11 Celebrities With Secret Nerdy Hobbies - InformationWeek

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2/27/2015
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Kelly Sheridan
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11 Celebrities With Secret Nerdy Hobbies

When they're not shooting films or attending award shows, some celebrities are obsessing over Lord of the Rings or building model train sets.
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(Image: Wikipedia)

(Image: Wikipedia)

"Celebrities – They're Just Like Us!"

Yeah right, I usually think as I flip through entertainment magazines in my dentist's waiting room. Their pages feature glossy photos of Angelina Jolie leaving her personal trainer or Will Smith surfing on vacation with his famous family. I don't know about you, but fitness coaches are a bit above my monthly budget.

The dentist is probably the only place where I read gossip magazines, but even so, it's hard to escape celebrity culture. As I catch glimpses of sunny LA, life across news outlets, and social media feeds, I find it hard to believe that any celebrity is trudging through snow and ice, and braving public transportation to get to work every day.

As tech professionals, it might seem like you have nothing in common with Hollywood's rich and famous. In most cases you're probably right, but there is some overlap between the worlds of Hollywood and IT. After all, the films from this year's Oscar nominees had a lesson or two to teach CIOs

[Everything you think about millennials is wrong, says IBM.]

Oscar films aside, you may also be surprised to know that some of today's biggest stars are proud of their inner nerds. That's right -- when they're not shooting films, recording albums, or posing on the red carpet, plenty of celebrities are happily living the nerd life and obsessing over video games or taking college courses.

There's Mayim Bialik, former child star and regular on The Big Bang Theory, who received her PhD in neuroscience from UCLA. Natalie Portman is another of Hollywood's smartest. She speaks six languages, graduated from Harvard, and was invited to Columbia University to speak to a class on terrorism and counterterrorism.

While not too many celebrities can boast an Ivy League education or a doctorate, there are plenty who admit to collecting action figures (and model trains), reading comic books, or playing Dungeons and Dragons and World of Warcraft -- to the point that it starts to interfere with their personal lives.  

You might have a thing or two in common with today's celebrities after all. Click through to learn more about the nerdy hobbies of some popular red-carpet stars.

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

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kstaron
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kstaron,
User Rank: Ninja
2/27/2015 | 12:05:36 PM
The One area where they are like us
I don't find it surprising that celebs have nerdy hobbies too. Everyone, no matter what their job or how much they earn need to unwind. Games, TV and books (comic or otherwise) is how we do that outside of vacations. The real difference between us and celebs is how much money thay have to devote to their hobby and how much time they can afford to take between gigs to go to comicon or sit in their pj's playing halo.
Kelly22
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Kelly22,
User Rank: Strategist
2/27/2015 | 3:04:02 PM
Re: The One area where they are like us
@kstaron, very true. Everybody needs a hobby for their downtime - but not everybody has the money or time (or space, for that matter) to dedicate to massive model train sets or antique typewriters.
mejiac
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mejiac,
User Rank: Ninja
2/28/2015 | 4:13:40 PM
Re: The One area where they are like us
@kstaron,

I agree....Celebrities don't have a 9 to 5 schedule that most of us follow...there's is pretty unpredictable and very crazy (with many times going several days none stop with little to no sleep). I only know this because my wife for a while worked in a movie coordinating the extras...and it was crazy.

So when there's down time between shootings.... yeah... playing halo seems like a good fit
freespiritny25
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freespiritny25,
User Rank: Ninja
2/27/2015 | 3:01:33 PM
Re: 11 Celebrities With Secret Nerdy Hobbies
I wouldn't mind playing with model trains with Rod Stewart. A 1,500 sq ft track set must be amazing to see, that's bigger than my apartment!
Kelly22
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Kelly22,
User Rank: Strategist
2/27/2015 | 3:23:41 PM
Re: 11 Celebrities With Secret Nerdy Hobbies
Right? That must be huge! Personally, I'd love to see that diorama of Grand Central.
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
2/27/2015 | 8:12:03 PM
Re: 11 Celebrities With Secret Nerdy Hobbies
@freespirit - You, Rod and my two year old son would have a blast together! lol. I'd ask Rod to sing Maggie May while the train goes round the track or maybe Hot Legs? :) One of the senior partners in the firm I work for told me a story where as a teenager he was courting a young lady and went to her house to pick her up. Her father was sitting in the living room and told him, "Come with me, son." Her father lead him outside into a shed wherein he kept a deluxe train set - the likes of which this young man had never seen before. The father procedures to put on an engineers cap and fire the engine up. He offered the young man a cap of his own and said - "You can do the honor if you like." "No, no, thank you, I'll let you hold the reigns," he replied. That was end of that relationship! The partner is about 75 years old and we were both in tears laughing when he told me that story!
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
2/27/2015 | 11:25:49 PM
Rod Stewart
some of these make sense, like Stevev Colbert being a Hobbit fan. But it is hilarious that the guy who sang "if you want my body and you think I'm sexy" could have easily finished it with "come and play with my trains."

My favorite song of Stewart's (never been a fan) has always been "Downtown Train." I'll never hear it the same way. Love this. 
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
2/27/2015 | 11:26:53 PM
Mila Kunis
And can I just say that my special love for Mila Kunis only grew ten sizes when I realized she was a gamer geek. Between that and her Bourbon ads I'll forever be smitted. Darn you, Aston Kutcher!
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
2/27/2015 | 11:30:24 PM
Daniel Craig
It saddens me that James Bond can't convince his girlfriend to play Halo with him. The secret, 007, is to find a gamer to be with like I did. Even if we don't play the same games, at least we can each get in some stick time on separate computers.

Seriously, I'm giving love advice to James Bond. How cool am I? 
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
2/28/2015 | 1:49:43 PM
Re: Mila Kunis
Dave,

Ashton Kuctcher is most certainly one Lucky Bloke!

Have to honestly wonder how anyone can get so lucky so often?

LOL!

 
mak63
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mak63,
User Rank: Ninja
2/28/2015 | 12:37:26 AM
Rosario Dawson
After reading about her and watching the video, Rosario Dawson got very attractive suddenly.
zerox203
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zerox203,
User Rank: Ninja
2/28/2015 | 11:05:04 PM
Re: 11 Celebrities With Secret Nerdy Hobbies
I don't quite know what it says about me how many of these I already knew about (and that I'm willing to admit it), but there you go. Vin Diesel is the go to for nerds talking about this topic. Nick Cage is well-known, too - he was even slated to play Superman at one point. There are pictures floating around of that somewhere. Maybe I'm more of a sucker for those clickbait '10 celebrity pastimes you won't believe' articles than I'd like to admit. A lot of these are news to me, though, and I'm glad you picked some more general nerdery outside of just sci-fi and comics, because those are relatively mainstream at this point. I was as shocked by model trains and Rod Stewart as everyone else, and getting young girls into math is a productive nerd hobby and a great use for fame!

There were also a few famous people that I was surprised didn't make this list. Seth Green's love for all things nerdy is legendary, including figure collecting and the near-infinite number of sci-fi references in Robot Chicken. He was even supposed to be executive producing a new Star Wars TV series at one point - dunno what ever happened to that. Same goes for Wil Wheaton & Felicia Day. Maybe we shouldn't count them because they already work in nerd media? Dave Chapelle also has a famous standup routine (not sure if he's ever done it on TV) where he talks about being hooked on World Of Warcraft as well as getting wrecked by koreans in Starcraft, which gives him extra nerd cred beyond a namedrop of WoW that anyone could make. I was sure you were talking about that when you mentioned WoW in the intro.
glenbren
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glenbren,
User Rank: Ninja
3/1/2015 | 1:35:15 PM
Re: 11 Celebrities With Secret Nerdy Hobbies
The only celebrity hobby I knew about was that Vanna White liked to knit. I think Tom Hanks collecting typewriters if cool, especially if he actually uses them. If he just brings them on the road and doesn't use them, that's a little weird! I wish his app was made for Android; I'd like to try it.

Anyway, it's nice to hear about celebrities doing something other than drugs and alcohol, and particularly that they're doing good for others!
jyalai
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jyalai,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/2/2015 | 9:51:03 AM
LOTR and Megan Fox
"And I'll go on the forums and they'll complain that Frodo is eating the Lembas bread outside of Mordor instead of in the Mines of Moria."

Silly Megan Fox.  Everyone knows that Frodo was introduced to Lembas bread in Lothlorien after his stint in Moria, and that lembas bread was the catalyst that caused Samwise to be the last to leave the Fellowship, at least for a brief period of time, on the border of Mordor.  She needs to visit a better forum.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
3/2/2015 | 3:55:58 PM
Re: LOTR and Megan Fox
@jyalai- You're right about the lembas. I think it would be more fun to quiz Fox on Transformers since they made her famous. 
jyalai
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jyalai,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/2/2015 | 4:28:16 PM
Re: LOTR and Megan Fox
Transformers would be a subject I would acquiesce to her knowledge.  It is not my area of expertise.
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