1 of 14 Jun Sato/WireImage, Jemal Countess/WireImage for New York Post
Beyonce / Sasha Fierce
The general public wasn't introduced to Bey's more aggressive, sexual alter ego until the 2008 album I Am… Sasha Fierce. Beyonce conceived Sasha as a way to keep her powerful stage persona separate from who she really is, but in 2010 the diva said she was comfortable enough with herself that she didn't need Sasha. While Bey might not feel a need to rely on alter egos anymore, that doesn't mean she has ut them off completely. Her latest self-titled album introduced us to yet another side of the singer, Yonce, a more erotic and darker alter ego.
2 of 14 Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images, Chris Gaines/YouTube
Garth Brooks/Chris Gaines
Brooks went all emo on us in 1999 as Chris Gaines, a moody rocker, that the country star was to play in the planned film The Lamb. To generate buzz, Brooks went as far to release an album by Gaines and appeared on Saturday Night Live as both himself and Gaines. Fans were mostly bewildered, the movie was scrapped, and, like many rockers, Gaines and his pre-Apolo Anton Ohno soul patch faded away.
3 of 14 Hans H. Kirmer/DPA /LANDOV, NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
David Bowie/Ziggy Stardust
Way before E.T. made his way here, Ziggy Stardust was our favorite alien in the early '70s. The glamorous otherworldly messiah was put on Earth to save our planet, but he ended up consuming Bowie. "David Bowie went totally out the window," he said later. "Everybody was convincing me that I was a messiah, especially on that first American tour. I got hopelessly lost in the fantasy." Burnt out, Bowie retired Ziggy during a sold-out concert at London’s Hammersmith Odeon Theatre on July 3, 1973.
4 of 14 Michael Loccisano/Getty Images, Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic
Lady Gaga / Jo Calderone
Gaga didn't just create her Italian male alter ego for a quick shock and awe moment: He has a career all his own! Jo Calderone has covered Vogue Hommes Japan, starred in the "You and I" music video, and appeared at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards, where he conducted a press conference afterwards. The singer even lived as Jo for days leading up to the ceremony to get comfortable in his skin — an important issue for the singer since Joe was conceived as a means to contend with public expectations and what Gaga struggles to like about herself.
5 of 14 Lester Cohen/WireImage, Katy Perry
Katy Perry / Kathy Beth Terry
Perry called "Last Friday Night" a "slut jam," but the alter ego she debuted in the tune's music video is anything but. A four eyes with a mouth full of metal and head gear to boot, Kathy Beth Terry was a total nerd who apparently lives in the '90s, if her Twitter bio is any indication: "I'm 13 and in the 8th grade. I like Sudoku puzzles, the solar system, high-school science fairs, Skip-It, Weenie Babies and LOVE JTT!" Well, who doesn't?
6 of 14 Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images, Kevin Mazur/WireImage
Nicki Minaj / Roman Zolanski
As with everything Nicki does, her Roman alter ego is over-the-top absurd. The blond, British, gay male persona began as violent, outspoken and crazy — so much so, in fact, that his "mother" Martha attempted to have him exorcised — but eventually, Roman became more carefree in his rebellion. In early 2014, Minaj announced she had tired of Roman and "killed" him. Though she still maintains several other alter egos, including The Harajuku Barbie, Nicki Lewinski, Point Dexter, Tyrone and Nicki the Ninja.
7 of 14 John Paul Filo/CBS/Landov, Noel Vasquez/Getty Images
Joaquin Phoenix / Joaquin Phoenix
Before James Franco co-opted performance art, Phoenix left everyone scratching their heads when he "quit" acting to focus on music and grew the saddest beard ever. After an incoherent, drowsy interview on The Late Show with David Letterman, he later revealed that the stunt was all an act for a mockumentary, I'm Still Here, with Casey Affleck. Fortunately, Phoenix is still here as himself… we think.
8 of 14 Gregg DeGuire/WireImage; Ray Tamarra/Getty Images
Madonna / Esther
Madge has not one but two alter egos. During the Erotica era, she went by Mistress Dita and penned her book Sex under the pseudonym. In 2004, after taking up Kabbalah, Madonna renamed herself Esther, which means "star."
9 of 14 Alpha /Landov
Bono / MacPhisto
It's hard to imagine Bono without his signature shades these days, but in the early '90s, he took on MacPhisto, the devil-turned-rocker caked in white face paint. MacPhisto was just one of three Bono personas, along with The Fly and the Mirror Ball Man.
10 of 14 Jeff Fusco/Getty Images, YouTube
Justin Bieber / Shawty Mane
Biebs' rapper alter ego gets major points for humor, drawing his name from two of the most common insults about the singer. Shawty Mane even keeps that same cheeky edge in his rhymes — which really are better than you'd expect ("Call up Mr. Brady/Tell him to leave his hair to the guy who sings 'Baby,'" he said, mocking Tom Brady's unfortunate 2010 'do.) In fact, Shawty Mane has been deemed talented enough to collaborate with Juicy J and Chris Brown.
11 of 14 David Munn/WireImage, Chris Polk/WireImage
A.J. McLean/ Johnny No Name
McLean quit playing games with his heart and unleashed his inner British rocker by way of Nashville in Johnny No Name. (He originally called himself Johnny Suede, but had to change it because a movie had the same name.) He even embarked on a tour as his edgier persona. What did he perform? Rage Against Machine and Stone Temple Pilots covers and… Backstreet tunes.
12 of 14 Jim Britt/ABC via Getty Images, Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images
Andy Kaufman / Tony Clifton
A washed-up Vegas lounge singer, Clifton was "discovered" by Kaufman in 1969 and was so believable that for a while, many people didn't know he was a fake person. To keep up the ruse, Kaufman enlisted his pals, including fellow comedian Bob Zmuda, to play Clifton while Kaufman was performing elsewhere so no one would link them. Kaufman even booked guest spots for Clifton on Taxi, but Clifton was banned from the show after throwing a tantrum on set. Though Kaufman died in 1984, Clifton still makes the occasional appearance here and there.
13 of 14 Jeremy Sisto, Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images
Jeremy Sisto/ Escape Tailor
It's shocking Sisto isn't a more lauded actor because this man has range! In addition to his work on Clueless, Six Feet Under and Suburgatory, Sisto also performs as hobo clown Escape Tailor. Sisto described his musical alter ego as "someone who lives wholly in the present, unburdened of social norms and deeply tethered to his own flawed humanity." What he forgot to add was Escape Tailor is inspired in equal parts by Albert Einstein, Tom Waits and the Insane Clown Posse. (At least that's what his bizarre get-up would have us believe.)
14 of 14 YouTube, Michael Loccisano/Getty Images
Lady Antebellum / Dick Fantastic and the Fabulous Four Skins
When frontwoman Hillary Scott took maternity leave, the band needed to find a way to kill time. So, The boys put on their most ridiculous '80s gear and re-formed as our new favorite cover band The Fabulous For Skins. Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood — now Dick Fantastic and "The Thunder From Down Under" Queef Urban — poked fun at their real selves while in character, saying, "People are always talking. They say we look a lot like those guys from Lady Antebellum. I hate that band. Such a stupid ass name."