Hilary Banks Had Secret Smarts On 'Fresh Prince'

by Amy Roberts
Warner Bros. Television

To the amateur Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air viewer, it might seem as though Hilary Banks isn't the smartest character. Because, sure, she's pretty ditzy, has no basic common sense, and has a wealth of superficial, vapid interests. But I'm here to tell you that there's more to the character than meets the eye. In fact, Hilary is smarter than she appeared in Fresh Prince. And, if you're currently rolling your eyes at that statement, then prepare to roll them back into place and have your world totally rocked. Hilary had hidden depths, and I'm here to share them with you.

Because, honestly, it's worth appreciating that there's all kinds of intelligence to acknowledge in the world, and not all of it involves being a math genius or scoring high on SATs. And Hilary, as a character, definitely proves that to be the rule. While she might not have generic smarts, she's definitely intelligent where it matters. She's packing some emotional, financial, and social intelligence which, by the end of Fresh Prince, sees her prospering and changing the most out of all the characters. Still don't believe me? Have yourself a look at these examples...

1. She's Aware Of Her Lack Of Common Sense

Listen, not everyone is smart enough to be able to acknowledge this about themselves, but Hilary is. Also, common sense doesn't necessarily equate to great intellect.

2. She Knows Her Priorities, And Sticks With Them

OK, so her propensity to put herself first can sometimes look like selfish vanity. But she also takes care of her loved ones; it's just that she knows better than to do it at the detriment of her own needs.

3. She Can Be Wonderfully Poetic About Her Feelings

Seriously, when Hilary truly has some big feelings towards someone (or something), she can wax lyrical about them. The woman is kind of a poet, guys.

4. In Fact, She Has A Way With Words

I mean, of course she does. She's the daughter of a hotshot lawyer, after all, and probably learns that words play an important role in conveying a particular truth.

5. She Never Lets Her Love Interests Change Who She Is

Whether it's refusing to travel coach for a guy or simply wanting to keep her career on course, Hilary puts Hilary first.

6. She Achieves An Impressive Career

Most people don't manage to quickly climb the career ladder from weather girl to talk show host in a small number of years. Hilary's a total business woman, even if she doesn't always sound like one.

7. She Understands The Importance Of Money, And How To Get It


Shallow as she may seem with her financial pursuits, Hilary loves money. And whether it means badgering Phil for a payout in return for some peace and quiet or simply dating guys that could lavish expensive treats upon her, Hilary is smart enough to know how to get paid.

8. She Also Understands Smart Investments

You don't get rich by spending all your money, people.

9. She Knows That Fashion Is More Than A Superficial Statement


Though Hilary's love of fashion can easily be interpreted as a shallow pursuit, it's actually one of her greatest investments. As a career woman, her taste in expensive, designer clothes proudly boasts her self-worth and status to the world. It isn't just fashion; it's power.

10. She's Able To Give Great Advice

Whether it's to Will, Carlton, or Ashley, Hilary provides some of the greatest moments of advice on the show.

11. She Has A Sharp, Quick Wit

She's basically Dorothy Parker in a power suit.

12. She Pushes Herself To Learn New Things

Whether it's something as simple as buying her own groceries, cooking, or living in her own apartment, or as complex as becoming a weather girl or talk show host, Hilary never lets fear of failure or the unknown hold her back. That doesn't just take guts, but also a certain level of intelligence, too.

13. She Knows How To Manipulate Situations To Her Advantage

Be it that time when a sleazy guy interviews her for the weather girl job, or that time when Will and Carlton accidentally strip at one of her important social events, Hilary always manages to use these scenarios to her advantage. She's smart enough to turn a bad experience into a positive one.

14. Ultimately, She Knows That Love Is Worth More Than Money

Over time, Hilary realizes that dating men with money isn't nearly as worthwhile a venture as simply being with someone that she loves. By the end of Fresh Prince, it's clear that she values loving relationships over financial prosperity, and that's probably the smartest thing she ever does.

See? Here's to all the ladies who might lack in common sense, but serve up smarts in other valuable, important ways. You got this.