Anna Nicole Smith Was Born With A Much Different Name

The following article includes mentions of substance abuse.

Before she reached worldwide fame, Anna Nicole Smith went by a very different name. Smith started to achieve great popularity through her modeling career, which included doing Guess ads in the '90s. In 1992, she chatted with Entertainment Tonight about posing for the legendary fashion brand. "I was just real, real excited," Smith said of working with Guess. "I mean, I looked so neat when they put all that makeup [on], and the hair. And when it was all put together, it was just ... wow." That same year, Smith also modeled for Playboy, per Biography, and was then given the title of Playmate of the Year in '93.

The late public figure was a native of Mexia, Texas, and knew she had a passion for being in front of the camera from a young age. "Well, I always wanted to be a model," Smith said in a 1994 discussion with journalist Stina Dabrowski, via YouTube. "I wanted to be an actress. I wanted to be in the movies." As Smith made moves toward her show business aspirations, she chose to go by her now-famous stage name rather than her given name.

Anna Nicole Smith went through a few name changes

Anna Nicole Smith's given name was Vickie Lynn Hogan. As stated by Reuters, Smith later went by the title Nikki Hart for a time when she was a student at Mexia High School. In addition, Texas Monthly wrote in 1993 that Smith used the name Vickie Smith early in her career prior to adopting the moniker Anna Nicole Smith.

Back in 2021, Frankie Rodriguez, who was a close friend of Smith's, told ABC News about the model and actor's two sides — Vickie Lynn and Anna Nicole. "The minute that camera left, it was a whole other person. She was back to Vickie Lynn," Rodriguez said. "I [am] very fortunate to have met and gotten to know Vickie Lynn ... How she did it, I don't know. But whatever she was doing, it was making everybody watch." The co-founder of Guess, Paul Marciano, previously opened up to Paper Magazine in 2017 about Smith's name change, which took place after Marciano discovered her. "[Smith] had never done pictures before. I had the kids' photographer shoot her on the spot," Marciano said. "I took her to New York and got her an agent and changed her name. To me, she was Anna, but Anna Smith did not sound right, so we did Anna Nicole Smith." Following this alteration, Smith was met with stardom before her tragic death.

Anna Nicole Smith wanted Hollywood success 'so bad'

Anna Nicole Smith had a hunger for success in the entertainment industry. In 1993, Smith expressed this desire during a People interview. "I want it so bad," Smith said of Hollywood prominence. "I've tried so hard my whole life. I'm kindhearted, and I give, give, give. I think maybe it's my time to receive." After her triumphant modeling debut, Smith appeared in movies such as "Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult," "To the Limit" and "Skyscraper." Later, she starred in the reality television series "The Anna Nicole Show" from 2002 to 2004.

The year of the show's premiere, Smith talked to ABC News about the experience of being filmed constantly for the project. "I love the camera, you know? But I didn't know it was going to be so — 'Peekaboo, we got you ... this whole time,'" Smith said. Aside from her career pursuits, Smith was also a mom to two children: Daniel, who sadly died in 2006 at the age of 20, per The U.S. Sun, and Dannielynn. Just months after her son's death, Smith died due to an accidental drug overdose at the age of 39, per Today. As of May 2023, Dannielynn is 16. Smith's life story continues to captivate the world. The new Netflix documentary on Smith, "Anna Nicole Smith: You Don't Know Me," was scheduled for release on May 16, 2023.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).