Zoe Saldaña is reflecting on some “poor” advice she received when she first began her career as an actress. The Drumline star recalled how her former manager told her that she should change her name in order to get ahead in Hollywood. Zoe kicked off her film career in 2000 starring in Center Stage, where she portrayed a ballet dancer. That was when her former manager made the suggestion.
"When I did Center Stage, I remember being discouraged by my management at that time to use my name," she toldEntertainment Weekly. "But their intention was never for me to stop being who I was. They celebrated who I was," she clarified.
“But my manager at the time was a former singer and a ballroom performer, and she did change her name as well, when she was a teenager back in the '60s, I believe. And she said it's what everybody does." However, Zoe, who is Dominican and Puerto Rican, decided that it was best to keep her name and identity. "That was her doing the best that she wanted for me, but I still knew that I liked my name," she said.
Based on her past experiences in Hollywood, the mother of three makes an effort to lend herself to younger women who may need advice navigating the industry. “If you ever have questions about your representation, or you want to bounce ideas, or how to handle a contract, how to push your team, how to allow your team to influence you, or if you feel uncomfortable, I’m here,” she said. “I can only share with you based on my experiences, my failures, and my successes in hopes that they will inspire you to make good decisions for yourself.”
While Zoe made the decision not to change her name, there are other celebrities who have. Check out what these celebrities had to say about their name change.
Jamie Foxx, whose real name is Eric Marlon Bishop explained why he changed his stage name and how it helped his career as a comedian during a 2018 interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. “When I got to L.A., it was open mic night so I put my name down Eric Bishop. I go up, have a great set, standing ovation. I went back for the next few weeks [and] they wouldn’t let me back up because the comedians ran the list,” he said.
The Ray star claimed that male comedians considered him their competition and wouldn’t give him an opportunity to go back on the stage. That’s when he began writing down unisex names after noticing that there were only a few women on the list of comedians at comedy shows. After trying a few different names, Jamie Foxx stuck.
While it sounds like a normal name, Alicia Keys' real name isn’t Alicia Keys. The singer’s real name is Alicia Augello-Cook and she credited her mom for the name change. “It's a funny story. I got so desperate I went through the dictionary for something that catches my eye. I get to the W's and I pick Wild,” she said. "'Alicia Wild, how does that sound, Ma?' She said, 'It sounds like you're a stripper.' But I liked Keys. It's like the piano keys. And it can open so many doors," she toldNewsweek of changing her last name.
John Legend was actually born John Roger Stephens. The singer revealed that John Legend is actually a childhood nickname that he decided to use as his stage name. "It grew to the point where more people in my circle would know me by that name than by my real name," he said in an interview with MTV News.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
How We Met is a series where xoNecole talks love and relationships with real-life couples. We learn how they met, how like turned into love, and how they make their love work.
As I move through life and experience different highs and lows, one thing that has become increasingly clear is the importance of self-love and self-worth. Now, I’m not saying it’s always easy, but I do feel like if it’s in a good place, people experience life more fully. And when it comes to love, my friend Amanda Wicks and her husband, Will Ford, are the perfect example.
Amanda may not remember this, but years ago, on one of her many visits back to Atlanta (we both went to Clark Atlanta University), she sat across from me at a dinner table and declared she was done looking for love. She was happy with who she was, and while she still desired it, it was no longer something she was chasing. “If it happens, it happens,” she said. The statement was so bold it made me quickly reroute our usual dating story catch-ups and awkwardly move to a different topic.
Well, the next time we met up, she told me she had met someone and was moving to Houston to live with him. Imagine my surprise and concern. Later, I’d find out that this decision, like so many other elements of their relationship, flowed naturally and organically. Their whole partnership has been full of peace and vulnerability.
Fast forward to today’s conversation, they’re still living together, celebrating four years of marriage, and planning to create a family. And while this stage of their story sounds generally normal, the way they got there is nothing but. Check out the "How We Met" feature below to see how a couple who never spoke on the phone and lived in different states ended up in a loving marriage full of ease, art, and authenticity.
Photo courtesy of Amanda Wicks and Will Ford
Walk me through your ‘How We Met’ story.
Amanda: We met on Instagram (laughs). He followed me first, and I followed back because he does art, and I was intrigued by that. Honestly, we followed each other for a while before we connected. But I remember one day I saw a post where he had on a Martin t-shirt that I liked, and that sparked our conversation. He ended up telling me he made the shirt and actually mailed me one. So when I got it, I made a post wearing it, and that’s where the conversation started. Since that day we’ve communicated every day since.
Will: Yeah, I initially saw her on a short-hair Instagram page and followed her because I thought she was attractive. I actually showed her to my co-workers on one of our monthly outings as an example of my “type” – something I had never done. But one thing I will say is, I noticed she had on a Nina Simone shirt in one of her photos, that’s what got me. It showed she had more depth.
I guess that answers my next question. Did you have an initial attraction to each other?
Will: (Laughs) Yeah, I did.
Amanda: For me, no. I just wasn’t looking at him through that lens. I didn’t follow him because he was attractive. I don’t follow people online because of that. I actually remember a time when we were going back and forth, and I was like, “Aye, you kinda cute.” It was a specific moment. Once I started looking through his page more often, I started to view him that way, but it still was more of an acknowledgment. We really connected primarily because of our creative interests.
So, how did it go to the next level?
Amanda: I was in Nashville, and he was in Houston. But I’m somebody where if I feel like doing something, I’m going to do it. I had been meaning to go to Houston for a while to see a friend, so I felt like it was the perfect combination of a circumstance. We had been talking a lot, and I knew I liked him as a person and really wanted to meet him, but of course, I was aware of the idea that it could blossom into more. I remember I sent him a text saying, “Would you think I was crazy if I pulled up to Houston?”
Photo courtesy of Amanda Wicks and Will Ford
What was your reply? Did you think she was crazy?
Will: In my mind, I was like, I don’t know. (Laughs) I wanted her to, though, so I wasn’t going to say yeah. It was a little wild, but I encouraged it.
Okay, so tell me about the date.
Amanda: I don’t know if you’d call it our first “date,” but the first time we met, we went to a skating rink. I was a little nervous about meeting him in person. Like, what if we don’t have chemistry – that was in the back of my head a little. But I brought my friend with me as a buffer, and thank God I did because he was so quiet the whole night. I literally can’t think of one thing he said the entire time. But the saving grace was that we had built a rapport. We reconnected the following night and were together until 5 a.m. – just sitting there talking. We ended up spending the whole weekend together.
Will: I’m socially awkward if I don’t know you. Also, before the date, I didn’t know what she sounded like or anything because, that’s another thing, we hadn’t talked on the phone. (They both really don’t like phone calls, so everything was through texts at this point.) I guess I could say I was kinda nervous, too. I had never met someone through social media, and then here I was, meeting her in person at a skating rink. I hadn’t skated in years, I was hoping I didn’t fall. But we had just been talking so much that I was open to it.
What made you want to take that risk?
Will: She has a level of authenticity that I’ve never seen in any other woman before, and once I saw her, it solidified that. I knew I wanted her around.
Amanda: I don’t think it was anything specific. It’s not hard for me to connect with people. But there were no red flags. We align across the board. That was different. We really connect on how we see the world.
"She has a level of authenticity that I’ve never seen in any other woman before, and once I saw her, it solidified that. I knew I wanted her around."
Photo courtesy of Amanda Wicks and Will Ford
Out of curiosity, what are your love languages?
Amanda: I connect with all of them. I think it just depends on what I’ve been lacking. I appreciate words of affirmation because I’m so big on actions that I like those bold statements of love, and of course, I appreciate quality time. The older I get, the more I appreciate physical touch, but that’s not something I need. With receiving gifts, I like thoughtfulness, and I like giving thoughtful gifts, too. But acts of service is for sure my biggest one. I love when someone considers me and makes my life easier. That speaks to me most.
"I love when someone considers me and makes my life easier. That speaks to me most."
Will: I think it all depends on how I’m feeling, too. But probably also acts of service. I like how Amanda will buy me deodorant when I run out (laughs). She just does so much all the time to show that I’m thought of.
At what point in your connection did y’all have the “what are we” conversation?
Will: I don’t think we ever had that convo. We never defined anything, we just kinda went with how it was going. However, I knew I wanted it to be more serious when I went to visit her. She had been coming to Houston once a month, and I went to Florida (she was there for work) to see her. I realized I felt comfortable coming into her space, too. That gave me that last little bit of whatever I needed.
Amanda: Yeah, I can’t say I had a defined moment like that. But again, as we had more and more interactions, there were just no red flags. The more we thought about it, the more we realized no matter where we went relationship-wise, we were adamant about being a part of each other’s lives. We never had the “talking to other people” conversation or anything. But we did both understand we weren’t going anywhere. Eventually, it graduated to convos around building a life together, but even that was over six months in. I just liked him as a person.
Have there been any negative revelations that your partnership and marriage have taught you about yourself?
Amanda: I’ve always felt that partnership is supposed to make the other person’s life easier. For me, it was a struggle to let someone help me in all the ways I didn’t really know I needed help. As I started having less capacity, I had to realize that it doesn't work anymore. It was hard for me to acknowledge and ask for help. I think that’s something I am still coming to terms with, even with other relationships in my life.
Will: I think I’m learning and still learning how to get out of my head. I’m the kind of person who always has to visualize stuff before it happens. And this relationship is the first thing that I don’t do that with. Of course, we plan stuff, but I know it’s gonna be good regardless. It allows me to stay in the moment. If I can do that with this, which is the most important thing to me, why can’t I do that with other things?
Photo courtesy of Amanda Wicks and Will Ford
What challenges have you faced together?
Will: For me, the preconceived challenge was living together. I’ve never lived with a woman before. Even in my previous relationship, it was long-distance. I’m also the type of person that likes my space, but as soon as she got here, that was out the window. It was so smooth it made me feel stupid for questioning it.
Amanda: I’m grateful to say we don’t necessarily have challenges between each other together. But we have been struggling with infertility and health issues. Our biggest challenge thus far is trying to get pregnant. Even articulating that makes me realize I’m grateful it hasn’t caused a rift between us. I think we have been able to face it in a healthy way. But that’s an example of how having someone else there can be helpful. I was so functional as a full-blown individual doing everything by myself.
So, in my head, I don’t need anyone, but having someone there who is happy to support me has taught me it’s okay to welcome that. It’s made us stronger because it’s taught us how we both function under duress – it’s good to know it’s not terrible (laughs).
"Our biggest challenge thus far is trying to get pregnant. Even articulating that makes me realize I’m grateful it hasn’t caused a rift between us. I think we have been able to face it in a healthy way."
What are some of the shared values that are important to your relationship?
Will: How we see life, what we’re here for, and how you’re supposed to treat people. It sounds really simple, but it’s not as common as you think.
Amanda: We value being really good people – without strings. We both don’t value money, but we value stability. So we don’t have to endure the “why are you not hustling” arguments. We were both stable people individually, and we came together. Also, we both value meaningful connections, alone time, reflection, and family. That guides us in what we do and how we build a life.
Finally, what is your favorite thing about each other?
Amanda: I’ll say one of my favorite things about him is that he’s brilliant. I view myself as a smart person, but in my head, he can do what I’m doing ten times faster. There are times I want to push myself to do stuff, and I’ll just ask him because I know he can do it. It’s incredible.
Will: My favorite thing about her is how people see her. Being a witness to how important she is to other people’s lives is amazing. Standing to the side and seeing how she affects them is really special.
Feature image courtesy of Amanda Hicks and Will Ford
Aside from the trick-or-treating, costume parties, and abundance of Halloween candy, something else that is common during this time of year is horror movies. Scary movies can be watched year-round, but cozying up for a fright night during the month of October adds another layer of spine-tingling thrills to the horror.
For the horror movie aficionado in you who might be more likely to reach for the remote than go out for Halloween party plans, we've got the perfect movie list for you. Grab your popcorn, dim the lights, and prepare for a terrifyingly good time as we explore the must-watch horror movies and TV shows on streaming that will haunt your dreams.
Scary Horror Movies and TV Shows To Stream This Halloween
The Strays (2023)
"A woman's meticulously crafted life of privilege starts to unravel when two strangers show up in her quaint suburban town." - via Netflix
The Fall of the House of Usher (2023)
"To secure their fortune — and future — two ruthless siblings build a family dynasty that begins to crumble when their heirs mysteriously die, one by one." - via Netflix
Get Out (2017)
"Chris is anxious about meeting his girlfriend Rose's parents, and his jitters prove justified as the get-together turns from uncomfortable to terrifying." - via Netflix
"A serene family vacation turns frightening when a family's nightmarish doppelgängers descend upon their beachfront abode." - via Netflix
"Successful author Veronica Henley is finishing a book tour before she returns home to her husband and daughter. But a shocking turn of events is about to upend Veronica's existence, plunging her into a horrifying reality that forces her to confront her past, present and future -- before it's too late." - via Rotten Tomatoes
"Traveling to Detroit for a job interview, a young woman books a rental home. But when she arrives late at night, she discovers that the house is double-booked, and a strange man is already staying there..." - via 20th Century Studios
The Fly (1986)
"When scientist Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) completes his teleportation device, he decides to test its abilities on himself. Unbeknownst to him, a housefly slips in during the process, leading to a merger of man and insect..." - via Rotten Tomatoes
Bodies Bodies Bodies (2022)
"When a group of rich 20-somethings plan a hurricane party at a remote family mansion, a party game goes awry in this fresh and funny look at backstabbing, fake friends, and one party gone very, very wrong." - via A24
Bad Hair (2020)
"In this horror satire set in 1989, Bad Hair follows an ambitious woman who gets a weave in order to succeed in the image-obsessed world of music TV. However, her career comes at a cost when she realizes that her new hair may have a mind of its own." - via Hulu
"When Ellen, the matriarch of the Graham family, passes away, her daughter's family begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry. The more they discover, the more they find themselves trying to outrun the sinister fate they seem to have inherited..." - via A24
Talk to Me (2022)
"When a group of friends discover how to conjure spirits using an embalmed hand, they become hooked on the new thrill, until one of them goes too far and unleashes terrifying supernatural forces." - via A24
The Invisible Man (2020)
"After staging his own suicide, a crazed scientist uses his power to become invisible to stalk and terrorize his ex-girlfriend. When the police refuse to believe her story, she decides to take matters into her own hands and fight back." - via Rotten Tomatoes
The Babadook (2014)
"Sam's frequent tantrums turn sinister when a creepy children's book mysteriously appears in his room, and he asks his mother, 'Do you want to die?'" - via Netflix
Evil Dead Rise (2023)
"In the fifth Evil Dead film, a road-weary Beth pays an overdue visit to her older sister Ellie, who is raising three kids on her own in a cramped L.A. apartment. The sisters' reunion is cut short by the discovery of a mysterious book deep in the bowels of Ellie's building, giving rise to flesh-possessing demons..." - via Rotten Tomatoes
His House (2020)
"As a young couple from war-torn South Sudan seeks asylum and a fresh start in England, they’re tormented by a sinister force living in their new home." - via Netflix
The Conference (2023)
"A ragtag group of public sector employees battle not only their own discord but also a bloodthirsty killer during a seemingly innocuous retreat." - via Netflix
Midnight Mass (2021)
"The arrival of a charismatic young priest brings glorious miracles, ominous mysteries and renewed religious fervor to a dying town desperate to believe." - via Netflix
The Invitation (2015)
"While attending a dinner party at his former house, a man starts to believe that his ex-wife and her new husband have sinister plans for the guests." - via Rotten Tomatoes
Gerald's Game (2017)
"When her husband's sex game goes wrong, Jessie -- handcuffed to a bed in a remote lake house -- faces warped visions, dark secrets and a dire choice." - via Netflix
The Nun II (2023)
"1956 -- France. A priest is murdered. An evil is spreading. The sequel to the worldwide smash hit follows Sister Irene as she once again comes face-to-face with Valak, the demon nun." - via Rotten Tomatoes
Featured image by valentinrussanov/Getty Images