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May 17, 2015

Before They Were Stars: 15 Celebrities Who Were Once Cheerleaders

Take a look at the Top 15 celebs who were once cheerleader when they were at school.

1. Sandra Bullock


In the late '70s and early '80s, the actress was a cheerleader at her Arlington, Va. high school before earning a degree in drama at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C. After graduation, Bullock moved to New York where she worked as a bartender, took acting classes and scored her first major film role, Love Potion No. 9, ten years after putting down her pom poms.


2. Fergie


At her Hacienda Heights, Calif., high school in the early '90s, she went by Stacy Ferguson. But we know her now as Fergie! The pregnant Black Eyed Pea had plenty to cheer about in high school: As a straight-A student and spelling bee champ, Fergie had already spent four years on Kids Incorporated before high-kicking on the sidelines.


3. Alicia Silverstone


In the early '90s, Silverstone was both a cheerleader at her San Mateo, Calif., high school and a budding actress, becoming an emancipated minor at age 15 so that she could appear in the sexual thriller, The Crush. (She went on to win two MTV Movie Awards in 1994 for her performance.)


4. Amy Poehler


The Parks and Recreation star (who's also writing a memoir) sported hair with height as a cheerleader for her Burlington, Mass., high school in the late '80s.


5. Cameron Diaz


Before she had audiences cheering for her on the big screen, Cameron Diaz was the one doing the cheering at her Long Beach, Calif., high school.


6. Halle Berry


In the early '80s, Halle Berry was already a star as a student at an all-white school in Cleveland, Ohio. As captain of her cheerleading squad, class president and editor of the school newspaper, Berry performed well in any role. "[Doing] all those things helped to make me feel a sense of empowerment," the star of The Call said.


7. Jessica Simpson


Jessica Simpson was a cheerleader and homecoming queen before dropping out of her Richardson, Tex., high school at age 16 in 1996. Eager to pursue her singing career, the talented Simpson was still subject to bullying: "I quit cheerleading because I didn't know what I was cheering for anymore!"


8. Kelly Ripa


Kelly Ripa, (whose Live! With Kelly and Michael cohost, Michael Strahan, is a former football player for the New York Giants) was so inspired by her time as a cheerleader at her Voohrees, New Jersey high school in the late '80s that she decided to produce a TV series about the sport last fall! Ripa and her husband, Mark Consuelos, co-produced Cheer, a reality show that followed around a competitive New Jersey cheerleading squad.


9. Madonna


Before she became a "Material Girl," Madonna was a straight-A student and cheerleader at her Rochester Hills, Mich., high school in the mid-70s. Almost four decades later, the boundary-pushing singer would don a much skimpier uniform to play the part of a cheerleader for her performance of "Give Me All Your Luvin'" at the 2012 Super Bowl halftime show.


10. Megan Fox


In Jennifer's Body, Megan Fox played a posessed, murderous cheerleader. But she looks much too innocent for that in this photo from her sophomore year of high school in Port St. Lucie, Fla. As a real-life cheerleader, Fox claims "everyone hated me, and I was a total outcast."


11. Meryl Streep


Three-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep was the picture perfect cheerleader at her Bernardsville, N.J., high school in the late '60s. "She was beautiful," said Streep's friend, Susan Castrilli. "Everybody loved to sit there and watch her with her short skirt jumping around."


12 Reese Witherspoon


In the early '90s, Reese Witherspoon stole the spotlight as she climbed to the top of the cheerleading pyramid at her Nashville, Tenn. high school.


13. Renee Zellweger


They loved her for the woman she wanted to be and the woman she almost was! Renee Zellweger wore a lot of hats at her Katy, Tex., high school in 1987: gynmast, cheerleader, drama club member.


14. Sally Field


Even though Lincoln actress Sally Field was flying high as a cheerleader in L.A. in the early '60s, it was her school's drama department that really made an impact. Field recently revisited her alma mater and confessed that the school's theater program "quite simply saved my life" and was the only place where she could "most truly and absolutely be me, where I lost myself and found me."


15. Snooki


Snooki has been very vocal about her time as a cheerleader in Marlboro, N.Y. The former Jersey Shore star struggled with bulimia and anorexia before graudating in 2005, saying, "I was a cheerleader and you had freshman girls coming up that were so tiny."


(Photos: Seth Poppel Yearbook Library, via iVillage)

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