Olivia Munn? Not a nerd. Liking Star Wars? Not nerdy. Pretty mainstream actually. A hot actress who is in a lot of Joss Whedon stuff? Not necessarily a nerd. Probably just has a good agent.
So what makes a hot female nerd? I don’t think anyone can definitely say. Probably just someone who knows what they’re talking about. The above clip for example actually showcases Megan Fox and Rosario Dawson’s awesome nerdiness, while still poking fun at the trope that liking a bajillion dollar movie franchise is somehow “nerdy.”
Like, has anyone seen real nerds? They don’t just think Han Solo was hot. They know who Wedge Antilles and Jek Porkins are. Anyway, this list is plaguing me. I’m not sure what qualifies as a female celebrity nerd anymore. Here’s an honest try.
1. Danica McKellar
Winnie Cooper a.k.a. Danica McKellar loves math. She loves it so much she’s written two books about it. She’s also an education advocate, helping to get middle school girls more interested in mathematics — and enough confidence to pursue careers in it. Makes sense since McKellar studied math at UCLA, even having a theorem named after her. That is true unabashed nerdiness, girl.
2. April O’Neil
Where else are you going to find a porn star with such an intense love of Doctor Who? O’Neil’s got a Dalek bath toy, an Allons-y tattoo and infinite Who knowledge? She took her name from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and in a recent Reddit AMA, she said one her favorite career moments was working on the XXX Star Trek parody. I’ve followed April on Tumblr for a while and I never get the impression she’s faking any of her nerdiness. She’s a freak in allll the ways.
3. Alyson Hannigan
This is more Willow Rosenberg than Alyson Hannigan but man, Willow was an awesome nerd in the first two seasons of Buffy. She’s really good at computers and very socially awkward. Hannigan also played another type of nerd, the sexually active band geek, in American Pie. She’s a redheaded nerd goddess.
4. Rosario Dawson
Rosario Dawson can speak Klingon. She created a comic book series called Occult Crimes Task Force. She voiced Artemis in the animated Wonder Woman and starred in Sin City. Not that being cast in nerd things makes her a nerd. The comic book creation helps, but I think it’s the Star Trek obsession that seals the deal here. When a lady goes on national TV and unabashedly speaks Klingon, can you really deny her her nerddom badge?
5. Aisha Tyler
Comedian Aisha Tyler is known for playing hot secret agent Lana on Archer but she’s actually a pretty nerdy lady. She’s an avid video gamer who did voice work on Halo, but she regularly admits that her once “shameful past-time” has definitely gone mainstream lately. Fellow actress and gamer Mila Kunis could also make the list, but Tyler wins this round for her post-E3 rant, “I’ve Been A Gamer Since Before You Could Read.”
6. Mayim Bialik
Blossom’s got a PhD in neuroscience. The 90s teen actress made the transition to adult actress with an Emmy nom for Big Bang Theory. She doesn’t just play a nerd on TV, she actually is one. She got in to both Harvard and Yale, but chose to attend UCLA. She wrote a book about attachment parenting theory. Did I mention the PhD in neuroscience?
7. Kristen Schaal
Kristen Schaal looks like a doll and acts like the funniest weirdo in the world. You’ve seen her on Flight of the Concords as an obsessive fan of the boys, on 30 Rock as “another weird page” and The Daily Show as the woman’s issues correspondent. She’s just cute as a button. Schaal’s a classic comedy nerd. She does stand up and sketch and was a voice (and a chalkboard gag) on The Simpsons. If that’s not enough, she co-wrote a book called The Sexy Book of Sex which sounds exactly like a nerd trying to describe intercourse. Hilarious.
8. Kari Byron
We’ve covered math, but what about those hot science geeks out there? Kari Byron, co-host of Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters has got that covered. Her other shows include Head Rush, a science education teen program on the Science Channel and Large, Dangerous Rocket Ships, which is exactly as cool as it sounds. She’s also a sculptor and artist, an atheist and suffers from mysophobia, a fear of germs. Aw, girl. You can use my Purell.
9. Felicia Day
Nerds love Felicia Day, but Felicia Day isn’t just a nerd babe — she’s also a nerd. She created and stars in a much-loved web series called The Guild based on her life as a gamer. As a kid, she was home-schooled and studied operatic performance, then went on to major in mathematics and music. She also wrote and stars in Dragon Age: Redemption, a web series based on the Dragon Age video games. Do I even have to mention Dr. Horrible?
10. Gillian Anderson
Gillian Anderson is the ultimate geek hottie and not just for her role as Dana Scully on The X Files. She was in the gifted program at her high school and has said her multi-colored dyed hair and piercings got her voted “Most Bizarre.” Alt nerd! She also did a voice in the Japanese animated fantasy film Princess Mononoke. News that she may be shacking up with former X-Files co-star David Duchovny is the greatest end to their will-they-won’t-they of all time. (Suck it, Kate and Leo.)