Celebrities Who Kept Their Names (Despite Others' Advice)

We've all heard the stories: stars like Psych star James Roday, acclaimed actor Martin Sheen, superstar Bruno Mars and countless others changed their Latino last names to make it in Hollywood. While these stars made the decision to change their names to avoid being stereotyped, other celebrities simply refused to give up their Latino names and forsake their roots. 

From Andy Garcia to Miss USA Nia Sanchez, these five actors kept their names (despite others' advice!)

1. Soledad O'Brien

"When you have a name like María de la Soledad Teresa O'Brien, you have a lot of explaining to do," Soledad O'Brien wrote for CNN. "My name is altogether too long for Americans, who've always struggled with it."

Despite the lengthy character count, O'Brien decided to keep her first name and last name — against the advice of her superior at a local news station who told her that "Soul-Dad" was too simply hard to pronounce.


2. Andy Garcia

We would have never guessed that Cuban-American actor Andy Garcia was once asked to change his last name. "From early on, all the agents that I met when I came to town, first thing they would say is 'change your name.'" he said. "I think that the most important thing as an artist is to [have] a very personal connection to who you are. I always felt that in changing the name, I would lose sort of the essence of how I could personalize the work, my point of view. And it would be, in a way, betraying that, betraying my inner self." 


3. Emilio Estevez

Unlike his father, Martin Sheen, and brother, Charlie Sheen, Emilio Estevez refused to take a stage name. Reportedly, he chose to keep his name because he loved the double "E" initialsand held a strong appreciation for his Spanish heritage. "My grandfather, who was from Galicia, Spain, grew up tending a vineyard and growing potatoes and raising chickens and all of these things that are coming naturally to me now," he told the New York Times. "I was drawn to it in an unconscious way." 


4. Nia Sanchez

Miss USA 2014, Nia Sanchez, was told that she needed to change her name to make it big in the pageant circuit. She told Fox News Latino that someone once told her to change her name because she would never be successful in pageants otherwise. "I was shocked," she said. "I was born and raised Nia Sanchez. Why would I want to change who I am?"


5. John Leguizamo

John Leguizamo was advised to take one of two professional names: John Leighton or John Lee. In an interview with Fusion, Leguizamo admitted that Latinos weren't the "flavor" when he began acting. "My agents and casting people would tell me to change my name…. And they told me not to go out in the sun, and to tell people I was Italian," he said.