Jon Stewart pointed out on the December 8, 2009 episode of The Daily Show that Carlson had an accomplished academic background and accused her of deliberately playing down her intelligence to a less educated and anti-intellectual audience.
Carlson was raised in Anoka, Minnesota, and graduated from Anoka-Hennepin School District 11's Anoka High School, in 1984, as valedictorian. One of her childhood nannies was Michele Bachmann, the future Republicancongresswoman. Carlson is also a former pageant winner. She won the title "Miss Minnesota" and then, in 1989, became the third woman from that state to win the "Miss America" title. For the talent competition, Carlson played the Zigeunerweisen, the violin composition of Sarasate. She continues to perform on this instrument.
Carlson graduated with Honors from Stanford University, in 1990, with a specialized degree in the field of Sociology (organizational behavior). While a student at Stanford, she studied abroad at Oxford University.
Gretchen Carlson sexy legs and feet