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15 Celebrities Who Went to Performance Arts High School

15 Celebrities Who Went to Performance Arts High School

Émile Zola said “If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.” The opportunity to tap into your creative passion beginning at a young age is not afforded to most but when given the chance to not only pursue it but one day make it a career, like these celebrities, you take the opportunity and rise. Be it theater, photography, singing, dancing, sculpting or  drawing/painting, students that are accepted into the Chicago High School for the Arts are given the chance to grow their artistic abilities while receiving a college preparatory curriculum. These  15 celebrities began cultivating their talent and passion at a young age and have gone on to achieve major, commercial success. 

Sarah Jessica Parker

sarah jessica parker-yahoo sourced photo
School: The School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) Cincinnati, Ohio
Long before she broke into the mainstream scene as Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and The City,  Sarah Jessica Parker began honing her acting skills in Cincinnati Ohio at the School for Creative and Performing Arts.

Lady Gaga

School: CAP21 through New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts
Born Stefani Joanne Germanotta, she studied at CAP21, a Conservatory that provides an in-depth actor training program specializing in musical theatre performance, though she dropped out to pursue her musical career. It worked out for her and she’s gone on to win multiple grammy awards, sold out tours, collaborations and most recently an Academy Award nomination.

Tupac Shakur

School: Baltimore School of Arts
Tupac studied ballet and theater. That’s right, Tupac studied poetry, acting, jazz, and ballet at the Baltimore School of Arts for the second half of his high school years. He went on to star in films such as Poetic Justice, albums all before his untimely death. 


Scarlett Johannson


School: Professional Children’s School
Scarlett will soon reprise her role as Black Widow in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War and she starred in both critically acclaimed and blockbuster including Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Horse Whisperer, Lucy, SpongeBob squarepants. Johansson began her acting training at Professional Children’s school, an unique independent school that provides a challenging academic education for young people pursuing challenging goals in the performing arts.

Nicki Minaj

rolling stone-1035x1407-Nicki_minaj

School:The High School of Performing Arts (The School of Performing Arts: A Division of the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts)
Onika Maraj, before she was known by her stage name Nicki Minaj, began at Laguardia High School where she studied visual, musical theater, and the performing arts before being cast in off-Broadway productions and eventually pursuing a career in hip-hop.


Jennifer Aniston

jennifer aniston Santa Barbara Film Festival
School: The High School of Performing Arts (The School of Performing Arts: A Division of the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts)
Jennifer Aniston became mainstream famous playing Rachel Green in the NBC show Friends, but before her acting career began she was just another student with dreams of making it big someday as a member of Manhattan’s Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts drama society. 


School: Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts
Before her milkshake brought the boys to the yard, Kelis Rogers grew up in Harlem who was inspired to pursue her singing career by her fashion designer mother. While a student at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, she was part of an R&B trio BLU before being introduced to producing duo The Neptunes(Chad Hugo & Pharrell Williams).

Sarah Paulson


School: Manhattan’s High School of Performing Arts and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts
Paulson can be seen in American Horror Story and American Crime Story: The People vs OJ with her previous film and TV credits including Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy, “12 Years A Slave” to name a few. She was enrolled in Manhattan’s High School of Performing Arts and graduated from The Academy, the oldest acting school in the English speaking world.

Marlon Wayans


School: Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts
Wayans, the youngest of 10, has several other siblings in show business, but developing his acting chops started at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. In addition to movie roles, he starred in the WB (now CW) sitcom The Wayans Bros with his brother Shawn.

Adrian Grenier

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 27:  Actor Adrian Grenier attends the Social Good Summit at the 92nd Street Y on September 27, 2015 in New York City.  (Photo by Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images for Global Goals)
School:Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts
Vincent “Vinny” Chase, the character Adrian Grenier played in the critically acclaimed HBO series Entourage brought him into mainstream but before then and before enrolling at Bard college he was just another graduate of Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, the New York city high school that inspired the show Fame.

See Also

Yayoi Kusama

School: Kyoto Municipal School of Arts and Crafts
To many outside the modern contemporary art world, she might not be household name but her work can be seen on all over most especially her pumpkin sculptures she’s worked with fashion houses including Louis Vuitton. Her artistic path, which started at a young age while studying Nihonga painting at the at Kyoto Municipal School of Arts and Crafts.

Marc Jacobs

School: New York High School of Art and Design
Fashion Designer Marc Jacobs launched his line in 1986 but its wasn’t an overnight sensation initially. Jacobs attended the High School of Art and Design and then went on to Parsons School of Design.

Steven Meisel

who is steven meisel
School: High School of Art and Design
Notoriously private photographer Steven Meisel, who is considered one of world’s greatest fashion photographer, has received critical acclaim for his work on major advertising, fashion campaigns, and  editorials. Though he’s known for his stunning fashion photography, he started out in illustration.

Alicia Keys

School: Professional Performing Arts School
Before she burst on the music scene with her debut smash hit “Fallin, ‘” at the age of 12, Keys enrolled in the Professional Performing Arts School, where she majored in choir and began writing songs at the age of 14. She graduated in four years as valedictorian at the age of 16 and has gone on to receive global success in music and most recently her philanthropic work.

Sarah Hyland

Sarah Hyland-Elle's Women In Television
School:Professional Performing Arts School in Manhattan
You might know her as Haley Dunphy on Modern Family but before she got her big break on network television but she honed her skills at PPAS a school established for students that wanted to pursue professional work in the arts as they earned a junior/senior high school diploma and those who wanted to study the arts as an avocation. The school develops, refines, and showcases students in dance, drama, and vocal music while also providing them with a rigorous, meaningful academic curriculum.


School: The BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology
Adele Laurie Adkins simply known as Adele graduated from the BRIT school in 2009. Her captivating and soulful voice has been heard all over the world and her most recent album 25 set numerous records and has sold over 8 million copies so far in the US only. Her fellow BRIT School alums include Jessie J, Floetry’s Marsha Ambrosius, Ashley Madekwe.

We may never know if these celebs will be mainstream success if they didn’t have the background to explore their passion for the arts. What we do know is that On Thursday April 14, Chicago’s first high school for the arts, ChiArts, will host its annual fundraiser to continue helping Chicago’s next generation of rising stars tap into their talent as they dream to one performance while networking, eating and drinking. To get tickets to Kerfuffle! Click HERE we’ll see you on the scene!

*images via: Google

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