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Zoe Saldaña Says She Was Told That Changing Her Name Would Benefit Her Career
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Zoe Saldaña Says She Was Told That Changing Her Name Would Benefit Her Career

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 

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.

Alicia Keys

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

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.

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Featured image by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

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