I remember when I was in 7th grade, I had to get a palette expander installed across the roof of my mouth. It probably was one of the darkest times of my days as a teenager. Not only was it extremely painful, as my mom had to hold me down and turn the thing everyday with a key to “expand” it, but it drastically inhibited my speech. Oh yeah … and one day I woke up with a massive space in between my teeth, but that is neither here nor there (I’m not damaged from this experience at ALL). Anywho … back to the speech issues. I couldn’t say my name with that thing in my mouth. My name is Kate Concannon, and with the palette expander it sounded like “Kace Cocaon”. I’ve never hated my name more then in that moment.
Now in my post-palette expander days, I don’t hate my name as much as I once did, as I can clearly pronounce “Kate Concannon” properly. I do remember. pre-palette expander, begging my mom to let me change my name to “Cate” with a “C” when I was a tween (Cate Blanchett had just become ultra famous and I wanted my name to stand out). Or perhaps I craved a cool nickname like “CC”. But I always wondered what my name would look like in lights, or rolling off the tongues of E! News hosts. “Kate Concannon, pregnant with Justin Timberlake’s baby? Find out only here only on E! News!” So blah, right?
One day I came across something about January Jones, and I said to myself, “no way could that be her real name.” Some agent found her in LA as “Jessica Jones,” a doubty brunette or something and said, “I deem you … JANUARY Jones. Now off to the salon!” Welp, turns out joke was on me, her real name is January Jones. Bitch must have some super cool parents or something, am I right?
Then again there are some celebrities who I could see sitting right next to me in my office. “Hey Justin Timberlake, can you forward me that email when you get a sec.” “Tina Fey … can you grab me a pen when you go to the supply closet?” See! Totally normal … yet they are mega-super famous. But then again I could never in a million years see Kim Kardashian working in an office and filing papers. “Hey gang, this is Kim Kardashian, she will be our new receptionist. Make her feel welcome.” Hmm. No. Although it does excite me slightly to know the Kris Jenner would totally adopt me as my name would be “Kate Kardashian.”
I believe a person makes a name. If you have the right personality, style, charisma, etc. … you have the power to make “John Smith” stand out in lights. I, personally, don’t think I could go through with changing my name for the sake of stardom. Even for the sake of marriage! The whole idea makes me sweat. I’ve been Kate Concannon my entire life, and now I will be someone else? The whole thing perplexes me. I know it’s tradition and blah-blah-blah … but what? Seems a little dusty to me. A deal breaker to some, but a dusty deal breaker.
I remember an episode of Full House (yes, I’ve literally seen every episode like 20,000 times), where Stephanie wanted to change her name to “Dawn.” And then Danny Tanner went into this whole Dad spheal about how special she is and so on and so forth :::cue the sentimental music::: and she decided, “hey, I’m Stephanie Tanner and I’m okay with that!” It’s funny … I can’t remember what I did five minutes ago, but I remember that episode of Full House verbatim.
It still amazes me to know that so many celebrities have changed their names. And my curiosity is endless about how that process works. Does an agent not sign you if he/she demands you change your name and you refuse? And what qualifies as a “star-worthy” name? I like to think my name would look amazing in lights … at least on a billboard? Okay … maybe printed in a magazine or a book. Let’s be real, that’s where it belongs. Hell, we all belong somewhere!
Now a list of celebs who aren’t who they claim to be … ahem:
Bea Arthur: Really … Bernice Frankel
Carmen Electra: Really … Tara Patrick
Judy Garland: Really … Frances Gumm
Bruno Mars: Really … Peter Gene Hernandez
Spike Lee: Really … Shelton Lee
Natalie Portman: Really … Natalie Herschlag
Louis C.K.: Really … Louis Szekely
Olivia Wilde: Really … Olivia Jane Cockburn (Yikes, I kind of understand this one)
Portia de Rossi: Really … Amanda Lee Rogers