Teenage Dream was always my song.
When it came on in nightclubs in my first year at university, I would scream along with the words, completely unaware that one day I would share a name with the singer. Back then, I was Katy Gough.
When I met my now-husband on New Year’s Eve in 2016, I was more interested in the fact he was tall and that his peroxide hair made him look like Draco Malfoy than I was about what my surname would become should we get married one day.
Even when we got more serious, I didn’t even consider the name change. I was always adamant that I wanted to keep my surname; it was important to me and I also disagreed with the old fashioned idea of women taking their husband’s name.
‘Plus, it would be ridiculous to become Katy Perry by choice’, I insisted.
He completely supported this and said that he would happily take my surname. However, when we got engaged in April 2019, we came to a new conclusion, becoming the Perry-Goughs after getting married in August last year.
It turned out that I was silly to think that double-barrelling would make the smallest bit of difference to most people.
It’s like they stop listening as soon as I’ve finished saying Perry. But Gough-Perry simply didn’t have the same ring to it as Perry-Gough and I genuinely thought people would gloss over the first part!
What I have found most surprising (and frustrating) is that people always tell me that my name is the same as hers, as if I’m not painfully aware. I’m probably reminded of this fact once a day.
I even had to submit our marriage certificate to Facebook to prove that, yes, that is my real name and that I’m not some kind of impersonator or aggressively over the top fan.
And like many people who share names with famous people (even if it’s not the same), I have had to watch the smiles fade from faces of excited restaurateurs, thinking they’re about to feed the chart-topping, slightly eccentric pop sensation.
But then again, no one ever forgets your reservation – so that’s a plus!
When I changed my name, I was really worried about being taken seriously at work. There was an image I couldn’t shake, of being at a public speaking event, announced as ‘Katy Perry’ to waves of applause, only for it to immediately cease when I arrive on stage to discuss educational strategies (I’m a secondary school English teacher).
Have I perhaps used it as a way to get a smile out of difficult teenagers? Yes. Definitely.
A weeping 14-year-old who thinks they stick out for all wrong reasons found comfort in the fact I’d willingly chosen a name that caused embarrassment that outstripped hers. And I have no regrets about that.
So maybe it’s not been too bad on the job front.
At least I’m safe among friends and family, who know us as the P-Gs rather than the Perry-Goughs. You find that those closest to you get bored the quickest with these kinds of things.
As for my similarities to Katy Perry, funnily enough, I did spend a lot of my school and university life singing – having completed all eight grades at school, landing lead roles in musicals at university and being in a wedding band for over five years.
However, this, as well as a brief stint with dark hair at the same time, is where the comparison most definitely ends.
Yet, we’ve drawn some comparisons in the past year. It was typical that I was also pregnant at the same time as her.
I got used to the reoccurring joke from my colleagues that the ‘other’ Katy Perry was stealing my thunder (I was further along than she was, having our son Reuben in July).
They were met with my usual response of an eye roll, and a wish we could just talk about my pregnancy and not hers!
I don’t think the Internet would have broken with my five day postpartum body photos, but I do applaud Katy Perry for sharing the reality of pregnancy and childbirth – something the world desperately needs.
While I was a fan of her first couple of albums, with Teenage Dream still holding a place in my heart, I cannot really count myself as much of a fan of her music anymore, and I only read about her in passing.
But if you were to tell me, 10 years ago, that I’d have the same name as the woman responsible for my then-favourite song, I’d never have believed you.
Hello, My Name Is…
It’s not easy having the same name as someone, or something, famous.
In Metro.co.uk’s weekly Hello, My Name Is… series, we’ll hear the funny, surprising and frankly mundane stories of people whose parents really didn’t know what they were getting their children into.
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