32 Actresses With Unexpected Hidden Talents

From being drafted for the Olympics to...singing with their mouth closed.

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When an actress we know and love turns out to have a secret talent, it makes them just a tiny bit cooler in our estimation. Whether it be hilariously rudimentary saxophone-playing (that's Jennifer Garner) or pogo-stick proficiency (that's Emma Stone) or the ability to win a highly competitive game of Connect4 (it's Queen Bey!), some of our greatest actresses have quietly developed skills that are totally separate from what made them famous. So come along and discover (or re-discover) the silly, strange, and unique skills that our favorite starlets practice in their spare time.

Jessie J

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Coming in with a special talent that I didn't even know was something you could do, Jessie J (who's acted on the West End) can apparently sing with her mouth closed. She said she learned she could do it by pretending she was a little kid in a box, according to an interview she did with Graham Norton.

Gisele Bündchen 

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Gisele Bündchen, model and actor (The Devil Wears Prada) is a helicopter pilot! She got her license when she was seven months pregnant—because she couldn't fly commercial after the second trimester, and she also wanted to have some skills in case the pilot was incapacitated, she told James Cordon.

Nicole Richie

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Nicole Richie was so dedicated to figure skating that she would practice for hours a day as a child. “When I was little, I used to be a competitive figure skater, and I used to design my own costumes with my father[Lionel Richie]'s costume designer," she said, explaining it led to her interest in fashion.

Taylor Swift

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Taylor Swift makes jams—yes, you read that right! She explained, "When I was younger we had a grape arbor, and my mom would go out and pick grapes and make grape jam in the sink—boil it, put it in jars, and give it away as gifts. So I started making raspberry jam, and it is so good. You can put it on anything; you can dip pretzels into it. I don’t mean to brag, but it’s so good you could just eat it with a spoon."

Kristen Wiig

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Kristen Wiig apparently studied ballet for almost seven years—and you can kind of tell. She's got a real sense of physical comedy, and she got to show off her dance moves when she performed a dance sequence to Sia's "Chandelier" at the 2015 Grammys.

Christina Hendricks

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If you remember Christina Hendricks irritatedly playing the accordion for her husband and friends as Joan on Mad Men, you were watching Hendricks' actual skill with the instrument. She said, "It is such a rich instrument for one person. You can get so much out of it, like a one-man band."

Gal Gadot

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It takes a couple of tries to get going, but once she gets a good rhythm, Gal Gadot can absolutely hula hoop for a solid couple of minutes. "I can drink coffee, can read books, I can FaceTime...I can probably pass out. I can hardly breathe right now!" she laughs.

Lucy Liu

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I can't believe I never knew this: Lucy Liu, in addition to being a skilled actor, is a visual artist. She's even had her paintings presented in a National Museum of Singapore exhibition! “It was probably the most significant moment as an artist that I’ve had,” she said.

Rebel Wilson

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Rebel Wilson has shared more than one special skill with Graham Norton: first, her ability to rap, and second (and even more impressive) her skills with nunchucks. She performed hilariously to "Turn Down for What" and warned any would-be muggers that she would use her skills on them.

Diane Keaton

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Interior design and real estate aren't just hobbies for Diane Keaton: they're full-on passions. Her father was a real estate agent; starting in the 1970s, she began buying and flipping houses, including one Los Feliz home designed by Lloyd Wright (son of Frank Lloyd Wright).

Salma Hayek

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Salma Hayek pursued gymnastics when she was young and was even drafted for the Olympics. She felt "haunted" because she didn't pursue the dream; her father forbade her from going to a boarding school to train and wanted her to have a "normal" childhood.

Jennifer Garner

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Jennifer Garner can play the saxophone—and graced us with "Mary Had a Little Lamb" in 2016. More recently, she celebrated her friend Reese Witherspoon's birthday with a little video on Instagram that was hilarious and endearing (since it showed off her very basic skills).

Joni Mitchell

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While you might know her as a singer (and actor by virtue of her music videos), Joni Mitchell is actually a visual artist as well. She identifies as a painter, and she's designed many of her own album covers. The two talents are, for her, woven together.

Billie Eilish

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Among the fun, quirky skills that Billie Eilish possesses, perhaps my favorite actually originates as a condition. She has synesthesia, which means her brain associates colors, numbers, and shapes to everyday things. She uses it as inspiration, “like all my videos for the most part have to do with synesthesia, all of my artwork, everything I do live, all the colors for each song, it’s because those are the colors for those songs specifically.” That's amazing.

Jennifer Lawrence

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This one probably shouldn't come as a surprise to us: Jennifer Lawrence is a "surprisingly good mime," per this Vanity Fair video in which she "flosses" her teeth with imaginary string. Given that she is, you know, an Oscar-winning actor, miming skills seem appropriate as well.

Angelina Jolie

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If you know anything about celebrities' talents, you'll know that Angelina Jolie has always loved weapons and learned knife-throwing while playing Lara Croft. But I'm actually more intrigued by her other hidden talent, which is that she's been flying her own planes since 2004.

Amanda Seyfried

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She's so multi-talented: Amanda Seyfried can apparently knit, crochet, and sing. That latter talent isn't exactly hidden, since she's literally performed in Les Miserables and Mamma Mia! The former talents were really honed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kristen Stewart

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Way back in 2010, Kristen Stewart went on Lopez Tonight and showed off a fun skill: juggling. "I knew vaguely how to do it before. I had to re-teach myself, because Rob [Pattinson] almost convinced me that it was a good idea when we won the [MTV Movie Awards] Best Kiss thing...He wanted me to juggle, and he wanted to bring this bag of props onstage." That ultimately didn't happen, but we still have juggling footage!

Geena Davis

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I love this story so much: when Geena Davis was watching the 1996 Olympics, she was inspired by the archery coverage. So, she became an archer, and was so good that she won a bunch of national and international competitions and almost qualified for the 2000 Olympics.

Sydney Sweeney

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As if she couldn't get any cooler, Sydney Sweeney is apparently obsessed with vintage cars and even worked as a mechanic (members of her family were also mechanics and she learned to drive on her great grandfather’s F-100). It's still a part-time hobby, apparently, and she even shared on Instagram how she restored a vintage Ford Bronco.

Jodie Foster

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Jodie Foster can speak Spanish, Italian, and French (the latter because she attended a French language school—and she's fluent to the point where she can dub herself). Hilariously, she kept her profession secret from her kids when they were growing up, so she could also argue acting is a hidden talent.

Emma Stone

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Emma Stone can pogo stick! Per that linked Vanity Fair video from 2017, she admits this is the first time she's gotten on one since she was about 11 years old, and she only knows how to go around and around in a circle. But then she does it, enthusiastically, for longer than you expect.

Susan Sarandon

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Susan Sarandon is, by her own admission, not the best table tennis player, but it's a passion of hers. At one point, she even co-owned a chain of table tennis-themed bars and established a program to supply ping-pong tables to underprivileged youth.

Charlize Theron

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Charlize Theron started life not as an actor but as a dancer and model. She moved to New York to attend the Joffrey School, but an injury prevented her from continuing her career. Afterwards, she moved to California to pursue acting dreams, and the rest is history.

Halle Berry

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Aside from her acting and modeling talent (and her talent to age backwards, apparently), Halle Berry has some skills as a flautist. That's right: apparently she played the flute in high school. It's unclear whether she plays now, but I'd like to see it!

Sandra Bullock

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Sandra Bullock is actually fluent in German (her mom is from Germany) and, if you look hard enough, you can find speeches where she uses her incredible language skills. She also used to open for North Carolina drag queens as a dancer, which I really love.

Hedy Lamarr

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I will never skip the opportunity to re-share this story: actor Hedy Lamarr thought of inventions in her spare time, and during World War II, she actually co-invented a frequency-hopping technology (designed for torpedoes but not adopted) that is used today!

Rachel Weisz

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For The Brothers Bloom, Rachel Weisz apparently had to learn a TON of new talents. “I had to learn to look like I could play violin, piano, banjo, guitar. Unicycle, juggle. I had to learn to do a card trick, a really complicated one...Rap, skateboard, ping pong. It was a lot of stuff,” she said.

Michelle Yeoh

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Michelle Yeoh is, in part, known for her incredible on-screen fighting skills. But did you know she actually trained as a dancer and even attended the Royal Academy of Dance in London as a teenager? An injury forced her to turn to acting instead of continuing as a dancer.


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Did you know that singer/songwriter/businesswoman Beyoncé loves Connect4 and is exceptionally good at it? Here's video proof, if you don't believe me—when the interviewer asks if she should go first, Queen Bey replies calmly, "It doesn't matter." The confidence! We love it!

Margot Robbie

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Margot Robbie is intensely talented as an actor and producer, but did you know that, until 2020, you could have also gotten a tattoo from her? She has inked herself and cast-members using a gun she bought on eBay (lol) but after she drunkenly tattooed an also-drunk pal at a bachelorette party, she stopped.

Meghan Markle

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Meghan Markle can do it all (acting, starting a business, writing a blog, being a mom and a duchess at the same time), but did you know that, early in her acting career, she taught calligraphy, gift-wrapping, and book-binding at the Beverly Hills Paper Source? And she still uses the skill: her business even has her calligraphy in the logo!

Katherine J. Igoe
Contributing Editor

Katherine’s a contributing syndications editor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle. In her role, she writes stories that are syndicated by MSN and other outlets. She’s been a full-time freelancer for over a decade and has had roles with Cosmopolitan (where she covered lifestyle, culture, and fashion SEO content) and Bustle (where she was their movies and culture writer). She has bylines in New York TimesParentsInStyle, Refinery29, and elsewhere. Her work has also been syndicated by ELLEHarper’s BazaarSeventeenGood Housekeeping, and Women’s Health, among others. In addition to her stories reaching millions of readers, content she's written and edited has qualified for a Bell Ringer Award and received a Communicator Award. 

Katherine has a BA in English and art history from the University of Notre Dame and an MA in art business from the Sotheby's Institute of Art (with a focus on marketing/communications). She covers a wide breadth of topics: she's written about how to find the very best petite jeanshow sustainable travel has found its footing on Instagram, and what it's like to be a professional advice-giver in the modern world. Her personal essays have run the gamut from learning to dress as a queer woman to navigating food allergies as a mom. She also has deep knowledge of SEO/EATT, affiliate revenue, commerce, and social media; she regularly edits the work of other writers. She speaks at writing-related events and podcasts about freelancing and journalism, mentors students and other new writers, and consults on coursework. Currently, Katherine lives in Boston with her husband and two kids, and you can follow her on Instagram. If you're wondering about her last name, it’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.