15 Celebrities Whose Real Names Will Shock You
Travis Scott, Bruno Mars, Miley Cyrus, and Jamie Foxx. What do these celebrities have in common? No, it's not because of their wealth or game, but with how they all decided to settle with stage names—which they all have brought along with their fame and glamour as a celebrity. Their cause for living in the facade of a pseudonym range from simple and wholesome inspirations to some of the unexpected origin stories.
In this list, we'll be going through some of the most popular celebrities who all have stage names that are a far cry from their real names. You may have come across one or two of these in the past, while some may totally shock you. Ready?
1. Travis Scott: Born as Jacques Bermon Webster II
This may come as a shocker to many people, but Travis Scott is not called Travis Scott at home. Who can blame him though? Inspired by his idol Kid Cudi and his uncle, Travis Scott rolls off the tongue a little more easily in the music scene.
2. Bruno Mars: Born as Peter Gene Hernandez
This one came as a bit of a shocker. Bruno Mars is actually a nickname that his father gave him, inspired by pro-wrestler Bruno Sammartino. Since then, he stuck with it and grew his popularity while carrying his father’s given nickname. The more we think about it, the more we realize, Bruno Mars just fit his face and physique better than Peter Gene…
3. Jamie Foxx: Born as Eric Marlon Bishop
Eric Marlon changed his name to the now popular Jamie Foxx pseudonym because he thought that Jamie was a gender-neutral name while Foxx was a homage to John Sanford or Redd Foxx, his favorite stand-up comedian. Having Bishop as your last name sounds sick… but Jamie Foxx just has another vibe to it.
In 2011, Foxx starred in the comedy film Horrible Bosses where his character, Dean Jones, wittingly references his real-life name change by also changing his name from Dean Jones to MF Jones—truly staying to his comedian roots.
4. Calvin Harris: Born as Adam Richard Wiles
Musician Calvin Harris wanted to change the perception of people about him so much that he decided to start with his name. Clever tactic, and to be fair, we all see him now as Calvin Harris.
5. Lorde: Born as Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O'Connor
Being drawn to the word Lord, Lorde adopted the name while adding the letter “E” at the end since she thought that Lord alone would be too masculine.
6. Lady Gaga: Born as Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta
Fun fact: Lady Gaga got her stage name due to autocorrect. In 2006, she was texting music Rob Fusari—who loved comparing Gaga’s vocals to Freddie Mercury—and he responded to her with a message that said “Lady Gaga” instead of “Radio Ga Ga”. Thanks for having done something good, autocorrect.
7. Miley Cyrus: Born as Destiny Hope Cyrus
Miley Cyrus used to be called “Smiley” when she was a kid for how often she smiled back then. Soon then, she stuck with that name (only removing the letter S for Miley) and legally changed her name to Miley Cyrus in 2009. Funnily enough, some people still only know her as Hannah Montana.
8. Nicki Minaj: Born as Onika Tanya Maraj
Contrary to popular belief, Nicki Minaj actually hated (and still hates it to this day) how her first product deal literally forced her to change her name. Nevertheless, we’ve all grown into loving her stage name that we don’t even get fazed by its backstory anymore. Poor Nicki though.
9. Kid Cudi: Born as Scott Ramon Seguro Mescudi
The origin of Kid Cudi is a pretty simple story. According to Scott, he thought of Kid Cudi as a cool name since ‘Kid’ invokes a sense of youth, and Cudi is taken straight from his last name Mescudi. And, as referenced earlier in this article, his first name is the inspiration for Travis Scott.
10. Frank Ocean: Born as Christopher Edwin Breaux
The philosophy of Frank Ocean behind our names is that we are not really our names. If we don’t like how our name looks or sounds, then just get it changed. That’s why he legally changed his name to Christopher Francis Ocean back in 2014. How we wish it were that simple though. Just thinking of the process, logistics, and price of changing your name though, it's not something we can all accomplish easily.
11. Ludacris: Born as Christopher Brian Bridges
Ludacris’ origin is also a pretty simple explanation, the rapper and actor explained that it was due to his split personality that he believed to be ludicrous.
12. Marilyn Monroe: Born as Norma Jeane Mortenson
Marilyn Monroe came up with her beautiful stage name by ditching her husband’s surname since she figured that it was too hard to pronounce. Additionally, she got Marilyn from her studio exec who told her that they reminded her of Marilyn Miller, a Broadway star from the 1920s.
13. The Weeknd: Born as Abel Makkonen Tesfaye
Okay, this one is a little obvious. Of course, The Weeknd isn’t really The and Weeknd. Fortunately, we were able to find his AMA post back in 2013 where he revealed how he got his stage name. Straight from Reddit, Abel said:
I left home when I was about 17 dropped out of high school and convinced Lamar to do the same lol. We grabbed our mattresses from our parents threw it in our friends shitty van and left one weekend and never came back home. It was gonna be the title of HOB. I hated my name at the time though so I tried it as a stage name. It sounded cool. I took out the "e" because there was already a Canadian band named the weekend (copyright issues).
14. Gigi Hadid: Born as Jelena Noura Hadid
Only superfans may know that Gigi Hadid isn’t really called Gigi at home. Her real name is Jelena (pronounced Yelena, with a soft Y sound instead of a hard J) Noura Hadid, but thought of Gigi as her pseudonym since she grew up being called as such.
15. Kit Harington: Born as Christopher Catesby Harington
In a 2014 interview with Glamour, Game of Thrones star Kit Harington revealed that his parents never told his real name until the age of 11. Due to his real name being kept from him for that long, he just went along and continued using Kit as his first name. He also reasoned that it’s an offshoot of Christopher. Honestly, I wouldn’t know what to feel if my parents didn’t tell me my real name.
And that wraps up our list! Which celebrity surprised you the most with their real name? Any other notable celebrities you think we missed? Jot them down below!