17 Celebrity Hidden Talents

17 Celebrity Hidden Talents


Fencing, figure skating, and a frankly unsettling (but very cool) aptitude for knives.

1.

Much like Ron Swanson, the character he played on Parks and Recreation, Nick Offerman is an accomplished woodworker. Around 20 years ago, he founded the Offerman Woodshop; in the beginning, it was only Offerman “knocking out commissions between acting jobs,” but after he landed the Parks and Rec role, he hired a manager and other woodworkers to help him craft “everything from kazoos to canoes to gazebos.”

NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images

According to the Offerman Woodshop website, Offerman’s favorite project was the Huckleberry, a handmade canoe.

After Parks and Rec wrapped, Offerman used wood from the set to make canoe paddles for the cast and crew. Of course, they were emblazoned with the official seal of Pawnee, Indiana.

Nick Offerman salvaged the wood from the Parks and Rec set and made us all canoe paddles with it. World champion.

@KenTremendous / Via Twitter: @KenTremendous

In an interview about his woodshop, Offerman explained, “The point of a venerated craft like woodworking is to eschew the ‘rat race’ mentality that is the cause of so much frustration in modern consumerist society.”

2.

Will Smith is a Rubik’s Cube prodigy. In The Pursuit of Happyness, his character Chris Gardner quickly solves one of the puzzles to “impress a stockbroker and gain entry to an intern program.” Tyson Mao, the world record holder for solving the Cube blindfolded, was hired to help fake the scene, but Smith wanted to do it himself, so after 10 hours of Mao’s instruction, he learned how to solve the puzzle from “any configuration.” It was not rigged or preset for the scene in any way.

Getty / Jim Spellman / WireImage

Mao said that while most beginners need a sheet of instructions to solve the Rubik’s Cube, Smith didn’t.

3.

Justin Bieber is also a Rubik’s Cube pro, and he can solve one in under two minutes. He showed off this talent during a “Carpool Karaoke” segment on The Late Late Show With James Corden.

Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

4.

Terry Crews can play the flute. He took lessons for around seven years during his childhood, after his great-great-grandmother gifted him a flute for Christmas and his mother insisted that the money she spent on it wouldn’t go to waste.

Rich Fury / Getty Images

Crews got a chance to show off his musical skills in Season 7, Episode 10 of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. In “Admiral Peralta,” Terry (the character) wants to audition to be a flutist for the NYPD marching band, but when he asks Captain Holt to help him prepare, the Captain’s strict and critical teaching style puts them at odds.

5.

Andrew Garfield was “an accomplished gymnast” before he became famous for acting. He obviously remembers some of his old tricks, and he was able to pull off a backflip on Ellen. He pointed out the absurdity of attempting it in loafers and “very tight pants,” but that didn’t stop him from sticking the landing (and raising $30,000 for breast cancer research in the process).

Getty / Gregg Deguire / WireImage

6.

Harrison Ford is a trained aviator. He took flying lessons right after graduating college, but stopped once he was no longer able to pay for them. At the age of 54, he picked up the hobby again, partly because he felt like he hadn’t “learned anything in a long time.”

Getty Images

Ford said that flying allowed him to “create an identity other than Harrison Ford, the actor.” In 2020, Ford made a flying error in which he “crossed a runway by accident,” leading to an investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration about whether he should be permitted to continue flying. He was ultimately cleared after completing a “remedial runway incursion training course.” Isabel Goyer, the editor of Plane & Pilot magazine, wrote in an editorial that while some people might be “outraged that a movie star got special treatment,” the FAA “did the right thing.”

7.

In addition to being a comedian, actor, and writer, Larry Wilmore is a magician. He started doing magic during his childhood and is a member of the Magic Castle in Los Angeles, where he has also performed. When asked if he had ever considered doing magic professionally, Wilmore replied, “There’s an old joke…what’s the difference between a pizza and a magician? And the answer is a pizza can feed a family of four.”

Peacock / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Wilmore also said that there is a clear relationship between magic and comedy, since in both, the performer “kind of hid[es] where you’re going in the setup.”

8.

Neil Patrick Harris is a fellow lover of magic and a member of the Magic Castle, where he was once president of its board of directors. While growing up in New Mexico, Harris used his allowance to shop at the local magic shop, Fool’s Paradise. He’s since written a young adult series called The Magic Misfits, and he’s demonstrated his tricks on pretty much every talk show out there.

Scott Wintrow / Getty Images

9.

Angelina Jolie is a knife enthusiast who’s been collecting the weapons since childhood, so it’s only natural that she’s very skilled at handling them. She showed off her talent with a butterfly knife during an interview with Conan O’Brien.

Michael Loccisano / Getty Images

And here’s a close-up look at what, exactly, a butterfly knife looks like:

Ullstein Bild / ullstein Bild via Getty Images

10.

Mark Ruffalo is a unicyclist. Well, he can ride a unicycle. He learned when he was 12, and after not getting on one for around 25 years, he was able to get right back in the saddle during an appearance on The Graham Norton Show.

BBC One / youtube.com

The much taller unicycle Norton provided after Ruffalo proved he could ride the normal-sized one proved to be more of a challenge, though the fact that Ruffalo managed to stay upright at any amount of time on that thing is remarkable.

11.

Elliot Page is pretty amazing at juggling. During a 2014 appearance on Conan, he showed off his skills using fruit thoughtfully provided by Conan himself.

12.

Susan Sarandon adores ping pong. So much so that in 2009, she helped found Spin, a ping pong bar, in New York City. (The franchise now has multiple locations across the country, plus one in Canada.) And in 2014, she starred in a movie called Ping Pong Summer as a skilled player. Sarandon was drawn to the game because, in her own words, “Ping pong cuts across all body types and gender – everything, really – because little girls can beat big muscley guys. You don’t get hurt; it is not expensive; it is really good for your mind. It is one of the few sports that you can play until you die.”

NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Despite her love of it, Sarandon admitted that she’s “not very good,” since she doesn’t have the competitive streak that pushes others to ping pong greatness.

13.

Conan O’Brien is a trained tap dancer. When he was a kid, he told his parents that he wanted to work in entertainment, and therefore needed to learn how to tap dance. They accepted this logic and hired “Stanley Brown, who had been the protégé of Bill Bojangles Robinson” to be their son’s teacher.

Getty / Lester Cohen / WireImage

14.

Jason Statham was such a good diver that he represented Great Britain at the Commonwealth Games in 1990. He didn’t make it to the Olympics, which he called “a bit of a sore point.” He elaborated, “I started too late. It probably wasn’t my thing. I should have done a different sport.” Luckily, he had a long career as a Hollywood star in front of him to soften the blow.

Eamonn M. Mccormack / Getty Images

15.

Mike Rowe, host of Dirty Jobs and Somebody’s Gotta Do It, can sing opera. In 1984, Rowe couldn’t get into either of the actors’ unions he needed to join, so he found a third option: the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA). If he gained entrance into AGMA, Rowe was permitted to buy his way into one of the acting guilds. He said he realized he had “a better chance of faking my way into the opera than I would into the movies,” so he auditioned for the Baltimore Opera with “the shortest aria I could find” and got in.

Discovery Channel / Courtesy Everett Collection

16.

Gene Wilder was pretty great at fencing. The actor, who is perhaps best known for bringing Willy Wonka to life, won the Old Vic Theatre School’s fencing championship while he was a student there, and upon his return to the United States from England, he worked as a fencing instructor.

20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

Wilder got to show off his skills in the 1975 comedy The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother, in which he played the titular sibling.

17.

Fashion designer Vera Wang began figure skating at the age of 8, and she became so skilled that she and her partner James Stuart competed in the 1968 US National Championships. However, they didn’t make the Olympic team, a turn of events that “devastated” Wang. The resultant “nervous breakdown” led Wang to do a semester of study abroad in Paris, where she realized her “passion for fashion.”

Jp Yim / Getty Images

Over the course of her career, Wang has designed costumes for Olympic skaters such as Nancy Kerrigan, Michelle Kwan, and Nathan Chen.

Here’s one of the costumes Wang designed for Kerrigan to wear at the 1994 Games:

David Madison / Getty Images

And here’s a costume she designed for Michelle Kwan to wear during the 2002 Games:

Timothy A. Clary / AFP via Getty Images

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