What’s in a Name?

As a performer, director or even a studio, you might ask what’s in a name. I’ve got a two-word answer for you—your career. Many people, specifically performers, don’t do their research when it comes to picking their porn names. Your porn name is something you will have for awhile, so you need to choose wisely.

Here are a few tips if you’re new to the game and trying to find the perfect name, so you can be a true original and build your brand:

Make Sure That No One Already Has Your Name

Your name needs to be a true original. You can use the traditional means of your first pet and street you lived on, if you’re not feeling that creative. But make sure no one already has your name.

When I did PR for Shane’s World, there was a contract girl named Casey Parker—she was a cute, bubbly, blonde, surfer girl who looked like the hot, yet kinky, girl next door. She made a decent name for herself, but exited the industry after a year or two in the game. About two years after she left, another girl named Kacey Parker started her career—she was nothing like the original Casey except she had blonde hair. When she first started, I told her about the name and that it could be confusing. She went with the name and is a successful BBW performer on Plumper Pass and other sites. If people look her up and spell her first name with a “C” instead of a “K”, they won’t find her.

I was speaking with another publicist in the industry and he told me a current client of his came up with a name for their studio. He informed him that the name they wanted was already being used, and they choose to not heed his warning and went with the name. With less than a month in the business, they got a Cease and Desist Order telling them they could not use the name, and that it was already being used. They had to change the name and redo their business cards, website, business licenses, etc.—what a hassle that could have been avoided.

Does Your Name Sound Like Someone Else’s?

About a year ago, I had a client whose name sounded a lot like Zoey Holloway. She had the same first name and a very similar sounding last name that also started with an “H”. I informed her of this and she decided to keep the name. Every time I scheduled an interview for her, people would say “Zoey Holloway” and I would have to correct them. This led to a lot of confusion and explanations. If she would have spent some time on Google, she might have avoided the confusion with her brand and giving another performer more attention.

Don’t Use Your Real Name

Come up with a porn name. Why? For security. If you use your real name, stalkers and fans will be able to find out where you live and your phone number. You need your privacy and to be safe. Come up with a name that is different from your own, but if you have to use your same first name, use a different last name. Yes, there are performers who use their real first and last names—I won’t list them, but they do have people showing up on their doorsteps…no joke.

Another reason to have a different name is to build a persona. Maybe you’re shy or withdrawn, but when you’re living the life of you new name, you’re sexy, a seductress and full of confidence. You can be what you want to be and be a character, just like actors and actresses in the mainstream entertainment world, and it can be very empowering.

And if you end up going back to the real working world, you can keep your identity separate and be able to go back to being a “regular person”. If you make the decision to do porn, realize that you could be found out and fired.

Two Words, Not One

I used to work for an online adult website. We had girls who had one-word names. I can’t tell you how many Cherokees there were (and other girls with one word names). This was so confusing when we were trying to figure out which Cherokee was in each movie. And when we tried to guess and guessed wrong, some girl named Cherokee would get pissed off. If you have a one-word name and unless it’s highly original, be prepared to be lost in the crowd. Yes, there is only one Belladonna—it’s a highly original name that is a brand and has been trademarked. She is the exception, not the rule.

And While We’re on the Subject…

Trademarking is always a good idea. At the very least, make sure to buy your URLs. If your porn name is Betty Crocker, buy BettyCrocker.com, BettyCrocker.net, BettyCrockerxxx.com, etc. Even if you’re not ready to make your paysite or blog, make sure you buy the domains, so you will have them. If not, someone could buy them and you will potentially have to pay a huge ransom to get your URL back, unless you do trademark your name and the owner of the domain has to turn it over to you. Some girls end up getting variations of their name, if they can’s afford to buy their URLs from the owners or paying a lawyer. Consult a veteran adult attorney like Greg Piccionelli for more details on the process of trademarking and legally protecting your brand.

Having a Hard Time Coming Up With a Name?

Ask your agent. They may come up with a name. I have sat in while agents have come up with names for girls. They usually tell the girls to come up with a name that sounds like a real name. A few examples of this would be Ashlynn Leigh, Katie Summers, Gillian Sloan, Desiree Deluca, Taylor Wane, etc. A common name with a last name with a little kick, like Anastasia Pierce, Candy Mason or Alex Chance can work. Or, even go for an exotic first name with a common last name like Nyomi Banxxx, Amanda Blow, or Charity Bangs.

Changing Your Name Can Cause Confusion & Weaken Your Brand

A few years back, Katsuni had to change her name, since it was similar to a main- stream performer’s name. She became Katsumi and people still know it’s her. But, imagine if she had to completely change her name and start over. All the work she had previously done could be forgotten, and she would have to start fresh and rebuild her brand.

Other girls get sick of their name, want to change a bad image or just re-enter the biz with a fresh start. This is like starting over and while your fans might recognize and still support you, this isn’t always the case. And changing your name doesn’t guarantee you can change your image, especially if you don’t change your attitude or behavior.

Many contract girls have had to leave their names behind with their old studios and reinvent themselves and they see their careers fall flat on their face. If you are working on a contract, ask to retain the rights to your name if it all doesn’t work out.

Lots of things to thing about, but there’s a lot in a name. So, choose wisely.

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