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Sunny Hostin name

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In a new interview with PEOPLEThe View co-host Sunny Hostin opened up about the struggles of her Afro-Latina identity, and the ways she’s felt that she betrayed that identity to have success in television.

Born Asunción Cummings to an African-American father and Puerto Rican mother in the South Bronx, she says she felt different even as a child when family had a hard time seeing her as both Black and Latina. It’s a topic she broaches in depth in her upcoming memoir, I Am These Truths.

“I have lived in the gray for so long, and it really is an uncomfortable place to be,” the 51-year-old lawyer and journalist told the publication. “My Black family considered me an other … my Puerto Rican and Jewish family treated me as other because I didn’t look like any of them either.”

As she got older, studying journalism and law and beginning her career in TV, she unexpectedly found herself feeling like the “other” again. She was going as her birth name, Asunción, when she started working on Court TV with Nancy Grace. When the famed legal commentator couldn’t pronounce her name, Grace encouraged her to go with a nickname instead (no legal name change occurred, though). That’s how “Sunny” came to be.

“She struggled with it so much,” Hostin recalled. “‘Asunción, it’s not going to work, and you’re really good and you’re really talented. You should use a nickname.’ I just became Sunny Hostin, and I just went with it, honestly.”

And though she is known far and wide by that name now, she admits that a part of her doesn’t feel good about the decision she made. She believes the decision played into the confusion some have about what her background is.

“I still regret it,” she said to PEOPLE. “I think I allowed my identity to be stripped from me, for my job. I don’t think Nancy was trying to strip me of my identity, or you know, Americanize me, or colonialize me, or anything like that. Nancy’s my friend, and it wasn’t ill-intentioned. I don’t think people would question my identity as much if I stuck with my given name.”

Whatever name people call her by though, Hostin hopes that her book and story will help people see her differently, and see her as proudly Afro-Latina.

“I want to be seen in my complexity,” she said. “I am Afro-Latina; I am many things. And it’s weird in this country. People can’t acknowledge that — they can’t see that.”

Hostin is not the first person to ditch their real name to go as a variation or something completely different to get ahead in entertainment. Hit the flip to find out what these stars’ names actually are.

celebrity real names

Source: Bravo / Getty

Jo-Issa Rae Diop

We call her Issa Rae, but the Insecure creator’s real name is Jo-Issa Rae Diop. She’s Senegalese. Her father was born in the Western African country while her mother was born in Louisiana.

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