Yet, there is a whole class of nerds who break that universal rule, who somehow wind up smarter than us, yet also, are so good at being tough or being hot that they've got legions of adoring fans. Maybe they're just lucky, or maybe they turned their backs on God and sought solace in the infernal embrace of a giving demonic patron. The fact is, it is not fair that these people exist and we suggest you take it up with your local clergy.
We're talking about people like ...
#8. Natalie Portman
When Golden Globe winner Natalie Portman was 10 years old, a representative of Revlon found her at a pizza parlor and asked her if she wanted to model. Portman turned her down and said that, all things considered, she would much rather act.
Portman was a straight A student in high school, although it was a public school and we can tell you first hand that most of what they teach involves premarital sex and how to keep your gun properly oiled. While playing the Queen Amidala in The Phantom Menace, she skipped the premiere to study for her final exams. This, by the way, got her into Harvard (If you ask us, it's really a toss-up between the Ivy League and non-alcoholic sparkling cider at the kids' table with baby Anakin.).
Portman was a research assistant in a psychology lab and put in some time working for the youngest law professor in the history of Harvard, Alan Dershowitz. You may remember him as a member of O.J. Simpson's legal "dream team," permanently earning himself another place in history as somebody you never want to get in an argument with about anything, ever. He even gave her a shout out in his book The Case for Israel.
By the time she got her bachelor's, she had studied four languages in addition to Hebrew, the language of her birth, had been published in professional science journals twice, killed a butt load of aliens, and generally made us look like big human-shaped piles of poo. Seriously, when we were 10 years old, we wanted to be doctors or space cowboys or, at the very least, fire fighters. The closest we've gotten so far is one of those little shiny red fireman helmets.
Recently Natalie returned to the ground she covered with Dershowitz when she starred as anarchist apprentice Evey Hammond in the terrorist fable V for Vendetta. This got her invited to Columbia to speak to a class on terrorism and antiterrorism and, more importantly, bridging the raw, seemingly eternal divide between comic book and Star Wars geeks.
#7. The Offspring lead singer Dexter Holland
Bryan "Dexter" Holland is the kind of dude who, if he can't get into a rock show, grabs a buddy and starts The Offspring. Half a decade later, he was signed with Epitaph Records to join NOFX and Rancid, with whom his band is partly credited for bringing punk rock back into the angst-dripping hearts of suburban kids who really don't have much to complain about except the emptiness of their idle middle-class lives. To go down that road, however, he had to give up a pretty straight-arrow career path of over-achieving drudgery that probably would have given him some of his best moody material--and a sick minivan to go with it.
Dexter, as it turns out, grew up in the high-rent suburbs West Garden Grove, California.
He went to Pacifica High School and, instead of setting fires and declaring anarchy, went ahead and graduated as valedictorian instead. He went on to the University of Southern California, became a pre-med student and eventually got his Master's Degree in molecular biology. He was actually on the way to a Ph.D. before dropping out to follow his dream of throwing glistening globs of his own biological molecules all over screaming audiences night after night.
5 & 6 Underworld's Kate Beckinsale and Kevin Grevioux
Let's talk about Kate Beckinsale first. Well, there's the posh and personable accent. Then, there's the "shaped out of clay and given breath by a prayer to the gods and a slowly expanding pillar of light" body. Also, there's that face. Oh, and this:
So how does one prepare to star in a campy Matrix-with-werewolves franchise? Why, by becoming a literary prodigy and mastering several languages, obviously. Beckinsale wrote award-winning short stories and poems (taking home the national W.H. Smith Literary Award twice in a row). That love for the written language took her to Oxford University, where Beckinsale mastered French, German and Russian and had her nose buried in French and Russian texts caked with several lifetimes' worth of "who the hell gives a damn about Baratynsky" dust. She was on her way to being the world's sexiest librarian in the world's emptiest library before she finally dropped out to eventually star in a movie about a war between vampires and werewolves.
Meanwhile, the biggest, baddest werewolf in the film was this guy ...
Kevin Grevioux, who played Raze. This dude, seemingly born to play horror movie monsters, served as a research assistant at the world famous National Institutes of Health and got his degree in microbiology from Howard University. While pursuing his master's in genetic engineering, Grevioux discovered he was more interested in film and moved to Los Angeles. The role of Raze was perfect for Grevioux because, well, he wrote the movie.
We'd like to have been a fly on the wall during that shoot, with Beckinsale quoting Russian poetry and Grevioux tossing out cancer cures in their spare time. Then, they get interrupted so they can go play werewolves and vampires.