Why do you have so many names?
My Father has a lot of names, one for each business and industry we work in. So it was just a logical conclusion that I would also have names corresponding to his activities. But as I got older I began naming myself for different things I was interested in.
I love that I have a lot of names, but it can be complicated for other people and some go as far as to say I’m not allowed to have that many names! Like who can actually tell me what I can and cannot do with my own choice of representation. The stereotype and limitation is that people ask you what you want to do when you grow up, and usually you can only answer one career with possibly a few hobbies. That doesn’t work for me.
I am a model, a chemistry student, a scientist, an author, a chef, a future architect, an artist, a photographer, etc. If I can’t do all of that as one name and be taken seriously, having different names allows me to communities per brand. In my opinion it makes it easier for people to specify how they want to interact with me: Some work with me as a model, so they call me Zenna De Paz. Some refer to me as the photographer, Lylaru Lao. I feel like it really organizes my activities in separate communities of my life.
I was originally born with three names; one for my Father’s family, one for my Mother’s family and one signifying their union as a new generation. To my friend’s on social media and my Mom’s family, I am Mykha Amani. To my Dad’s family, when I travel in one of his lines of work, I am recognized as Azhraiahn Zarique.
It is a very useful system, and I trust that AZYLA, a media channel will help clarify my functioning as many different names while also letting me share in the freedom and adventure that this name structure provides.