That Is NOT Your Name…! 10 Celebs Whose Government Names Were A Surprise To Us
If someone were to say that they were a fan of a singer named Kelendria, would you know they were talking about Kelly Rowland? If I tell you I used to have a crush on Elgin Lumpkin, would you immediately know I was talking about Ginuwine? Well, if you were a thirsty fan like me back in the day, you probably knew too. But that’s the thing about celebrities and their government names. If it’s not the sexiest or coolest thing you’ve ever heard (or if it’s just too long), most will ditch it for a funky stage name or flip their name around in the hopes that they’ll have an easier time making it in the entertainment industry. So when we find out their real names, sometimes it’s a surprise. A very interesting surprise. Just check out these 10 names and you’ll understand what I mean.
Shaunie O’Neal – Va’Shaundya Nelson
The entrepreneur, TV personality, and person we have to blame for the ratchetness of Basketball Wives hasn’t been known as Va’Shaundya since she’s been in the public eye trying to build her own empire. She’s been trying to push “Shaunie” since she started hosting small sports shows and doing correspondent work for entertainment programs, and now that she’s a respected producer, I’m sure we won’t be hearing anybody call her Va’Shaundya (except for maybe moms?). It’s not a bad name though, it has personality in fact!
Miley Cyrus – Destiny Hope Cyrus
With a father named Billy Ray and a mom named Tish, I think I always just assumed that Miley was the name the former Disney star and now wild young adult was born with. But psych my mind mind and make my booty shine, the young’n was actually born Destiny Hope Cyrus. Coincidentally, her parents allegedly named her Destiny Hope because they had high “hopes” for her future. But her nickname was for some reason, Smiley, and being so partial to it I guess, the actress/singer decided to shorten it to Miley before she wound up blowing up. She officially changed her name to Miley in 2008 because I guess her “Destiny” had been fulfilled…?
Charlie Sheen – Carlos Irwin Estevez
I know what you’re thinking: Who the hell is Carlos!? Weeeell, if you didn’t know this about actor Martin Sheen and his family (because I’m sure you didn’t care), they have a Spanish and Irish background. Martin himself was actually born Ramon Antonio Gerardo Estévez, and continued to pass Spanish names on to his children (hence, Emilio and Carlos, who is now known as “Charlie”). But following in the direction of his father, once Carlos made the decision to get involved in acting, he decided to change his name to something more…hmmm…how do I say?…white. His father had adopted the last name “Sheen” in honor of Catholic archbishop Fulton J. Sheen.
Bruno Mars – Peter Gene Hernandez
Being that the singer is half Puerto Rican, we can all see where the last name, Hernandez, came from. And while “Bruno Mars” just seems like any ‘ol eccentric stage name by any ‘ol eccentric artist, there is actually a story behind it. In an interview with Rap-Up, he broke it down for inquiring minds, and it has to do with wrestling, and the ladies…:
“Bruno is after Bruno Sammartino, who was this big fat wrestler. I guess I was this chunky little baby, so my dad used to call me that as a nickname. The Mars came up just because I felt like I didn’t have no pizzazz, and a lot of girls say I’m out of this world, so I was like I guess I’m from Mars.”
Tupac Shakur – Lesane Parish Crooks
Yes, we all know that the rapper was known as and named Tupac Shakur as a child, but according to his death certificate, and the story behind all that, on his birth certificate he was allegedly named Lesane Parish Crooks. Pac’s mother, Afeni Shakur, was of course a member of the Black Panther Party, and her affiliation with them allegedly brought her a lot of enemies. Fearing that her son would be a target, the name was supposedly put on his birth certificate to help keep a young Pac’s identity on the low-low. She would later change his name after marrying Mutulu Shakur.
Nia Long – Nitara Long
As short as Nia Long’s name seems like, it’s not as simple and straightforward as people assume! While we know that she calls herself Nia, which is one of the seven days of Kwanzaa, it sure doesn’t come from her first name, Nitara. While Nitara is definitely a pretty name, can we truly imagine her as anything other than Nia at this point?
Iggy Azalea – Amethyst Kelly
The fairly new and popular female rapper is one of the few making waves currently whose stage name is nothing near her government name. Nicki’s real name is Onika, Azealia’s name is…well, Azealia, But Iggy was actually born Amethyst (like the stone) Kelly. She took her stage name from her childhood dog surprisingly, and in an interview with Global Grind, she explained why her dog was the coolest mofo ever:
“It was my dog’s name growing up. That’s weird, right? My dead dog. He was the coolest. He was half pit and half Australian cattle dog. My dad got him when I was a baby. I had him my whole life growing up and he was this crazy dog. He would fight all the dogs in the neighborhood…He would bite people, have fights with other dogs, he got bitten by a snake so he was paralyzed, we took him to the vet, I thought he was going to die. He never died! We had to get him put down when I was 18 because his legs stopped working, but this motherf**ker would not let go. He was the coolest.”
Estelle – Fanta Estelle Swaray
Yes, Fanta. Like the beloved drink, but definitely not named after said drink. The daughter of Senegalese and Sierra Leonean parents, there really isn’t a big story behind how the name came about. But, as we can all see, the singer/rapper and fashionista decided to run with her middle name as her stage name so that people wouldn’t try and throw corny jokes her way. Plus, Estelle is a very pretty name in general, but Fanta is unique and awesome too though. No shade from moi for once!
Tito Jackson – Toriano Adaryll Jackson
With all the attention constantly on Michael and little sister Janet over like the last 25 to 30 years, how many people really knew that Tito Jackson, lead guitarist and eldest brother in the Jackson 5 and family, was actually born Toriano? I can see why he would go with the cute name Tito instead of “Toriano,” as I’m sure it would be hard to go on one of their many television show appearances, go in a circle and introduce themselves: “I’m Michael.” “I’m Jermaine.” “I’m Marlon.” “I’m Jackie.” “And I’m…Toriano!” Yeah, talk about hellas of awkward.
Plies – Algernod Lanier Washington
It’s been a really long time since I’ve seen Plies do anything on the music scene (not that I was a real fan or anything, though “Shawty” was my joint), but when I happened to look up the many interesting names of celebrities, I couldn’t help but have my eyes bug out at the sight of the name, Algernod. Now, I’m not sure how exactly that’s pronounced, but I don’t think there’s a way to say it that sounds alluring or cool. Ooooh, or maybe if it’s pronounced, “Al-jer-neaux”? No? Okay, I just thought I’d try. Allegedly though, the stage name Plies comes from the name they call successful drug dealers in Fort Myers, Florida.