"There's nothing worse than having your name called out in a waiting room and everyone turns around to see where the bald Irish singer is, just to be disappointed."
Collage by Gabby Bess
Celebrities dominate the news (and sometimes our hearts), but spare a thought for the poor souls who happen to share a name with them. Imagine hearing the same bad joke every time you utter your name—or receiving a torrent of Twitter abuse each time your name-twin does something unpopular.
We hear from a Mike Pence, Taylor Swift, Kate Middleton and others who share the same names as a celebrity. (A Hillary Clinton, Harry Styles, Andy Murray, Morgan Freeman, Emma Stone, and Anne Coulter all declined to comment.)
Taylor Swift, 31, Seattle (male)
In September 2009, everything changed. Kanye got on stage at the MTV music awards, took the mic from the other Taylor Swift, and I was flooded with support letters. It was sweet... but foreboding. That's when I knew it wasn't going to stop anytime soon.
I get between five to 10 emails every week intended for the other Taylor Swift. There is a folder they go into because honestly, at this point, it is pretty commonplace and I don't think much about it. Nearly all of them are something like, "OMG UR SO PRETTY AND I LUV U."
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Here is one of my favorites: " It would really make my day if you were to write a song about a guy called Star rider. Tay......just one little song...about a star rider who rides a motorcycle under a heaven fill with stars in the night...and feeling the cool breeze..."
Any time I have to show my ID, I get attention: airports, getting a drink, picking up tickets, paying with a credit card, the bank. It always elicits some sort of response. Imagine hearing the same joke every time someone learns your first and last name. Also, as someone who has pursued a presence online for my net-building business, I am buried way too deep in the Google searches.
Jennifer Lawrence, 36, Massachusetts
Recently I was going through security in the Palm Springs airport and the TSA official looked at me (I don't look dissimilar to the actress) and turned bright red. He said, "I can't wait to go home and tell my friends I just met Jennifer Lawrence." I smiled and told him that it was my pleasure to make his day. I'm pretty sure he never realized I'm not her.
On Twitter and Instagram, I've had people DM me asking if I could come to their event and make an appearance. If it's a cool event, I'll say yes.
I get comments every single day about my name. Every. Single. Day. There is not a place that I go and make a reservation, use my credit card, or otherwise have to give my name that people don't comment on it.
Kate Middleton, 22, London
When her engagement to Prince William was announced, I had over 3,000 friend requests on Facebook. My account then got deactivated and I was told I was an "impersonator" even though there was literally nothing on my page to suggest I was interested in, or trying to be, [the other] Kate Middleton.
Once I checked into a hotel in Romania and as the receptionist flicked through the paperwork, she landed on a page with my name at the top, and hand-written in bold red capital letters underneath were the words "NOT THE PRINCESS" repeatedly underlined and circled.
I still now receive a lot, and I mean A LOT, of Facebook messages. When I discovered the message requests tab on messenger, I had hundreds. There was an offer to make my wedding dress, an offer to make my wedding cake, a message from my supposed "third cousin" who wanted a wedding invite, a message slandering the royal family and subsequently offering me protection services, a message detailing all the comparisons of Kate Middleton to Princess Diana...
It's a great ice-breaker and great for networking in my job. It really hasn't negatively affected me that much though; I'm lucky the person I share a name with is generally well-liked.
Ben Cumberbatch, 33, London
Real estate agents always think I'm winding them up.
Sinead O'Connor, 28, London
I once tried to order a pizza and they kept putting the phone down on me because they thought I was pranking them. Most people I meet for the first time think they're the first person to ever tell me that nothing compares to me.
There's nothing worse than having your name called out in a waiting room and everyone turns around to see where the bald Irish singer is, just to be disappointed.
Jaime Oliver, 37, Nottingham (female)
I work as a blogger and chased one company for weeks for payment. It turns out they had paid the Jamie Oliver my money months ago, having worked with him on other campaigns previously.
A pre-booked taxi driver in London also refused to let me in as his cab as it was booked for Jamie Oliver. He just kept inching the car forward every time I went to get in. It took a phone call to the office before he would let me in.
Oh, I bet you wish you had his bank balance, don't you!
My social media accounts are constantly tagged by disgruntled people wanting to either complain or congratulate Jamie on his latest recipe or news. Every delivery driver comments that they thought they were delivering to the Jamie Oliver. And every conversation with someone that doesn't know me starts with the same, "Oh, I bet you wish you had his bank balance, don't you!"
I once called a restaurant to make a reservation for Christmas day dinner and I could tell the person on the phone thought I was the Jamie Oliver. She sounded giddy and told me she was so excited I had chosen their restaurant to eat in on Christmas day. I had to burst her bubble and tell her I wasn't THE Jamie Oliver, and she hung up on me.
Mike Pence, 49, Sarasota
I'm a software developer, writer, and speaker. Recent marathoner and grandpa. Not a Christo-fascist politician.
My bank teller recently laughed out loud at my name, confiding that as a school principal in Indiana, she had personally seen Pence's largesse as he delivered winter coats to needy children. He is actually a nice guy in person, she assured me, which left me wondering what kind of person harms the needy in the morning and throws their rights out in the cold in the afternoon, in the name of Jesus.