‘Leno’: Lea Michele Reveals That Teasing Made Her Change Her Name

by | December 8, 2011 at 10:49 PM | TV News

Lea Michele of 'Glee' (Photo: Fox)

Lea Michele of 'Glee' (Photo: Fox)


Name-calling prompted “Glee” star Lea Michele to change her last name. The actress and singer visited the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” yesterday and told viewers that she changed her name from Lea Sarfati to Lea Michele because of the names she would be called.

“Sarfati. That’s my real last name,” she said while visiting the show to promote her upcoming film “New Year’s Eve.” “I don’t use it a lot because I got Lea So-Fatty, Lea So-Farty at school. So when I was little and I went on my first audition they were like, ‘And may we have your name?’ and I was like ‘Lea Michele.’”

She went on to explain that origins of her true last name.

“It’s Sephardic, which is Spanish/Jew,” she told Jay of her heritage, before joking that her family got “kicked out” of Spain.

Wearing what Leno called “one of the greatest dresses of all time,” Michele went on to talk about odd New Year’s traditions as well as her reaction to meeting one of her idols, Barbra Streisand. You can watch more of her appearance in the clip below.