33 Celebrities Who Changed Their Names To Make It In The Biz!
1. Jamie Foxx was Eric Bishop.
When Eric started his career as a comedian, female comedians usually were called to perform first, so he changed his name to Jamie to help get ahead. His last name, Foxx, was inspired by Red Foxx, another comedian.
2. Iggy Azalea was Amethyst Kelly.
Remember working out your pop star name as a kid? Your first name is the name of your first pet, and your last name is the street you grew up on. Amythest’s was Iggy Azalea, and it stuck.
3. Jay Z was Shawn Carter.
Shawn’s neighborhood nickname growing up was Jazzy, so Jay-Z comes from that, and it’s a tribute to his mentor Jaz-O.
4. Shania Twain was Eilleen Regina Edwards.
Twain comes from Eilleen’s stepfather, and as her career started to take off she adopted Shania, a native Ojibwa word that means “On my way”.
5. Carmen Electra was Tara Lee Patrick.
Tara moved to California in 1991, met Prince, and decided she need a better showbiz name. Thus, Carmen Electra came into being.
6. Julianne Moore was Julie Smith.
In 2001, Julianne Moore said it was ‘horrible’ to change her name. When she moved to New York and joined the acting business, there was already a Julie Smith. Moore is her father’s middle name and Anne is her mother’s name, so she combined the two to make Julianne Moore.
7. Lady Gaga was Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta.
Gaga’s music producer used to sing ‘Radio Ga Ga’ whenever she came into the studio, and one day when he was texting Ga Ga, radio was turned to lady by predictive text. “That’s it!” Ga Ga said. “Don’t ever call me Stefani again!”
8. Elton John was Reginald Kenneth Dwight.
Reginald’s new name is a tribute to his Bluesology bandmates Elton Dean and Long John Baldry.
9. Katie Perry was Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson.
The pop superstar adopted her mother’s maiden name to avoid confusion with actress Kate Hudson.
10. Helen Mirren was Ilyena Lydia Mironoff.
Ilyena was born in raised in London, and her Russian father anglicized the family name to Mirren in the 1950s.
11. Jessie J was Jessica Ellen Cornish.
When asked about her stage name, Jessie reveals that there’s no real reason for the J, and that she feels like she’s letting people down when she tells them that.
12. Calvin Harris was Adam Richard Wiles.
Adam adopted Calvin Harris when he started making music because it sounded more racially ambiguous. ‘I thought people might not know if I was black or not. After that, I was stuck with it’, he says.
13. Avicii is actually Tim Bergling .
The name Avicii came about because a friend told Tim that it was a level of Buddhist hell. He added the extra ‘i’ because Avici was already taken on MySpace.
14. Lana Del Rey was Elizabeth Woolridge Grant.
Elizabeth started performing under stage names like ‘Sparkle Jump Rope Queen’ and ‘Lizzy Grant and the Phenomena’. She began to perform a lot in Miami and spoke Spanish with Cuban friends often. Lana Del Ray reminded them of the glamour of the seaside, and hence the name was born.
15. Macklemore is actually Ben Haggerty.
In 2000, Ben recorded under the name ‘Professor Macklemore’, a name he invented for a high school art project. In 2005 he dropped the professor and the rest is history.
16. Cee Lo Green was Thomas DeCarlo Callaway.
Cee-Lo comes from a dice game in which there are no set rules.
17. Tom Cruise was Thomas Cruise Mapother IV.
After high school the actor dropped his last name, which came from the father who’d physically abused him. He was now Tom Cruise, a much catchier name for showbiz.
18. Charli XCX was Charlotte Emma Aitchison.
When Charlie was invited to perform at Warehouse parties, the then 15-year-old was asked what name to put on flyers. She quoted her MSN screen name, and it stuck.
19. Lorde is actually Ella Yelich O’Connor.
Lorde stems from Ella’s fascination with aristocracy, and the extra e was added to feminize the name ‘Lord’.
20. Snoop Dogg is actually Calvin Cordozar Broadus.
Calvin was nicknamed ‘Snoopy’ by his parents because of his appearance. The name Snoop Doggy Dog was inspired by his group Tha Dogg Pound.
21. Pink is actually Alecia Beth Moore.
Alecia was nicknamed ‘Pink’ by her friends because of her tendency to blush when embarrassed. When she started performing she continued to use it as a stage name.
22. Demi Moore was Demetria Gene Guynes.
Demi became a Moore when she married Freddy Moore in 1980, and the name stuck around much longer than he did.
23. Lily James was Lily Chloe Ninette Thomson.
There was already a Lily Thompson actress, so this Lily adopted her father’s christian name as her new surname.
24. Flo Rida is actually Tramar Lacel Dillard.
Tramar started off with the recording name ‘Ruckus Pimp’ but thought that was a bit out there. He was hanging out at a friend’s house when he came up with the new name: ‘Take Florida, break it in half and there you go: Flo Rida,’ he recalls.
25. Pitbull is actually Armando Christian Pérez.
When asked about his stage name Armando says Pitbulls “bite to lock. The dog is too stupid to lose. And they’re outlawed in Dade County. They’re basically everything that I am. It’s been a constant fight”.
26. Nicki Minaj was Onika Tanya Maraj.
Nicki Minaj is a play on her original name Onika Maraj, that was invented when she first met her manager.
27. Bruno Mars is actually Peter Gene Hernandez.
Peter was nicknamed Bruno by his Hawaiian father when he was young because of his resemblance to wrestler Bruno Sammartino. Mars was added to give some ‘Pizzazz’.
28. 50 Cent is actually Curtis James Jackson III.
Curtis says 50 Cent is a metaphor for change, after the 1980s Brooklyn robber that called himself 50 Cent. He says he likes it ‘because it says everything I want it to say. I’m the same kind of person 50 Cent was. I provide for myself by any means.’
29. Dido is actually Florian Cloud de Bounevialle Armstrong.
Given that Florian is a bit of a mouthful (and, according to Dido, ‘a German man’s name’) she stuck with her childhood nickname for her music career.
30. Courtney Love was Love Michelle Harrison.
This famous rocker adopted her stage name for anonymity when she was working as an exotic dancer.
31. Alicia Keys was Alicia Augello Cook.
Alicia was going to go with the stage surname Wilde, but changed her mind when her manager had a dream about the name Keys.
32. Jennifer Anniston was Jennifer Linn Anastassakis.
Jen’s anglicized last name was actually changed by her parents as they thought it would help the aspiring actress to find work in the industry.
33. Vin Deisel was Mark Sinclair Vincent.
Vin’s last name was allegedly coined by friends who said he was always full of energy, but he changed it first because as a bouncer in NYC he was told he needed a fake name!