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Doll Parts: Stage Names

How did you choose your stage name? For some people, it’s an obvious choice. Maybe they’ve always had a nickname they want to use that they will easily and automatically respond to, or maybe it takes them 5 seconds to come up with something because they’re naturally clever. For others, it can take months of brainstorming and indecisiveness before they select a name they love. Here’s how the Rocket Dolls each came up with their own alter ego’s nomenclature:

Frenchy LaRouge: My real life last name is (the word) French, practically everyone on that side of my family is nicknamed Frenchy including myself, so it was a natural choice for me. La (or le) Rouge is a fairly common burlesque last name, with rouge meaning red in French, and since I’m a redhead it seemed easy and appropriate.

Desiree De Carlo: Desiree means desired in French, and was also the potential name my dad had chosen for me before I was born (he lost). De Carlo is a reference to the gorgeous Yvonne De Carlo, who was a glamorous Old Hollywood starlet (and fantastic dancer) that went on to play Lily Munster in the 60’s. That combo of glittering sex appeal & mid century camp was greatly inspiring.

Lula Lawless: Lula is from one of my favorite movies of all time, David Lynch’s Wild at Heart. Lawless for the opposite of my muggle life as a paralegal.

Trini Bikini: My sister actually came up with mine!

Kelzey QuickLee: I would answer that, but then I would give away all of my deep mystery.

Gurl Haggard: My name was just a serendipitous shout out! I had once thought, years prior, that Gurl Haggard was a great play on Merle Haggard’s name. When I was randomly asked to fill in and help kitten for the Rocket Dolls, it was the first thing I blurted out when I was asked how I wanted to be introduced. I have never regretted the split second decision because “girl” was a childhood nickname (I come from a family of mostly boys) and I have always loved outlaw country. This all being said I am even happy that my stage name has spun into its own nickname that I get called more than my muggle name – Hags.

Phyllis Thriller: When I joined the Rocket Doll Revue as the resident emcee, I had been performing regularly as a stand-up comic for two years. Many of the earliest female stand-up comics had roots within burlesque and were considered revolutionary for demanding that the audience listen to them speak rather than just watching them. I come from a legacy of strong, powerful, witty women, and I knew that I wanted to pay tribute to one of my comedy foremothers. The first time I performed with the Rocket Dolls at a trivia night as a yet-unnamed performer, I dedicated my set to the great (and, at that time, recently deceased) Phyllis Diller, “who paved the way for female comedians everywhere and is probably going to roll over in her grave at my act.” Two months later, when I officially joined the troupe, Phyllis Thriller was born. (Fun fact: I originally planned to name myself after my grandmother, who was called Kitty.) I also highly enjoyed the fact that my stage name is clever rather than glamorous. My muggle name is also very distinct, and I like to joke that I am the only burlesque performer to choose a stage name less sexy than her real name.

Patsy Blue Ribbon: I wanted something that was cheeky and had a Chicago connection. I also like beer!

Vagina Woolf: I struggled with appropriate name choices for a very long time. I couldn’t decide what I wanted to represent. I went between androgynous names and names that sparkled and glittered. I had been talking with my sister about my struggle, when she suggested “Vagina Woolf.” I loved that it was a play on Virginia Woolf (whom I enjoy as an author). This name had an appropriate amount of raunch associated with it. Not only that, but it represents my strong feminist directive and provides an amusing amount of discomfort (you know, because “vagina” is a dirty word). I have never looked back.