Models are busy. Supermodels: super-busy. My parents were supermodels. Mother’s name: Enchantée. Father’s: Lapù. No last name on either side. And though they gave me everything I wanted, they forgot to give me one very important thing: At the hospital, deciding what my first name would be, both their cell phones rang, and the birth certificate guy then just got confused. All he wrote was a big hand-drawn question mark with a circle around it.
Me. No first name. No last name. I remember my first day of school very well: Everyone was wearing nametags: “HELLO, my name is…” These nametags terrified me. I would rather get beat up than wear these nametags because I always got beat up anyway when I wore these nametags. Well, that day, I wore the nametag and wrote my name in it: “?”
A little boy, Bobby, walked up to me and said, “What’s your name?”
I stood in silence until he cried.
Later, the teacher walked over. “And your name is …?”
I was once in a child-beauty pageant. The kids all had hyphenated last names because it gave you like a 15% advantage. One mother tried to get us to play the name game — I just snapped and started hammering the hyphenations out of kids like Ladd Levis-Thorton, August “West”-Nickel W-i-n-b-o-r-n, and this thong-wearing pervert He-Man.
As I grew up, I got tired of people wanting to put a name to my face, so I applied for a job at Bert’s Center for the Blind. My uncle was blind and named Bert — so he helped me get the job. Though it wasn’t his center, he convinced me otherwise.
Uncle Bert was a chronic liar who later claimed to have invented the flight attendant. But what really happened was this: He made up a word that he told me was my name in Braille — which phonetically sounded like “flight attendant” — and later in my life I used this name, dressed in drag, and was the first woman to work on a plane in flight attendant capacity. Before me, you’d sit all flight long in an airplane pressing the button with the lady on it, and simply nothing would happen. It was my idea that a lady should actually show up when you press the button with the lady on it and because of that they named the job “flight attendant” — after my uncle’s Braille name for me.
Eventually, the center closed and — in a sloppy twist of Americana — a new constitutional amendment was passed: All citizens of the United States of America were legally compelled to vote in Federal elections. At the ensuing presidential election, the undecided vote, tallied with a “?” at the ballot box vote took nearly 81% of the vote. As I listened to the candidates’ concession speeches while I claimed my victory, I thought of the tough road ahead and what I had to do as President: I had to adopt all the orphaned children in the United States of America. With all my parental love, I gave these boys and girls what I never had: a name. I named them all Vlad. Vlad is a pretty good name.