Nerdy Hot 10 List—Female Edition

Last May, I published a Nerdy Hot 10 List of actors who are goofy or awkward but sexy because of it. As of this writing, that post alone has received over 52,000 hits. Crazy!

I’ve received numerous requests to post a female version, so I now present in random order my list of 10 actresses whose silliness make them hot.

  1. Tina Fey. I know, this is obvious, but her goofiness is brilliant so how can she not be here?
  2. Julia Louis-Dreyfus. The Elaine dance alone cemented a place for her on this list, but her continuing knack for physical comedy on The New Adventures of Old Christine and in those Healthy Choice commercials proves she’s got more than one move.
  3. Judy Greer. She’s got leading-lady looks but producers dumb her down so she can play the best friend (13 Going on 30, 27 Dresses) without stealing focus from the star. The friend usually gets the funniest lines, though, and funny is sexier than pretty and bland.
  4. Anna Faris. One of the goofiest actresses around, never saying no to humiliating situations on screen, but also hot enough to play a Playboy bunny in The House Bunny.
  5. Sandra Bullock. Yeah, she looks phenomenal naked in The Proposal, but it’s her special blend of on-screen klutziness and social awkwardness that puts her on this list.
  6. Jennifer Coolidge. Her presence, often in Christopher Guest’s mockumentaries, guarantees that lunacy will ensue. I’ll watch anything with her in it (even the awful series Joey) and that, to me, is true star power.
  7. Missi Pyle. Out of character, she’s stunning, but her absolute fearlessness in playing freaky characters (remember the unibrowed terror in Dodgeball?) is what makes her so winsome.
  8. Leslie Mann. Because she’s married to Judd Apatow and looks like that, one might be tempted to say she gets roles due to nepotism and for merely being pretty. But her hilarious turns as the girl who terrorizes Steve Carrell while driving drunk in The 40-Year-Old Virgin and as Katherine Heigl’s much funnier older sister in Knocked Up have proven she’s one dynamite talent.
  9. Elizabeth Banks. Her looks qualify her for magazine covers, but she’s most winning when she goofs it up in movies like The 40-Year-Old Virgin and on shows like Modern Family.
  10. Andrea Anders. Sure, she’s a cute blonde, but there are busloads of those in Hollywood. It’s her zeal for making her character on Better Off Ted (and earlier, on Joey) socially inept and sometimes just plain wrong that makes her stand out.

Who’s on your nerdy hot list? Sound off in the comments! (UPDATE: See my new 2010 Nerdy Hot Actors list here.)

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47 Comments

  • Reply
    Jen Forbus
    January 27, 2010 at 5:38 am

    This would be a harder list for me to compile, I think. You did a fabulous job, PCN. I would probably have Charlize Theron on my list. I know she’s drop dead gorgeous, but she’s so amazingly diverse in what she can do on the big screen. I don’t think I could ever watch it again but MONSTER was amazing!

    Of course I’d also have to have Meryl Streep. She’s not making magazine covers these days, but lordy she still has it going on! And who else can go from THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA to MAMA MIA?

    Two ladies that I love from NCIS Cote de Pablo and Pauley Perrette. The cast of that show is just stellar and these two are perfect in their roles.

    Damn, I feel like I’m on roll now because Emily Deschanel is my hero! Love her as “Bones” – does she not do the perfect nerd? I think sometimes it’s soothing to me to think there’s someone out there who could be more clueless to pop culture than me! Ha! AND she’s an animal advocate. Love it!

    Alright, my last name would be Julianne Moore. She’s so amazing, and she wrote a children’s book.

    O.k., I thought it would be hard, but it sure wasn’t! These ladies ROCK!!

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      January 27, 2010 at 12:14 pm

      Look at you, Jen. You can publish your own list!

      Meryl Streep is both beautiful and goofy, the best kind of sexy nerd. BTW, she was on Vanity Fair’s January cover. Not too familiar with the NCIS ladies but Emily Deschanel’s Dr. Brennan is a nerd of the highest order. I like Bones a lot, too! And Julianne Moore can be on any superlative list any time. She IS amazing.

  • Reply
    Lydia
    January 27, 2010 at 8:52 am

    I am so glad you included Sandra Bullock! She is my favorite girl crush and I don’t think I’ve ever laughed more at a movie than “Ms. Congeniality” (I admit I have terrible movie tastes).

    I also think Renee Zellweger would be a great addition, since I don’t know many actresses willing to not only gain the weight necessary to portray Bridget Jones, but to play an awkward character so convincingly.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      January 27, 2010 at 12:19 pm

      I love Sandra Bullock and want her life (well, except for the heavily tattooed husband). She seems like a woman who does anything she wants and nothing she doesn’t. Renee Zellweger would make an excellent addition to this list—she defined awkwardness as Bridget Jones!

      I enjoyed Ms. Congeniality, too, so your taste isn’t THAT terrible. Now, if you say you loved Catwoman or The Hottie & the Nottie, I’ll have to block you from this site.

  • Reply
    EIREGO
    January 27, 2010 at 10:07 am

    Could not agree with you more. And thanks for recognizing Andrea Anders, not only would I like to sit down and have a drink with her, but, well….you know…

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      January 27, 2010 at 12:21 pm

      Yay, an Andrea Anders fan! Which makes you a Better Off Ted fan, ergo you are cool.

  • Reply
    READER#9
    January 27, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Where’s Jayma Mays? Where’s Janeane Garofolo? Okay, maybe not Janeane Garofolo…

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      January 27, 2010 at 12:23 pm

      Oh, I love Jayma Mays, she should definitely be on the list (I should’ve made it the Nerdy Dozen, huh?). As for Garofalo, I like her a lot but she can be kinda grumpy.

  • Reply
    Poncho
    January 27, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    PCN, you picked a lot of my crushes. LOL. If you ask me, I would make a few changes, but nonetheless is an outstanding list.

    I do agree with Jen: Meryl Streep is a perfect example of growing old with style. She still manages to imbue sexiness to her persona and her roles (her Golden Globe speech was humble, inspiring and yet a little sexy). And Pauley Perrette cracks me up every time!

    And I join Reader#9’s request: Add Jayma Mays. Her Emma is an amazing mysophobic flirt!

    Thanks again, PCN!!

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      January 27, 2010 at 1:03 pm

      How would you change the list, Poncho? Let’s see yours!

      • Reply
        Poncho
        January 28, 2010 at 9:22 pm

        Sorry for taking this much time, but I had a tough time making the list shorter. I’m still deliberating if this should be my final list but here it goes (also, in no particular order).

        – Tina Fey (same reasons)
        – Christina Applegate
        – Jayma Mays
        – Missi Pyle
        – Ellen DeGeneres (I know she plays for the other team, but her wit only makes her more attractive)
        – Courtney Cox-Arquette
        – Lucy Liu
        – Amy Adams
        – Meryl Streep
        – Eva Longoria-Parker

        • Reply
          Pop Culture Nerd
          January 29, 2010 at 11:42 am

          I like your list, Poncho! It has more diversity than mine. I was going to put Courteney Cox on mine, too, because she’s really goofy on Cougar Town. And Eva Longoria Parker is the funniest housewife.

  • Reply
    ARB
    January 27, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Not so sure about Jennifer Coolidge, but she was Stifler’s Mom in American Pie, so what the hell do I know. Would like to have seen Renee Zellweger on this list, too.

    Still, GOOD JOB, PCN!!

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      January 27, 2010 at 7:05 pm

      That’s right, Coolidge was the original MILF! Haha!

  • Reply
    Naomi Johnson
    January 27, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    (sputtering) but but but

    Where the hell is Emma Thompson?

    • Reply
      Jen Forbus
      January 27, 2010 at 4:40 pm

      Oh, that’s a GREAT one, Naomi!

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      January 27, 2010 at 7:06 pm

      D’OH! [Big slap to the forehead] She should definitely be on here. LOVE her.

  • Reply
    le0pard13
    January 27, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    Great list of some smart beauties. I’m really enjoying, too, the back and forth among the commenters. Thanks for this, PCN.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      January 27, 2010 at 7:07 pm

      You got any names you’d like to add, or afraid SWMBO might read it? 😀

      • Reply
        le0pard13
        January 27, 2010 at 8:23 pm

        Well, Lydia already mentioned Sandra Bullock and Naomi named Emma Thompson (both I’d certainly include), Gillian Anderson, Jodie Foster, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Julianne Moore (the other actress to play Clarice Starling) come to mind. BTW, I just about did a spit-take into my tea when you wrote, MILF. LOL.

        • Reply
          Pop Culture Nerd
          January 28, 2010 at 9:55 am

          Ooh, some good names there. Gillian Anderson qualifies but to me, Carrie-Anne Moss will always be the badass Trinity and not nerdy at all.

          As for the MILF, that’s what John Cho called her in that movie!

          • Reply
            le0pard13
            January 28, 2010 at 10:24 am

            I’m probably thinking more along the lines of smart & sexy, and less nerdy. John Cho? I was thinking John Chen! I’ve been reading so much coverage of THE FIRST RULE tour that it’s influencing other things ;-). Thanks, PCN.

            • Reply
              Christine
              January 28, 2010 at 10:29 am

              HA! I did the same thing, lp13. But doesn’t MILF sound just like something John Chen would say?

  • Reply
    Bailey
    January 27, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    My Top Ten includes:
    10)Diablo Cody
    9)America Ferrera
    8)Christina Ricci
    7)Chelsea Handler
    6)Zoey Deschanel
    5)Amy Adams
    4)Ellen Page
    3)Lea Michele
    2)Parker Posey
    1)Rachel McAdams

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      January 27, 2010 at 7:10 pm

      Oh my gosh, such a kickass list! OK, next year, I’m having YOU put the list together. I’m a fan of everyone on there, especially Rachel McAdams, on whom I have a giant girl crush.

      • Reply
        Poncho
        January 29, 2010 at 11:31 am

        Nice. Bailey topped my list.

  • Reply
    debbied
    January 27, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    Yo, PCN–nice new digs!! Love the new site…. 🙂

    On my way to work today I thought of a few….

    Nerd in Training–the middle daughter on Modern Family

    Mother/Daughter Combo–Lauren Graham/Alexis Bleidel (sp?) sigh, I miss the Gilmore Girls…

    Political Nerds/Wonks (okay, they’re not actresses but they are on TV)

    Rachel Maddow
    Doris Kearns Goodwin
    Margaret Carlson (every time I see her, I think of Harry Potter–google her)

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      January 27, 2010 at 7:19 pm

      Hi debbied, all nerds are welcome, not just actresses. Love the mother/daughter combo!

      I’m ashamed to admit I had to Google the last two names. I’d heard their names, just couldn’t picture their faces. And they’re cute! The glasses on Carlson are very HP-like.

      I’m glad you like my new domain (Seinfeld reference).

      • Reply
        debbied
        January 27, 2010 at 9:50 pm

        Well, truth be told, Doris Kearns-Goodwin is really a writer/historian nerd, but she is on most of the political shows.

        PCN, you are Queen of the Caste (another Seinfeld reference)

        • Reply
          debbied
          January 27, 2010 at 9:51 pm

          yeah that’s supposed to say Queen of the Castle… Oy…

  • Reply
    Shell Sherree
    January 28, 2010 at 1:39 am

    Wow, what a list ~ and how can you narrow it down without leaving out some amazing ladies, as evidenced by those added by your talented commenters! You’ve included a bunch of my faves, PCN, including Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Dare I say, I think I love her more in New…Old Christine than Seinfeld, and that’s saying something.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      January 28, 2010 at 9:12 am

      That IS saying something! I don’t think anything can beat that Elaine dance for me.

  • Reply
    Christine
    January 28, 2010 at 7:27 am

    Great selections, PCN! I’d add Jane Lynch to the list. Some of the best scenes on Two and a Half Men, are hers as Charlie’s psychologist. Haven’t seen GLEE (yes, I’m the one), but I bet she adds a lot to the show.

    As one of my cats is named Emma, I think you know where I stand with Ms. Thompson. LOVE her!

    Meryl Streep had a great response to Oprah’s question, “What do you know for sure?” She said something along the line that “I know I will never lose those last 5 pounds from pregnancy.” I thought that was great! She just seems like a down-to-earth smart cookie, who happens to ROCK at her chosen profession.

    Oh, and terribly amused that you were able to return the near spit-take for le0pard13. Triplets and MILFs, oh my! 🙂

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      January 28, 2010 at 9:51 am

      Jane Lynch is phenomenal. As with Jennifer Coolidge, I start laughing as soon as she shows up on screen. She doesn’t even have to say anything.

      And how can anyone not like Emma and Meryl? Well, if they do, they’re no friend of mine.

      I’m happy to induce spit takes anytime!

    • Reply
      Anonymous
      January 28, 2010 at 10:08 am

      Jane Lynch IS “goofy and awkward”…but, “sexy”????? I LOVE her talent and presence, but think her sex appeal quotient is equivalent to Paula Deen’s!

      • Reply
        Pop Culture Nerd
        January 28, 2010 at 10:11 am

        Haha! Well, maybe people just have different notions about sexy!

      • Reply
        Christine
        January 28, 2010 at 10:19 am

        LOL! Granted she’s not bombshell sexy like some of the others can be. But confidence is sexy and I think it takes a lot of confidence to play “goofy and awkward” as well as she does. 🙂

  • Reply
    norma
    January 28, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    My favourites are Sandra Bullock and Meryl Streep. But I love Emma Thompson she´s super nerd. Sandra Bullock is much funnier on interviews, she is really hilarious I guess on real life.

  • Reply
    Donna
    January 28, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Sandra Bullock is my all time favorite! OMG, that dance she did in “The Proposal” about had me falling out of my seat laughing! And Meryl Streep in “It’s Complicated” is another favorite. Both have the perfect mix of klass and klux when needed. Lol!

  • Reply
    Pop Culture Nerd
    January 28, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    norma & Donna,

    It was a huge oversight on my part to leave Meryl Streep off the list. She’s going on next year’s list for sure!

  • Reply
    Shane Gericke
    January 30, 2010 at 9:04 am

    Love the new website, PCN. It looks great, and it’s slicknEZ to maneuver. Very nice.

    And oh, Tiny Fey. What a goddess, she’s such a great combination of cute and smart. Glad she topped your list.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      January 30, 2010 at 10:08 am

      Hi Shane!

      Thanks for stopping by and the kind words about the site. AND you’re a fellow fan of Fey’s. It just keeps getting better.

      I went over to your site; I vote for FRIENDLY! When will you unveil the new look?

  • Reply
    Nettie Grodecki
    February 21, 2010 at 7:58 am

    I love this, and being older, I have a quirky additon, Christopher Walken, who I love. I still think he’s sexy, tho older.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      February 21, 2010 at 12:57 pm

      I love Christopher Walken! When he danced with John Travolta in Hairspray, I swooned. That entire performance, convincing us that his character thought Travolta in drag was the sexiest thing ever, was quite a feat.

  • Reply
    mimiminou
    September 2, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Joan Cusack! Ellen Page! Frances McDormand!

  • Reply
    dyan
    January 23, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    Hair down, glasses off.

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