My parents were going to name me “Leah Rachel” (a nice respectable, Biblical name, right?), but then they went to see Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, and my life was altered irreparably. It wasn’t like they LOVED the movie all that much, but they DID love the name. Here is a list of things people say to me upon meeting me for the first time that I no longer find funny:
- Why don’t you wear your hair in those buns?
- Where’s your gold bikini?
- I’m Han Solo.
- Ewwrrrgh. (Chewbacca growl)
When I was younger, I thought how nice it would have been to be named Leah (#84 on the list of popular baby names in 1980) after a strong female from the Old Testament, but as I got older I started to realize that Leah was the ugly older sister who was neglected by her husband except when he wanted to make babies. And boy, was she good at that! (BTW, her name is actually pronounced lay-uh, just like mine by most people in the world, but we WASPs like to call her lee-uh.)
So, I’ve grown accustomed to, and even fond of, my true namesake. Here are a few things that the official Star Wars website has to say about Princess Leia Organa:
“Leia had accomplished much at a young age...Leia is a driven, dedicated individual. She has a forceful, some would say abrasive, personality. She is professional in all respects, but occasionally relaxes her guard to let her strong compassion and quirky sense of humor show. Leia is a petite, fair-skinned human female with...long brown hair that she often wears in an elaborate fashion...Leia never grew soft or decadent. Her strong personality and bright intellect molded her into an exceptional person...she avoided the vagaries of court politics and intrigue, and instead concentrated on bettering herself and helping others. Now known as Leia Organa Solo and the New Republic Minister of State, she set out on her most challenging role: that of mother.”
You can thank me now for sifting through all the dorky stuff, and if you don’t remember that last part, it’s because it wasn’t in any of the movies. There are loads and loads of books out there with the rest of her story (and the people who have read them scare me a little bit). One thing you might remember, too, that I think is worth adding, is that when Leia was wearing that infamous gold bikini, she strangled the life out of that fat blob, Jabba the Hutt. If you ask me, I was named after the better Leia.