Can Your Name Change Your Life?
Apparently, yes! It turns out, your name could help determine the person you become eventually. Here’s the lowdown on the name changing game...
Google Inc.’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt once predicted that in the future, people around the world will change their names to escape the embarrassing things they did online in the past. While we’re not so sure that’s the only reason, but over the years, a number of celebrities have changed their given names in search of stardom and success. Could you ever imagine a Norma Jean Baker as a legendary Hollywood siren who eventually turned into a sex symbol in the 1950s? Us neither. Maybe that’s why Marilyn Monroe decided to change her birth name when she started her career on stage. And you can’t really fault us for thinking the ‘Lizzie Grant Bag’ wouldn’t have caught Mulberry’s fancy as much as the ‘Lana Del Rey Bag’. The singer found mega success once she changed her name from Lizze Grant to her more vintage pseudonym. Psychologist Emma Kenny tells Cosmo Australia, “80 percent of our success comes from the way we are perceived by the people around us—and your name plays a major role.” Names are more important now than ever before, with people like bloggers creating brands for themselves and, cut-throat competition in the job market. There’s a shift towards more unique names, and unusual spellings that could better reflect personality, creativity, and ideals. Could it be time for a re-brand?
The Celeb Factor
The information carried by names, what experts are calling ‘name entropy’, has increased as much in the past 25 years as it did in the entire century before that. Names are often linked to stereotypes, for example, job recruiters at a company will unconsciously prefer a ‘Kareena’ or a ‘Deepika’. This unfortunately makes life tough for the Rakhis and the Yanas, whose names are associated with fallen celebrities. Then there’s the bunch of new generation stars who seem to have success written in their names from the beginning, like Miley Cyrus, whose first name is Destiny, and Emily Sande, whose first name is Adele.
Building Your Brand
Studies have found that names that roll off the tongue like Leona Lewis or Cheryl Cole tend to have more positive sentiments associated with them. It’s no wonder Katrina Turquotte changed her name to Katrina Kaif before stepping into Bollywood. A lot of people are also using their middle names as their first names— like the Fanning sisters, Dakota’s first name is Hannah and Elle’s is Mary. They just don’t sound as glamorous, do they? When Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin named their daughter Apple Martin, we weren’t the only ones wondering what they were thinking(?!). But today, eight-year-old Apple Martin is a brand linked to two mega successful parents. Then there’s the case of the mono-named ladies (we’re talking to you Beyoncé and Rihanna), which makes you believe when you’re successful enough, you can get by with just one name!
Alexa Chung’s and supermodel Agyness Deyn’s (who’s real name is Laura Hollins) success proves that unique names are the order of the day. Such names spark interest in the person’s personality, and also help build anticipation about meeting them. Lesson learned: the more exclusive your name is, the more positive reactions you can expect.