Not only is UCLA the #1 public university (*eh-hem* for four years in a row), but it’s been home to many big-name people in the entertainment world. Below is a list of just a few of the many recognizable names that the exceptional UCLA has educated and currently educates today.
- Nia Sioux
Dance Mom’s alum Nia Sioux is currently in her first year as an undergraduate at UCLA. In her “I’M GOING TO COLLEGE” YouTube video, she expresses that she was originally going to take a gap year right out of high school, yet decided to apply to college instead. She had attended UCLA’s College Signing Day with Michelle Obama, and immediately fell in love with the Bruin campus which became a driving force to her applying to UCLA.
- Conan Gray
You know that term “Heather” that blew up everywhere on Tik Tok? All because of his song, the credit goes to UCLA Bruin Conan Gray and his hit “Heather.” According to his interview with Flaunt, Conan Gray is “technically” still a current Bruin at UCLA. However, Gray says that he decided to take a break from his studies at UCLA to further pursue his career in music. Yet, again, “technically” still a registered student at UCLA. He revealed to Flaunt that he still enjoys going back to campus to visit his friends and experience a bit of the “college experience.”
- Gabrielle Union
Gabrielle Union graduated from UCLA with a Sociology degree. Back in 2015 Union told Yahoo, “I want people to know the work that it took to get through UCLA, that I had student loans and worked. I was eating Top Ramen and lived well below my means. Now that it’s time to get married to a man who happens to play basketball and has done well for himself, I want to make it clear that I have in no way hitched my wagon to his star. I have my own wagon and star.”
- James Franco
Yup, you heard it. James Franco. Franco dropped out of UCLA his freshman year to further pursue his career in acting. However, he returned to UCLA to finish with a Bachelor’s degree in English with a focus on Creative Writing (shoutout UCLA English majors). If you happen to have the right enrollment time and a whole lot of luck, you can take a Screenwriting class with Franco as he now is a professor at UCLA. Can you imagine being a classmate of Franco’s at UCLA, let alone having him as your professor?
- Mark Harmon
You may have seen him on NCIS and also as part of UCLA Football’s Alumni. He was a quarterback for the UCLA Football team, leading the Bruins for two seasons to a 17-5 record from 1972 to 1973. Student-athlete to successful actor!
- Dr. Sandra Lee, “Dr. Pimple Popper”
When someone says, “Dr. Pimple Popper,” they’re referring to UCLA Alumni, Dr. Sandra Lee. Her show, “Dr. Pimple Popper” on TLC has been one of the fastest growing medical shows in years. The show lasted for a mere three seasons, but still remains to be a fan favorite on the TLC network. Dr. Sandra Lee completed her undergraduate in Biology at UCLA and has established successful platforms through both her Instagram and YouTube channel.
- Reggie Miller
Basketball student-athlete, Reggie Miller, graduated from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in History, before entering into the NBA draft. During his time with the Bruins, Miller led the UCLA Bruins to an NIT championship in the 84-85 NCAA Season. During his NBA career, he played against some of basketball's greatest, two of them being Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. According to UCLA Alumni, Miller was selected by the Indiana Pacers with the 11th pick of the first round of the 1987 NBA draft.
- Mayim Bialik
“Big Bang Theory” cast member Mayim Bialik not only excels in acting, but also in academics. Bialik graduated from UCLA with not only a bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience, but with a double minor in both Hebrew and Jewish studies. After a break from school to pursue acting, she returned to Westwood to receive her Ph.D. in neuroscience. We love a double Bruin degree!
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Another UCLA student-athlete is basketball legend, Kareem Abdul Jabaar. Jabaar was lucky enough to be coached by one of UCLA’s most respected coaches, John Wooden (his statue is right outside of Pauley Pavillion’s front entrance). Under the coaching of Wooden, Jabaar led the Bruins to win three consecutive NCAA championships before continuing his career in the NBA. As an activist, he now focuses his time writing on issues regarding systemic racism and political injustices. An athlete and scholar!
- Carrie Ann Inaba
Dancing With The Stars’ iconic female judge is UCLA alum, Carrie Ann Inaba. Inaba reveals in her blog that she was a World Arts and Cultures Major (WAC) at UCLA. After taking a break from pursuing a college degree to focus on dancing, she realized how much she wanted to finish her college degree. She applied to UCLA and was then accepted into the WAC program. In her blog post from May 15th, 2020, Inaba speaks highly of her major and her time as a Bruin writing, “How A Professor At UCLA Helped Me Define My Voice On Dancing With the Stars.” Worth the read!
Ranging from renowned scientists, coaches, authors, professors, artisits, philanthropists, sports' greatest athletes and celebrities, UCLA was and still is home to some of the greatest. I hope this article is a special, little extra flex, to take even more pride and honor as a Bruin. Let’s continue this great legacy. Four’s Up!