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Brainy Brunette

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Stereotypically speaking, in fiction, blondes are lacking in intelligence, redheads have short tempers, so, out of the trio, brunettes are all brain. Like the Dumb Blonde, the brunette varies quite a bit. They can bashfully hide behind their books or glasses, with their hair done in pigtails or a bun or they can boldly use their smarts for their ambitions. Whichever it is, their knowledge is real—if she's on your side, then you can always count on her smarts in a fix. She may be a Hot Librarian, a Hot Scientist, or even a Wrench Wench. If so, her Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness and/or Techno Babble will turn people on. And she always has nice, thick, brown locks. What they don't (necessarily) have is strength, like the Squishy Wizard (who may be The Smart Guy himself), as they care more about their mind than their body. That's what makes a Badass Bookworm so interesting, a rare combination.


This trope doesn't mean that blondes and redheads can't be the brains of the outfit. It's just more common for them to have brown hair, especially if they're female, although there are some male examples.

If she's part of a Four-Temperament Ensemble, she's probably Phlegmatic.

Contrast Dumb Blonde and Fiery Redhead. And, as with both of them, this character can be either good or evil. Compare Redheads Are Uncool who might stand out as much as the brunette but have less confidence than even the bashful brainy brunette.



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  • The Brown M&M seems to be this, with glasses and all.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Lita from Animerica, in contrast to the blonde Janine and red-headed Jessica. There's also Wendy, Ron's older sister, and his previous Love Interest, Yukina. Kasuse and Yusuke may count, as well as Maya, Lita's Cool Big Sis.
  • Lithuania from Axis Powers Hetalia is more serious than Germany, shown to be very efficient in battle smarts when he feigns a retreat and fools Prussia, and he's one of the very few Northern European countries with brown hair. It helps that his former partner Poland is an almost perfect Dumb Blond. Russia even lampshades this when the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth is partitioned and he drags Lithuania away, commenting that he looks smart.
  • Yomi from Azumanga Daioh fits this trope nicely. Excluding Child Prodigy, Chiyo, she's easily the smartest member of the group (with the possible exception of Sakaki).
  • Attack on Titan gives us Hange Zoe. Eccentric, intuitive, and obsessed with understanding the Titans, she is the closest thing to a scientist in the Scout Regiment. She also wears glasses.
  • In Doraemon, Shizuka has brown hair in the original series which is changed to black hair in the 2005 anime. Either way, though, she is very quick-witted and loves to study, unlike her friend Nobita.
  • El-Hazard: The Magnificent World's Afura Mann, the wind priestess of Mt. Moldune. She's portrayed as the most intellectual of the three and, in The Wanderers series, she has her very own library!
  • Casca from Berserk a skilled strategist and surrogate leader for the band of Hawk.
  • Sheska from Fullmetal Alchemist; an extreme bibliophile with a photographic memory of everything she reads.
  • Despite his cowardice and habitual lying, Usopp from One Piece is the brains of the Straw Hats. Also team archaeologist Robin.
    • There's also Chopper, who acts as the crew's doctor. He's also a reindeer, so the brunette part is kind of justified.
    • Trafalgar Law: surgeon, strategist and leader.
    • Zig-zagged with Charlotte Pudding she’s smart enough to fool half the Straw Hats but becomes emotionally volatile when her plan is foiled and she falls in love with Sanji.
  • Ouran High School Host Club: Haruhi Fujioka. Though nobody in the host club is truly unintelligent, Haruhi is book smart to the point of being occasionally portrayed as a nerd, and possesses more common sense than most of them. Not to mention that everybody is gay for Haruhi.
  • Maken-ki!: Yan-Min is a Chinese foreign exchange student, who's highly proficient in martial arts and has near encyclopaedic knowledge about the various applications of Element. In chapter 55, she astounded Aililu and Lilu by explaining the nature of "Black Element" and in chapter 87, she was able to explain the process of combining her own "Blue" Element with Azuki's "Green" and Celia's "Red" to create "White". Which is the only thing that can hurt Yamato Takeru.
  • Sailor Moon: Usually averted in the manga but played straight in the anime:
  • Leo Regulus from Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas, said and proven to be a battle genius.
  • Hakkai from Saiyuki is the intellectual of the ikkou. He could have had his pick of college scholarships had he wanted to continue his formal education, takes correspondence courses (including lockpicking, which becomes very helpful), reads thick obscure books, and worked as a school teacher until Kanan's death.
  • Bungou Stray Dogs gives us strategic geniuses Dazai Osamu, Mori Ougai, and Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and detective extraordinaire Edogawa Ranpo. Louisa May Alcott, another strategist, may count, but her hair is very light brown. Outside the manga, there's also Taguchi Rokuzou (a hacker) and Sasaki Nobuko (a university lecturer and criminal genius).

    Comic Books 
  • Marlene in Jet Dream, who's described as "Powerful as a wrestler, but with a cool, precise Teutonic mind."
  • Peter Parker aka Spider-Man, a Teen Genius as a youth and still a science prodigy into his adulthood.
  • Lois Lane in Superman continuities where she's not a Fiery Redhead. And where she's actually brainy.
  • Tony Stark aka Iron Man... billionaire, playboy, genius, philanthropist.
  • Supergirl: Kara Zor-El's Secret Identity (Linda Lee Danvers in the Silver Age, Linda Lang in the post-Crisis universe, Kara Danvers in Supergirl (Rebirth)) is always a brown-haired, nerdy girl. Earth's science is pretty primitive to her.
  • Leading expert on Gamma Radiation Dr Bruce Banner, aka The Incredible Hulk. The Hulk himself usually isn't a genius (He's not dumb, but he's no Banner) and usually isn't brunet either.
  • Tim Drake aka Robin/Red Robin, a Teen Genius who was able to figure out the secret identities of multiple superheros as a child and is expected to surpass the world's current best detective before he reaches the legal drinking age.
  • X-Men:
    • Nobel Prize-winning geneticist Moira MacTaggert.
    • As well as self-proclaimed "Goddess of Computers" Kitty Pryde.
    • Rogue is smart enough to not only fly a spaceship but once outsmarted an extra dimensional being and brought him into the main universe. Oh and Rogue reads books in her spare time.
  • Impulse: Despite being largely Brilliant, but Lazy Bart has a Photographic Memory and is actually quite smart and knowledgeable about technology. Highlighted after he read an entire library in an afternoon while recovering from being kneecapped.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Belle from Disney's Beauty and the Beast is treated like an outcast in her village because she loves to read books. And yep, she's a brunette.
  • Jane Porter from Disney's Tarzan is similar to Belle from above. She is not only knowledgeable in zoology, but also smart enough to teach an adult who has never learned how to communicate like a human English, not to mention introduced him to physics, music, astronomy, dance and geography. And yep, she's a brunette.
  • Edna Mode, Evelyn Deavor, and Helen Parr from The Incredibles.
  • Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon. He manages to figure out a way to make Toothless able to fly again.
  • Maria Posada from The Book of Life. She is probably the most rational, cultured person in the story.
  • Tip from Home is described as a very resourceful girl. This proves to be true, when she's able to take care of herself when her mother is kidnapped.
  • Tiana from The Princess and the Frog is incredibly resourceful, clever and observant. She's also an African-American brunette.
  • Vanellope von Schweetz from Wreck-It Ralph builds her own semi-functional kart out of thrown away junk and is shown to be a resourceful survivalist while ostracized in her own game.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the film version of Starter for 10, the character of Rebecca is a brunette and intuitive. She holds various protests and is often seen informing the main character, Brian Jackson, of her ideas.
  • Evelyn in The Mummy (1999). She's also a Hot Librarian.
  • Mocked in Where the Truth Lies:
    Lanny: My favorite catches were the intellectuals. They'd be the ones in the straight black dresses, severe black hair. Your basic neurotic, eyeglasses, cool jazz, liberal, "I'll fuck any black guy as part of my personal apology for racism in America" type.
    • The person reading his letter then looks across the room and sees a bookish-looking brunette. And you automatically imagine her doing one thing and one thing only...
  • Jenny in An Education dreams of getting into Oxford, and she's got the brains to do it. She has a foil in Dumb Blonde Helen.
  • Inverted in Jennifer's Body. The brunette Jennifer is a vapid Alpha Bitch (both before and after she is possessed), while the blonde Needy is a Hollywood Nerd, complete with the glasses.
  • Ariadne in Inception.
  • There's magazine writer Summer from Definitely, Maybe.
  • Emma from No Strings Attached, who studied at MIT, is a doctor in Boston, and turned up to a pajama party in actual pajamas in her college days.
  • The film Baby Mama paired brunette Tina Fey with blonde Amy Poehler. Guess what their characters' personalities were.
  • The previously blonde Trillian became this in the film adaptation of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
  • Upon meeting the remains of his favorite band, Smile, in Bohemian Rhapsody, Freddie Bulsara correctly points out that the guitarist, dark-haired Brian May, studies astrophysics. "Makes you the clever one," Freddie comments.
  • X-Men Film Series
    • Charles Xavier when he still has hair in the First Class trilogy; he has a doctorate in genetics from the University of Oxford.
    • Hank McCoy in the First Class trilogy; he's a doctoral-level scientist who graduated from Harvard University at the age of 15.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Tony Stark aliases Iron Man built Powered Armour in a cave “with a box of scraps” and couple movies later took on a criminal organisation with some gardening store supplies. At one point in Avengers he has to teach the blonde (Captain America) about electronics.
    • Loki is a master of magic, which makes him the equivalent of a Bookworm on Asgard because magic and science are the same thing in that realm. Ironically Loki got his intelligence from his mother Frigga who is blonde.
    • Dr. Jane Foster is an astrophysicist.
    • Peggy Carter is a witty, no-nonsense agent of the Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR), and later the founder of S.H.I.E.L.D.
    • Dr Bruce Robert Banner has M.D, Ph.D and is renowned for his work Biochemistry Nuclear Physics... he can also turn into a giant green rage monster and fly a spaceship.
    • Clint Barton/Hawkeye is actually very intelligent and a crafty tactician, therefore he is more dangerous when he’s Brainwashed and Crazy.
    • The darker haired Gamora is easily the smartest member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Though brunette Peter Quill can also count is a gadget and starship flying genius.
    • Hope Van Dyne from "Ant-Man" is very knowledgeable in different fields of science, especially since both her parents are scientists who founded Pym Technologies.
    • Brown haired Peter Benjamin Parker aka Spider-Man is a Teen Genius who once unlocked a Storage Vault door by tinkering with the fuse box.
    • Shuri (Black Panther's little sister) is, by Word of God, the smartest character in the MCU.
  • Padmé Amidala in the Star Wars prequel trilogy is a very educated politician (both as a queen and later as a senator), who isn't afraid of using her wits to save her people.
  • Gordie Lachance in Stand by Me, creates his own stories, and later goes on to college to become a writer.

  • Myra from the Nightfall (Series) is a brown-haired bookworm, who joins the mission against Prince Vladimir because she can contribute with her ideas. When she ends up a captive in the palace, she needs to rely on her wits to survive.
  • Hermione Granger from Harry Potter is the cleverest student in her year, and she also is a brunette.
  • Lessa from Dragonriders of Pern qualifies as she is not only the one to figure out Threadfall patterns and trick a Dragonrider into challenging a Lord Holder to a death match, but she also figures out how to save the planet and then does it against the wishes of everyone else involved.
  • Tiffany Aching of the Discworld books, who read the dictionary for fun when she was a girl, always pestered traveling scholars with difficult questions, and turned out to be very clever and talented for a witch her age.
    • Another Discworld example is Adora Belle Dearheart the city's leading golem expert. She even speaks their language, reputed to be very hard for humans to learn. She's also one of the series' biggest examples of Deadpan Snarker. And this is Discworld!
  • Jo March in Little Women has thick chestnut hair, "her one beauty", and is a devoted writer.
  • October "Toby" Daye in Rosemary And Rue is a tough and savvy private investigator who servers both mortal and faerie clients.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish is an Eerie Paleskinned Brunette and is not only a financial genius but a Magnificent Bastard who has the whole continent of Westeros dancing to his tune.
    • Several of the Tyrells also have this trait, the eldest son and heir Willas being a noted scholar (to make up for his crippled leg), and Margaery having no small amount of her own political nous.
  • Amelia Marsh in Darkness Visible borders on the black end of the spectrum and is very intelligent/educated for a woman of her era. She speaks French, paints beautifully, and, to Lewis's surprise, can play chess. Mrs Emiline Pound also counts, though her hair is going gray. It is her tireless work in the Warden's archives which finally reveals the identity of the traitor among them.
  • Claudia's sister Janine from The Baby-Sitters Club is an exaggeration with her Asian and Nerdy ways. Claudia feels bad when she compares herself to her genius sister.
  • Anji Kapoor, from the Doctor Who Eighth Doctor Adventures, is a genius or very close to it when it comes to economics, to the point of seeming to be a bit of a nerd when you get her started on the topic.
  • The Baudelaire siblings from A Series of Unfortunate Events since they are able to escape from many dangers relying only on their skills and knowledge.
  • Jane Eyre, the title character of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, shows us that this trope is at least Older Than Radio. She's an intelligent woman with brown hair, who works as a teacher.
  • Magdalena Swär in "De skandalösa" by Simona Ahrnstedt, is similar to Jane Eyre in both background, personality and appearance. So of course, she too is an intelligent woman with brown hair.
  • Keladry, the protagonist of Tamora Pierce's Protector of the Small, is described as having mousy brown hair. She's a Genius Bruiser whose favorite subject is math, and her classmates frequently ask for her help. During the dull stretches of managing her refugee camp in the fourth book, she amuses herself with engineering projects.
  • The Infernal Devices:
    • Tessa Gray is a wide reader and quotes poetry quite often. She has the potential to lapse into Badass Bookworm territory.
    • Charlotte Branwell is very intelligent.
  • MARZENA gives Dutch Psychotherapist Livia, who also works in Psy-Ops. There's also possibly Dr. Lauren, an expert neurologist and neurosurgeon, although the color of hair is never mentioned.
  • Prudence and Sally in Don't Call Me Ishmael!. Prudence is described as "nearly a genius", plays three instruments and is usually seen reading doorstoppers. Sally is the best in her year.
  • Linh Cinder from The Lunar Chronicles is a clever Deadpan Snarker who is also the best mechanic in New Beijing.
  • In The Anderssons, Ida Sofia is the Book Worm out of the four original Andersson sisters. And yep, she also is a brunette.
  • A borderline example is the title character in Beauty: A Retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Like Disney's Belle, she's an avid bookworm, of her father's three daughters she's always been called "the clever one," and her hair is described as "neither blonde nor brown." Subverted as she grows older and prettier, though, and becomes a brainy redhead.
  • Rei Taylor of I Favor The Villainess has both prior knowledge of the otome game 「Revolution」 from her pre-incarnation life, and an incredible capacity for cunning, deception, and working with and around external forces and agents to the betterment of her long-term plans and personal desires.
  • Elke Schreiber of A Witch's Burden. Elke is rarely without a book and, as expected of a teacher, loves history, languages, and philosophy. She also never shies away from a good debate.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel: Fred Burkle was a physics student and later the head of the company's Science Division with long wavy brown hair. Her high intelligence was a great asset to the "Fang Gang".
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Subverted with Cordelia who was shown as an example of the Brainless Beauty. Though, after exams, it was revealed that she actually had very good grades which she simply chose to hide from her peers, thinking it would make her less popular.
  • Alex P. Keaton from Family Ties, played by the brown haired Michael J. Fox. Out of all of the Keaton family, he's the most studious and even has a choleric, Type A personality to boot.
  • Firefly: River Tam, who is considered a child prodigy, intelligent beyond her years and athletically gifted. At one point Book finds her marking up his bible and she tells him that she's fixing it because the contradictions mean it's broken. She has unkempt brown hair.
  • Summer Glau's character Bennett Halverson on Dollhouse.
  • Summer Glau as Orwell in The Cape.
  • Liz Lemon on 30 Rock. Emphasized by the fact that the show's two other female regulars are both Dumb Blondes. In fact, every character ever played by Tina Fey.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Talisa is dark haired and is a highly competent nurse and fully capable of engaging Robb in a debate.
    • Margaery has light brown hair and is a very adept conversationalist and manipulator.
  • Chuck in Pushing Daisies has a great general knowledge and speaks seemingly every language known to man.
  • Joey Potter on Dawson's Creek.
  • Gilmore Girls: All three eponymous Gilmores fit the bill in varying degrees. Rory, the youngest, is the most clearcut example - a Cute Bookworm member of the Genius Book Club and a Go-Getter Girl. Her mother Loerlai is a more offbeat example - a Bunny-Ears Lawyer who is an incredibly quick thinker. Unlike her daughter, she is more street smart than book smart. Emily, the grandmother, is a Brainy Brunette of the Manipulative Bitch persuasion, rounding up a trio of book/street/people smarts.
  • Sarah Mackenzie from JAG.
  • Bones: Temperance Brennan, and basically every other main character.
  • NCIS:
    • Abby Sciuto. Underneath her punk groupie looks, she's a scientist and Mensa member.
    • Ziva is clever, with her smart-ass comments, multiple languages, skill with weapons, and Photographic Memory.
  • Most of the brunettes in CSI probably qualify; Sara Sidle definitely does.
    • Carries over to CSI: NY and probably CSI: Miami as well. All the casts have several smart brunettes.
  • At least in the later seasons, Chloe O'Brian in 24.
  • Possible subversion in Privileged: Megan, the Yale graduate, is shown as a redhead; however, in the first episode, we're told that she dyed it red and we never really learn her natural colour, so it's possible she's simply a Brainy Brunette in disguise.
  • Gossip Girl: Blair Waldorf is both a book smart Go-Getter Girl and a cunning Manipulative Bitch.
  • The Vampire Diaries: Elena, Bonnie, and some of the recurring characters as well (including Manipulative Bitch Katherine).
  • Detective Kate Beckett from Castle.
  • Lindsay Weir on Freaks and Geeks, though she is a reluctant one - her plotline revolves mostly around her desire to be more than just a brain.
  • Emily Prentiss from Criminal Minds. Her predecessor, Elle Greenaway, was also intelligent, but Emily gets more credit because she has yet to be dumb enough to kill someone in cold blood. Special Agent Doctor Spencer Reid also qualifies.
  • In Doctor Who, Zoe can blow up a computer with her brain. And Romana I is repeatedly shown to be smarter than the Doctor. Of course, Barbara was the very first brainy companion, being a history teacher. And let's not forget widely beloved Intrepid Reporter Sarah Jane Smith, who is repeatedly shown both on Doctor Who and The Sarah Jane Adventures to be quite intelligent, considering she saves the Earth roughly every week. In NuWho there's medical student Martha. Also Clara, who's graduated from nanny to schoolteacher since she was introduced and whose alternate Victorian governess self was relatively blasé about the TARDIS being Bigger on the Inside.
  • Community: Annie Edison is a Go-Getter Girl example.
  • Averted and played straight in No Ordinary Family. Stephanie is a world-class research scientist who graduated from MIT and is blonde. Her nerdy yet attractive sidekick Katie, also shown to be very intelligent, is a brunette.
  • George from Being Human (UK) is described as having a brain like a "planet" and is said by several characters to be able to carry a much more prestigious job than hospital janitor if he wanted.
  • Carrusel has Valeria, Carmen, and Alicia, to a lesser extent. All 3 girls have jet black hair and are good students. Valeria is a talented painter. Carmen is very good with people. And Alicia is very mature and has common sense.
  • Dr. Helen Magnus of Sanctuary, Omnidisciplinary Scientist extraordinaire, whose long brunette locks are a stark contrast to Amanda Tapping's former role as the short-haired, blonde, and equally brainy astrophysicist Major Samantha Carter on Stargate SG-1. This was probably deliberate.
  • The younger Dunphy daughter, Alex, on Modern Family.
  • Maggie from Unnatural History.
  • The Big Bang Theory: Amy Farrah Fowler and Leslie Winkle (both Ph.Ds). Sheldon's assistant Alex was this too.
  • Rocky Blue from Shake It Up!.
  • Played with on Teen Wolf. While dark-haired Stiles and Danny are both very smart (Stiles in terms of research and Danny in terms of technology) and the other brunette characters are certainly no slouches themselves, the smartest character on the show is without a doubt the redheaded Lydia.
  • Prue Halliwell in Charmed.
  • Chuck's big sister Ellie Bartowski.
  • Sharon "Shaz" Granger from Ashes to Ashes (2008), who despite having a low ranking in CID (as was actually the norm for women in 1980s Britain) is far smarter than Ray or Chris and often provides valuable information when solving cases.
    • As is shown by her running after an armed shooter in 1x07, shooting down a bent copper in her wedding dress in 2x08 and by her disarming a armed criminal at gunpoint and turning his weapon against him in 3x08 she can be just as much a brave Badass as Gene and the others.
  • Diana from The Secret Circle. She is the smartest one of the core group and often takes the lead because of her smarts and capability. Later on, Cassie seems to take the lead more often alongside Diana as Cassie begins to accept her witch ancestry.
  • Spencer Hastings from Pretty Little Liars is a slight deconstruction: She's extremely smart, but she can't tolerate even the slightest slip. Sometimes the pressure of being The Smart Girl gets to her.
    • Mona Vandervall also fits the bill, as well as crossing over into scary-smart category.
    • Several minor characters also answer the criteria - Melissa and Veronica Hastings (it's a family thing) ,Shana Fring and Dr. Sullivan.
  • Amelia Folch from The Ministry of Time.
  • Voyagers!: Jeffrey Jones is quite resourceful and knowledgeable and has brown hair.
  • Sam from Supernatural went to Stanford and seems to be the researcher, especially in earlier seasons.
  • Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman helps out by solving complex theoretical scientific problems for Professor Warren in "The Pluto Files"
  • Punky Brewster is quite resourceful, albeit not always successful with her plans. She's still pretty smart for (at the time the show premiered) an eight-year-old.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Jadzia Dax, the station's science officer.



    Video Games 
  • The default player character from A Dance with Rogues has black hair and is really the only character who ever fits the role of The Smart Guy on your team.
  • Elizabeth in BioShock Infinite has brown hair and is very intelligent, and extremely book-smart, growing up in a tower with nothing to do but read, practice whatever skills struck her fancy, and repeatedly attempt and fail to break out. However, being isolated in that tower with no other contact also means she is very inexperienced at actually interacting with people.
  • Morrigan from Dragon Age: Origins, whose intellect is beyond question (though she does seem to spend a lot of it on thinking up more ways to insult Alistair).
  • Doctor Delara Auzenne from Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is a renowned expert in Criminal Psychology and serves as a TF-29 Task Force resident psychologist.
  • Both April Ryan The Longest Journey and Zoe Castillo from Dreamfall: The Longest Journey. And the Word of God is that the stereotype played (possibly without realization) a role in their design.
  • Angela Delvecchio and Lisa Crocket of Backyard Sports.
  • Rita from Tales of Vesperia.
  • Ace Attorney has Mia Fey (a defense attorney and Phoenix Wright's mentor), Lana Skye (the Chief Prosecutor), and Ema Skye (Lana's younger sister, who is a police detective).
  • Mei Ling and Naomi Hunter in Metal Gear.
    • Solid Snake (160-point IQ, speaks six languages) and Otacon (expert programmer, Gadgeteer Genius, creator of Metal Gear Rex) are male examples (although Otacon's hair is more gray-brown than conventional brunet).
  • Princess Zelda in her only remotely brunette incarnation, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, is noted by her former tutor to have been an excellent student. She's also the chosen disciple of the Goddess of Wisdom, so it's only logical.
  • In Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, Lana and her Suspiciously Similar Substitute Mana/Muirne are kind, sensitive, and very intuitive White Magician Girls. Also Oifaye, who was The Strategist in the first part and then became the Big Brother Mentor to Celice's group.
  • In the second Dark Parables game, Cinderella is implied to have been this, based on the fact that her husband constructed a library in her memory.
  • Stern, the Material of Wisdom from the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable games. Unlike the light-haired Nanoha whose form she was based on, Stern's hair is dark brown.
  • Makoto Nanaya from BlazBlue plays this trope under the cover of the paradoxical Dumb Blonde stereotype. Unlike Noel, who has a hard time picking up on material, Makoto has no appreciation for studying and is a notorious goofball and sexual deviant (though to be fair, she keeps her dirtier fetishes to herself). Where this trope applies is that what she lacks in academic smarts (that's Tsubaki's territory), she more than compensates for in practical smarts and common sense, which serve her to no end in her job as an Intelligence officer.
  • Shadowrun Returns: Marie-Louise Telestrian is a brunette elf with a master's degree in computer science. She writes IC programs (as in, those extremely expensive one-time computer superviruses that act as overpowered virtual reality spirit summons) when she's bored. She acts as your decker after you rescue her from a cult. And in Shadowrun canon, she eventually becomes the CEO of a Big Eight Megacorporation.

  • Biologist Dr. Jean Poule in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!.
  • Emily, from Our Little Adventure, is a straight example. Julie also has plenty of brains and brown hair, but it's apparently not her real hair color.
  • In the Remix Comic version of Jet Dream, Marlene is even brainier, described as one of the best people in the Western world at Doing Science.
  • The nerdy Ruby of Sticky Dilly Buns has what seems to be the only university-level education in the cast. Her intelligence may sometimes seem like an Informed Attribute, but she's stuck with being the book-smart, occasionally snarky contrast to her blonde sister Amber, and she does occasionally display some mental agility. So she lives this trope, complete with glasses.
  • Sunstone has the bookish, raven-haired Allyson.
  • morphE features Billy Thatcher a brunette chess champion who serves as the brains of the group and would probably be voted "Most likely to be shot by Amical" in the current seedling yearbook.
  • Angel Moxie: Riley, the brunette member of a Beauty, Brains and Brawn trio. Loves school, programs computers, and builds her own weapons from scratch.
  • Noah from Ennui GO! has brown hair and is an astrophysicist, and later becomes the Minister of Science on Key Manati.
  • In Peter Parker: Foreign Exchange Student, Peter is a genius chemist and designed his web-fluid from literal garbage. He keeps it a closely guarded secret both to protect his web's integrity and out of a sense of pride in his work.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The titular character of The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. He's got brown hair and is a Child Prodigy Gadgeteer Genius prone to Little Professor Dialog, though admittedly he lacks actual common sense.
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks. Jeanette of the Chipettes is both the brainy one and the brunette in the Chipette trio.
  • Azula, from Avatar: The Last Airbender, is terrifyingly intelligent and a Manipulative Bastard par excellence. And Katara isn't dumb, either, though her brother Sokka is "the Idea Guy" of the Gaang. Of course, all but one character in the show are or were dark-haired.
  • Dan Vs.:
  • Daria is a combination of this trope and Deadpan Snarker. It helps make her a famous Snark Knight.
  • Bushroot's Hot Scientist love interest Dr. Rhoda Dendron from his origin story on Darkwing Duck.
  • Dipper Pines from Gravity Falls is one. His twin sister Mabel technically counts too, but she's more of a Genius Ditz.
  • Mike Chilton in Motorcity. He's a bit more subtle than other examples, but he is a strategic genius from his cadet training. He often relies on his Indy Ploy, however.
  • On Recess
    • Gretchen and Spinelli invert their typical hair tropes, as Spinelli (brunette) is fiery and Gretchen (redhead) is brainy. Gretchen did have black hair in the pilot, though.
    • T.J. plays with this, as he's quite ditzy when it comes to academics, but is a genius when it comes to his schemes on the playground.
    • Miss Grotke, the gang's Indian-American teacher, plays this trope straight.
  • Velma Dinkley of Scooby-Doo: Throughout her various incarnations, Velma is usually portrayed as a highly intelligent young woman with highly specific interests in science (which in the Scooby and Scrappy Doo series leads her to pursue a career as a NASA research scientist) or merely being very well read on obscure fields, such as ancient Viking writing (as in the third Scooby Doo series The New Scooby-Doo Movies).
  • Sandy from Spongebob Squarepants is a brown furred squirrel and, along with Plankton, the most intelligent of the main characters.
  • Connie from Steven Universe, an Ambiguously Brown version.
  • Inverted on The Powerpuff Girls where the redheaded Blossom is the brainy one, while the brunette Buttercup is the aggressive spitfire. (Bubbles is still the Dumb Blonde, though.)
  • Ready Jet Go!: Sean and his mom are both know a lot about science, and they both have brown hair. However, Sean's mom's hair is a bit reddish.
    • Mitchell counts too.
  • The Loud House has Lisa Loud, who, despite being the second youngest of the family, is also the most intelligent of all the siblings.
  • The Simpsons: an episode's B-plot focused on Lisa joining the debate team and ending up dyeing her hair brown to prove that they didn't take her seriously before, due to being blonde. Megan, the girl who made fun of Lisa for being blonde, is presented as one of these.
  • Total Drama has Noah (book smarts), Courtney (legal smarts), Cody (mechanical smarts) and Alejandro (people smarts).
    • Heather specifically lampshades this in Action where she was looking for new hair and said: "I'm too smart to be Lindsay blonde, but Courtney's hair would be perfect."
    • Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race has the Geniuses who both have dark hair.
  • Thundarr the Barbarian: Besides her knowledge of magic and ancient history, Ariel also has more common sense than anyone else on the show, hero or villain. She has dark hair due to her Asian ancestry.
  • Emily on Little Bear is a very educated child (with short brown hair), who passes on her knowledge to her best friends.

Alternative Title(s): Brainy Brunet


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