Chances are you’ve come across Rashida Jones, whether you’re a fan of comedy or you enjoy more hard-hitting docudramas. The acclaimed actress, director, writer, and producer has certainly proved herself to be a talented artist. Perhaps best known for her roles as Karen in The Office and Ann Perkins in Parks and Recreation, Jones is an undeniable superstar of comedy TV. Notable, she’s also starred in Angie Tribeca and #BlackAF.
But Jones has also proved herself to be a prolific creator behind the camera. As a writer, she co-wrote the film Celeste & Jesse Forever and the story of Toy Story 4. She also spearheaded the Grammy Award-winning documentary Quincy, which followed the life and work of her father, Quincy Jones.
While her professional life may be pretty well known, there’s still a lot to discover about Rashida Jones. Read on to learn some fascinating facts about the popular comedic actress’ interesting life.
Rashida Jones was a self-proclaimed "chubby nerd" as a teen
Before becoming the drop dead gorgeous star we know and love today, Rashida Jones had an awkward teenage phase just like the rest of us. In an interview with The Guardian, Jones explained that she was hardly the popular Regina George of her high school. Instead, she described herself as “a chubby nerd.”
She still keeps photos of herself on her phone. One such photo, according to The Guardian, shows a serious-looking girl. Regarding her weight as a kid, Jones recalled her tendency to overeat on family vacations. “I used to wake up before everyone else and make a sourdough bread sandwich with butter, eggs, bacon and cheese, and then go back to bed and, like, one hour later be, ‘So what’s for breakfast?'”
While Jones can laugh at her younger self now, at the time it led her to pursue interests other than popularity and socializing. She shared, “Nobody was trying to have sex with me, so I had to find other things, like reading and being good at school.” Perhaps these early hobbies helped her to become the successful, driven woman she is today.
Rashida Jones was voted most likely to succeed at her celeb-filled high school
Rashida Jones’ high school classmates must have thought she was going places, as they voted her “most likely to succeed” in their graduating yearbook, according to Entertainment Weekly. Mind you, these weren’t just any classmates. Jones attended The Buckley School in Los Angeles, as noted by Marie Claire, along with celebrity kids like Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian. In fact, the school has plenty of notable Hollywood alumni, including Laura Dern, Nicole Richie, and Gaby Hoffmann, among others (via The Hollywood Reporter).
It couldn’t have been easy having such larger-than-life classmates like Hilton and Kardashian. In an interview with the Independent, Jones recalled riding the bus with them as a kid. “Can you imagine, being on a bus where two of the 10 people get famous for having sex tapes?”
We certainly can’t imagine. Rashida Jones has clearly been surrounded by celebrities her whole life — it’s amazing she’s kept such a down-to-earth attitude!
Rashida Jones used to pull pranks with this music icon
Rashida Jones had a close relationship with the one and only Michael Jackson. Presumably because her father, record producer Quincy Jones, was a prominent figure in the music world, she was raised with Jackson as a close family friend, according to a Playboy interview.
Even though Jackson was 18 years older than Rashida Jones, he still enjoyed pulling some hilarious, childish pranks on total strangers. Describing one of her favorite memories with Jackson to Playboy, Jones recalled, “Once, my sister, Michael, Emmanuel Lewis and I got in a car with Super Soakers and went by a movie theater and supersoaked the hell out of people waiting in line.” She added, “They had no idea they’d just been supersoaked by the King of Pop.”
Even though Jones is now an adult, it seems she hasn’t grown out of her love of pranks. In fact, she’s even admitted that “streaking through a large crowd” has always been her fantasy prank.
How Rashida Jones' mom made her a music nerd
Growing up with two musical parents was incredibly influential for Rashida Jones. While her father, record producer Quincy Jones, brought jazz, soul, R&B, and classical music into the house, Jones says that it was her mother who was responsible for “the song she most remembers from when she was growing up.” Jones’ mom, The Mod Squad and Twin Peaks actress Peggy Lipton, was a major fan of the ’70s blues band Steely Dan — particularly the song “Hey Nineteen.”
In a 2012 interview with radio show All Things Considered, Jones spoke about her deep love for the music her mom introduced her to. “It kind of opened me up to being a music nerd,” Jones said. “Those guys are music nerds, and that’s what’s so great about them. They like complex rhythms, and they’re interested in the mathematics of music.” Who would have guessed Steely Dan was such an inspiration for Jones!
Rashida Jones wrote an open letter to rapper Tupac when she was 17
Many Rashida Jones fans will already know that her parents are pretty famous. Her father, Quincy Jones, is a well-known music producer, and her mother, Peggy Lipton, was a famous actress. While her father is a person of color, her mother is white, which apparently led rapper Tupac to make some scathing remarks about the couple’s interracial marriage in 1993, as noted by GQ.
But Rashida Jones didn’t sit back and do nothing when Tupac sent hate her parents’ way. Even though she was only 17, she wrote an open letter in response (via Alma). “Tupac’s lyrics suggest that he uses music as an excuse to justify his stupidity and ignorance,” she wrote, in part. “Where the hell would you be if Black people like him [Quincy Jones] hadn’t paved the way for you to even have the opportunity to express yourself?” Clearly, Rashida Jones wasn’t afraid to voice her opinions and stick up for the people she loved and the ideas she believed in.
Rashida Jones described acting in this play as "healing"
When Rashida Jones was a teenager, she realized she wanted to pursue acting when she learned how theater could be a means of expressing herself and her identity. “That was never the plan!” she shared when speaking with Women’s Health in 2008. “But I always wanted to pursue theater and my black cultural identity.” She claimed that doing the play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf, a 1976 play that’s a series of poetic monologues about black identity, opened her eyes to how her passions could merge.
The experience was a momentous one for Jones, who described the play as “healing.” She went on to explain that it helped her to express her experience of coming from a range of cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Jones, who is black, Jewish, Irish, Portuguese, and Cherokee, shared, “I do identify with being black, and if people don’t identify me that way, that’s their issue. I’m happy to challenge people’s understanding of what it looks like to be biracial.” Good on her!
Rashida Jones went to this Ivy League school
After high school, Rashida Jones ended up going to one of the country’s most most famous Ivy League schools — Harvard. All those years of being a nerd in high school paid off! While at Harvard, she toyed with the idea of becoming a lawyer, but she ended up studying comparative religion instead, graduating in 1997.
According to The Harvard Gazette, her time at Harvard was pretty busy. She was involved in the college’s arts scene, taking part in the Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club. She was also a member of the Harvard Black Students Association. She even served as the musical director of the Harvard Opportunes, a co-ed a capella group! It’s a miracle she found time to get any actual studying done.
In 2016, she returned to Harvard as a speaker at that year’s graduation ceremony and gave the graduating students some sage words of advice. Calling her younger self at Harvard a staunch “rule follower,” she urged the graduates to seek out their own success instead of waiting for a break, even if they have to “break some rules to do that.”
Rashida Jones got her beauty routine from her mom
Anyone who looks at Rashida Jones has to admit that she is a natural beauty. But unlike many of her Hollywood contemporaries, Jones has never bought into the needles and fillers approach to beauty. Instead, she has a much more natural and holistic approach. In an interview with Good Housekeeping, she credited her mom for all of her best beauty practices. “She has always been holistic about beauty — she puts on sunblock, drinks a ton of water, takes care of herself, meditates,” she said. “I’m less strict, but I do meditate, eat well, work out. And I love being in nature with no mirrors — just trees and a good sweat.””
It seems that Jones is living, breathing proof of the age-old adage that being healthy on the inside translates to being beautiful on the outside. We could all take a page out of her book and start finding a healthy balance in our lives!
How Rashida Jones has described her personal style
While some megastars love parading around town in trendy designer clothes with a face of heavy makeup and professionally styled hair, Rashida Jones has a different approach to style.
In an interview in The Cut, she explained her understated style. “I’m a pretty modest dresser. I grew up wearing a uniform. I’m never happier than when I’m in a suit or a button-down shirt. I feel so beautiful, elegant and sophisticated,” she shared. “Even with beauty stuff, I like a really clean face. I know it’s not the sexiest or what most people are going to like.” Jones is clearly a fan of the classic look — and it works well for her!
Jones elaborated about her stance on beauty, explaining that she likes to keep things simple and natural. “I like when people put their hair back in a tight bun,” she said. “I like a dewy face, lots of freckles so you could see everything coming out and maybe a really bright lip.”
Rashida Jones provided vocals on two albums from this popular band
Before Rashida Jones became the household name that she is today thanks to her acting work, she enjoyed a pretty exciting career in music. And one of her professional gigs wasn’t too shabby. It turns out, she provided backing vocals for some tracks on Maroon 5’s first two albums (via Vanity Fair). She described the experience to Good Morning America, “I love music and I’m intimidated by it and want to be better at it, but whenever I get a chance to do something like that where I can be involved, I will take the chance, for sure.”
But Jones’ music career didn’t stop there. She also contributed vocals on songs in the soundtracks for The Baxter and The Ten. She even released a song called “Wanted to be Loved” with Daniel Ahearn.
It’s clear that Rashida Jones’ musical upbringing strongly influenced her and that her father passed on a real musical gift to his daughter!
Rashida Jones has enjoyed a longtime friendship with Amy Poehler
Most Rashida Jones fans are familiar with her work on the show Parks and Recreation. The hilarious show aired on NBC from 2009 to 2015, during which time it amassed adoring fans for its smart satirical comedy and its lovable characters. Jones played Ann Perkins, a sweet nurse who befriends Leslie Knope, the eccentric central character played by Saturday Night Live legend Amy Poehler.
However, what many fans don’t realize is that Jones and Poehler share a one-of-a-kind friendship in real life, too. In an adorable interview with Elle, the two stars discussed their close friendship. Jones called Poehler “Poehls” as the pair talked about their shopping trips and their affection for one other.
Poehler even described Jones as one of her closest friends. “It’s so nice to be able to find a like-minded person who you really admire,” Poehler gushed. “And who’s your homie,” she added. As if this wasn’t cute enough already, Jones told her in response, “I’m going to cry.” How sweet are these two!
Rashida Jones is a proud supporter of intersectional feminism
Rashida Jones has always been interested in her heritage, but she’s come to realize the importance of standing up for her cultural heritage as a woman with intersectional feminism.
In a Refinery29 interview, Jones delved into her feelings about feminism and the need to consider intersectionality. “Feminism in this country has long been for white women. Even the suffragette movement excluded black women,” Jones explained. She continued, “Feminism has to be for every woman, and if there’s an experience you don’t understand, educate yourself. I think because I’m biracial, I have a unique perspective. I am sometimes treated like a woman of color, sometimes not.”
Jones told Refinery29 that sexism affects certain women differently depending on their race and their cultural identity, and she understands that feminism becomes more complicated when you don’t have the privilege of being a white woman. Good on her for speaking up!
She further advised all women to “stay open to learning,” so they can understand “all women from different circumstances.” Excellent advice!
Rashida Jones spent six years working on this documentary
If you’ve ever done a quick Google of Rashida Jones, you’ll know that her father, Quincy Jones, is a fairly impressive character. The music legend has had an epic career, earning him 80 Grammy Award nominations and 28 Grammys, as of this writing. It’s clear that his daughter Rashida Jones is deeply proud of her father and his achievements — so much so that she spent six years working on a documentary about his life and work called Quincy.
After showing the film, Rashida Jones attended a Tribeca Talks panel, as detailed by Deadline. She talked about how making the film felt like “a destiny [she] had to fulfill for the family.” The filmmaking process was painstaking for her, and she said it was the “hardest project” she’d ever done. The moving film includes some very personal, sensitive moments, including scenes featuring her dad lying unconscious in a hospital bed during a health scare. It’s no wonder she found the process difficult.
The film earned her a Grammy for best music film — another award to add to the huge collection the Jones family has!
Rashida Jones kept her pregnancy a total secret
Did you know that Rashida Jones is a mother? If you answered no, you wouldn’t be alone. Jones and her partner, Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig, are famously private about their child. They even kept her pregnancy a secret until after their baby was born, amazing the entire entertainment industry with their crafty secrecy.
Us Weekly broke the baby news in September 2018, reporting that Jones and Koenig, who first appeared to publicly confirm their relationship in January 2017, welcomed their son, Isaiah Jones Koenig, into the world “months” earlier, though E! News reports the baby’s birth to be just a month earlier than when news broke. While the famous couple has always been famously private about their personal lives, it was incredible that they managed to keep her pregnancy under wraps for the entire nine months! We are impressed — that’s some dedicated secret-keeping.
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