16 Celebrities Who Explained Their Stage Names

1.

Whoopi Goldberg’s real name is Caryn Elaine Johnson.

In 2006, he told the New York Times, “When you’re performing on stage, you never really have time to go into the bathroom and close the door. So if you get a little gassy, ​​you have to let it go. Well, people used to tell me , ‘You’re like a pillow for the rocks.’ And that’s where the name came from.”

2.

Shay Mitchell’s real name is Shannon Ashley Garcia Mitchell.

During a Facebook Live event in 2017, the actor said: “I love J.Lo, Jennifer Lopez. And when I was in high school, people would say ‘Shay-Lo’ and then Shay was kind of stuck. Why does anyone it can’t be J.Lo.”

3.

Jamie Foxx’s real name is Eric Marlon Bishop.

In an episode of Late Show with David Letterman, the actor said the reason he changed his name was because of stand-up comedy. “I noticed that 1,000 guys would show up and only three girls, but the three girls would always get a spot and pick from the list. So I went to the list and wrote down unisex names. Stacey Green. Tracy Brown. Jamie Foxx.”

4.

Emma Stone’s real name is Emily Jean Stone.

During a 2017 interview with W magazine, she said, “My real name is Emily. But it was taken at SAG… I had the choice of Emily J. Stone, and she’s kind of like Michael J. Fox, which I love Michael J. Fox, but I don’t think I could pull off the J. … Asking a 16-year-old to pick a new name is really an interesting process, because I said, ‘I’m going to be Riley. My name will be Riley Stone.”

In an episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, revealed that she actually wanted to be called Emma as a child. “Growing up, I was super blonde and my real name is Emily, but I wanted to be called Emma because of Baby Spice. And guess what? Now, I am.”

5.

Bruno Mars’ real name is Peter Gene Hernandez.

During an interview with Rap-Up in 2013, the singer said, “Bruno goes after Bruno Samartino, who was this big, fat wrestler. I guess I was this chunky baby, so my dad used to call me nickname.”

In 2013, the actor told GQ that the music industry tried to pigeonhole him because of his last name. “Your last name is Hernandez,” he remembers people telling him. “Maybe you should do this Latin music, this Spanish music… Enrique is so hot right now.” He ended up choosing the name Aris and sidestepped the issue. “Mars somehow came [from] just kidding because that sounds larger than life. That was it, as simple as that,” she told Latina magazine.

6.

Lana Del Rey’s real name is Elizabeth Woolridge Grant.

During an interview with MTV in 2012, she said, “I knew I wanted a name that sounded kind of exotic and reminded me of the beach on the Florida coast. ‘Lana Del Rey’ sounded beautiful.”

7.

Awkwafina’s real name is Nora Lum.

In 2017, the actor told Galore: “I really thought it was funny when people try to endorse products like Neutrogena. Because I just imagine someone sitting there thinking of all these weird names, especially water names. But anyway or else, I just thought of it when I was 16 and thought it was really funny. And then I finally adopted it.”

“My rap name was just Aquafina, but then I think when we were putting the video out, the guy who did the video … said, ‘Well, we have to change the spelling so you don’t get sued.’ ” she recalled. “Well, he was writing it so extra. He wrote it in the most added way ever. So I said, “I feel like people aren’t going to get this,” and he said, “Yeah, but I feel like it would be unique, so people [will] look it up.’ But then, nobody knows how to write it. So, you know, it came back to bite me in the ass.”

8.

KJ Apa’s real name is Keneti James Apa.

Last year, the actor appeared in an episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live! After Jimmy asked what KJ stood for, the actor said: “KJ is short for Keneti James, which is a Samoan name. I’m named after my father.”

9.

Alicia Keys’ real name is Alicia Augello Cook.

In 2007, the singer told Newsweek, “I was so desperate that I went through the dictionary for something that caught my eye. I get to W and I choose Wild. ‘Alicia Wild, how does that sound, Mom?'” She said, “It sounds like be a stripper.’ But I loved Keys. It’s like piano keys. And it can open so many doors.”

10.

Nicolas Cage’s real name is Nicolas Kim Coppola.

During an interview with Wired earlier this year, the actor said he changed his name because of his connection to his uncle, director Francis Ford Coppola. “I changed my name because I did a little film called Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and I was still Nicolas Coppola. People wouldn’t stop saying things like, “I love the smell of Nicolas in the morning.” disclosure now, Robert Duvall saying, “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.” And it made the job difficult. I decided I didn’t need it, so I changed it to Cage.”

11.

Sir Elton John was born Reginald Kenneth Dwight but legally changed his name to Elton Hercules John.

During an interview in 1987, he was quoted as saying: “When I became Elton John, it was like a new life. I didn’t particularly like being Reg Dwight. It had too many unhappy memories.”

12.

John Legend’s real name is John Roger Stephens.

In 2008, the singer told MTV News, “John Legend is a nickname that some friends started calling me and it kind of became my stage name. Legend is something I would never have chosen for myself in the first place. I grew up in the where more people in my circle would know me by that name than by my real name. I had to make a decision.”

13.

Halsey’s real name is Ashley Nicolette Frangipane.

In 2020, the singer told Cosmopolitan: “I think I had the insight to know that being me wasn’t enough. I had to be someone completely different. At the time, I felt like Ashley didn’t deserve to be famous and successful because she didn’t she was so special but if i did halsey maybe she could be. [Changing my name] it gave me the opportunity to create a new persona that wasn’t bound by the expectations I had of myself or the limitations others placed on me because of my upbringing or socioeconomic status.”

14.

Jo Koy’s real name is Joseph Glenn Herbert.

During the Netflix special In His Elements, the comedian shared that people would laugh at his name when he was doing stand-up early in his career. He was considering several options when his aunt invited him to eat with her nickname: Jo Koy. For more than 30 years, he used it as his stage name.

“I go, ‘So what do you call me?’ He goes, “I call you Jo ko. That’s your nickname. Jo ko.” And for all of you at home who don’t know what that means: In Tagalog, ko means me. My nickname is Jo. I don’t know. How fucked up is that?”

15.

Frank Ocean was born Christopher Edwin Breaux, but legally changed his name to Christopher Francis Ocean.

In 2011, the singer told Complex, “I changed my name on my birthday last year. It was the most empowering shit I did in 2010, for sure. I went on LegalZoom and changed my fucking name. It just felt good. None of us our names. If you don’t like your name, then change your name. I’m only a few steps into the process, so I probably shouldn’t even be talking about it, but by early summer, I’ll be straight. I’ll be boarding planes as Christopher Francis Ocean.”

16.

And finally, Mindy Kaling’s real name is Vera Mindy Chokalingam.

In 2020, she told NHPR, “I shortened my name because the animators for these sitcoms would have trouble pronouncing it, and then, they’d make a joke of my last name. My real name is Vera Mindy Chokalingam, and it’s south Indian name, and it’s a big name. As a performer, these comedians would just butcher it and then say, ‘I don’t know what it is! Only this girl, Mindy.””

“When you’re doing comedy… these are all comedians who changed their names, and I felt like it was the easiest thing for me and ultimately, it was very rewarding to do it. It was something I had a lot of mixed feelings about. But my parents they didn’t mind. I talked to them about it. And then I ended up shortening it. It’s bittersweet, but I have to say it was so valuable to my career to have a name that people could pronounce.”

Do you know other famous people who use stage names? LMK in the comments below!

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