Ever wonder if you should change your name for your voice over career? Many people do. Changing your name means extra paperwork and if you decide to do it legally, it means LOTS of extra paperwork (and some hefty lawyers fees as well.)

It used to be that unusual, ethnic names worked against talent and actors tried to be as neutral as possible, choosing romantic names with marquee appeal.

However, times have changed and these days an unusual ethnic name can even work in your favor. I think they make you stand out as unique. And if you have an unusual name, people try extra hard to learn it and when they do they feel proud of themselves for pronouncing it correctly.

Sometimes you’re forced to change your name to avoid confusion if another voice over actor shares it, especially if you’re joining the union. But many people remedy that situation by adding their middle name or an extra initial.

Some people favor a single name like Madonna or Cher, or my niece Isis, a visual artist. But whatever your reasons for wanting to change your name, know that a new name will not guarantee success.

Just like plastic surgery, a new name won’t compensate for a lack of confidence. At the end of the day, voice buyers will judge you on your skills and talent behind the mic, your reliability and professionalism and whether you’re pleasant and easy to work with, no matter what you call yourself

Now, some full disclosure.

I changed my name, legally years ago when I was starting my radio career. I put together a brief video for you with the full story, including some personal details about my family history I’ve never publicly revealed before.



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Susan Berkley is a top voice over artist and founder of The Great Voice Company, a company devoted to teaching great voices around the world how to become successful voice over actors. The Great Voice Company is an international leader in voice over training and in providing top quality voice over recordings in all languages to discerning businesses and marketers. For additional information visit

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