They have two of the most recognizable names in America, but neither of them is running for president.
Meet Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Clinton runs music festivals across America, and Trump heads up a cancer institute in Virginia.
Their names have always raised some eyebrows, they say, but in an election year, it’s getting them a whole lot more attention.
Hillary Clinton, festival organizer
Hillary Clinton, a fun-loving twenty something from New Orleans, is quick to point out that she was not named after Hillary Rodham Clinton.
“I am from Louisiana, she was the first lady of Arkansas,” Clinton says, referring to when she was born.
Not surprisingly, her Louisiana parents hadn’t heard of the other Hillary Clinton at the time.
Her father, Phillip, not Phil, Clinton, confirmed to us that her name is indeed a coincidence.
Shortly after Hillary Rodham Clinton moved into the White House in 1993, Hillary’s mother wrote to the first lady about her namesake.
“How interesting to learn of another Hillary Clinton!” The first lady wrote back, “Perhaps we will meet sometime in the future.”
It wouldn’t be until 1998, when news of the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke, that sharing a name with the first lady would become a problem for Hillary Clinton, a 7-year-old in elementary school at the time.
“I didn’t really understand what the act was that had happened, so the jokes didn’t make sense to me and the attention was not attention I was looking for, so I actually changed my name for a few months,” Clinton said, sitting in the middle of Suwannee Hulaween, a music festival she helped organize over the Halloween weekend in northern Florida.
Part of her job involves liaising with performing artists and their agents.
“My emails sometimes get ignored and I have to send multiple follow-ups. People think I’m part of the campaign or they think it’s spam,” Clinton says.
She’s not kidding.
“I asked my agent if her name was a joke,” one performer from France said at the Suwannee Hulaween festival.
‘Facebook, I want my name back’
Having the name Hillary Clinton on social media isn’t always easy.
“I get tagged in so many Hillary Clinton posts,” Clinton says. “Positive and negative memes and photos.”
Her Facebook account has been suspended on multiple occasions, with the social network giant thinking her name a fake. She sent Facebook officials her driver’s license some years ago but her account was again subsequently blocked. Today, in fact, she goes by “Hill Clinton.”
“Facebook, if you’re listening, I want my name back,” she says.
‘Screwed either way’
Clinton says that although she won’t be voting for Trump as she is “scared of him,” she’s torn because she knows sharing a name with a president could be even more troublesome.
“I’m screwed either way. If Hillary Clinton wins, then it’s just going to get worse … for me,” she says.
Dr. Donald Trump, CEO, Inova Schar Cancer Institute
Dr. Donald Trump has been working in the medical field for more than 40 years. He now runs a cancer institute in Virginia and although he says he’ll be voting for Hillary Clinton. He has courted “The Donald” for donations for medical research in the past.
Dr. Trump first became aware of the other Donald Trump in the late 1970s when the businessman began showing up in the New York tabloids.
The pair have interacted sporadically throughout the years.
In 2010, Donald J. Trump picked up the phone to ask Dr. Trump for a favor. The son of a close friend of his was hoping to get into a clinical trial at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, where Dr. Trump was working at the time.
“I’m happy to say that neither Mr. Trump nor I had any impact on that decision. That process and the entry of the young man on the clinical trial was well underway when I received the call,” Dr. Trump said at the Inova Schar Cancer Institute in Virginia, where he now serves as CEO and executive director.
Never one to miss an opportunity, Dr. Trump used the contact from Mr. Trump to tell him about some of the work performed at Roswell Park and explained to him that they would soon be holding a “Bald for Bucks” fundraiser.
The Donald politely declined to part with his famous locks, Dr. Trump said, but sent a video message wishing Roswell Park well and made a “generous donation,” Dr. Trump said.
Sometime after the fundraiser, the two Donalds met at Trump Tower in New York. Dr. Trump described Mr. Trump as engaging, and interested in the doctor’s work.
The doctor hinted at Mr. Trump’s braggadocio, but said he wasn’t as flamboyant as he is on the campaign trail. He was “clearly successful and wasn’t unhappy to make sure I knew he was successful,” Dr. Trump said.
Trump not voting Trump
Despite his previous interactions with the Republican nominee for president, Dr. Trump said that his politics have long been left of center and that he plans on voting for Clinton.
“I have always felt kinship with Democratic political theories and approaches,” he said, being careful not to comment directly on his namesake’s politics.