What Did Rashida Jones Study at Harvard?

Rashida Jones is a multi-talented celebrity, actor, and producer, who was born into an illustrious show business family. Jones, who first entered the entertainment industry in the early 2000s, is well-known for her work on the cult-classic TV series Parks and Recreation.

With a brilliant sense of comedic timing, many pop culture fans love Jones for what she brings to the world of entertainment. Still, there was a time when Jones had her sights set on a very different path — and it took a major historical moment for her to shift her focus to a career in acting. 

When was Rashida Jones born?

Rashida Jones attends the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 09, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California.
Rashida Jones | Toni Anne Barson/WireImage

Jones was born in LA, California, in 1976. Her parents are famous model Peggy Lipton and the iconic record producer and musician Quincy Jones.

Rashida Jones was a quiet, introspective child who loved reading and research, and as a young woman, she was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” by her classmates. She attended The Buckley School in Sherman Oaks, California, where she started developing her skills as an actor and performer. She was also a very skilled musician, performing classical piano and singing for friends and family.

Jones went on to attend Harvard University, where she joined a multitude of different organizations and clubs, including Hasty Pudding Theatricals, Harvard Radcliffe Dramatic Club, and the Signet Society. While Jones had many interests, she focused her attention primarily on one field of study that captured her attention in a big way. 

What did Rashida Jones study at Harvard?

When it was time for Jones to choose a major at Harvard, she decided to declare an interest in pursuing a law degree. For a while, Jones studied law intently — however, in the mid-90s, something happened to make her change her mind.

In a 2011 interview with Los Angeles Magazine, Jones admitted that the 1995 O.J. Simpson trial influenced her decision to pursue acting instead of a law degree. “The O.J. Simpson trial was disillusioning for me. It was the first time I realized that sometimes privilege can trump justice,” Jones stated. “I hated the fact that Simpson was in any way representing justice for black people in California. I had wanted to be a lawyer, but after that I decided to do something else.”

Jones talked about how her love of performing trumped her desire to be an academic: “I will always be somewhat of a bookworm, but ultimately I realized I had to perform. It’s so freeing. Genetically, I’m probably programmed to love that.”

Rashida Jones is now an established actress and film producer

Once Jones decided to become an actor rather than a lawyer, it didn’t take long before she was able to break into the big time. Her first major television role was as Louisa Fenn in the series Boston Public, on which she appeared for two years.

In 2006, Jones landed a prime role in The Office. She acted on the series for several years, appearing regularly during the third season and sporadically in the seasons that followed.

Jones is probably best known for her role in the series Parks and Recreation. As Ann Perkins, Jones was able to show off her comedic timing, and ultimately, her work on the show led to a variety of other comedic roles in both television and films. In addition to her work as an actress, Jones has flexed her muscles as a producer and writer — proving that her time in Harvard helped her learn how to perfectly multitask. 

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