Pleased to meet you, hope you guessed my name

the story behind my name

By Andrea Michelle

I went from Sydney to New York and I met Sydney. Sydney Stone has been reading Fox in Flats for about three years now – pretty much since it started – and over the years we’ve had loads of chats online about red lipstick, her vast collection of shoes, and our strong views that all women are beautiful regardless of size or shape.

We met up in a cocktail bar in the Fashion District on an unseasonably warm Wednesday night, and despite never having breathed the same air before, it was as though we’d known each other all our lives. Instead of talking about our websites (she runs a successful fashion and beauty blog Stylaphile) two sips into our Margaritas and we were sharing details about our relationships, our families, where we came from, and our hopes for the future.

Alexis Bittar fox ring Fox in Flats

With Sydney Stone in New York.

Check out the AMAZING Alexis Bittar Fox ring she gave me for my birthday – swoon!



I realised there’s so much about me that I’d not shared here – indeed some basic stuff. Part of the reason for that is because this is a fashion and beauty blog, not a personal one. Another part is that the minutia of my life ain’t all that interesting. And another part is that it hadn’t really occurred to me that anyone would give a damn.

But one of the questions Sydney floated was about my surname, as she’d noticed I’d changed it over the last year from Zanetich to Michelle.”Why the name change?” she asked.

So here’s the deal: Zanetich was my married name for 12 years. I remember when this very cute guy that I’d met first told me his last name and I thought it was so cool as it sounded a bit like Xanadu (a big thing for a long-time Olivia Newton-John fan). When we got hitched a year or so later I was more than happy to take on his name – yes because I liked it, but also because it was a traditional part of marriage that I was happy to subscribe to.

Yet after we separated very amicably early last year it just felt kinda strange to keep it tacked onto mine. Going back to my maiden name felt wrong as I’d not used it for so long. And besides, I no longer wanted to be identified as someone’s wife or someone’s daughter. So I eschewed those surname options and have been running with my middle name, Michelle, ever since. After all, it’s the name I’ve carried with me since birth.

Like no longer having someone to take out the bins or replace the light-bulbs, this change has taken some getting used to. And at first I felt like I was wearing someone else’s underwear with that new name – it felt kinda weird and chafed a bit in spots I didn’t recognise. Yet now, a year down the track – like that favourite comfy bra – I don’t even notice I’m wearing it.


And back to Sydney – it never ceases to amaze me the connection that can be made online with people, whether they live on the other side of the world, or in the next suburb over. She made me pause and reflect about how much (or how little) I’ve opened up about my private life here, and also made me realise that it’s ok to do a bit more of that. So if there are things you think you’d want to ask me over a Margarita in a bar in New York, I’m open to it. But don’t ask me the colour of my favourite comfy bra, ok? Because that would be creepy. 😉



What’s the story behind your last name?

Have you/would you take someone else’s? And what do you think you’d do with your surname if you were in my shoes?

baby hanger
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