“Whatever you choose, it’s got to be something that sticks in people’s heads,” she says, recounting her decision-making process by phone. “So, do I use my real name and lose all privacy? Do I use my first name and some random surname that sounds plausible? Do I mash up the names of a couple stars who are already famous so I can ride their coattails and pop up in searches for them online? Or do I just go the dirty-pun route?”
Faced with such endless choices, Dullnom decided to do an about-face and go another route altogether.
“At this point, it’s sort of like band names,” she muses. “All the simple ones are taken. Now you have to pull two or three random words out of a hat and come up with something completely nonsensical to stand out. Like Maroon 5 or Vampire Weekend. What the hell do those even mean?”
And so Dullnom went about stringing together various words and names until she settled on one particular arrangement that pleased her. Her colleagues in the industry, however, expressed puzzlement over her final choice.
“They thought it was way too absurd,” recalls Dullnom. “Everyone advised me against it.”
But this far into 2016’s Presidential primary season, it looks like this forward-thinking entrepreneur may have been on to something. Now that she’s performing under the stage name Howto Movetocanada, her visibility online has increased exponentially over the past few months, and positively skyrocketed following last week’s Super Tuesday results.
Google confirms that searches for “Howto Movetocanada” began trending shortly after polls closed on Super Tuesday. Then, as results began to show Donald Trump to be the undisputed winner of the night, with Sen. Ted Cruz trailing in second, the number of searches jumped by 350%. By midnight, that number spiked again, by a staggering 1500%.
“My website was really fledging before that," Dullnom confesses. "A couple hits here, a couple hits there. But Tuesday night, WHAM! Thousands, I mean thousands upon thousands of unique visitors, all at once."
Dullnom has since been enjoying instant recognition on the street.
"I was in an In-N-Out Burger the other day, and everyone looked up and froze, French fries dangling out of their mouths, mayo dripping from their burgers. Not just husbands–wives, too. Even with my neighbors, it's the same. I've lived in the same complex for a couple years now, and so have a lot of the other people here, but now, whenever I leave my apartment, they all do doubletakes, like they've never seen me before.”
As for her own plans in the voting booth, Dullnom is divided. “I’m a Democrat all the way,” she says. But traffic on her website has only increased with Trump and Cruz’s respective victories after Super Tuesday.
“I’ve changed my affiliation and registered as Republican just so I can vote for Trump in the primary here in June,” admits Dullnom. “After that, I don’t know. I feel conflicted about it, but these fools are such a Godsend. Or at least for me they are. If Trump or even Cruz manages to win the general election, I mean, wow, I could really cash out on that, you know? Forget Canada–I could afford to move anywhere I want and live in total luxury.”