Millennials Who Use Stage Names

Over 500 Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of Millennials Who Use Stage Names
Voting Rules
Vote on the most surprising given name of these celebrity millennials

These celebrity millennials knew that it's tough to break into show business, but that a good stage name might give you a leg up in a sea of all the other Michaels, Matthews, Amandas, and Jessicas that were born between 1981 and 1996. Especially when you consider everything else they have to work against.

A number of people on this list simply dropped their last names to make what they were called catchier or easier to remember. Janelle Monáe and Alison Brie both have last names they no longer use, since their first and middle names were catchier on their own.

This list of famous stage names includes millennials who go by nicknames and famous people who have changed their names. It does not, however, include millennials who use their married surnames professionally, had their names legally changed as children, or celebrities with obviously theatrical stage names. Adele must have a last name and we know that ASAP Ferg and ASAP Rocky aren't related.

But not every millennial celebrity chose a stage name that stands out. It's hard to imagine that the JTT that covered every Tiger Beat and teen mag in the 90's could have been "JTW" if Jonathan Taylor Thomas hadn't changed his name from Jonathan Taylor Weiss. Which of these millennials have the most surprising birth names?

Most divisive: Issa Rae - born Jo-Issa Rae Diop
Ranked by
    • Age: 38
    • Birthplace: Oxford, England, UK
    Theodore Peter James Kinnaird Taptiklis (born 16 December 1984), better known as Theo James, is an English actor, director, producer and model, known for portraying the role of Tobias "Four" Eaton in The Divergent Series film trilogy. He played Detective Walter William Clark, Jr. in the crime-drama series Golden Boy (2013), and David in the films Underworld: Awakening (2012) and Underworld: Blood Wars (2016). He starred as Will Younger in the Netflix Original film, How It Ends (2018).In 2015, he became the brand ambassador for Hugo Boss fragrances for men, appearing in print ads and commercials.
    • Age: 39
    • Birthplace: New York City, USA, New York
    Olivia Wilde (born March 10, 1984), is an American actress, producer, director, and activist. She is known for her role as Remy "Thirteen" Hadley on the medical-drama television series House (2007–2012), and her roles in the films Conversations with Other Women (2005), Alpha Dog (2007), Tron: Legacy (2010), Cowboys & Aliens (2011), Butter (2011), Drinking Buddies (2013), The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013), Rush (2013), The Lazarus Effect (2015), Love the Coopers (2015), and Meadowland (2015). In 2017, Wilde made her Broadway debut, playing the role of Julia in 1984. In 2019, she directed her first film, the teen comedy Booksmart.
    • Age: 36
    • Birthplace: Tarzana, California, USA
    Blake Ellender Lively (née Brown; August 25, 1987) is an American actress. Lively is known for starring as Serena van der Woodsen in the CW drama television series Gossip Girl (2007–2012). She also starred in a number of films, including The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005), The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (2008), The Town (2010), Green Lantern (2011), Savages (2012), The Age of Adaline (2015), The Shallows (2016) and A Simple Favor (2018). She has been married to actor Ryan Reynolds since 2012, with whom she has two children and is expecting a third child.
    • Age: 42
    • Birthplace: Manhattan, New York, USA
    Alicia Augello Cook (born January 25, 1981), known professionally as Alicia Keys, is an American musician, singer, and songwriter. A classically-trained pianist, Keys was composing songs by age 12 and was signed at 15 years old by Columbia Records. After disputes with the label, she signed with Arista Records, and later released her debut album, Songs in A Minor, with J Records in 2001. The album was critically and commercially successful, producing her first Billboard Hot 100 number-one single "Fallin'" and selling over 16 million copies worldwide. The album earned Keys five Grammy Awards in 2002. Her second album, The Diary of Alicia Keys (2003), was also a critical and commercial success, spawning successful singles "You Don't Know My Name", "If I Ain't Got You", and "Diary", and selling eight million copies worldwide. The album garnered her an additional four Grammy Awards. Her duet "My Boo" with Usher became her second number-one single in 2004. Keys released her first live album, Unplugged (2005), and became the first woman to have an MTV Unplugged album debut at number one. Her third album, As I Am (2007), produced the Hot 100 number-one single "No One", selling 7 million copies worldwide and earning an additional three Grammy Awards. In 2007, Keys made her film debut in the action-thriller film Smokin' Aces. She, along with Jack White, recorded "Another Way to Die" (the title song to the 22nd official James Bond film, Quantum of Solace). Her fourth album, The Element of Freedom (2009), became her first chart-topping album in the UK, and sold 4 million copies worldwide. In 2009, Keys also collaborated with Jay Z on "Empire State of Mind", which became her fourth number-one single and won the Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. Girl on Fire (2012) was her fifth Billboard 200 topping album, spawning the successful title track, and won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Album. In 2013, VH1 Storytellers was released as her second live album. Her sixth studio album, Here (2016), became her seventh US R&B/Hip-Hop chart topping album. Keys has received numerous accolades in her career, including 15 competitive Grammy Awards, 17 NAACP Image Awards, 12 ASCAP Awards, and an award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame and National Music Publishers Association. She has sold over 65 million records worldwide. Considered a musical icon, Keys was named by Billboard the top R&B artist of the 2000s decade and placed number 10 on their list of Top 50 R&B/Hip-Hop Artists of the Past 25 Years. VH1 also included her on their 100 Greatest Artists of All Time and 100 Greatest Women in Music lists, while Time has named her in their 100 list of most influential people in 2005 and 2017. Keys is also acclaimed for her humanitarian work, philanthropy and activism. She co-founded and is the Global Ambassador of the nonprofit HIV/AIDS-fighting organization Keep a Child Alive.
    • Age: 38
    • Birthplace: Santa Barbara, California, USA
    Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson (born October 25, 1984), known professionally as Katy Perry, is an American singer, songwriter, and television judge. After singing in church during her childhood, she pursued a career in gospel music as a teenager. Perry signed with Red Hill Records and released her debut studio album Katy Hudson under her birth name in 2001, which was commercially unsuccessful. She moved to Los Angeles the following year to venture into secular music after Red Hill ceased operations and she subsequently began working with producers Glen Ballard, Dr. Luke, and Max Martin. After adopting the stage name Katy Perry and being dropped by The Island Def Jam Music Group and Columbia Records, she signed a recording contract with Capitol Records in April 2007. Perry rose to fame in 2008 with her second album, One of the Boys, a pop rock record containing the singles "I Kissed a Girl" and "Hot n Cold". The former track also sparked controversy for its themes of lesbianism. Her third album, Teenage Dream (2010), ventured into disco, and was her first record to top the U.S. Billboard 200. It peaked at number 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 with the singles "California Gurls", "Teenage Dream", "Firework", "E.T.", and "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)", while "The One That Got Away" reached number 3 on the chart. The album became the first by a female artist to produce five number 1 songs in the U.S., and the second overall after Michael Jackson's album Bad. In 2012, Perry re-issued the album as Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection, which produced the songs "Part of Me" and "Wide Awake". Her next record was Prism (2013), which became her second to top the U.S. charts. It is influenced by pop and dance, and she became the first artist with multiple videos to reach one billion views on Vevo with the videos for its songs "Roar" and "Dark Horse". She followed this with 2017's Witness, which delved into electropop and became her third album to chart at number 1 in the U.S. "Chained to the Rhythm" was the album's most successful single, breaking Spotify's record at the time for most first-day streams for a song by a female artist. Perry has received various awards, including four Guinness World Records, five American Music Awards, a Brit Award, and a Juno Award, and has been included in the annual Forbes lists of highest-earning women in music from 2011–2018. Her estimated net worth as of 2016 is $125 million. She is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 18 million albums and 125 million singles globally throughout her career. In film, she released an autobiographical documentary titled Katy Perry: Part of Me in 2012, and voiced Smurfette in the 2011 film The Smurfs and its sequel in 2013. Perry also began serving as a judge on American Idol in 2018.
    • Age: 42
    • Birthplace: Jerusalem, Israel
    Natalie Portman (born Neta-Lee Hershlag; June 9, 1981) is an actress and filmmaker with dual Israeli and American citizenship. She is the recipient of various accolades, including an Academy Award and two Golden Globe Awards. Portman made her feature film debut as the young protégée of a hitman in the action film Léon: The Professional (1994). While still in high school, she gained international recognition for starring as Padmé Amidala in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999) and received critical acclaim for playing a precocious teenager in the comedy-drama Anywhere but Here (1999). From 1999 to 2003, Portman attended Harvard University for a bachelor's degree in psychology, while continuing to act in the Star Wars prequel trilogy (2002, 2005). She also starred in The Public Theater's 2001 revival of Anton Chekhov's play The Seagull. In 2004, Portman was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and won a Golden Globe Award for playing a mysterious stripper in the romantic drama Closer. Portman's career progressed with her starring roles as Evey Hammond in V for Vendetta (2006), Anne Boleyn in The Other Boleyn Girl (2008), and a troubled ballerina in the psychological horror film Black Swan (2010), for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. She went on to star in the romantic comedy No Strings Attached (2011) and featured as Jane Foster in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films Thor (2011), and Thor: The Dark World (2013). For portraying Jacqueline Kennedy in the biopic Jackie (2016), Portman received her third Academy Award nomination. Portman's directorial ventures include the short film Eve (2008) and the biographical drama A Tale of Love and Darkness (2015). She is vocal about the politics of America and Israel, and is an advocate for animal rights and environmental causes. She is married to dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied, with whom she has two children.