You might think that Strictly’s Kevin Clifton couldn’t possibly have anything in common with scientist Albert Einstein. Or that J.K. Rowling and Gwyneth Paltrow would never get on.
But it turns out, each one of these celebrities is actually an introvert. They're a lot more similar to each other (and some of us) than we think!
What is an introvert?
It can difficult to know the difference between being an introvert or an extrovert. According to healthline (opens in new tab), introverts are thought of as quiet, reserved and thoughtful people. They aren’t the centre of attention and in fact, social occasions can often leave them feeling drained.
The main different between introverts and extroverts, known as the life of the party (opens in new tab), however, is how they recharge. While introverts need time alone to regain their energy, extroverts prefer being around other people. Introverts typically feel their emotions deeper than others and prefer to write rather than talk. However, that's not the same for everyone. This type of person can have elements of extroverted behaviour – they may like throwing parties, or public speaking for example – and extroverts may prefer to work alone.
These are some of the most famous introvert celebrities:
Strictly Come Dancing’s Kevin Clifton is the latest celebrity to declare himself an introvert. Yesterday, the dancer posted on Instagram (opens in new tab) answering a question he's often asked - 'Why are you so quiet?'
It's surprising, as Kevin is one of the dancers on the most flamboyant show on television. But as Kevin says in the post, 'I feel like when I’m performing I can be very extrovert but the real me is very much an introvert.'
He also says that he refuses to gossip, which is the focus of many conversations. In a list of five points, he also includes:
- I don’t like taking for the sake of talking. I’ll speak when I have something to say.
- Thinking and exploring my inner world is exciting and energizing (opens in new tab) for me.
- Even when I’m quiet, I still feel like I’m more open and friendly than most.
And he finishes with the poetic, 'Silence is beautiful'.
Another one of the celebrities you might not believe was in introvert is the '50s starlet, Marilyn Monroe (opens in new tab), who was known for her life in the limelight.
From beauty (opens in new tab) and blockbuster films to renowned husbands, we think we know everything about Marilyn Monroe. But did you know that she was actually probably an introvert? She’s famously quoted as saying, “I restore myself when I’m alone”. She's the definition of an introvert, but it wasn't just the opportunity recharge that Marilyn reportedly enjoyed. She also said, "a career is born in public - talent in privacy".
Another one of our introvert celebrities includes the Hollywood director, Steven Spielberg. In the book Spielberg: The man, the Movies, the Mythology (opens in new tab), Steven is quoted saying, “I never felt comfortable with myself, because I was never part of the majority. I always felt awkward and shy and on the outside of the momentum of my friends’ lives.”
According to one study (opens in new tab), high-quality relationships are the key to happiness for many introverts. So instead of loads of friends, some introverts just enjoy (opens in new tab) being in the background with a couple of friends in tow.
Oscar award-winning Meryl Streep might not be the first person you’d think was an introvert. We know her from her distinctly extroverted film (opens in new tab) roles, such as Donna in Mamma Mia! and the Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady.
But speaking to Vanity Fair in 2015, she revealed that it’s not always this way. “I’m much more of an introvert [than my mother]. I’m much more inclined to want to not say anything in public. When I have to be in the spotlight, I think to myself, Mary [Streep] could do it. It’s a good thing, to imagine yourself doing something you think you can’t. I do that every day, because basically, if I had my way, I’d just stay home and think about what I’m having for supper.”
The activist and Little Women actress, Emma Watson is famously an introvert. Speaking to Rookie magazine in 2013 she said, “It’s interesting, because people say things to me like, 'It’s really cool that you don’t go out and get drunk all the time and go to clubs,' and I’m just like, I mean, I appreciate that, but I’m kind of an introverted kind of person just by nature, it’s not like a conscious choice that I’m making necessarily. It’s genuinely who I am.”
Speaking at a Q&A in 2013, Bill Gates said, "Introverts can be successful by recognising and taking advantage of their own unique strengths. He says that the key to this is combining introverted strengths – like taking the time to think and come up with ideas – with someone else’s extroverted strengths."
But as the video shows, despite being an introvert himself – the Microsoft founder is far from shy, showing that not all introverts have the same characteristics.
The message here is, basically, don't judge a book by its cover.
A digital health journalist with over five years experience writing and editing for UK publications, Grace has covered the world of health and wellbeing extensively for Cosmopolitan, The i Paper and more.
She started her career writing about the complexities of sex and relationships, before combining personal hobbies with professional and writing about fitness. Everything from the best protein powder to sleep technology, the latest health trend to nutrition essentials, Grace has a huge spectrum of interests in the wellness sphere. Having reported on the coronavirus pandemic since the very first swab, she now also counts public health among them.
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