Category: name changes
By Kara Cavazos @ The Art of Naming
Changing your name can be tough. It requires that you really know yourself and what you want.
You would need to browse through name lists and pick out the ones that jump at you. Maybe you’ll find something that instantly speaks to you, but most likely it’ll take a while and names will need to grow on you. You’ll need to try them on and wear them to see if they’re a fit.
You could go about it in many different ways but it would depend on if you want to keep a connection to your old name or abandon it completely. Here are a few of the many possible methods for choosing a different name for yourself:
There was a time when it was de rigueur for performers to change their names—to anglicize those that they felt sounded too ‘foreign’ or to up the cuteness factor of their name (e.g. Alicia ? Jodie). This doesn’t happen so much anymore (hat tip to you, Renee Zellweger and Zach Galifianakis)), unless you’re talking about rock stars and rappers—we have to admit 50 Cent sounds more intriguing than Curtis, Ginuwine than Elgin, and Foxy Brown foxier than Inga.
But looking back at some of the switches made in the past, and in light of changing fashions and trends, a lot of the abandoned names now sound cooler –and often more sophisticated (Julia over Julie) –than their replacements. Here some celebrity names before and after:
For many actors, taking on a stage name is a way to distinguish themselves. I never took a stage name: I just changed my name altogether every few years until I got it right…
For some reason my parents decided to name me Debra. (To all Debs, Deborahs, Debbies, and Debras, please do not take offense, but this name sucks!) The hilarious part is that my parents agree that this is an awful name, which begs the question: “Well, then, what the hell were you thinking?”
And so I went through life with this albatross around my neck, a name with no character, no euphony, no style. Then, lucky me, they made a whole porn series called Debbie Does Dallas. That really helped me through high school.
Nameberry was quoted last week in news stories all over the world about a new study that claimed 10 percent of parents regret their baby’s name. The reports ranged from this one in the Huffington Post to a piece in Britain‘s Daily Mail that found its way to the Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera and on to Jezebel.
There were many questions on whether the 10 percent figure could possibly be accurate, though a story last year put the figure even higher, at 20 percent. So we decided we’d bring it back to you with a poll of our own. Any regrets about your own name choice? And if so, why?
Clearly, parents today are giving a lot more thought to their children’s middle names than their own parents did. Long gone are the automatic connective choices like Lee and Lynn, Beth and Bruce; more likely now might be something more imaginative like Maeve or West—or Sebastian or Story—or Mom’s maiden or another family name.
For some people, the reasoning behind this is to give the child an additional option for later in life. It works both ways: either he could switch his classic William for his jazziermiddle Jasper, or she could opt for using her traditional, grown-up Elizabeth middle name over the less sophisticated Poppy.
It turns out that a surprising number of celebrities have done just that—chosen to use their middle as their marquee moniker. Sometimes it was to drop a wimpy appellation for a more stylish one (Eldred for Gregory, Orvon for Gene), sometimes because a name was too common at the time (Mary, John, James) and the middle had more character (Farrah, Orson, Montgomery), sometimes maybe because probably just seemed cooler to be Brad than Bill.
As a result, some of the most stand-out celebrity names –Evangeline, Reese, Rihanna, Ashton and Jude—started out in second place on the birth certificate. Here are some of the most prominent–And note that the last names given aren’t necessarily the ones they were born with.