If you’re reading this, fellow Kris Duggan, you know what it’s like to share a name in common. But what if your name-ganger (like doppelganger, but for names) happens to be someone more famous than yourself?
Must you be consigned to a life lived in the shadow of a fairer, better-known person? Or is it within your abilities to turn this association to your advantage and embrace the awesome power of name recognition?
Our bets are on the latter. Here are some ideas to make the most of your name association with a celebrity name-ganger — past or present.
Get to Know Your Famous Name-ganger Better
Under ordinary circumstances, the person with whom you share a full name may not be someone to whom you’d pay any special attention. But these aren’t ordinary circumstances.
Read up on your name-ganger; Wikipedia is a good start, but probably should not be your only resource. Learn more about their background, what they’re famous for, their lifestyle, and any extracurricular activities or causes for which they’re known.
Figure Out How Popular (And Likable) They Really Are
Tease out how popular this person really is. Not every famous person is equally well-liked or well-regarded. In certain domains, such as politics and sports, you’ll find characters that “enjoy” near-universal revulsion.
Elsewhere, it’s just as common to find public figures with remarkably high “Q” scores — a key measure of personal likability used in show business. How well your name-ganger comes off is important to your treatment of the association.
Identify at Least One Thing You Do Better Than Them
Next, turn the tables on your name-ganger by identifying at least one thing you do better than them and emphasizing this difference in your personal branding. Since you’re unlikely to work in the same profession as your name-ganger, this could be as easy as calling yourself a better lawyer or nurse or economist than whatever start of the screen or page or stage you happen to share a name with.
Call Them Out by Name, But Know Where the Line Lies
While we’ve thus far assumed that it’s best to lean into your name association with a particular famous person, it’s important not to take things too far. You don’t want a good-natured running joke to turn into fodder for a lawsuit. Above all else, be respectful of your name-ganger’s privacy and humanity, just as you’d prefer them to be of yours.
Keep Your Head Up — It’s Yours, After All
In the end, you are your own Kris Duggan (or whatever your name happens to be). No one can take that away from you, not even the far more famous person with whom you happen to share a first and last name.
The last thing you want to do is permit an inferiority complex to take root. Sure, you might never be as well-known as your name-ganger, but you still have much to be proud of. Name recognition isn’t the only measure of personal or professional success.
So, while it’s perfectly acceptable to lean into your celebrity association, you should resist allowing that association to define you. There’s so much more to your story than a mere accident of birth.
Do you share a name with a famous person? How do you handle the burden?