Alessia Santoro (pronounced uh-less-ee-uh) explained although her name is common in Italy, it’s very rare in the US.
She said she likes having a name that reflects her cultural heritage but wants parents to consider the consequences of choosing an unusual name.
“I’m 26 and I can probably count on two hands the number of times a person has gotten the pronunciation of my name right on the first go,” Santoro wrote on her open letter on Popsugar.
“Whenever someone does get it right, my jaw drops, because these moments are few and very far between - I often consider hugging the person for making me feel so normal.”
Santoro explained that she used to “dread” the first day of school knowing her new teacher would mispronounce her name.
She also cited other situations in her life where her name caused issues, including it being called out wrong when she graduated and worrying when interviewing for jobs that she would be dismissed because they couldn’t pronounce it properly.
The 26-year-old explained that many of these situations gave her social anxiety.
She finished the letter by addressing parents directly, writing: “So please, when you’re considering a unique name for your baby, think ahead.
“Is the name spelled phonetically and easy to read? Can people understand it after hearing you say it once? If you speak it out loud, would most people know how to write it out without asking you how?”
But if you are a parent wanting to choose an unusual name, don’t freak out about your decision just yet.
Blogging on HuffPost UK, Brogan Driscoll has previously written in defence of having a unique name.
“Despite having to repeat my name a thousand times over and deal with the odd sneer, having an unusual name has and continues to serve me well,” she wrote.
“When I meet people they remember who I am, when people hear or read my name it locks in their memory.
“My parents knew this when they named me, it was a calculated decision. If and when I do have children, I’ll make their names memorable too.”
Read Santoro’s full open letter on Popsugar here.
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