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Reinvention has been a necessity for some stars who seek long careers within the spheres of pop music and culture. Celebs can achieve this in a variety of ways, whether it's by changing their sound or looks or maybe even their accent. But there are some who tend to overdo it in the pursuit of always wanting to appear fresh — to the point of potentially losing a grasp on who they actually are underneath it all. It's easy to be confused when the stars themselves don't really even seem to know the deal. Let's chart the courses of some of the most notoriously dramatic reinventors.
For the hip-hop mogul who was born Sean Combs, reinvention has largely meant a seemingly never-ending series of name changes, rather than changing musical or fashion styles. According to Complex, Combs was nicknamed Puffy as a kid because he "used to 'huff and puff' when he got upset" and that evolved into Puff Daddy by the time he was in college and interning for Uptown Records. He declared in 2001 that he was going by P. Diddy, a nickname bestowed on him by the late Notorious B.I.G.; four years later, he dropped the "P" and just went by Diddy. The moniker has stuck with him ever since, although he did unsuccessfully (and semi-jokingly) try to be called Brother Love (or simply Love) in 2017.
Those who have been paying attention to Madonna's career for the majority of her 35 years on the charts might notice that she often returns to old visual tropes, particularly the ones that borrow from fetish and other underground communities. However, she's also flirted with less sexual looks, like the Earth mother realness she served in 1998's Ray of Light. She's schmoozing with rappers again lately, which might be a hint to what type of feel she may be going for with her next work. And she's still rocking that English accent that she didn't quite have growing up in Michigan.
3. Britney Spears
Like her childhood idol Madonna, Britney Spears also tried on an English accent for a spell back in 2008. This was about a year after she famously shaved her head, setting metaphorical fire to her pop princess imagery which had included her debut naughty schoolgirl and snake charmer looks. After winding down her Las Vegas residency, it'll be interesting to see what comes next.
4. Lady Gaga
Mother Monster has rejected the notion that she's "reductive," as Madonna famously called her, but there's no denying that Lady Gaga has changed her costumery just as much as the Material Girl. Remember her debut look with the big bow? No, we don't either, because it's lost in a blur of carnivorous dresses, 10 gallon couture hats, and egg vessels.
5. Miley Cyrus
After ending her role as squeaky clean pop star Hannah Montana in early 2011, Miley Cyrus emerged as a hip-hop loving twerk ambassador with the 2013 album Bangerz. She later distanced herself from her hip-hop association, quit smoking marijuana, and dropped the single "Malibu" along with a beachy new look to match. As she supposedly plans her secret wedding to Liam Hemsworth, one can only wonder what type of vibes are coming up next.
The Cher Show, a musical coming to Broadway in the fall, will bring Cher's many eras (and her ultra-glam Bob Mackie fashion looks) to life once again. She set the standard in using wigs to reinvent herself, from ultra-chic bobs to wild mohawk-inspired pieces. According to Playbill, the musical examines three distinct stages in her life, labeled "Babe," "Lady," and "Star." If she could turn back time, she'd probably do it all over again.