What Makes Them Tick? The Big Five Personality Traits of Your Favorite Stars

Ever wonder what makes some of your favorite celebrities tick? Turns out, their personalities can be broken down into five basic traits according to psychologists. Using something called the Big Five personality model, we can get a glimpse into the characteristics that drive some of the biggest stars. Whether you’re a fan of the charming Ryan Gosling, the ambitious Beyoncé, or the quirky Jim Carrey, the Big Five system provides a way to understand the qualities that make them compelling figures in pop culture.

In this article, we’ll explore how the Big Five personality traits—openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism—manifest in several major celebrities. You may find that some of their most recognizable attributes actually align with specific traits in this model. While we can’t know everything about a star from their public persona, personality psychology gives us a way to gain insight into what energizes and motivates some of our favorite entertainers. Read on to discover the personalities behind the celebrities.

An Introduction to the Big Five Personality Model

The Big Five personality traits refer to five broad dimensions that capture our tendencies in thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Psychologists use this model to understand how people differ from each other in key ways. The five traits are:

Openness – Being open to new experiences, imaginative and willing to try different things. Celebrities high in openness include Lady Gaga, Jim Carrey and Bjork.

Conscientiousness – Being organized, responsible, hardworking and goal-oriented. Well-known conscientious stars would be Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep and Natalie Portman.

Extroversion – Being outgoing, energetic and seeking stimulation from others. Extroverted celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres and Robin Williams gain energy from social interaction.

Agreeableness – Being kind, cooperative, trusting and helpful towards others. Highly agreeable stars like Jennifer Lawrence, Keanu Reeves and Tom Hanks tend to be compassionate and value getting along with people.

Neuroticism – Experiencing negative emotions like anxiety, worry, and irritability. Celebrities higher in neuroticism such as Woody Allen, Alec Baldwin and Kanye West tend to be more emotionally reactive and prone to stress.

The Big Five model provides a broad sense of our personality tendencies. By understanding where famous people land on these traits, we gain insight into what makes our favorite celebrities tick. Their personalities, combined with life experiences, help shape the people we see on screen or stage. Using this model, we can better understand why certain stars behave the way they do and connect more deeply with the human behind the celebrity persona.

Celebrity Case Studies: Analyzing the Traits of Your Favorite Stars

When it comes to the personalities of your favorite stars, their traits tend to shine through in their work and public lives. Using the Big Five personality traits, we can get a glimpse into what makes some of the world’s most famous celebrities tick.

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Let’s start with Queen Bey – Beyoncé. This pop icon exhibits strong signs of extraversion in her energetic and dynamic stage presence, not to mention her legions of devoted fans and social media following. However, Beyoncé also shows traits of conscientiousness in her meticulous work ethic and perfectionism. Her drive and determination to succeed have been key to her longevity as an artist.

Tom Hanks GIFs | Tenor

Tom Hanks, America’s dad, is a poster child for agreeableness. His nice guy charm and likability have made him a beloved star. However, Hanks also displays a high degree of openness in his choice of roles, frequently playing complex and quirky characters. This open and curious nature, combined with his natural charisma, have given him widespread appeal.

Why Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez Freaked out over Patricia Arquette's Oscar Speech | Vanity Fair

Meryl Streep’s unparalleled success and stature in Hollywood point to strong conscientiousness. Her dedication to her craft and work ethic are legendary. But Streep also exhibits openness in her bold and varied choice of roles over her decades-long career. This combination of perfectionism and artistic curiosity have cemented her status as the greatest living film actress.

While these short analyzes only scratch the surface, applying personality theory to celebrities can provide insight into why we find certain stars so compelling. Their distinctive traits, on display for all to see, give us a sense of familiarity and draw us in. By understanding the personalities of our icons, we gain a deeper connection with the artists we admire.

Using the Big Five to Better Understand Yourself and Others

The Big Five personality traits—openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism—are a useful framework for understanding yourself and others. Knowing where you and people in your life fall on these traits can help explain behaviors and inform how best to interact with one another.


Are you imaginative, creative and open to new ideas? Or do you prefer familiarity and practicality? Someone high in openness enjoys art, fantasy, and abstract concepts. They’re curious and willing to consider unconventional perspectives. Those low in openness tend to be more conventional and less receptive to change.


Conscientiousness refers to how organized, responsible, and goal-directed you are. Someone high in conscientiousness plans ahead, pays attention to details, and follows through on commitments. They’re often very productive and achievement-oriented. Those low in conscientiousness tend to be more spontaneous and less concerned with rules or schedules.


Extraverts are outgoing, energetic, and enjoy stimulation from social interaction and activity. They tend to be very talkative, assertive, and enthusiastic. Introverts are more reserved, independent, and prefer less stimulation. They usually enjoy solitude or small-group interactions rather than large social gatherings.


Someone high in agreeableness is friendly, compassionate, and concerned with cooperation and harmony. They’re trusting, helpful, and willing to compromise to get along with others. Those low in agreeableness are usually more competitive and suspicious. They’re less concerned with pleasing people and more concerned with achieving their own interests.


Neuroticism refers to how prone you are to experiencing negative emotions like anxiety, worry, and irritability. Someone high in neuroticism tends to be less emotionally stable and more reactive to stress. They worry frequently and see even ordinary problems as threatening. Those low in neuroticism are more even-tempered and less reactive to stressful events. They tend to be calmer and less worried.

Understanding these fundamental traits in yourself and your circle can lead to improved relationships, better communication, and less conflict or misunderstanding. Make an effort to recognize these qualities in people you interact with regularly. Meet others where they are, and adjust your own behavior accordingly for the most constructive interactions.


So there you have it, a glimpse into what makes some of the biggest stars tick. The Big Five personality traits are a useful framework for understanding why certain celebrities behave the way they do and connect with their fans. Now when you see them on screen or read about their latest exploits, you’ll have insight into the qualities and characteristics that shape their personalities. Whether highly extroverted like Jennifer Lawrence and The Rock or more emotionally stable like Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep, these stars’ distinctive traits have propelled them to fame and fortune. The next time you take a personality quiz yourself, think about which traits you share with your favorite celebrities—you just might have the winning combination of qualities to become the next big star!

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