Gigi Hadid is this generation’s ultimate “it” girl. She’s walked for every major runway and also appeared on the cover of pretty much all the Vogues that matter (French, Italian, British, and American). Although most of her life is in the public eye, many people don’t know her real name – Jelena Noura Hadid.
Jelena is a variant of the more common “Helena.” So, how did she get the name Gigi? It’s actually an adorable story. A teacher at school would routinely confuse her with another girl named Helena. Her mother affectionately called her “Gigi” at home. A young Jelena asked her teacher to call her Gigi instead, and the name stuck.
Meghan Markle / Rachel
Meghan Markle is known as the Duchess of Sussex these days, for better or for worse. But before that illustrious title, Markle was also called Rachel. We don't mean Rachel Zane in "Suits." Confused? Allow us to explain. Rachel is actually her real name. Surprise, surprise.
People close to the Duchess say she’s always preferred being called Meghan since university. She rarely uses or talks about her full name – Rachel Meghan Markle. And she hasn't explained why either. The Duchess only used it recently for official documentation. This was when she and Prince Harry were still active members of the Royal Family.
Shania Twain / Eilleen Regina Edwards
It’s hard to imagine Shania Twain having a different name. But it turns out she used to be called something completely different. The singer shared the origin story during a radio appearance. She was born Eilleen Regina Edwards but became Eilleen Regina Twain after her adoption. When fate decreed that she would become a professional singer, it warranted another name change.
She needed something that didn’t remind her so much of her grandmothers, literally. She was actually named after both her grandmothers – Eileen and Regina. What she needed was a beautiful name – something ethereal to best represent her star persona. And thus, Shania Twain was born. An excellent choice, we say.
Vin Diesel / Mark Vincent
Think action films and the name Vin Diesel comes to mind instantly. He’s among the few who possess the screen presence, physical appearance, and rough but lovable charm necessary to make it as an action star. And his name adds to the appeal. But long before his Fast and Furious fame, the actor used to be called Mark Vincent. Vincent worked as a bouncer at some seriously questionable clubs in New York City during the ‘80s.
His job involved literally fighting violent clubbers, so violent that bouncers had to go back home in groups after hours for their own safety. Bouncers never told anybody their real name, and Vincent’s peers began calling him Vin Diesel. The name stuck. Why Vin Diesel? “Vin” was a shortened version of his father’s last name, and “Diesel” since his friends thought he had too much energy.
Miley Cyrus / Destiny Hope Cyrus
Miley Cyrus was born Destiny Hope Cyrus. Her parents, Leticia Jean and Billy Ray Cyrus were convinced she was destined for success. Destiny and Hope seemed fitting and they named their daughter accordingly. Of course, their parental instincts proved right. She eventually became “Smiley” after her infectious smile as a toddler.
"Smiley" would become "Miley" soon enough, and the rest is history. Although she’s better known as Miley Cyrus, the singer had also adopted the name “Ray” after her late grandfather, Ronald Ray Cyrus. The two were very close and after he passed, Miley wrote the song "I Miss You" to mourn his loss and cope with her grief.