Most people lie in the middle of the introvert/extrovert spectrum. In other words, it’s not hard to find celebrities you can relate to. We all long for Netflix in bed after a grueling week. However, there’s no denying just how validating it is to find out the successful people you see on-screen are really just famous introverts.
From leaders to writers to rappers, there are famous introverts everywhere. You just gotta look closely (or obsessively binge-watch celebrity interviews on YouTube).
Some of these brilliant minds reveal the advantages of being an introvert in the limelight. Others share how they prepare for big celebrity events. Meanwhile, you may be surprised to find that your favorite celebrities are introspective loners just like you.
This post was created to make you feel SEEN. As a result, I only included people of color (POC) in this list of famous introverts. There simply isn’t enough POC representation in the world of introvert content, and I wanted to change that.
That said, I am in no way trying to minimize the black experience by using the blanketed term “people of color”. I’ve seen it used in the media to avoid saying “black people”, and I do not support the erasure of the systemic racism black people experience every day. By using the term “people of color”, I’m hoping to reach out to an audience that understands the deep, ancestral impact of racism (and no, not reverse racism because it DOES NOT EXIST). My intentions here are to include and not dismiss. I researched the ethnicities and cultural backgrounds of these celebrities and decided to include biracial people. To the best of my ability, I made sure to only include those that use their platform to proudly represent their culture and background without minimizing the experience of others.
Here’s to all the introverts that step out of their comfort zone to share their talents with the world! May we know them, may we celebrate them, and may we stan them.
Jk, let’s obsess to a healthy degree, starting n-
“I’m an introvert,” explains Camila Cabello in an interview with Marie Claire. “I love any activity where I can observe and not necessarily be a part of it.”
“Basically, there’s the me that I really am, on the inside, which is the nerdy one—the kind of introverted, shy one—and then there’s the sexy, overly confident one, doing great dance moves and being super sassy.”
In an interview with Dazed And Confused, Beyoncé talks about how she spends her mornings. “Usually I try to stay quiet and meditate. Not literally meditate. I mean lay in bed and think about everything I need to do, plus everything I learned from the previous day.”
- Related post: Time Management Tips for Introverts – Self Care
Even Queen Bey isn’t immune to the age-old question, “Are you shy?” that all introverts must encounter. She replies, “I used to be very shy. I don’t think I’m shy anymore…I’m happier to talk to people and try to learn something from them. I’m better at one-on-one conversations.”
“I do become shy and a bit intimidated when it’s a large group of people, I definitely retreat. At a big dinner, I just hope that no one expects anything from me. I wish I’d disappear.”
Her answer may be the epitome of introversion. Can Beyoncé do anything less than monumental? No. The answer is no.
- Related post: Confessions of An Introvert in Denial
A New York Times interview reveals that “Mr. Obama calls himself a ‘night guy,’ and as president, he has come to consider the long, solitary hours after dark as essential as his time in the Oval Office. Almost every night that he is in the White House, Mr. Obama has dinner at 6:30 with his wife and daughters and then withdraws to the Treaty Room, his private office down the hall. There, his closest aides say, he spends four or five hours largely by himself.”
“’A lot of times, for some of our presidential leaders, the energy they need comes from contact with other people,’ said the historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. ‘[President Obama] seems to be somebody who is at home with himself.’”
- Related post: The Introverted Leader: Redefining Leadership
J. Cole told Complex, “I’m an introverted person, especially with problems. I feel like I can deal with shit on my own and I don’t need to express it. I put up a great front because I don’t want to show [that something bothers me].”
In an interview with Marie Claire, Kerry Washington said, “I love being with my family. My days off look like homework, reading and watching stuff. Just hanging out, doing things we love to do.”
Who else is wondering if Kerry is looking to adopt?!
In 2007, Kerry replied to People about being single with: “No one has to feel sorry for me. I’m not lonely. I have my dog.”
Me too, Kerry, me too.
In a 2008 interview with GMTV, Keanu says, “I lead a very quiet, normal kind of [life]…I mean, my private life is a boring disaster, but work is good.”
As the interviewer starts to say a movie star like Keanu can’t possibly be boring, he shuts that down by singing, “Don’t cry for me, Argentinaaaaa.” Leave it to Keanu to give the cutest, most awkward reaction to pity.
However, we introverts can see that Keanu already decided her and her audience would agree that his idea of “interesting” is nothing more than a “boring disaster”–I’d dodge that conversation, too, Keanu.
Shonda Rhimes, the director of ABC’s best shows (I’m biased) and queen of #TGIT, shares with NPR, “I’ve always been an introverted person. And I think…the experience of the explosion of those shows and the notoriety or the fame that came with it was very daunting for me. You sort of curl in on yourself a little bit, and your world becomes a little bit smaller and tighter.”
Shonda goes onto explain, “I was not a person who was going to be out at Hollywood parties. I was not a person that was living some…glamorous life. And my time really was spent going to work…and coming home and spending time with my family because that was what was important to me. And that was it.”
DeWanda Wise told Complex about being recognized from TV, “Thankfully I’m used to it. It’s not what—being the introvert I am—it’s not anything that I was, like, afraid that it would be. People are really lovely, super respectful. Which is probably also because my characters are, you know, laying down the law.”
As if being a proud introvert wasn’t enough, DeWanda also gives us a peek into her pre-social event ritual. “Anytime I get ready for an event, to buoy my introverted self up, I have an entire list of ferocious female artists, like Lada Gaga, Cardi B. So that’s what I listen to before I go out.”
If that wasn’t the most relatable introvert habit revealed, I don’t know what is.
Anyone that’s a fan of Frank Ocean knows he’s a private person. Case in point–his most recent interview with Gayletter is described as “rare”, it being his first interview since promoting the 2016 album Blonde.
He describes to Gayletter his process of creating music. “If I’m working on lyrics, I might as well be in a vacuum-sealed container. [Laughs] I just need to be on my own. If I’m working out a vocal performance, I need to be on my own or with my engineer, Caleb. He’s been with me so long that he knows when to just be wallpaper. I’m comfortable with him, so I can sit there and write whatever.”
Caleb sounds like the true friend every introvert needs.
- Related post: How to Build Lasting Friendships As An Introvert
As an INFJ, I also had to include Frank Ocean’s views on intuition. “Yeah, that can be under the guise of protecting, if it’s someone they care about. A lot of the people who told me I was crazy were completely well-intentioned. They weren’t trying to sabotage me.”
“It’s hard to see what somebody else sees sometimes. That’s all it boils down to. Sometimes the vision you have is only yours until you can really bring it into the world as a real thing, a real force. Then people can see it and celebrate it and get on board with it.”
“I think that’s maybe just about trust, to give others the benefit of the doubt when they’re still in progress. Instead of hearing somebody’s idea and going, ‘Oh, that sounds stupid,’ being like, ‘OK, I trust you, so let me believe that maybe you see something I don’t see.’ Because I know that along the path to bringing that thing into the world, you gotta go through your process. You gotta have your own discovery.”
Like a true introvert, Jessie Reyez has a lot to say but doesn’t want to talk about it. Thankfully, she expresses all those thoughts by blessing us with her music. As if the title of her album Being Human In Public isn’t a dead giveaway, she tweeted to her audience, professing her #introvertstruggles.
Issa Rae, an actress, writer, director, producer, and web series creator–also a huge fan of Frank Ocean–spoke to NPR about her YouTube web series “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl” that jumpstarted her career. “Yeah, well, I was sitting on my bed in New York one day. Just having a reflective moment…and wrote down the phrase, ‘I’m awkward, period, and black’. And that was just a revelatory moment for me in so many ways. Like, I knew I was black obviously, but the awkward part really just defined me, in a sense.”
To clarify, she goes on to say, “It defined why I was always, like, socially uncomfortable. It defined my introvert status. It defined, like, why I didn’t fit into mainstream media’s definition of blackness. And I just thought that that felt like an identity that I had not seen reflected in television or film before or at least in a very long time, not since the ’90s with side characters. But I’d never seen, like, a lead black girl just be awkward.”
And now, I’m sitting here, wishing HBO didn’t cost so much.
Lana Condor described to W her connection to Lara Jean, the character she plays in the Netflix Original Movie To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. “We’re both equally awkward! I wish I wasn’t this awkward in my life, but here I am!”
“I think we have similar senses of humor, we both live in our heads, I think, and you can ask any of my friends. I’m not 100% here. I’m living in a fantasy world all the time so it’s been nice to play a character so close to who I am actually as a human being.”
Since Lana Condor is truly the only famous introvert that’s made me feel represented on-screen as an introverted Asian-American, I have an entire post on 30 reasons why her character, Lara Jean, is the most relatable introvert.
You know Missandei from Game of Thrones? Well, her name is Nathalie Emmanuel irl and she’s as much of an introverted angel as Missandei is. She tells The Urban Daily her thoughts on playing Missandei, “I think she’s a very gentle soul and she’s kind. She speaks when it’s necessary, when she has something important to say. I definitely think what we do have in common is the fact that we are brilliant observers.”
The Urban Daily then asks Nathalie about her life outside of Game of Thrones. “I tend to be quiet. I can be a little bit of an introvert at times.” And she goes on to say the most validating thing a famous introvert can say, “I can be very happy in my own company, and I can spend quite a long time by myself and be quite content, and that’s fine.”
“My world, like my personal life, is really quite small and so sometimes I truly get too comfortable in that and it can be an effort for me to come and step outside, and I’m like, ‘OK world’, and interact with people.”
And when you thought Nathalie couldn’t be more relatable, she says, “Like, now my favorite thing in the world to do is get up, make a cup of tea, and get on the sofa and watch something with my dog. It’s like I’ve completely turned into a 90-year-old woman, grown before my time, and it’s like I have my moments when I come out again and I’m like, ‘Yeah, it’s time to have a little dance,’ then it’s over and I’m back in. It’s funny because it’s a far cry from the Nathalie in her early 20s and late teens.”
Sara Ramirez, the iconic Callie Torres in Grey’s Anatomy (Former Chief of Orthopedic Surgery of Grey-Sloan Memorial that also happens to be bi), is an introvert through and through. But that doesn’t stop her from being a powerful presence on-screen and in our communities as a queer activist.
- Related post: Introvert-Friendly Steps Towards Political Activism
Amandla Stenberg talks about her role in the movie The Darkest Minds. “The character of Ruby is pretty tough. And she’s also kind of introverted, the way that she’s written in the book. I think she is really passionate. She stands her ground. She knows what she wants. That’s what I like a lot about her. But she’s also really thoughtful and kind of keeps to herself. I think she’s a lot like me.”
Although naturally softspoken, Amandla brings a quiet strength to her introverted characters, such as Ruby in The Darkest Minds, Rue in The Hunger Games, Maddy in Everything, Everything, and Starr Carter in The Hate U Give. She’s the representation introverts and POC needed!
Pharrell Williams doesn’t exactly say he’s an introvert, but he’s often described as one (rightfully so). In Interview, he talks about the role his introverted tendencies play in creating music. “When you write your lyrics, you’re writing to someone, or to the world…It’s just a form of expression. And then there are times when you might be a little more introverted about it, when you’re dancing, writing, or playing for yourself, and you have no idea how amazing what you’re doing looks, sounds, or feels, until somebody else tells you, or until you record it and go back and look at it.”
Although Pharrell hasn’t confirmed his introversion, one thing I know for sure is that he’s Intuitive. Check out this NPR Music interview where his Sensing interviewer struggles to keep up!
Tessa Thompson tells GQ, “I feel like I’m an introvert trapped in an extrovert’s bearing. Partially just because of what I do. Acting’s always something, since I was little, I really liked.”
“I was gregarious as a kid, but I think the idea of actually getting to know people, I’m just shy. It sort of takes me a minute to want to sit down and talk about myself. There’s a lot of that in my business—I have practice at them.”
William Jackson Harper
In an interview with Vice, William Jackson Harper relates to his character Chidi in The Good Place. “Well, I’m pretty neurotic and indecisive to start. But I think that Chidi actually talks about it, whereas I don’t as much.”
“I just sort of go into a weird catatonic state and disappear when I’m feeling particularly freaked out. We just have very different ways of dealing with it. He also has the benefit of being super extroverted and I’m a little bit more introverted on that front.”
Another beloved The Good Place actor is also an introvert. Manny Jacinto tells Town & Country (Philippines), “Playing Jason is super fun. I mean he is very much a pretty far departure from who I am. I’m more reserved, a bit more introverted and laidback, while Jason is a lot more out there and oblivious, and just wants to have a good time. He is basically like me as a kid, you know, wanting to play. It’s fun to play crazy things I wouldn’t do in real life.”
And there’s no better way to end a post on famous introverts than Logic’s wise words, “I don’t f*** with nobody. I don’t go outside. Just me, my fiancée, and my puppy.”
There’s probably tons more famous introverts that I don’t know of, simply because we introverts tend to lay low. So if you know of any that are also POC, please share in the comments below!
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