CALL ME MISTY
What’s in a name? What does it feel like if every time you tell people your name they burst out laughing and say “You’re kidding”? Ask Misty Shores. And she has a sister called Shelly.
My mother cried
Misty grew up in Dallas, Texas, where names such as “Trixie” and “Rebel” aren’t all that unusual, so Misty, she explains, “was no big deal.” “It got harder when I was in my twenties, when you’re trying to find your identity,” she continues. “At one point I thought about changing it, but my mother cried.” People’s reactions to the name also vary depending on the place she’s in. When it’s the state that’s home to the likes of Moon Unit Zappa and Chaz (formerly Chastity) Bono, “I completely blend in L.A.,” Misty says. “But here in New York, everyone notices it right away.”
Misty came to New York City to work—she’s assistant to a top partner at a hedge fund and acts as a luxury travel consultant, too. “On the phone at work I just say I’m Misty from X company,” she says, since it’s hard to be taken seriously when she rolls out the whole thing. “My name kills before I get there,” she says. “There’s definitely a lot of prejudice. People don’t expect me to be very smart or to take me seriously—they just assume I’m a porn star or a stripper.” One result of this is that Misty dresses more conservatively than she might otherwise. “You’ll never see me in Hervé Léger. My friends laugh, because I always go for something a bit baggy, certainly never low-cut,” she says.
So what were Jack and Debbie Shores thinking when they named their baby Misty? It certainly wasn’t a joke. “When my mother was a teenager, she used to babysit for a little girl called Misty; she always thought that when the time came she would name her little girl Misty too.” Her father did, apparently, put up some resistance, along the lines of “There’s no way you’re naming my child Misty Shores.” “So you see how that relationship went,” says Misty of her parents’ now defunct marriage. Shelly, in fact, is Misty’s half-sister; their father remarried, so they have different mothers. More or less coincidentally, the sisters also share the same rather more pedestrian second name, Marie, making the symmetry of their oceanic identity even tidier.
Looking on the bright side, “The good thing is people don’t forget you when you have a name like mine,” says Misty. “There was a girl at my school called Fancy Love—she had it way worse than me.” But her name can still make for strange bedfellows, you might say. “I dated a guy called Sparks once. From the beginning, I said, this is not going to work. Then some man came into the office the other day—his name was Overcast! Thank goodness he wasn’t my type,” says Misty, who fortunately has a robust sense of humor. “I’d rather be Misty Shores than Jennifer Smith, but when the time comes and I get married, I won’t be sorry to see Misty Shores disappear,” says Misty Shores.—LUCY SISMAN