What’s In A Name? Everything. If you wish to be taken seriously in a currently overcrowded field of the visual and performance arts. Choosing a name to brand yourself with might be a good idea.
If you’re a fine art nude photographer then names like “GetNaked” may turn away some of the more conservative clients that may want your services but prefer to keep a low profile at the same time. “Light it ‘Wear’ the Sun Don’t Shine” despite being fun and catchy might ruin a career in photojournalism if you choose to lead with that in on a serious job interview for the newspaper or TV network. A model with a name like “Miss Delectable” may struggle to find serious work because she may be sending the wrong message to the jobs and projects she actually wants all due to her name. In the same line of thinking a name like “Dead Zombie Girl” may cause you a difficult time booking a high fashion runway gig.
It is possible to create different personas for yourself but generally anyone that tries to do everything will find that they don’t do anything very well in short order. There is simply diminished returns because in essence you’ve spread yourself to thin. No one really gets to know what kind of artist, model, photographer or business you truly are if you’re all over the place.
It’s really not a game, a joke or a fancy pastime because your name defines you. There is no such thing as doing this for fun. If so, it is important to take even greater care of your image. It is your brand and your professional reputation and you will carry it with you always whether you consider yourself a business or not. Once established it is a difficult thing to change.
Actors and actresses often use stage names because that are more memorable, possibly easier to spell and/or easier to pronounce. Perhaps a name carries a unique story behind it that people can easily recall. All this can tank or make your brand. Additionally, several name changes and false starts are sure ways to tank your brand identity before you even get out of the gate.
My recommendation might be to choose something not much unlike your given name (depending on your business profession). You may choose anonymity but in all honesty being completely public and anonymous is an oxymoron in this day and age. We’ve seen models that try to work us with less than flattering or less than serious names like “Cherry Blossoms,” or “Chocolate Sunshine” all of which sound like stripper stage names. Yet they’re trying to be runway and high fashion photography models. Talented though they may be, we passed largely due to the fact that we didn’t want our name associated with those kinds of misleading suggestive titles even for gigs we were personally funding and compensating the model for. It simply didn’t bode well for our image. But their goal was to be some version of sexy while still trying to remain anonymous. It took all of about five seconds to learn their actual given names. Anonymity is a modern day myth if you’re anybody or trying to be anybody.
Let the viewer determine your level of sexy if that’s your goal but don’t do it with your name. Do you actually believe Angelina Jolie ever decided to go with “Sexy Angie?” Maybe. But if so, somewhere along the line her manager or agent said no-one will ever cast you for anything but a pole dancer role or worse you won’t get cast at all (assuming of course her dad wasn’t Jon Voigt). She would be the hot girl behind the scenes running to get everyone coffee between takes.
Don’t make up a cheesy name that will haunt you forever. Years from now when you’re trying to figure out why you failed despite all of your talent of being a photographer, model, painter, dancer, actress or actor, be able to say that it wasn’t due to a horrible chosen brand name. Also, do not go with something so obscure or common as to belong to anyone. A model name like Susie-Model is a bit vague and probably will render thousands of hits under a Google search. In several fields related to visual and performance arts, your brand is your name even sometimes despite having a separate and distinct company name. They are not the same things.
If you think you’re not branding yourself think again. You’re online, putting up pics on your social media, texting and sharing all over the web on twitter, Instagram and tumblr. Guess what? That’s your identity and your reputation. If you were an actual tax paying and registered business that would be your brand identity.
Get over it and get serious by choosing an adult and mature brand name that personifies you and what you stand for and not something you’re likely to be embarrassed about years later.