Hotel upgrades, friend requests and silly questions: My name is Rob Lowe

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Having the same name as a celebrity is character building because people are inevitably somewhat disappointed when they meet you. 

That’s what I’ve found, anyway, as someone called Rob Lowe. 

You have to build up some resilience to the standard response of: ‘Oh, not that one’ when you turn up for hotel or dinner reservations.

But what you do get, which is always fun, is a ‘you know you’re not quite as good looking as him’. I like to respond with, ‘OK, so you think I’m kind of good looking?’. 

The useful thing about sharing a name with someone who is famous, but not for anything super distinctive, is that people don’t expect me to ‘perform’ them. There are no questions about how good my Rob Lowe impression is, or asking me to quote a famous line of his. The only thing people expect of me is to have a beautiful square jaw line, which I don’t. 

Once I’ve let them down on that count, the only way I can go is up in their estimations. 

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It hasn’t always been this way. When I was a kid – I went by Robert back then – before the actor was famous, my name ushered a different kind of response. I remember being around 10 or 11 and other kids at school punning with the ‘Lowe’ part of my surname; the nickname that stands out in my memory is ‘Robert Low-sperm count’. 

When I went to secondary school, I decided to shorten Robert to Rob, as I thought it sounded cooler. Unfortunately for me, the other Rob started making a name (my name) for himself. 

There wasn’t really one film or TV show that led to an uptick in comments like ‘wow, you have a famous person’s name’. What did it was his leaked sex tape – featuring a woman and a 16-year-old girl in 1988, when Rob was 24 – that got a lot of press attention. 

I’m pretty shocked he managed to recover his career from that. 

I was still quite young at the time, but the story followed me throughout secondary school all the way to university. I don’t remember the exact jokes but there were a lot. 

Rob Lowe

The only thing people expect of me is to have a beautiful square jaw line, which I don’t (Picture: Noel Vasquez/Getty Images)

It’s also when people started asking stupid questions like, ‘did your parents name you after him?’. For context, there is 15 years between me and him. 

At first, I brushed off the questions but in time I got to the stage where I would respond along the lines of: ‘Well, that would be pretty impressive if they did. As if they’d seen him as a child actor and decided: “I’m going to call my son Robert so he can be named after this boy who may grow up to be a great actor”.’ 

As I got into my 20s, the type of reaction I got to my name changed. I work in video gaming, which is like a parallel industry to TV and film. At the time I was at Nintendo and we did a lot of celebrity advertising and worked with A-listers. 

When I would go on business trips, I’d have agencies booking my hotel rooms for me – so it was all very formal. Because of this, it was really common for hotels to think the actual Rob Lowe – not the Rob Lowe on page 23 of Google – was turning up (cue the disappointed faces). Twice, I got upgraded to amazing rooms. 

I remember getting to the Charlotte Street Hotel and seeing the suite they were putting me up in. It had three bedrooms and the biggest TV I’ve ever seen. I phoned my then-girlfriend and was like, ‘you have to come and stay here tonight’. 

The other was The Clarence in Dublin. After they realised that I wasn’t the most highly ranked Rob Lowe on search engines (I’m number two – yes, I am narcissistic enough to check), they said they were going to let me stay in the room anyway and we got chatting. 

Apparently, Louis Walsh had stayed in that room right before while filming The X Factor. I wish I hadn’t found that out as there was a massive jacuzzi in the suite and after that I couldn’t stop imagining him in it. Safe to say, I didn’t make the most of that facility. 

There was a time, quite a while ago, when I got into a bit of funny trouble with my now-wife, Katie. It was back at the beginning of social media, where you couldn’t really see who anyone was on Facebook – just their name. 

There were about three or four Z-list socialites who added me – women who were obviously searching for celebs on Facebook to connect with. 

Katie spotted this and asked who my new friends were. I said, ‘I think they think I’m Rob Lowe’ and she asked me to stop accepting them ‘because they’re not going to be interested when they realise you’re not. And even if they were, you’re with me, so don’t accept any more’. 

I’ve never met the man who’s had such an impact on my life, but I feel like I should (Picture: Rob Lowe)

Nowadays, I don’t get anything like that. What I do have instead is my children telling me that it’s cool I share a name with someone who used to be famous. It makes me feel like I must be getting old. 

I still feel he’s pretty famous. The Brat Pack, Wayne’s World, the second Austin Powers (which hasn’t aged too well, to be honest) are all classics, and more recently he was in Parks and Recreation, which I love. 

On the whole, I would say sharing a name with Rob has actually been a very positive thing for me. When I was younger, I would use it so other people would remember my name and it definitely worked. 

More recently, I’ve reverted to Robert as I think it sounds a bit more grown up and I’m in a senior role at Lego.

But maybe it’s also a subconscious thing; perhaps now that I’m more confident in myself I don’t have to use my name as a way of stimulating conversation. 

Still, friends call me Rob and occasionally they’ll send me funny quotes that he’s said like ‘never compare your insides to someone else’s outsides’ and I’ll post them on social media. 

I’ve never met the man who’s had such an impact on my life, but I feel like I should. When I was at Nintendo, I pitched for him to be in an advert – the ones where we had celebs like Patrick Stewart, Nicole Kidman and Julie Walters play the DS. My colleagues jokingly told me to shut up. 

Maybe one day I’ll meet him, but for now I’ll leave you with one of his quotes: ‘Our life is ours. It is the only one we will ever have. And we should love it’. 

You can follow Rob on Twitter and Instagram



Hello, My Name Is…

It’s not easy having the same name as someone, or something, famous.

In Metro.co.uk’s weekly Hello, My Name Is… series, we’ll hear the funny, surprising and frankly mundane stories of people whose parents really didn’t know what they were getting their children into.

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