Can You Name the State Each of These Celebrities Grew Up In?

By: William J. Wright

6 Min Quiz

Image: Gravier Productions / Perdido Productions

About This Quiz

When you grow up in a small town that's miles away from the cultural epicenters on the coasts, it's all too easy to think that your dream of a career in arts and entertainment will never come true. As they used to say in the movies, you can't get there from here, kid! Fortunately, talent doesn't recognize state lines, and hard work can transport a musician, an actor, a filmmaker, an artist, an athlete or a writer from the middle of nowhere to the pinnacle of international fame. 

Los Angeles and New York have never had a monopoly on talent. Stars of all kinds have come from the least likely of places. In fact, celebrities hail from every state in the union. Whether they grew up on farms, in the backwoods, in small towns or in big cities, famous people of decades past and today come from all over. 

In this quiz, we'll take a look at the places where some of your favorite stars grew up. You'll find all stripes of celebrities here, from filmmakers and actors to writers and musicians. This is your challenge, fellow stargazers: Can you name the state each of these celebrities grew up in?

Where did Beyoncé spend her childhood?

Long before she conquered the music world, Beyoncé called the Lone Star State home. Born and raised in Texas, Queen B honed her skills at Houston's Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.


Which state claims singer Ariana Grande as one of its own?

From teen TV actress to one of the most powerful women in pop music, Ariana Grande has made a career of defying expectations. Born in Boca Raton, Florida, Grande graduated from theater to TV stardom on Nickelodeon's "Victorious" before embarking on a wildly successful music career.


Where did actress Scarlett Johansson spend her formative years?

Oscar nominated Scarlett Johansson was born and raised in Manhattan. As a child, she attended a public school in Greenwich Village. One of the most popular and highest paid actresses in the world, Johansson moves effortlessly from dramatic roles to high action genre fare.


Which state does "Aquaman" star Jason Momoa come from?

With his superhero physique and chiseled good looks, actor Jason Momoa can go from easygoing charm to unbridled menace by merely raising an eyebrow. Although he spent some of his youth in Iowa, Momoa was born in Nānākul, Hawaii, and has made his island heritage a distinctive part of his identity.


Where was actress Emma Stone born and raised?

Emma Stone has established herself as one of the most talented actresses of the 2010s. A native of Scottsdale, Arizona, Stone never shies away from a challenge, having played such diverse roles as Gwen Stacy in "The Amazing Spider-Man" and '70s tennis pro Billie Jean King in "Battle of the Sexes."


Do you know where Brad Pitt was born?

Born in Oklahoma, actor Brad Pitt spent many formative years in Springfield, Missouri. Pitt left college for Los Angeles to pursue a film career just weeks before graduating. Considered one of the most attractive men in Hollywood, his private life is often just as compelling as his movies.


Which state did R&B superstar John Legend call home when he was young?

Multi Grammy-winning singer and songwriter John Legend grew up in Springfield, Ohio. A groundbreaking musician, producer and actor, Legend is the first African American man to have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award. In 2013, he married model Chrissy Teigen.


Do you know which state is the lifelong home of author Stephen King?

Stephen King's home state of Maine, as filtered through his brilliantly dark imagination, has been a constant element of the horror master's literary style since the beginning. Frightening readers since the mid 1970s, King's work continues to fuel the nightmares of legions of genre fans.


Which state can claim Reese Witherspoon?

Reese Witherspoon was born in New Orleans and raised in Nashville. One of the most popular actresses of the early 2000s, Witherspoon struck a lower profile in the second half of the decade after her Oscar winning role in 2005's "Walk the Line." She's since made a comeback as a TV producer and star.


Where did musician Post Malone spend his youth?

Although he was born in Syracuse, New York, musician Post Malone called Texas his home from the age of 10. An eclectic performer and songwriter, Malone explored a variety of musical styles, including heavy metal and emo, before formulating his unique brand of hip-hop.


Which state can boast of having Matthew McConaughey as a native son?

With his signature Lone Star State drawl, actor Matthew McConaughey is unmistakably Texan. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, McConaughey got his start in local TV commercials. In 1993, Richard Linklater cast him as Wooderson in "Dazed and Confused," launching his film career.


Do you know where rap superstar Kanye West is from?

Rap megastar Kanye West was born in Atlanta, Georgia. Spending much of his youth in Chicago after his parents divorced, West became a world traveler at 10 when his mother accepted a teaching job in China. Talented, charismatic and outspoken, West is one of the 21st century's most influential artists.


Do you know where Tom Hanks grew up?

The beloved "Forrest Gump" actor was born in Concord, California, and went to high school in Oakland. Over the course of his long career, Tom Hanks has gone from TV sitcoms to cinematic blockbusters. Famous for his down-to-earth, nice guy image, Hanks is often compared to movie icon Jimmy Stewart.


Can you name the state singer Janelle Monáe called home?

Singer Janelle Monáe was born and raised in a working class neighborhood in Kansas City, Kansas, honing her talents as a singer in her church's choir. Monáe claims Lauryn Hill and Stevie Wonder as her musical inspirations.


In which state did Paul Rudd of "Ant-Man" spend the first decade of his life?

Paul Rudd, a comic actor turned unlikely action hero, was born in Passaic, New Jersey, and spent the first ten years of his life in the Garden State. The son of an airline executive, Rudd also spent some of his early years in Kansas and California.


Do you know where Ashton Kutcher is from?

Actor Ashton Kutcher is a born and bred Iowan. Born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Kutcher lived in the midwestern state until he was spotted by a model scout. Modeling soon led Kutcher to his breakout role as the dim but lovable Michael Kelso on the hit Fox sitcom "That '70s Show."


Which state was the first home of "Stranger Things" star Winona Ryder?

Actress Winona Ryder is named for the Minnesota town where she was born and spent the first seven years of her life. In 1978, her parents moved to California, where they lived in a '60s style commune. Ryder was a fixture of '80s and '90s films, beginning with the 1986 coming-of-age drama "Lucas."


Where does "Indiana Jones" star Harrison Ford hail from?

A pop culture phenomenon for nearly six decades, Harrison Ford has never let his iconic roles in the "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones" films define him. Born in Chicago and raised in Park Ridge, Illinois, Ford came to the arts relatively late in life and worked as a carpenter between acting gigs.


In which state did comedian and former "Saturday Night Live" cast member Leslie Jones grow up?

Controversial and outspoken, Leslie Jones is a comedic force of nature. Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Jones grew up in Lynwood, California and attended college in Colorado before heading to Los Angeles to pursue standup. After paying some hard dues in comedy, she became an "SNL" cast member at 47.


Can you name the state that's "Transformers" actress Megan Fox's childhood home?

Born in Tennessee's "Secret City" of Oak Ridge, one of the sites of World War II's Manhattan Project, actress Megan Fox spent her early childhood in the Volunteer State. Despite her sex symbol status and successful career, Fox considered herself an unpopular outsider as a teen.


In which state did Academy Award winner Joaquin Phoenix grow up?

Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Joaquin Phoenix spent the first three years of his life traveling throughout South America with his family as part of the religious sect the Children of God. Phoenix's family eventually wound up in Los Angeles, where he and his siblings would pursue careers in acting.


Can you name the state that actor Don Cheadle spent his childhood in?

Critically acclaimed actor Don Cheadle, best known to fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the armor-clad hero War Machine, was born in Kansas City, Missouri. However, he spent his early childhood in Lincoln, Nebraska.


Where is "Crazy Rich Asians" star Constance Wu originally from?

Constance Wu, star of Jon M. Chu's 2018 film "Crazy Rich Asians," is originally from Richmond, Virginia. Born to Taiwanese immigrants, Wu left her home state after high school to attend college in New York. Wu considered a career in speech pathology before following her passion for the arts.


Do you know where quirky comic actress Aubrey Plaza grew up?

Born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware, Aubrey Plaza is best known for her off-kilter personality and eccentric sense of humor. At age 20, Plaza faced a potentially life-threatening setback when she suffered a stroke that left her temporarily paralyzed and affected her speech.


Which of these is Selena Gomez's home state?

Born in Grand Prairie, Texas, Selena Gomez got her big break on TV's "The Wizards of Waverly Place." After starring in the family films "Another Cinderella Story" and "Ramona and Beezus," the former Disney ingenue transitioned to adult roles in 2012, with Harmony Korine's "Spring Breakers."


Can you name the state where filmmaker David Lynch cultivated his love of art?

Artist, filmmaker and Transcendental Meditation advocate David Lynch was born in Missoula, Montana, but traveled extensively as a child because of his father's job with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. However, he attended high school in Alexandria, Virginia, where he decided to become an artist.


Can you identify writer and comedian Ali Wong's home state?

Writer and comedian Ali Wong was born in San Francisco in 1982. The California native is known for her raunchy, taboo-breaking standup comedy, which has been featured in two acclaimed Netflix specials — "Baby Cobra" and "Hard Knock Wife." She also wrote and stars in the comedy "Always Be My Maybe."


Which state gave us talk show host and comedian Conan O'Brien?

The great state of Massachusetts gave us the Boston Tea Party, Harvard, the Kennedys and the razor-sharp wit of Conan O'Brien. O'Brien was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, and attended Harvard, where he wrote for the legendary "Harvard Lampoon."


Which state did Courteney Cox call home before becoming a star?

Courteney Cox spent her formative years in Alabama. Born in Birmingham, Cox left Alabama after high school to attend college in Washington, D.C., as an architecture student. Best known for her role as Monica Geller on NBC's long-running "Friends," Cox is also the owner of her own production company.


Can you ID Will Smith's home state?

Just like his sitcom alter ego, Will Smith is from West Philadelphia (born and raised). Initially finding fame as a rapper, Smith embarked on an acting career as the star of NBC's "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" in 1990. Since then, he's become one of the most bankable movie stars in the world.


From where does Robert Downey Jr. of "Iron Man" hail?

New Yorker Robert Downey Jr. initially came to fame in the '80s. Although addiction nearly sank his career, Downey bounced back in the early 2000s. In 2008, Downey took on what would become his signature role as Tony Stark in "Iron Man," the first of the blockbuster Marvel Cinematic Universe films.


Where did actor Evan Peters grow up?

Evan Peters was born on January 20, 1987, in St. Louis, Missouri, where he lived until 2001. At 15, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting. Peters landed his breakout role in the popular horror anthology series "American Horror Story" in 2011.


Which state does Julianne Hough call home?

Julianne Hough, born in Orem, Utah, first made her mark as a dancer but has gone on to find success as an actress and singer. Hough embarked on a career in country music in 2007, winning the Academy of Country Music's top new female vocalist award in 2008.


Which state gave us comedian Patton Oswalt?

Funnyman Patton Oswalt was born in Portsmouth, Virginia. A graduate of the prestigious College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, Oswalt started performing standup comedy in 1988. Tackling everything from pop culture and nostalgia to fatherhood, Oswalt's comedy is smart and incisive.


Which state does filmmaker, author and self-proclaimed "filth elder" John Waters claim as his home?

Cult filmmaker and author John Waters has never strayed far from his Baltimore, Maryland, roots. Breaking into the underground film scene in the early 1970s with outrageous indie flicks like "Multiple Maniacs," the "pope of trash" found his footing in the mainstream with 1988's "Hairspray."


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