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How do I pick an appropriate burlesque name? Advice on how you did it, please!

Discussion in 'Learning Burlesque' started by Desdemona Dot, May 29, 2011.

  1. Desdemona Dot

    Desdemona Dot Newbie

    Ok. So I've gotten over my little worries about getting started. I'm trying to learn as much as I can about everything because it fascinates me so! Now here's my new question: How do I pick a good name? I know that my username is ok, but it seems a little generic to me---someone somewhere could think of it in two minutes like I did to think up a username. I'm thinking about possible names but the more I think about it, the more I think that there are certain names that demand a certain character (if I name myself something overtly sexual, i.e. Kitty von Clitty, then there is a certain over the top personality I would need to assume). The same thing goes if I name myself something like Crimson L'Amour---aloof, mysterious, sultry...or Bazongas McGee---in your face sexy...or Tessa von Teese---it would make everyone think that all I did was striptease before I've even explored all my options. I know that it may be too soon to think about it, but I have been. Names are important, especially in theatre when first impressions could mean a gig or a rejection. Personally, I am a long ways off from even thinking about getting onstage, but its nice to have some ideas for the future. So please, for all of you with so much more experience than I, tell me how you went through picking a name and a persona. Thanks so much! :)
  2. Tiger Tiger

    Tiger Tiger Junior Member

    Hey hun,

    there are about a million and one posts covering this already, but to sum up - a good way of coming up with a name is to think of things you like and write them all down like a brain storm. For examples, flowers, fruits, (vegetables??), colours, descriptive words in English and non-English languages, etc. Then see which combinations work and whether they suit you as a performer.

    Personally I chose my name because it means something to me personally, but also doesn't tie my down to a certain genre of burlesque - I would feel weird doing my gorelesque routines if I were named Miss Molly Goodtime for example (which was a name I almost used).

    Names are important and its never too soon to start thinking about it, but I wouldn't really worry too much until you start performing, and even then it is something that can still be changed early on if you find it doesn't fit.

    Lastly, when you do settle on a name do everything you can to make sure no one already performs burlesque under the same name, or a name that would be confusingly similar. An established performer might not be too happy about you using the same name, and likewise if it is used already by a performer who is not well received it might associate you with badness. Google it, search on youtube, there are also several lists you can search for example I believe MoB has a Castlist somewhere?? And there is some list that I cannot remember how to get to relating to the Burlesque Hall of Fame.

    Also - I believe there are both UK based and US based performers called Cherry Pop :D
  3. Jezebel Steele

    Jezebel Steele Junior Member

    I agree that picking a suitable name is a hard thing, and I'd suggest spending time and getting it right (better than changing it every six months because you realise it doesn't quite "fit).

    My name came from the fact that a nickname of mine has always been "wench" and it was a logical progression to come up with Jezebel... the "Steele" came from Tommy Steele and a conversation with a friend about the song "singing in the rain"

    It's unbiased enough that I can pretty much be whatever/whoever I want, which suits me :)
  4. From what I have read over the past 4/5 years, try to avoid the following; Cherry, Kittie (or any forms or either), anything that resembles Dita Von Teese, Noir.

    I came up with my name at about 6am whilst I was dozing. Claudia is in honour of the character from my favourite novel, Interview with the vampire. Atlantis links to my love of mythology and is a bit different. Plus, I am making a bikini costume with my initials on the pants....think about it! :)
  5. ok going against my own advice here: how about Cerise La Tise (Tease)? Cerise is apparently french for Cherry
  6. Jeu Jeu la Foille

    Jeu Jeu la Foille Junior Member

    There is delicate balance to be struck between being too familiar or too obscure. My name has been problematic for me in terms of spelling and pronounciation, but once I'd come up with it I knew it was for me. It means 'Play the Fool' and is a psychiatrists term for a dual personality. As my theatre background is in clowning I knew I had to allude to this in my choice of name, and when I was studying theatre 'Le jeu' was all about playfulness and openess onstage, and this is what I strive for. I think if I wanted to go for a darker tone in my acts or try gorlesque, I would have to come up with another name and perform that style under that name - I wonder if anyone else does this? I also love names that are a play on words - I nearly named myself Miss Tia Russe, but thought it sounded a bit too grown up for me!

    Jeu Jeu la Foille - Jeu Jeu la Foille
  7. MsBooBea

    MsBooBea Junior Member

    go with something that describes your alter ego or wht you want your alter ego to represent.
    my name is from something a friend called me and its also desribes my body since i have quite big boobs but its works for me :D
  8. Vanilla Rose

    Vanilla Rose Newbie

    I had used the word "Rose" in part of another username, and one day I was thinking how unadventurous I was compared to most of the other people I knew on the site. Hence "Vanilla Rose" popped into my mind, so I am "Vanilla Rose" or "Ms Vanilla Rose". Also, because vanilla pods come from orchids and Secretary is a film I like, and because "vanilla" comes from a word for the female anatomy but "orchid" from a word for part of the male anatomy. I found that intriguing, because I think androgyny is an interesting concept.

    I am aware that there are other Vanilla Roses out there, because a couple of sites wouldn't let me use that as my username for those sites. Blogger has a Black Vanilla Rose, and I am pretty sure I am following her, but she hasn't posted much recently. I did post that I would change my name if she thought mine was too much like hers, since her blog predates mine, but she didn't give any indication that it was an issue.
  9. When I was struggling to come up with a name I made a name wall. I got some pretty post-it-notes and wrote words that I really liked on them and stuck them all over my walls. Over a few weeks I found myself piecing certain words together and coming up with names I really liked. Like yourself, I came up with many names but sadly I felt most didn't suit who I am as a performer and as a person.

    Eventually the word 'Hurricane' stood out to me. I liked it because it reminded me of a cocktail on my travels but also it says alot about myself. As a performer I'm like a hurricane, I look all cute but I'm quite the surprise and like the cocktail I feel that I'm a pretty versitle performer. I felt that the name related to all sorts, It wouldn't stereotype me to a certain area of burlesque however it's quite a big personality name which I like. I came up with Havana because I couldn't find anything what went with H that I liked, Im not a fan of the name Hannah (sorry Hannah's) but I really liked the name Survannah which didn't go so I alternated it... plus... it's a type of rum (relates to the cocktail) and a place in Cuba where they get hurricanes. Voila!

    I do think that in a world where SO many people have the same name it is a good idea to choose something that isn't so generic. The last thing you want is to get mistaken for another performer or to create a persona, do a few gigs and then find out someone else has that name. Do plenty of research. Though don't loose any sleep over it, It'll come to you in time :) x
  10. Foxie La Roque

    Foxie La Roque Junior Member

    I do think it's something that you shouldn't try too hard on as it's usually when you stop racking your brain so much, you see the perfect name or it appears to you and you'll wonder why you never thought of it before!
    Mine evolved from a couple of areas. Some chap who was once chatting me up said I "wasn't a stereotypical beauty, but I was an absolute fox" - I wasn't offended as I knew what he meant and I kinda preferred the idea of being a foxy lady rather than 'a babe'. It tied in also to one of my fave films, Wayne's World, and the scene with Garth doing a dance to the fabulous Jimi Hendrix song Foxy Lady, which always made me laugh. Plus, I love my rock and metal music too. Ergo, a fox who likes to rock = foxie la roque!
    A friend of mine used the old game 'first pet's name and the street you grew up on' (in which case I could have been Tiddlywink Catkin...!) but they are good starting points to build on. I think Havana's name wall idea is perfect for that :) Pick all your favourite things and then play around. Perhaps when you are working on routines and you decide what you enjoy performing and your style emerges, your alter ego will develop and the name that suits will jump out at you!
  11. daisy cutter

    daisy cutter Junior Member

    daisy cutter is a actually a bomb, hence.....quite litrally a BOMBshell.
    its a BLU-82 and is devistating, nickmaed so because it could cut the heads off daisys.
    not many people get it tbh. :/
    its also a type of fuse, a cricket bowl, a baseball throw and another word for killjoy.

    but i like it and i think it suits me. morning star's husband actually came up with it.

    you need to do lots of reasurch to make sure noone else has that name too.

    daisy x
  12. Mine is an obvious rip-off of Ziggy Stardust, because I love David Bowie, particularly the glam rock era.

    I chose it because of the Bowie/Glam Rock connection, I love the androgenous look of a lot of the Glam stars of that era, Marc Bolan, Jobriath etc. (I once attempted a Marc Bolan Routine - it didn't work out for me tho) When I looked at the Glam artists, I liked how they referenced Dandyism and historical fopishnes when they talked about their style.

    I also related to Bowies mime and theatre work he did with Lindsey Kemp. And the ideas he has about a performance character as an extention of the self, the duality of the existance he had with his Ziggy character, all struck a chord with me.

    There are other links and reasons, I have double page in my notebook brainstorming it!

    I was worried about the Twiggy bit, as I am not stick thin like the model form the 60's, but Piggy Starlust didn't appeal to me somehow!!! lol

    It's a long process and do keep google-ing and looking on here to make sure a name isn't in use before you get too attached to one! Good luck! x
  13. Penny Bizarre

    Penny Bizarre Newbie

    "Michael Marks opened his penny bazaar outside Leeds Kirkgate Market in 1884 and a few years later made retail history in 1890 when he founded Marks & Spencer."

    Thought I'd share this, it's a nice bit o' 'istory, but why've they spelt me name wrong?
    & why did he do it in public *sob*, my reputation will be forever besmirched. :(
  14. Glorian Gray

    Glorian Gray Moderator

    Names have been an issue for me, I started out with one thing, and quickly realised it was too cutesy for me. So I recycled Autumn (for my red hair and fave season) and and added "Glory" as I like the name (and am a Buffy fan hee hee). For various reasons I wanted to change it again after some time. I wanted something more "me" and more like a real name as I like that. So I chose Glorian as it includes Glory, and added Gray as an hommage to A Picture of Dorian Gray, which I love, and also for Oscar Wilde, and to represent my own love of writing!
  15. Miss Oh!

    Miss Oh! Newbie

    My real name is a very burlesque name, a result of the parents not really thinking how a first name and last name DO NOT go together in boring society...or go together really well in my world. :)
    (Oy-Ling Booth.... Oy-Ling Talula Booth! My favourite joke: "Oy-Ling!!???!!......No, darling... I asked your name... not your profession...")

    A real name would never do on stage- as I definitely need to become my alter-ego.
    I've been called Miss O, my entire life too... so I just changed it to Miss Oh! ( I really don't need a first or a last name.... the name is a mystery!)

  16. Nina Vee

    Nina Vee Newbie

    I chose my name out of one of those silly online games! Supposedly your stage name is your pets name and your street name. I slightly corrupted mine from Nina Vernymoore into Nina Vee... and here I am!
  17. I did was a few people have noted here including Havana and that is making a name wall - yes, any excuse to use lots of post it notes, pens etc. I researched on google to check they werent used/too similar to someone elses character. i also looked at internet websites and the kind of street/dog etc, also Jo Weldon's advice on coming up with your name. I did all of these different things which were excellent for my research folder.

    However, none of this was right for me.

    When i was about 15 I was in a band that was a cross between MyRuin and Jack off Jill and the alter ego I used to be confident on stage was DARIA RED.

    I mentioned this to my mentor Beatrix Von Bourbon, in passing and she suggested I stick with it (in essence, not completely as previously mentioned on this post variations of the colour RED because of its sexual connotations is very popular, though when i was 15 i chose it just coz it was my favourite colour...) as it was personal to me, so it wasnt a completely different character i was playing on stage...

    The reason why I began burlesque was in order to study Feminism.

    That is where D'Beauvoix came from. (as in Simone De Beauvoir but spelled in the french way of 'beautiful voice'). Whilst simone is a very stereotypical feminist I just knew it sounded right, the whole name sounded like me. And yes, its had constant issues with spelling/pronunciation etc. But I knew it was the right name as soon as I came up with it.

    My advice is, dont stop at a name until you know its the right one for you. especially if you want to be known as that quite regularly.

    Another issue is this: the name i originally chose really restricted me to a certain type of burlesque ie gorelesque and I decided not to stick with it because i didnt want to put promoters off me or assume things about my acts. So 'Jeni Syde' now predominantly plays Roller Derby...

    Good luck finding your alter-you

    D x

    Ps. and the Daria was because in school everybody said I looked and dressed like Daria from the MTV programme - ha ha!