Emma Stone changed her name to pay homage to the Spice Girls, but admits that she sometimes wishes she hadn’t.
Emma Stone is one of our favourite people in Hollywood, thanks to her phenomenal acting talent, down-to-earth attitude, and feminist beliefs. But, while fans would like to think they know everything about the La La Land actor, Stone recently revealed that she was forced to stop using her real name – Emily Jean Stone - when she signed up to the Screen Actors Guild aged 16.
SAG rules dictate that no two members of the guild can have the same name, which is why Emily became Emma. And, speaking on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, Stone explained that she instead went back to her childhood nickname, which had been inspired by the Spice Girls.
In particular, Baby Spice (otherwise known as Emma Bunton).
“I was super blonde, and my real name is Emily, but I wanted to be called Emma because of Baby Spice and guess what, now I am,” Stone told the talkshow host. “So, that’s pretty messed up.”
Backtracking, Stone added: “It wasn’t necessarily because of her. But yes, in second grade, did I go up to the teacher and ask her to call me Emma? Yes I did. And was it because of Emma Lee Bunton from the Spice Girls? Yes it was.”
However, while Stone stands by her Spice Girls fandom, she has said that she wishes she could have kept her own name for the Hollywood circuit.
In an interview with W Magazine, Stone explained: “Well, I was 16 when I found out at SAG I couldn’t have my own name. So to ask a 16 year old to pick a new name is really an interesting process because I was like, ‘I’m going to be Riley. My name is going to be Riley Stone.’
“And so my name was Riley Stone for about six months and I did a guest spot on Malcolm in the Middle and one day they were like, ‘Riley, Riley,’ and I had no idea who they were talking to and they were like, ‘Hey, hey come on we need you on set.’ And I was like, ‘Oh I’m not Riley, I can’t be Riley.’”
Stone initially wanted to change her name to Emily J. Stone, which she thought would be a cool way to pay homage to Michael J. Fox (oh yes, he of Back to the Future fame), but she panicked that she wouldn’t be able to pull it off.
The 28-year-old actor revealed: “I had the option of Emily J. Stone and it’s kind of like Michael J. Fox, and I love Michael J. Fox, but I don’t think I could pull off the J. So then I changed it to Emma because, you know, it’s closer to Emily, but most people call me Em that know me well.”
Stone added that, no matter how much she loves her homage to Baby Spice, she now regrets not sticking to her guns. Indeed, she often wishes she could go back to her own name, but recognises that it’s too late now.
“I would love to get her back,” she said.
Just a few months ago, Stone bravely opened up about her struggle with debilitating anxiety as a young girl.
Speaking with Rolling Stone, she said that she used to suffer from regular panic attacks which felt like “my brain naturally zooming ahead to the worst-case scenario”. As well as this, her “constant” anxiety caused both a mental and physical impact on her – and she soon began to see “feeling nauseous” as a regular part of everyday life.
“At a certain point, I couldn’t go to friends’ houses anymore,” she told the publication. “I could barely get out the door to school.”
Her parents sent her to a therapist, which she found enormously helpful – and Stone later discovered that improvisational comedy was also a wonderful release.
“You have to be present in improv,” she said, “and that’s the antithesis of anxiety.”
However it was imagining her very own ‘anxiety monster’ that proved to be the most successful means of self-care.
“If I listen to it enough, it crushes me. But if I turn my head and keep doing what I’m doing – let it speak to me, but don’t give it the credit it needs – then it shrinks down and fades away.”