Emma Lord
April 09, 2015 8:31 am
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I think we’d all be lying if we said we haven’t come up with at least a few fake names for ourselves. I mean, just think of all the times it would come in handy: you’d already have the work halfway done if you were going to be a spy, or if you had to join Disney’s Princess Protection Program, or if you just wanted to see if Starbucks could spell something right on a cup for once.

Of course, we usually dismiss this idea as soon as we think of it. Our names are pretty ingrained, whether we like it or not. But you’d be surprised just how many celebrities have gone to great lengths to change their names before hitting the big time — and, in honor of Name Yourself Day, we compiled a whole list of celebs you might not even realized were born with different names. Hey, maybe your fave secretly has the same name as you! Even if they don’t … well, it’s Name Yourself Day, so today you can be named whatever the heck you want. Here are the people who already did just that:

1. Katy Perry

Real name: Katheryn Hudson

Katy Perry actually did release one of her early Gospel CDs under her original name, but this change was merely one of practicality, since Kate Hudson was already a famous actress at the time.

2. Emma Stone

Real name: Emily Jean Stone

Emma reason for changing her name was similar to Katy Perry’s: It turned out there already was an Emma Stone registered in the actor’s union, so she decided to change her name slightly. She briefly went by Riley while acting in Malcom In The Middle, but decided it would have to be Emma when she accidentally ignored everyone calling her name.

3. Lorde

Real name: Ella Yelich-O’Connor

She always knew she wanted to have a stage name, and “Lord” sounded very regal to her. She decided the perfect touch would be adding the “e” to the end to make it more feminine (although she’s still Ella to her BFF Taylor Swift!).

4. Natalie Portman

Real name: Natalie Hershlag

After she was cast in her first film, Natalie decided to go with her paternal grandmother’s maiden name, Portman, in the interest of protecting her family’s private life.

5. Dakota Fanning

Real name: Hannah Dakota Fanning

Her mother wanted to name her Hannah and her father wanted to name her Dakota, so her original name was how they compromised. As fate would have it, her mother may have won the battle, but her father clearly won the war.

6. Elle Fanning

Real name: Mary Elle Fanning

Apparently Dakota set a trend: the story behind Elle Fanning’s name switch is the exact same as her older sister’s. Guess their dad was a champion name picker?

7. Lana del Rey

Real name: Elizabeth Woolridge Grant

Lana del Rey actually performed with some success under the stage name Lizzy Grant in the early millennium, but when she rebranded herself she wanted to go in an entirely different direction. She said about change: “I wanted a name I could shape the music towards. I was going to Miami quite a lot at the time, speaking a lot of Spanish with my friends from Cuba. Lana Del Rey reminded us of the glamour of the seaside. It sounded gorgeous coming off the tip of the tongue.”8. Miley Cyrus Real name: Destiny Hope Cyrus When she was a baby, her father Billy Ray Cyrus always called her “Smiley.” Eventually it evolved into Miley, and the well-suited name stuck.

9. Nicki Minaj