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Tennessee Waltz
Born and raised in Kentucky, Ashley Judd cheered during a high school switch to Franklin, TN.
Issue: October 1999
Perfect for a brainiac: presenting at the Oscars' Scientific and Technical Achievement Awards.

As an eighth-generation Eastern Kentuckian, you could say that cheerleading had to be in Ashley Judd’s blood. Ironically, though, despite spending much of her childhood in the town of Ashland (home of the championship squad from Boyd County HS and AC’s December 1995 Cheerleader Of The Month Sarah Gillam), it was at Franklin HS in a suburb of Nashville, TN that Ashley actually cheered.With her mom Naomi and sister, Wynonna, on the path to stardom as the country singing duo The Judds when Ashley was growing up, you might think her life was a dream come true. But there were years of struggling before the fame and gold records when Naomi, divorced from the girls’ dad, was determined to make it on her own.

When The Judds became super-successful, rather than live in their shadow Ashley, the non-singer of the group, set out to succeed as an actress. After graduating from the University of Kentucky in 1990, she U-Hauled it to L.A., took acting classes and within a year was on her own climb to fame.

All of her film work (check her out in upcoming flicksDouble Jeopardy with Tommy Lee Jones, Eye Of The Beholder opposite Ewan McGregor and Where The Heart Is, as Natalie Portman’s best friend) keeps Ashley way busy. But she still manages to find time for personal projects like spending a week in Africa with the Peace Corps. Her next big supporting role? Emcee of The Judds’ New Year’s Eve 1999 reunion concert in Phoenix, AZ.

Ashley cheered as a
freshman at Franklin HS.
Ashley (3rd from left)
with her squadmates.
Cheer Career
Credits: Freshman cheerleader in 1983 at Franklin HS in Franklin, TN (most of her high school years—and summers—were spent in Kentucky, at Ashland’s Paul Blazer HS)
Major Appearances: Football and basketball games
Mascot Moniker: The Rebels
School Colors: Maroon, grey and white
Camp Capers: According to then-cheer advisor Mary Jane Wade, the squad attended camp at Tennessee Tech in Cookeville; besides learning cheers, their goal was to bring home as many spirit sticks as possible!
Coach’s Comments: "Ashley was a very smart kid and a free spirit."
Downside Of The Judds’ Success: "I couldn’t get a ride to cheerleading practice or student council meetings."
Recent Squad "Celeb" At FHS: Country singer Vince Gill’s daughter, Jenny
Ashley's Accomplishments
TV Parts: Played actress Swoozie Kurtz’s fairly spoiled daughter, Reed, on the NBC drama Sisters. Also a recurring role in Star Trek: The Next Generation as Ensign Robin Lefter and narration duties for Naomi & Wynonna: Love Can Build A Bridge, a 1995 TV movie based on her mom’s autobiography.
Film Flashes: Kuffs with Christian Slater (1992), Ruby In Paradise (1993), Heat (1995), Smoke (1995), A Time To Kill (1996) opposite fellow former cheerleaders Sandra Bullock and Samuel L. Jackson, Kiss The Girls (1997), Simon Birch (1998).
Awards & Accolades: Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for Norma Jean And Marilyn, an HBO original film co-starring Mira Sorvino.
Role Reversal: Though she said she’d never sing, Ashley joined her mom and sis onstage at the Fan Fair celebration in Nashville in June 1998. Meanwhile mom Naomi, who served as executive producer on Love Can Build A Bridge, showed her acting skills in Rio Diablo (1993), a TV movie with notable co-stars Kenny Rogers and Travis Tritt, and guest spots on Sisters and 3rd Rock From The Sun.

Betcha Didn't Know
Her Fave Pastime: Reading, from the classics to the dictionary!
Family Nickname: "My mom gave me the nickname ‘giraffe’ because I was always sticking my neck out. They perceived me as bold."
Third Degree: Ashley graduated from UK (no, she didn’t cheer there) with a BA in French; she was an honors student and Phi Beta Kappa.