My Name Is…

“Claim your name”

Design + Photography

Over the summer, I was inspired by a series of IG Stories @aka.sed made about how to pronounce her name, and her commitment to owning her name. When I started working in the industry, I quickly learned it was quite difficult for people to pronounce my name, let alone remember it. I remember worrying about this as far back as the 12th grade, when @divythasarathan and I thought, “if we brand our names, they’ll HAVE to learn how to pronounce it”! That didn’t work, e.g Team Ziyaad.

People I’d cross paths with often became afraid to say my name, and I was always able to tell when they were avoiding an awkward conversation around it. It got to the point where I began to strategically introduce myself as Zee immediately, foregoing the script on this nametag altogether. Because collaborators don’t want to call you back for work if they can’t pronounce and remember your name!

On the other hand, the people I’ve met who either searched out how to correctly pronounce my name or were persistent in asking me for the pronunciation, are some of my closest friends in the industry now. Because they made those small gestures, we’re able to have a closer relationship than friends who aren’t on a first-name basis. So yeah, you can call me Zee, but try and learn my full name eventually! And be patient with those who mispronounce your name, and hold firm when correcting them.