It turns out we have been pronouncing a lot of celebrity names wrong for a long time. And we’re in the midst of an epidemic of finding it out. Chrissy Teigen and Ariana Grande are the latest A-listers to step forward to proclaim that, actually, we’ve been making a mockery of their surnames.
While almost everyone with a unique name has a lifetime of experience of learning to grin and bear it when that name gets butchered, it feels as if we’re in a moment where those people are just a little sick of it and are stepping up to correct the record. Teigen, in particular, said she was sick of “living a lie” while revealing the actual pronunciation of her name on Twitter.
It’s Tie-gen, by the way, and not Tee-gen as we’ve all assumed.
Meanwhile, in an interview with an Australian Radio Station, Ariana Grande clarified that her last name is not pronounced like the drink size at Starbucks. It’s Grand-ee, not Grand-ay. It was her brother, Frankie Grande, who first made the switch, revealing that he didn’t like the way his name almost rhymed, and the rest of the family just went along with it.
“My brother [Frankie Grande] kind of changed it to [Grawnday] because [Grandee] was kind of like the Americanized version of it,” she explained. “I grew up saying [Grandee].”
To avoid similar such incidents in the future, here’s a quick reminder of the correct pronunciation of some notoriously difficult celebrity last names.
Camila Cabello: Ca-bey-o, as in, doesn’t anyone remember from eighth grade Spanish that the LL is pronounced like a Y?
Rachel Weisz: Vice, like the libertarian Internet website for edgy millennials.
Lupita Nyong’o: En-yon-go, which should be easy enough in retrospect.
Zooey Deschanel: Des-shuh-nell, as in not like the House of Chanel.
Gal Gadot: Guh-dot. The T here is not spilled or silent. It’s pronounced.
Zendaya: It’s literally just Zen-day-a, as much as you want to pronounce the middle syllable as die, you nihilist, you.
Alden Ehrenreich: It’s Aaron-rike, as in if you’re pronouncing it and it sort of sounds like I’m rich, then you’re way off base.
Tiffany Haddish: Rhymes with radish, simply enough.
Noah Centineo: Cen-tin-A-o, but he’s only been famous for, like, three weeks so we’re all just learning.