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  • 23 Stories Behind Celebrities’ Stage Names – BuzzFeed

 May 25

by Carolina

Not every celeb is born with a name they want to see in lights, so they often choose a stage name to help them stand out. The reasoning behind the names they choose can range from sweetly sentimental to absolutely wild.

Here are the stories behind 23 celebrity stage names:


Iggy Azalea used to wear a necklace with her dog’s name on it, and she decided to use it as her stage name when people kept asking if the name on the necklace was hers.

Jason Merritt / Getty Images

Her real name is Amethyst Amelia Kelly.


Halsey’s stage name is both an anagram of their first name and an homage to a street in Brooklyn that used to be their train stop.

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Her real name is Ashley Nicolette Frangipane.


Cardi B’s nickname growing up was Bacardi because her sister’s name is Hennessy, but she shortened it after her Instagram account kept getting deleted.

Dia Dipasupil / Via Getty

Her real name is Belcalis Almanzar.


The Weeknd took the final “e” out of his name because of copyright issues with a Canadian band called the Weekend.

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

His real name is Abel Makkonen Tesfaye.


Chumbawamba member Alice Nutter changed her legal name to that of a woman who was accused of witchcraft and hanged in 1612.

Tim Mosenfelder / Getty Images

The punk musician turned writer was born Anne Holden.


Snoop Dogg’s mom nicknamed him after Snoopy because of how much he loved the Peanuts character growing up.

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

His real name is Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr.


Lizzo’s name was inspired by the Jay-Z song “Izzo.”

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Her real name is Melissa Viviane Jefferson.


Lil Nas X chose his stage name because “every new rapper’s name is Lil,” and he thought calling himself “Lil Nas” would be funny.

Rich Fury / Getty Images

His real name is Montero Lamar Hill.


Lady Gaga’s producer Rob Fusari nicknamed her “Gaga” after the Queen song “Radio Ga Ga,” and she added “Lady” because of its regal connotations.

Jamie Mccarthy / Getty Images

She was born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta.


Nicki Minaj fought with a manager who wanted to change her name from “Maraj” to “Minaj,” and she’s “always hated it.

Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

Her real name is Onika Tanya Maraj.


Vin Diesel’s name is a combination of his stepfather Irving Vincent’s name and a nickname he earned as a “fueled up” club bouncer.

voice of Rocket Raccoon

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

His real name is Mark Sinclair.


Reese Witherspoon adopted her mother’s maiden name as her first name early in her acting career.

actor who plays Elle Woods in

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Her full name is Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon.


After dropping his first EP, Hozier shortened his name because he felt it would be “easier to remember.”

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His full name is Andrew John Hozier-Byrne.


Jay-Z chose his stage name to honor Jaz-O, his mentor and producer.

Ari Perilstein / Via Getty

His real name is Shawn Corey Carter.


Olivia Wilde changed her last name to honor writer Oscar Wilde after playing Gwendolen in a high school production of The Importance of Being Earnest.

Charley Gallay / Getty Images for Veuve Clicquot

Her real name is Olivia Jane Cockburn.


When he was 14, Eminem started rapping under the name “M&M,” which were his initials, and it evolved into “Eminem.”

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His real name is Marshall Bruce Mathers III.


Vanilla Ice uses a nickname he earned as a teenager because of his pale complexion and a dance move he invented that mimicks sliding on ice.

Manny Hernandez / Getty Images

His real name is Robert Matthew Van Winkle.


Lorde chose her stage name because she’s fascinated with aristocracy, but she added the “e” to make it “more feminine.”

Neilson Barnard / Getty Images

Her real name is Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor.


John Legend took on his stage name after the nickname became more well-known in his social circle than his real name.

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His real name is John Roger Stephens.


P!nk’s stage name is a reference to Mr. Pink, Steve Buscemi’s Reservoir Dogs character.

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Her real name is Alecia Beth Moore.


Frank Ocean took inspiration from Frank Sinatra and Ocean’s 11 when choosing his stage name.

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He was born Christopher Edwin Breaux, but he legally changed his name to Christopher Francis Ocean in 2010.


And finally, when her real name was already taken at SAG, Emma Stone named herself after Emma Bunton, otherwise known as Baby Spice.

actor who plays Mia Dolan in

Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

Her real name is Emily Jean Stone.

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