Actress Ming-Na Wen is opening up about the importance of her name.
The end of May marked the end of AAPI Heritage Month, and the former Disney princess turned Star Wars actress wanted to explain how important her name was to her in a candid Instagram post.
Ming-Na Wen Discusses The Importance & Meaning Of Her Name
Wen began, “As AAPI Heritage Month comes to a close, I wanted to highlight P&G’s ‘The Name’ film (pg.com/names) because it brings awareness of the importance of a person’s name. This film moves me because it reminds me of how I felt as a kid growing up with a Chinese name in America. Back then, I grew up in white suburbia where it seemed like I was the only one without an English name. I felt like I didn’t belong.”
“The struggle to fit in was so real that in 6th grade, I had my friends and teachers call me ‘Maggie,’” she revealed. “That lasted about a week. ‘Maggie’ felt wrong. To make things easier, I just introduced myself as ‘Ming.’”
“Being an actress with a unique name also has many pitfalls,” she explained. “A director once even suggested I should anglicize my name so that it would be more identifiable and easier to remember. I am happy that I didn’t listen to him. I want my mother, who chose this special name for me, to see ‘Ming-Na Wen’ in the credits.”
“My name means enlightenment, warmth and kindness,” she explained. “It has the sun, moon and water symbols in the characters. I love all its special symbolisms.”
‘A name is your family, your history, your culture’
Wen admitted that “People still mess up my name. It still gets misspelled and mispronounced. Since I have come to take great pride in my name, I know it is my job to correct them. I’ll say to them, ‘Can you say, ‘Tina?’ ‘Madonna?’…., ‘Ming-Na.’”
“Simple, right?” she asked. “And it’s not Ms. NaWen, it’s Ms. Wen.”
“A name is not just an ID on a driver’s license,” she explained. “A name is your family, your history, your culture. It represents you. I believe when you embrace your name, you learn to love yourself a little more. When you take the time to learn someone else’s name, you show respect and appreciation for who that person is.”
Many fans expressed support for “The Book of Boba Fett” actress in the comments of her post.
“Your name is beautiful, Ming-Na!” one fan wrote. “I am so glad you had the courage to keep your name as is! I know many are inspired by you for that decision!”
“I love this because I had the exact opposite problem: my parents named me Cynthia, so none of my aunts & uncles could pronounce it,” another shared. “They all just call me xiao gwai.”
“This!” another wrote. “No one could pronounce my name in school (even though it’s said exactly how it’s spelled…?) but it’s who I am, and if they can pronounce Dostoevsky then they can learn to pronounce our names.”
“@mingna_wen Ok I love everything about this post,” another shared. “I’m so glad u didn’t listen to the director and you kept your name and I as many others can’t believe I said it wrong the whole time. Now I know. A beautiful name for a beautiful woman💙”