False Facts About Lana Del Rey You Thought Were True

In order to leave a long-lasting legacy, an artist must dabble in myth-making. Lana Del Rey, the superstar born Lizzy Grant, knows this better than anyone. When she first stepped out on the New York music scene, she already had a meticulously curated image as an icon of glitz and glam. "Elvis is my daddy, Marilyn's my mother, Jesus is my bestest friend," she crooned on 2012's 'Born to Die: Paradise Edition," cementing herself in the company of legends. Over the years, however, some less fantastical tall tales about the singer have spread. Some of these rumors have to do with Del Rey's political beliefs; some of them are related to her personal life or career. Others are more obscure — say, the story about the $18 Shein dress she supposedly wore to an awards ceremony (more on that later). Here, we'll take a look at the most prominent ones and debunk them, once and for all.

Got a 'burning desire" to know more? Ready to head "off to the races"? Without further ado, here are ten false facts about Lana Del Rey you thought were true.

False: Lana Del Rey is Latina

Hardcore admirers will know this one, but newer fans might need a nudge in the right direction — Lana Del Rey isn't Latina; she isn't even really named Lana Del Rey.

One would be forgiven for thinking Del Rey is of Latin American origin, as Del Rey has often flirted with this myth herself. In the lyrics to her song "West Coast," she claims Cuban heritage while comparing herself to a lover: "He's crazy y cubano como yo," meaning "he's crazy and Cuban like me." She sings in Spanglish again on the more recent track "Taco Truck x VB": "That's why they call me Lanita/When I get down, I'm bonita." 

Yet the truth is this: Del Rey is actually a non-Hispanic white woman born Elizabeth Woolridge Grant. In a 2011 interview with British Vogue, she explained why she decided to take on a new moniker. "I wrote a name I could shape the music towards. I was going to Miami quite a lot at the time, speaking a lot of Spanish with my friends from Cuba. Lana Del Rey reminded us of the glamour of the seaside." She added, "It sounded gorgeous coming off the tip of the tongue." A 2018 profile by the San Diego Tribune provides additional info about the stage name. Apparently, it was inspired by Old Hollywood actress Lana Turner as well as the Ford Del Rey automobile.

False: Lana Del Rey kissed Jennifer Lawrence for a photoshoot

In 2014, a black-and-white photo of Lana and another woman locking lips made the rounds on the Internet. The woman's bone structure and beautiful blonde curls led people to believe she was the movie star of the moment — Jennifer Lawrence, who was stealing hearts left and right as the star of the "Hunger Games" franchise. 

Per the Independent, fans were absolutely thrilled by the prospect. "Lana Del Rey and Jennifer Lawrence kissing might just be the best thing I've ever seen," one Twitter user wrote, punctuating his message with a string of heart-eyed emojis. Turns out his enthusiasm was misplaced — the woman was not actually J. Law, but Lana's own sister, Chuck Grant. (Some may find this truth even stranger than the fiction, but that's an entirely different matter.) Grant, a photographer, was also the one who had staged and captured the shot, which was actually taken in 2012 but didn't go viral until later.

When she first posted the photo to her Instagram account, Grant commented upon her supposed resemblance to Lawrence. "Getting a lot of messages about looking like Jennifer Lawrence, but this takes it a bit too far, don't you think? Lana Del Rey and Jennifer Lawrence," she wrote in her caption. Later, she added a follow-up statement to dispel the rumors: "Comforting to think that if my photography were to fail I could probably work as Jennifer Lawrence's stand-in... #sisters."

False: Lana Del Rey slept her way to the top

On her 2014 album "Ultraviolence," Lana Del Rey satirically presented herself as someone who uses sex appeal to scale the corporate ladder in her song "F—ked My Way Up to the Top." "I f—ked my way up to the top/This is my show," she sang. "I f—ked my way up to the top/Go, baby, go." Some people have taken the lyrics at face value, believing that Del Rey was only able to climb the charts because of the people she climbed into bed with. The singer herself has set the record straight in interviews.

"It's commentary, like 'I know what you think of me,'" she said in a 2014 profile in Complex. "You know, I have slept with a lot of guys in the industry, but none of them helped me get my record deals. Which is annoying."

She elaborated on the song's true meaning in an interview with Grazia, indicating that it was written partly in response to criticism from another artist who doubted her talent. "It's about a singer who first sneered about my allegedly not authentic style, but later she stole and copied it. And now she's acting like I am the art project and she [is] the true super artist. My God — and people actually believe her, she's successful!"

False: Lana Del Rey doesn't identify as a feminist

Time travel, if you will, back to 2014, when feminism was the new word on the street. Every celebrity, it seems, was asked for her two cents on the topic — including Lana Del Rey. During an interview for the Fader, journalist Duncan Cooper brought up the fact that feminists have had mixed reactions to Del Rey's work. Del Rey responded with a statement that has since become notorious: "For me, the issue of feminism is just not an interesting concept. I'm more interested in, you know, SpaceX and Tesla, what's going to happen with our intergalactic possibilities."

The world has changed since then, and Del Rey has changed with it. In a 2017 interview with Pitchfork, just after Trump's inauguration, she expressed a desire to become more politically engaged. "Things have shifted culturally. It's more appropriate [to talk about feminism] now than under the Obama administration, where at least everyone I knew felt safe [...] Women started to feel less safe under this administration instantly. What if they take away Planned Parenthood? What if we can't get birth control? Now, when people ask me those questions, I feel a little differently.

Lana brought up the "f word" again in a 2020 Instagram post (now deleted, but preserved for posterity on Genius). Her statement — in which she compared her critical reception to that of other female artists — was controversial, but she made one thing very clear: "I'm not not a feminist."

False: Lana Del Rey is a fan of Donald Trump

During the 2020 election season, rumors started to swirl that Lana Del Rey had voted for Donald Trump — perhaps because of her Americana aesthetic. "I just KNOW Elizabeth voted for Trump," one fan posted to Twitter (per the Independent), using Del Rey's birth name. "I wish I could look up her voting records. Something doesn't sit right with me."

Del Rey was quick to retort. "Go. F**k. Yourself," she replied. Her disdain for the 45th president is actually well documented: In 2018, after Kanye West wore a "Make America Great Again" cap on Saturday Night Live, Del Rey took to social media to critique him. "Trump becoming our president was a loss for the country but your support of him is a loss for the culture," she wrote (via the BBC). Clearly, the Twitter rumors of the singer's voting history didn't hold water.

False: Lana Del Rey wore an $18 Shein dress to an awards ceremony

Lana Del Rey's style has evolved greatly over the years, and more recently, the pop star has eschewed designer fashion for more low-key options. Case in point: At the 2020 Grammys, she wore a dress that made her stumble at the mall while stopping to pick up a belt for her boyfriend's fit. Against this backdrop, some fans alleged that the dress she wore to the Variety Hitmakers Awards in 2021 — a strappy green and white number — was purchased from fast fashion retailer Shein.

Shortly after Del Rey's appearance at the event, a fan hopped on Twitter and remarked, "Absolutely losing my mind at Lana Del Rey wearing an $18 Shein dress to the Variety Awards," alongside a picture of a similar dress on a Shein model (per Page Six). Of course, a hullaballoo ensued. Other Twitter users quickly jumped in to offer their two cents — some of them praising her seemingly carefree attitude toward fashion, some of them criticizing her for supporting a company that has been accused of stealing designs from smaller brands. It turns out that all of the chaos was unwarranted: the singer's dress, although on the more affordable side, wasn't from Shein after all. "65$. Fancysticated," she commented under a photo of herself in the dress on Instagram (as documented on Reddit).

False: Lana Del Rey was slighted by Taylor Swift

Lana Del Rey fans were treated to a surprise in 2022 when Taylor Swift's album "Midnights" featured her as a guest artist. The song, titled "Snow on the Beach," marked the first-ever collaboration between the two singers — but some critics found it underwhelming due to the lack of audible vocals from Del Rey. In a review for Rolling Stone, Brittany Spanos even called it "the only true disappointment on the album [...] more of a simple harmony than a true duet."

Why was Del Rey relegated to such a small part in the song? Was it Swift's choice to keep her in the background? These questions swirled amongst the fandom until Del Rey clarified things in a Billboard interview. Apparently, Swift had actually wanted her to have a bigger part, but Del Rey pushed back. "First of all, I had no idea I was the only feature [on that song]. Had I known, I would have sung the entire second verse like she wanted," Del Rey said. "My job as a feature on a big artist's album is to make sure I help add to the production of the song, so I was more focused on the production. She was very adamant that she wanted me to be on the album, and I really liked that song." It sounds like one misunderstanding led to another in this case.

False: Lana Del Rey worked at Waffle House as a promotional stunt

Lana Del Rey has performed at venues all over the world, but nobody expected her to put on a show at a Waffle House in Florence, Alabama. In July 2023, a video surfaced depicting the singer sporting a blue uniform button-up as she waited on a customer (who seemed to be none the wiser). She even had her own name tag.

Naturally, fans were stumped as to why the Grammy-nominated artist would be working at a casual dining chain. Many assumed that it was a publicity stunt to promote her most recent album, "Did You Know That There's a Tunnel Under Ocean Boulevard?" — or perhaps a new breakfast-themed single. In reality, as she revealed in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, she didn't even know she was being filmed.

Del Rey told the magazine that she was visiting Florence, Alabama, with her brother Charlie Hill-Grant and sister Chuck Grant when her notorious Waffle House visit took place. The trio slipped into a booth for some family bonding time and ended up spending the better part of the morning hanging out there. "We were on our third hour, and the servers asked, 'Do you guys want shirts?' Hell yeah! We were thrilled," she recalled. "This guy, a regular, comes in every day and orders two things, so they were like, 'Just go get it for him!' I brought him a coke." That explains her apparent career change.

False: Lana Del Rey worships the devil

When a domino effect toppled some concertgoers at a Lana Del Rey show in September 2023, Christian influencer Traci Coston was concerned — not about the fans' safety, but about Lana Del Rey's supposed demonic influence. "That's not a mosh pit [...] Whatever witchcraft Lana Del Rey is doing, the spell she's putting on her music to make it attractive, those demons are being invited into the crowd and into you when you attend. Those demons will destroy your life," Coston said in a video posted to Instagram.

Del Rey, offended by the implications about her spirituality, volleyed back at Coston in the comments section (per the Los Angeles Times): "B—h I know the Bible verse for verse better than you do," she wrote. And indeed, Del Rey does come from a religious background. According to a 2013 interview with Nylon, she attended a Catholic elementary school and regularly cantored during Mass growing up. "I loved church," she shared. "I loved the mysticism, the idea of something bigger, the idea of a divine plan."

For what it's worth, Del Rey did promote the use of witchcraft once — in 2017, when she cryptically Tweeted a series of dates that just so happened to align with the dates certain activists had set for a ritual intended to hex Donald Trump. When asked to confirm whether she had Tweeted about the ritual by NME, she said, "Yeah, I did it. Why not?"

False: Lana Del Rey grew up with excessive wealth

As soon as Lana Del Ray rose to prominence seemingly out of nowhere, rumors that she was a nepo baby (before the term "nepo baby" was coined) started to spread. A 2012 Guardian article described her as "the daughter of a millionaire father who has backed her career," which then became the dominant narrative.

In October 2023, via a series of now-deleted videos (preserved via Twitter), Del Rey explained that the whole story wasn't being shared. Although her father became wealthy from the domain name industry, Del Rey said, her family previously struggled with money. She was only able to attend boarding school because she received financial aid (her uncle also worked in the administrative building), and while she was there she was bullied and called "White Trash from Lake Placid."

In case her message wasn't clear enough, the singer also posted a comment to Instagram explaining her financial situation growing up (as documented on Twitter). "We had absolutely no money," she wrote. "That's a little story the news loved to assign to me... that was back when they were allowed to just write lies about people. I grew up in a mountain town in a little house, and we struggled as much as everybody else in the town of 900, there is no other truth than that — if the story was true, I would own it just like I own my other issues."