Carmen Electra Shares How Prince Dropped Her Real Name And Came Up With Her Stage Name

Carmen Electra in red swimsuit in clip from Baywatch.
(Image credit: Baywatch YouTube)

Carmen Electra has had a bit of a whirlwind career. She’s reflected on it in recent months, talking ahead of the People’s Choice Awards about starting as a “dancer” before working with Prince and then gaining recognition from acting in projects on the TV schedule like Baywatch. Yes, the Prince. While speaking with Mario Lopez and Courtney Lopez she dropped her real name recently, also sharing that it was the Minneapolis-based musician who gave her the “electric” name. 

On an episode of Access Hollywood, Carmen Electra revealed Prince was responsible for her stage name. It’s long been known that while Electra was working for Prince’s Paisley Park Records (where she recorded an album back in 1993), she switched her name on the artist’s recommendation, but she shared the full story, here.

Not only did Electra talk about her real name -- Tara Leigh Patrick, from Ohio -- she confirmed what happened and why she changed, noting:

He gave me my name. He said, ‘You don’t look like a Tara.’ Because my real name is Tara, Tara Leigh Patrick is my real name. [He said], ‘You look like a Car. A Carmen.’ He said, ‘The C is for the Car, and the m is for the men at my shows.’ And I was like, ‘Well that’s fun!’ Then he said, ‘Well we gotta give, I dunno, when you dance you’re electric.’

The actress went on to talk about the real superheroine who shared her name, and I think the Elektra the Baywatch star is referring to must be Elektra Natchios, the daring bounty hunter and assassin with myriad connections to Daredevil Matt Murdock. Though it’s worth noting Prince’s version of the name is spelled a different way, and Carmen addressed that with her recent comments to Lopez, as well. 

Electra came along and at first I was like, ‘That sounds like a superhero name.’ Which I think it is. And I was a little bit like, ‘I dunno if I want to do that or not.’ But then it just kind of clicked and I said, ‘Well it’s from Prince and I’m staying with it.’ Carmen Electra, that’s my name and I’m staying with it… I’m proud it’s from Prince.

While the actress’ musical career only lasted for the one self-titled album, the name stuck. Soon after, Electra posed nude in Playboy, then moved to Los Angeles, where she started banking acting roles, including the aforementioned Baywatch, her most iconic gig to date. She also famously dated Dennis Rodman in the late nineties, which may not seem all that relevant, until you realize the star gained major attention again in 2020 from appearing in the Michael Jordan documentary The Last Dance.   

She then hopped over to OnlyFans and has been an advocate for the platform. She's noted it has given her control for the first time in her career over content creation, with Electra noting OnlyFans has given her a "safe place" to engage with her fans. Even if they do occasionally ask for one-too-many photos of her feet...

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Jessica Rawden is Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. She’s been kicking out news stories since 2007 and joined the full-time staff in 2014. She oversees news content, hiring and training for the site, and her areas of expertise include theme parks, rom-coms, Hallmark (particularly Christmas movie season), reality TV, celebrity interviews and primetime. She loves a good animated movie. Jessica has a Masters in Library Science degree from Indiana University, and used to be found behind a reference desk most definitely not shushing people. She now uses those skills in researching and tracking down information in very different ways.