I once received a letter from an Uncle stating that if I wanted to change my name, he would pay for it. I was 16 at the time, and the idea of changing my name was as unthinkable then as it is now.
You see, Bambi is my real name. It is a name that my mother chose for me when she was five years old, twenty three years before I would ever be born. She had gone to see the Disney classic Bambi* when it came out in 1942, and when the film was over, she decided that if she ever had a daughter, she would name her Bambi. And she did, with my father’s full support. This is one of the blessings of being born to entertainers; they are intrinsically creative, especially with names though the name Bambi is also taken from the Italian word bambina or bambino, meaning baby or little child.
My mother is an extraordinary woman. She spent her childhood training herself how to dance and do acrobats, which eventually led her to New York where she lived her dream of dancing on Broadway. She was determined to do what she loved. She was exceptionally talented and continued dancing until moving to California to eventually marry my father. Once here, she put all of her passion and love into her family, while still staying connected to the entertainment industry through various shows and local functions.
I was the first born, which earned me the youthful promise she made to herself at five. Throughout my life, I have been teased about my name. It never really bothered me because I was proud to wear the gift my mother gave me. For someone to name you after something that touched their heart so deeply is an honor. But I certainly have dealt with my share of recurring comments such as, “Where’s Thumper” or, “Do you want to play in the forest?” And I still get, “Have you ever seen Bambi meets Godzilla?” But overall, all I can do is smile. After all, this IS my name. And, I get just as many compliments about it as I do giggles.
As I look back throughout the years, I realize that something else happened along the way. Though I did, and still do receive the comments, the occasional odd looks as well as the teasing, the fact is that it has strengthened me in ways I could not have foreseen. Because people did not always take me seriously, or gave me a hard time about the perceived profession of a girl named Bambi, I had to work my way up through the ranks of corporate America to prove myself in business and show that I am much more than a name. This eventually led me to become a founding member and Chief Operating Officer of a multi-million dollar hair beauty brand in North America and recently I started my own business as a Law of Attraction Life Coach and Business Consultant.
The biggest reward, however, came as I learned who I am as a person, and what is most important to me. And that is to be authentically myself, and proud of it.
* The film was based on Bambi: A Life in the Woods, written in 1926 by Felix Salten (pen name of the Austrian novelist, journalist, and theater critic, Siegmund Salzmann), and published in the United States in 1928.