Tangela, Paras, and Eevee.
Tangela Hamilton “absolutely loves” her name. Her mother nearly called her Angela, then added the T at the last minute. “It was a game-time decision,” Tangela told me over the phone Thursday. “Back then, there weren’t any Tangelas around.” (The Pokémon Tangela, for what it’s worth, is pronounced “Tang-ela” with a hard G—which makes sense, given that it resembles a tangle of vines. As a general rule, human Tangelas pronounce their name like Angela.)
The 41-year-old singer has only spontaneously encountered one other Tangela in real life—and actually, come to think it, that was a Tanjela with a J. But a few years ago, she was inspired to search for other Tangelas on Facebook. She’s since befriended about 10 other women who share her name.
Tangela doesn’t know too much about Pokémon, but ever since the game (and cartoon) first arrived in the United States in the ’90s, the Texas native has always thought it was “cool” to be associated with the franchise. That feeling hasn’t changed now that the Pokémon GO craze has taken hold: “I just mentioned the other day, ‘I hope you know I’m a Pokémon.’ And my boyfriend’s like, ‘What the hell are you talking about?’ And I’m like, ‘Dude, Google it. Pokémon. Tangela.’ And he was like, ‘Ahhh, no crap, you are!’ Yeah, I’ve got some pretty weird vibes going on. Don’t mess with me, kid.”
Eevee seems to be the only name that’s taken off in popularity now that we’ve entered the age of Pokémon. It’s a name that Eevee Saucedo, born Yvette, chose to give herself at the age of 13, when she and her friends would play the Pokémon video game on the school bus and in the cafeteria. “Just like how a person named William would choose to go by Bill, I just prefer to use Eevee instead,” she told me in an email.
Today, the 24-year-old goes by Eevee not just personally but professionally, working as an animator in Los Angeles. (In fact, I found Eevee Saucedo in the first place because that’s how she identifies herself on the business-oriented social network LinkedIn.) “I feel like Eevee suits me better since I am constantly in pretend world for my job. Animators are just kids in adult bodies,” she said.