In the Name of Fame

Stage names, pen names, or alter egos, whatever you call them, they all fulfill the same role. These have become quite a common thing in the world of entertainment. Stars use them for various reasons, sometimes the purpose is to be able to do or say something they wouldn’t otherwise be able to, other times it is to hide who they truly are, and yet other times, these simply emerge because their old names weren't flashy or catchy enough. There is always talk about recreating oneself, about using a move to a new city or country or job to become the person we actually wanted to be, and we all need to start somewhere.

Beyonce Knowels/Sasha Fierce: If there is one thing that this star's alter ego is, it's definitely fierce! We all know and love Beyonce, we've seen her grow from just a member of Destiny's Child, to a super star and empire ruler. She seems to have it all, the job, the voice, the body, the man, the family. This change from one of three to the one has made her into a respected woman. Yet this hasn’t stopped Beyonce from going on stage and showing that just because now she has more things to worry than just being a pretty face with a voice, she is going to give up what brought her there. Sasha Fierce teaches you that it's all about the attitude, if you go out into the world and you have confidence in yourself, then there is nothing and no one that can stop you.

Stefani Germanotta/Lady Gaga: Let's be honest, if Lady Gaga had walked down the red carpet in a meat suit under the name Stefani Germanotta we would have thought she was insane rather than artistic. This is the classic example of someone who wanted to become someone else and started by changing their name. You can’t act like Lady Gaga and have a common name, it simply doesn’t work. She does whatever she wants to because no one will tell her no when it is for the sake of art, for the sake of sending a message. People used to tell her she couldn’t do it, and she proved them wrong. She recreated herself into something that people either love or hate, but into something people definitely talk about. She rose to the top because she inhabited her new persona and ran with it. There is a saying in Portuguese that Lady Gaga definitely embraced, it says, "talk well, talk badly, but talk about me."

Sasha Baron Cohen/Borat: Some people think he took it too far, but maybe he took it just far enough. Borat was controversial to say the least. He showed the public things they didn’t want to admit about themselves, and he did it all under the name of entertainment. Borat is an example of an alter ego with a purpose. Sure the whole portrayal was awkward and embarrassing, and most of the time we just wanted to slap him, but he did and said things that he wouldn’t have been able to had he still been Sasha Baron Cohen. He used his alter ego to make a point, to send a message. He made fun of the American public and he got them to laugh at it. He will always have people who disagree with him, but that doesn’t ever stop him from becoming someone else.

Marshall Bruce Mathers III/Eminem: Had Eminem come into the rapping world as Marshall Bruce Mathers III he would have had no success. His original name sounds like he should be a prince, or at least a member of the elite. Yet Eminem is neither of those things, not even close. No one would have taken his plight seriously unless he had chosen a new name to go along with his persona. Eminem has had a rough life, he made it out from nothing, he has battled drug addictions and has had various encounters with the law. Yet he always seems to come out on top, with lyrics that aren't just about big booties and sexy women. He definitely has some songs that reference women, but his songs always seem to have a greater driving force behind them and we probably wouldn’t be taking him as seriously in his rapping career had he been Marshall Bruce and not Eminem.

Miley Cirus/Hannah Montana: This star's alter ego was created by none other than the Disney Channel. So she didn’t pick who she would become, but to young girls, and some older ones, she has become an inspiration. She was regular girl by day and teen star by night. Like Lizzie McGuire earlier on, Hannah Montana showed young girls out there that it is ok to be awkward and have weird friends. It showed girls that who we are doesn’t dictate what we do. Although Miley has done questionable things since the end of the show, Hannah Montana will always remain the innocent teenager who is just trying to live a "normal" life. She has become a symbol of dreams that come true, of things that can go right.

Calvin Broadus/Snoop Dog: Snoop Dog, or Snoop Tiger as he most recently renamed himself, is an image. He is no longer just a person; he represents a spiritual yet weird aspect of the rap world. He's a pimp turned family man, who actually seems to care about his family, or at least that is what he wants the world to think. We have welcomed him to Brown before, and we would do it again. He also seems like one of the least scary rappers out there. Maybe it's his goofy smile, or the fact that his alter ego is called Snoop Dog, but I wouldn’t mind being friends with him.

Alecia Moore/Pink: She changed her locks and she changed her name. She was the hard girl with the short hair when she first came out into the entertainment world. She sings about not giving a fuck and girl power. She is the epitome of a strong independent woman. Granted she got married, had a baby and got a divorce, but that doesn’t stop her from being strong and showing the world she doesn’t need a man to be successful. She represents the woman we all ideally wish we could be. The one who made it to the top through her own will and strength and the one who stayed there in spite of the ups and downs and disagreeing men.

Although I sometimes wish famous people used their real names, so that I could have a sense of them as real people and not made up personas, at the same time I think they wouldn’t be stars if they were Alecia, or Stefani, or Calvin. Sure they would be like you and me, but then they would lose the allure and fantasy that surrounds them. It makes me wonder to what extent we want stars we can relate to, and to what extent we want stars that can make us lose our sense of reality. For the sake of art and fame they change their names, and for the sake of entertainment and fun we accept and embrace the change.