In our continued celebration of the lady geek, we present some of our favorite nerd girls who moonlight as environmental activists.
Celebrities make being famous look easy, but deep down inside those polished faces and sculpted bodies are some of the biggest nerds around. When not traipsing around on red carpets or dominating a boardroom, these famous faces geek out on the same things we do. What’s more, these influential women spend a lot of time worrying about what a mess we’ve made of this planet, and often use their unique combination of power and passion to create awareness about projects that matter.
1. Darryl Hannah – Theatre Geek
Hannah graduated from the University of Southern California School of Theatre where she studied both ballet and drama. Her long and illustrious film career includes nerdtastic credits such as “Blade Runner”, “Addams Family Reunion”, “Storm Seekers”, and of course, Tarantino’s masterpiece, “Kill Bill” (Vols. 1 & 2). But when not lighting up the Silver Screen, Hannah can be found in far less glamorous environs, like on-board the Sea Shepherd hunting whale killers or getting arrested for blocking construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. She also has her own sustainable solutions video blog called DHLoveLife, lives in a solar-powered home, and drives a biodiesel-powered car.
2. Melissa Etheridge – Music Geek
Activism seems to be as deeply ingrained in Etheridge’s being as the drive to create heartrending music. A proud cancer survivor, Etheridge has used her career to promote a range of health, human rights, and ecological causes including the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the Human Rights Campaign, and Live Earth. Her official website introduces new visitors with green tips and she wrote the theme song, “I Need To Wake Up,” for Al Gore’s global warming documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth.” She’s also a big advocate of biodiesel, using it in all of her tour buses and trucks, as well as in her own personal vehicle.
3. Olivia Wilde – TV Geek
Few actresses can claim not one but three nerdy tribute roles in their repertoire. Wilde has appeared in such gems as the musical comedy “The Ballad of G.I. Joe”, “Tron: Legacy”, and alongside Daniel Craig in the history-bending “Cowboys and Aliens.” Wilde is a vegan and was voted PETA’s Sexiest Vegetarian Celebrity of 2010. Wilde is a board member of Artists for Peace and Justice, which provides education and health services in Haiti, and was commended by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a farmworkers’ union, for supporting the Fair Foods campaign.
4. Natalie Portman – Star Wars Geek
Natalie Portman became queen of the nerd girls way back in 1996 when she appeared in Tim Burton’s “Mars Attacks!” Since then, she’s only embraced her geeky side, with roles on “Sesame Street”, in “Garden State”, and most notably, as the gorgeous Padmé in the “Star Wars” Trilogy. Additionally, “Portman is a longtime vegetarian and animal-rights activist. And she’s been a longtime supporter of the Foundation for International Community Assistance, a microfinance organization that helps poor women around the world. In 2007, she traveled to Rwanda with zoologist Jack Hanna to film a documentary about endangered gorillas,” reports the Daily Green. She also designed a line of vegan shoes for Te Casan and donated all of the proceeds to environmental organizations.
5. Jessica Jackley – Internet Geek
You might not be on a first name basis with Jessica Jackley, but she’s definitely one of the nerd girls you should get to know. Jackley is the co-founder of Kiva.org, the world’s first peer-to-peer online microlending website. She is also the founder and CEO of ProFounder.com, a platform that provides new ways for small business entrepreneurs in the U.S. to access start-up capital through crowdfunding and community involvement. When not using internet technology to make the world a flatter place, she teaches Global Entrepreneurship at the Marshall School of Business at USC, and is a Visiting Scholar at Stanford’s Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society.
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