What Was Jordan Mooney's Real Name?

During the 1970s punk rock movement in England and elsewhere — typified by bands like the Sex Pistols, the Ramones, and The Clash — fashion was nearly as important as music, as new looks and aesthetics challenged what young people aligning with punk saw as the old social order (via Roundhouse). One icon of punk rock fashion in Britain was the English model, actress, and musician, Jordan Mooney, who died in 2022 at the age of 66 after briefly living with bile duct cancer (per the Daily Mail).

Known as the "Queen of Punk," Mooney worked with the Sex Pistols and punk rock fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, among others. As is often the case, though, in popular culture, things weren't always what they seemed with Mooney, which wasn't even her real name, just like Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious (singer and bassist of the Sex Pistols, respectively) performed under nom de plumes, as Britannica explains. Punk rock strove for a new kind of honesty in all of its aspects, but in instances like these, the punk rock revolution was also about artifice.

Mooney redefined herself from the very beginning

Jordan Mooney was interested in style and fashion from a very young age. She was born in the English coastal town of Seaford in East Sussex, as The Guardian reports. Even early on, she was known to wear unusual outfit combinations such as see-through skirts with nothing underneath, pants made from rubber, and stiletto heels. She was often kicked out of school for her looks. Going by her given name until the age of 14, Mooney, seemed destined for the high-fashion environs of London, and that's just where she would end up (per Another Man).

Mooney's entre into the world of punk rock music, fashion, and culture was scoring a job at Sex, a London-based clothing shop run by punk impresario, shopkeeper, and Sex Pistol's manager Malcolm McClaren and fashion designer Vivienne Westwood. By then, Mooney had changed her name, taking her inspiration for her new moniker from the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic "The Great Gatsby," as she later explained. The book, she said, has a strong androgynous female character named Jordan Baker, and for that reason, she picked out that name for herself (via Another Man).

Mooney's real name was Pamela Rooke

By the time Jordan Mooney was living in London and working at Sex, she'd long since changed her name from Pamela Rooke. From the start, assuming a new name was not about hiding her real identity — it was about building her own from the ground up, and that included what people would call her. As Mooney later revealed, her parents were older than average when she was born, and the punk rock movement seemed to her like a fresh start and a clean break from that era (via Another Man). Soon, Mooney was rubbing elbows with major stars of the time like David Bowie (pictured above).

What drove Mooney on, under her assumed name, was personal empowerment, and she cared little about what other people thought. "I felt my expressions should be in tune with what I was wearing — like a work of art," Mooney said (via Another Man). This fearlessness secured Mooney's place in punk rock history, and rightly, she's included in a 2022 dramatized series "Pistol" on Hulu, played by English actress Maisie Williams (per Metro).