The high school dropout who put South Africa on the map

Actress Charlize Theron was born and raised near Johannesburg, where she attended high school at the The National School of the Arts. Attended school, that is, until she dropped out… probably not too long after this picture was taken.

The girl was ¬†pretty, despite the much-too-big big glasses and meh hairstyle — but you’d never imagine from looking at her that she’d become an international star.

After winning the Best Actress Oscar for “Monster”¬†in 2004, however, none other than Nelson Mandela told Charlize Theron — a woman who had grown up half a world away from Hollywood — that she had “put South Africa on the map.”

High praise, indeed — whether you’re a PhD or a dropout.

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