Three Women Named Lena Dunham Talk About Being Named Lena Dunham in the Age of Lena Dunham

Lena Dunham
Search results for Lena Dunham on LinkedIn. LinkedIn.com

You wouldn’t know it from the media’s coverage, but there’s more than one Lena Dunham out there in this cold, confounding world! At least five or six of them, in fact, by our cursory, nonscientific count. So we rounded up three Lena Dunhams, none of whom are famous or have landed multimillion-dollar memoir deals, and got them to talk about what it’s like to be named Lena Dunham in the age of Lena Dunham.

Here are your Lena Dunham contestants: a 23-year-old beauty consultant in Indiana, a 61-year-old Stockholm woman who works as a personal shopper in “Sweden’s most prestigious department store” and a 25-year-old media assistant at a marketing company in Greenville, South Carolina. Curiously, each of them took the name “Dunham” upon marriage, though none of them seem too distressed by that fate. The latter two Lena Dunhams spoke on the phone with Newsweek, while the former Lena Dunham answered our questions via Facebook message. 

On taking the name Lena Dunham:

Lena Dunham, Stockholm: Ive had this name since 1971, when I got married to a guy named David Dunham. We divorced many years ago. [But I kept the name] because I had a son, who is called Nick Dunham.

Lena Dunham, Greenville, South Carolina: I got married in October of 2012. And about three months before then [I] started realizing she was making it big. She was starting to have this awesome show, and I kind of realized I was going to share that with her.

Lena Dunham, North Vernon, Indiana: I was married February 11, 2013, which is when I took the last name Dunham. But my name wont be Dunham much longer. I am going through a divorce and will be taking my own last name back, Lena Smith.

On weird experiences caused by having the name “Lena Dunham”:

Lena Dunham, Stockholm: I think it was five or six years ago when I got a request on Facebook from her [the famous Lena Dunham] asking who I was who had the same name as her. I told her who I was. She said something like, “Hey, I didn’t think there was more than one me, but apparently you have the same name.” She asked, “Who are you?” and I told her who I was.

Lena Dunham, North Vernon: I really have no idea who the celebrity is. I don’t keep up with that sort of thing, but I have gotten a lot of pm [private messages on Facebook] and have been tagged in a lot of things having to do with her, even to the point my family has started getting any magazine that has her in it and sending them to me.

Lena Dunham, Greenville: You get very odd phone calls. Being in media, you have reps that ask you if thats your real name all the time. I get text messages and stuff from friends saying that Im in People magazine and a new author.

Lena Dunham, Stockholm: I do get a lot of requests on Facebook and places like that. When I see the person requesting, I realize its not me they want to be friends with—its Lena Dunham.

Lena Dunham, North Vernon: I learned that there was a famous person with my name when I was tagged by this one man over and over. He tagged me in stuff like “You’re soo beautiful” and he wishes I could be his and he was watching me [on TV]. But my husband sent him a message asking him why he’s tagging me in all of his posts and whatnot. The man then told him he thought he was tagging the famous lady. It was a little strange, but after I got a little kick out of it, LOL.

Lena Dunham, Greenville: Email, not so much. On Instagram I’ve probably gotten a few hundred friend requests thinking that Im her. Ive probably gotten 200 in total.

Lena Dunham, North Vernon: Oh, and every friend or family member texting or calling, “Hey, you know you’re named after a famous person.”

Lena Dunham, Greenville: If I hand them a frequent shopper card and it has my name on it, theyll ask if thats really my name.

Lena Dunham, Stockholm: No one would say Im a famous person, but Im pretty well known in the retail business where I work, so my name is pretty well known, especially in my age group. When they read some headline in the newspapers like “Lena Dunham said this,” they think its quite fun, but they know its not me. I keep telling people that I had the name before her because I’m so much older than her.

On whether they worry about being effectively unGoogle-able:

Lena Dunham, Stockholm: No, no, no, no, absolutely not. I’m well past that.

Lena Dunham, North Vernon: No, it doesn’t worry me at all. I doubt anyone would find much on me anyways, LOL.

Lena Dunham, Stockholm: I know who I am and what I’ve been doing. I don’t need to be Googled to find something about myself. I’m quite content.

On what they think about Girls, and the famous Lena Dunham:

Lena Dunham, Stockholm: I think I’m not the correct age, to be honest. But I’ve seen a couple of those shows. I think it’s quite fun.

Lena Dunham, Greenville: I actually have never seen it. Sure, I’d be happy to [give it a chance]. I just don’t have HBO. And don’t really watch a whole lot of TV.

Lena Dunham, North Vernon: I have never seen her show and really know nothing of her. Like I said, I really don’t keep up with that sort of thing and really don’t watch TV at all. I’m more of an outdoors kind of person. Although I was told I resemble her a little and the lady from Bones.

Lena Dunham, Stockholm: I think she’s fantastic! Really, really fantastic! Really funny, well-spoken, clever. 

On anything they wish to say to the famous Lena Dunham:

Lena Dunham, North Vernon: I just Googled her, and I have to say I don’t resemble her at all. [On] another note, my prayers go out to her and I hope they find whoever did that to her.

Lena Dunham, Greenville: Nope. Just wish her the best. And happy for her success.

Lena Dunham, Stockholm: I wish she would contact me again. That would be quite fun.

Note: A fourth Lena Dunham, who lives in Brooklyn and has recently published a memoir, declined, via a representative, to comment.