What’s in a name?

It’s not every day you get mistaken for a glamour model, is it? Well, this happens quite often to me. Not due to the way I look, but because I share the same name as a page 3 model.

Dave Gorman made a TV programme called Who is Dave Gorman? where he travelled across the world to find people who shared the same name as him. I like the idea of that and social media makes it easy to find out who our namesakes are. I often get mistaken identity messages meant for other people with a similar name to me. From American footballers to former X Factor contestants or people thinking I’m related to the founder of the Salvation Army, the list of Katy Booths around the world couldn’t be more varied.

Katy (with a ‘y’) is what’s on my birth certificate but this was really a spelling mistake. My parents intended to call me Katie (with an ‘ie’) but during the chaos of giving birth three months too early the midwife didn’t check the spelling when writing my name on a wrist-tag, so spelt it the American way. Mum and dad saw this as fate and it’s stuck ever since.

Radio is probably the only industry where you say your name many times an hour. (I imagine that would get very annoying outside of a studio!) Mine is good for that because it’s quite short and snappy, although other spellings can be assumed by listeners too easily. I’m not suggesting you should do this, but if you type ‘Kate Booth’ into Google image search then you come across lots of images of a scantily dressed women who has appeared on the pages of lads’ mags.

Sorry to disappoint you – but that isn’t me! I know most people in broadcasting have second jobs to make a living but mine comes from being an English tutor, rather than a model.  We look quite similar actually… from the neck upwards.

It got me thinking; could a mistaken identity like that have an impact on my journalism career, especially now employers use the internet to check the background of potential employees? Who knows, it might even help my career progression, but that would be for the wrong reasons. I would hope newsrooms have moved on since those of the 70s, as depicted in the film Anchorman. Gender equality in broadcasting is my ambition for the industry and why I’ve been part of the Sound Women movement since they launched at last year’s Radio Festival.

Ironically, image is becoming increasingly important in radio. I love listening to people on the wireless then searching for their profiles on station websites. Most don’t look like how I imagine them! There are not many pictures of me on the web. This is partly because I have the perfect face for radio but also because I wanted my voice to be the focal point of the work that I do. I realise it would be fickle to think like this with such a multi-platform media that we have available to us now. The ‘brand’ we project of ourselves across these platforms from the articles I write, to my image and the sound of my voice – it’s all important. If I become successful maybe the other Katy Booths out there will get messages from people thinking they’re me?

Just in case you’re not entirely sure which Katy Booth I am yet, here’s a ‘behind the scenes’ video of me presenting one of my radio shows…

About Katy Booth

Broadcaster and journalist who has worked in the newsrooms of BBC local radio, regional television and commercial radio for more than a decade. BJTC accredited.

Posted on October 28, 2012, in Radio and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. My real name is Samantha Fox.


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