26th Jan 2020
Are more exotic-sounding names part of the filter-everything generation? Is prettifying your moniker to make it stand out just another version of a makeover? Amanda Cazzidee reports
It is fair to say that Love Island heartthrob, Connagh aka ‘Connor with a G’ was something of a hit with the ladies before he was sent home on Friday. But surprisingly, as well as his brooding looks and model smize, it was his name that got most of the attention in the South African villa this year.
His mum, Lynda, a proud Welsh-woman, says she’s been surprised by the reaction to the unusual spelling of his name.”I wanted Connagh spelled with a “gh” because I wanted a Celtic-spelled name, because of my family origins coming from Ireland,” she told the Irish Mirror.
“I was really surprised by the reaction because there are many names today spelled and pronounced differently, and if that helps him stand out then great. I like it.”
Some of the more eclectic spellings on the show this year include Shaughna Phillips, which prompted host and TV presenter Laura Whitmore to change her Instagram account name to Lauragh Whitmore temporarily with the caption, “Here for Connagh and Shaughna! LOVING all the Twitter banter.”
I mean, who wants ‘bum’ in their name?
But as well as being lamped with unique baby names from birth, there are those who choose self-reinvention by way of their name. Having an unusually spelled name can set you apart, be more memorable, garner more attention — all very important in a world where attention span is growing increasingly shorter. Walking that extra mile or adding a gh or eez is a small price to pay to boost your fans or your career.
Beloved Back to the Future actor Michael Andrew Fox decided to rebrand with a J because there was already a Michael Andrew in the Screen Actors Guild list in Hollywood.
Changing your name entirely isn’t as simple as just adding a letter, but it is sometimes quite effective.
‘Susan Weaver’ isn’t exactly a name that stands out. The future Ripley started going by ‘Sigourney’ a few years before her debut acting role. Her inspiration, in this case, was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby: Sigourney Howard is Jordan Baker’s never-seen aunt.
And the dramatic-sounding Storm Keating, wife of Boyzone’s Ronan Keating, was simply born good old ‘Sharon.’ Life really is a rollercoaster sometimes, Sharon.
And there is merit in removing parts of your name altogether like actor James Garner who was christened James Scott Bumgarner. I mean, who wants ‘bum’ in their name?
So when it comes to weird and wonderful spellings of names, is filtering in a little drama just another version of filtering your photos? Isn’t it simply a way that every Tomm, Dyck, and Harrey can catch a break in the ultra-competitive online noise?
With that in mind, we’ve come up with our own Love Island name generator for some of our most common monikers.
Aiden – Aydin
Aaron – Ayrren
Brendan – Brendaughan
Colm – Kollim
Cian – Ceaugheann
Eoin – Ooghain
Fiachra – Feoighcrá
Jack – Jaq
James – Jaemez
Luke – Luque
Matthew – Matchu
Sean – Seann
Ava – Avaugh
Aisling – Ashleann
Niamh – Neeve
Maebh – Maave
Caoimhe – Queva
Sophie – Soibhi
Sofia – Soibhaigh
Deirdre – Deerdra
So there are no hard and fast rules but having a uniquely spelled name can be a blessing and a curse. You will spend a lot of time correcting others about how your name is spelled. You will get criticism, you will get those who don’t bother respecting the way you’ve chosen to present your brand name to the world so, for God’s sake, choose wisely.
Don’t turn a good Anaïs into Anis. Or a Dorcais into a Dorkass. A sassy letter can make all the difference but remember, it works both wayz.
Image via Love Island
Read more: 50 names perfect for your spring baby
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