Fun fact: not all celebrities go by their given birth name when they’re seeking fame. Crazy, right? It kinda makes sense when your name is Ehrich Weiss and you want to amaze the world with your ability to escape from certain doom.
Changing your name, or taking on a stage name is not uncommon at all. It allows a performer to adopt a different persona, and allows us as the audience to see them not as Ehrich Weiss the guy standing in the rain but as “Harry Handcuff Houdini” escape artist extraordinaire.
We've assembled a gaggle of celebrities who have altered their moniker. Have a stab at their real names.
Joselyn wasn’t too keen on multiple choice in high school. She vividly remembers the first biology exam she passed by only the skin of her teeth, which dragged her overall average down into the embarrassingly low 90s (she doesn’t want to talk about it). After swearing off any high school or university courses that required multiple choice tests, Joselyn managed to get an English degree by sweet-talking her professors into offering only essay-style exams. Needless to say, this did not exactly endear her to her peers. This rocky start smoothed out in time, though, and after tumbling down a black quiz hole one day while putting off job hunting, Joselyn realized her hatred of all things a-b-or-c had faded and she actually enjoyed dreaming up new ideas for questions and dangerously correct-sounding answers. You won’t find her quizzes an easy ride, but Joselyn just wants to make sure you’re really testing your knowledge.
Some actors have not chosen to change their name but were forced to by their union. In the US, only one person may be registered under a specific title. Like Michael Keaton, for example, whose given name was already taken by someone else.
Sure, a lot of celebs change their names because it sounds way cooler. For example, Prince is a killer pop idol name and who wouldn't want the last name Phoenix? Not Joaquin. Then there's Carmen Electra. Although changing your name because it sounds good is cool, remember some really do change theirs because they have to. When you think about it, it makes sense. There can't be two people in Hollywood with the same name. Google would be so confused!
But some countries don't have the luxury the US, Canada, the UK, and other countries do. In Taiwan, it is nearly illegal under most circumstances to change your name. In Brazil, the most common reason to change your name is if you've changed your gender, other than that, good luck changing it. You'd be surprised how many countries strictly prohibit name changes and how many only allow it after extensive judicial approval.
The odd thing is the countries that allow the name changes so easily, like the US, rarely if ever change the ethnicity of their name. You'll notice that people, especially celebs, change their name to make it appear more "American" or "English." But English-based names are rarely, rarely changed to appear of a different origin.
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