Flustered looks and pure speechlessness are common occurrences for Jennifer when asked to state her full name.

Her unique surname is pronounced like this: Su-ri-ya-ja-yaThat’s too much of a mouthful, ain’t it? Read more for her childhood-struggle-turned-honor.


Imagine spelling out your last name to almost everyone who asks you for it. That was Jennifer’s life growing up. Since others found her surname a challenge to pronounce, she regarded it as a hindrance in her fast-paced life and a scar on her identity.

During her teenage years, she read the Improper Bostonian’s interview with Uzoamaka Aduba, the actress who plays “Crazy Eyes” on the hit Netflix series Orange Is The New Black, about Aduba’s challenges with just as crazy surname as Jennifer’s.

Aduba’s quote that resonates with Jennifer most is:

“If they can learn to say Tchaikovsky and Michelangelo and Dostoyevsky, they can learn to say Uzoamaka.”

From that moment on, Jennifer realized that it is empowering to recognize beauty in the complicated.

Now, Jennifer embraces the complexity of her surname. She realizes her surname is what sets her apart from others, and she is proud of it. Jennifer carries the name as a symbol of success. 

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