December 8th, 2011
04:26 PM ET
“Glee” starlet Lea Michele has made a name for herself without using her actual last name, but she opened up about why she dropped it Wednesday on “The Tonight Show."
It's not unheard of for Hollywood stars to adopt a so-called mainstream moniker or just drop the last name altogether, but Lea says her new name was born of schoolyard bullying, not celebrity styling.
"Sarfati. That's my real last name," the 25-year-old actress revealed to Jay Leno. "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.'"
The “New Year’s Eve” star also explained the origin of the name Sarfati. “It's Sephardic, which is Spanish/Jew,” she told Jay of her heritage, joking that her family was “kicked out” of Spain.
Leno had a snappy comeback for the mini-dress clad actress: “Now why did you get kicked out? Was the skirt too short?”
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