
Jill Marie Jones
A lot of the celebs that we’ve mentioned so far basically only cheered during their school years. However, Jill Marie Jones was a lot more dedicated than most. After attending Duncanville High School, and Texas Woman’s University, Jones was a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader for two years and a Dallas Mavericks dancer for roughly 1 year. She later also performed on Monday Night Football and The Miss Texas Pagent. Following that she pursued a full-time acting career, where she acted in Girlfriends and The Perfect Holiday…just to name a few.
The 40th President of the USA actually has quite an interesting past. After he graduated from high school he enrolled at Eureka College in Illinois, a liberal arts school. This is where he became a member of the football team, the captain of the swim team, and a cheerleader. As an associate of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity he also developed a reputation as a “jack of all trades”, excelling in campus politics, sports, and theater. It’s no wonder he was elected president in 1981.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Another U.S president on the list who indeed was a cheerleader back in the day. Unexpected, right? Even though he was born in Texas his family later relocated to Kansas which Eisenhower considers as his hometown. While attending West Point he took advantage of the many opportunities that were being offered by the college. Not only was he academically skilled but he also had a love for sports. He was part of the football team after not making the baseball team. Due to suffering a torn knee, he turned to fencing and cheerleading.