The interesting thing when you are an actor is the importance of your name. It is the first thing people see about you and hear you say. If there is another registered spotlight actor with the same name as you, then you have to choose a different name. I read an article in the Lady Magazine yesterday about Benedict Cumberbatch. I was fascinated to learn that in his early acting days he felt that his name would not lend itself to being a great ‘stage name’ so he registered his stage name as Ben Carlton and signed with an agent. After work not particularly rolling in he then switched to his real name and now everyone knows and can remember his distinctive different wonderful to get your mouth around and speak name.
My name is Rachael and albeit you don’t come across lots and lots of Rachael’s I find it interesting how many people struggle to remember it. People commonly revert to calling me Rebecca instead. As for spelling my name, that is always impossible for people to do. I have the added complication of having two of the letters ‘a’ in my name and the way that seems to confuse people is often very amusing. I am often written as Racheal, Rachale, or my personal favourite Racahel. All very exotic sounding.
My maiden name was Mold and I grew up with years and years of teasing and the old school playground song ‘found a peanut, found a peanut, found a peanut yesterday, it was mouldy, it was mouldy…’ being my own personal anthem sang whenever I walked past.
At drama school, I did a Benedict and refused to have Mold as my stage name. The years of teasing had stuck and I wanted rid of it. However I was taught to stand still and tall with my head held high and say my name loud and proud and now I have discovered that what is important in a name is how you say it. It is your verbal handshake in the acting and voice world.
So luckily for me I married a man with a good surname, that is great to say (people still are unable to spell it though!)
So, I am able to say loud and clear and with pride, I am Rachael Beresford, and I’m very pleased to meet you!