“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet;”… Or would it?
I was born the sixth daughter… which has none of the mystical privileges reserved for the seventh son. By the time I arrived my parents had used their favorite girl name as well as their second favorite girl name not to mention their third, fourth and fifth. Still, I didn’t do too badly. I was christened Maureen Rose Pierson and it was with this fine moniker that I would begin my career as an actress.
Like most new actresses I was clueless. In our blue-collar, Jersey neighborhood of firemen, teachers, and nurses there was only one actor. His name was Mrs. Larkin but he went by Mickey Muldoon. I went to talk to him about being an actor and he told me everything he knew. “How do you get an agent” Where do you get pictures? How do you book a job?” I was a thirsty little sponge and he was a generous wellspring of wisdom. It was his final answer that I should have paid greater attention to. “Why the stage name?” I asked. “People will remember Mickey Muldoon more than Jim Larkin and your job is to get folks to remember you.” I nodded, closed my notebook and trudged off in the direction of my dreams.
As much as Shakespeare would have us believe that we’d love a rose a much if it were called a “weed”, as it turns out, we would not. I would find this out the hard way. Sure, as Maureen Rose Pierson I did okay for myself. I was cast in As The World Turns, a few TV shows and a hand full of commercials and then I got married. Married to a man who will remain nameless. But for the sake of this article, I will call him Mr. Frambroshio. It was this name that almost put an end to my career. Under this new last name, I didn’t book a single job. Now I can’t honestly be sure if it was the weight of the name or the weight of a stressful relationship that made my career all but dry up. The relationship could best be described as the product of a third-grade woodshop class an unattractive clunky mess with a very rough finish.
After a harsh divorce, it was necessary for me to make a name change again. Frambroshio was not a name I had a problem shedding. But I did have a problem. I was in name limbo. I couldn’t see keeping my married name but it also didn’t feel right returning to my maiden name. I was not sure I’d ever get married again. However, I was sure I would never again change my name. I wanted a name that would suit me for life. After running through my options I decided to take my grandmother’s maiden name, which as fate would have it was actually Muldoon. Funny how things work out like that, isn’t it?
I re-christen myself Maureen Rose Muldoon and headed back to work with a greater sense of self. I was Maureen Muldoon of the Jersey Muldoon’s. It was a name that just felt right. It also turned out to be a stroke of genius.
People loved repeating the name. “Maureen Muldoon,” they would call out with an Irish lilt when I went in for auditions. “Maureen Muldoon” they would repeat as they took me in. This new name literally made them smile in a way I had not noticed before. My fair skin, freckles, and red hair caused them to smirk across the desk at me as if they had discovered a leprechaun. I kid you not. This never happened when I was Maureen Pierson and never ever when I was Maureen Frambroshio. I can’t say Maureen Muldoon was a better actress, but she sure booked more jobs and made a more lasting impression than either of the other Maureens. Was Mickey Muldoon right all along? Was it really just the name?
This would be my first of many classrooms in the interesting science of branding and marketing. Sorry Shakespeare but a name means everything. A Rose by any other name would not smell as sweet.
In the area of naming things, I have found that it is not just important that the name be memorable. It should represent who you are.
Marisa Tomei has the perfect balance of tough vulnerability that a Marisa Tomei should. Angelina Jolie has the exotic looks that expected from an Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston carries the clean-scrubbed beauty of a Jennifer Aniston. Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Johnny Depp, hear the name fist and when the actor shows up you want to smile cause they are who you thought they would be. So it was with Maureen Muldoon. She looked like a Maureen Muldoon, or rather I looked like who I said I was and people seemed to appreciate that. Keep your branding clean, give them what they are expecting.
Now that does not mean you can’t be creative. Over the years the Industry has seen its share of interesting stage names “Lady Gaga, Sid Vicious, Jamie Foxx, the list goes on. I can’t help but wonder would Stefani Germanotta be as memorable as Lady Gaga? Would John Simon Ritchie be as riveting as Sid Vicious, Johnny Christopher as deep as Johnny Depp and Eric Marion Bishop as… well, foxy as Jamie Foxx?
If you are starting out I would suggest that you consider whether your name is working for you. This is a much easier change to make early on rather then mid-stream, trust me.
As a Lifestyle Coach and a mother of four… I love the art of naming. “Name it, claim it and work to sustain it.” Is one of my quick recipes for living a successful life. It’s no mistake that it all begins with a name.
After all, sticks and stone will break your bones and lovers break your heart, but in the end it ’tis your name that may book for you the part. Isn’t that just the sort of thing you might expect to hear from Maureen Muldoon.
Maureen Muldoon is a sought after Spiritual Counselor, Speaker, Creative Life Coach, and Corporate Consultant. She has empowered and inspired thousands to find their authentic voice and claim, create and commit to living the life of their dreams. She has had the privilege of coaching both the developing artist as well as internationally recognized names.
Her journey began in New York City where she worked in stage and TV and began facilitated groups on acting technique and “how to breaking into the business without losing yourself”. Her own career took her to LA where she spent twenty years in Hollywood as an accomplished writer, producer, director and star of TV and film. It was in California that she firmly developed her powerful intuitive ability to assist the artist and became known as a “creative midwife”.
She is the creator of Voice Box VoiceboxOakPak.com as well as
the Spiritual Director of SpeakEasy Spiritual Community.
For the past, two decades she has established sacred circles across the country specifically New York, New Jersey, Texas, Virginia, North Carolina, Chicago and LA. As a teacher, and speaker she has presented to audiences as large at 8000 people. She is a passionate teacher of A Course in Miracles and her main platform is recovery, creativity and miracles.