Decades later, that message is still heard loud and clear—by one woman in particular. Amelia Earhart (a distant relative of the famous aviator) is 26 years old, lives in Los Angeles and makes her living as a helicopter reporter. And yes, she really was born with that name.

"My parents decided they wanted to give me a strong female role model, somebody who could show you that you could do whatever you want," says Earhart. "Having the same name, there's a connection that I've developed over the years. It's nothing factual, just a gut instinct that I have the same spirit she did. That is bred so deep in me."

Earhart's life has paralleled her famous namesake's in many ways. Present-day Earhart was born in California and moved to Kansas with her family when she was in middle school. Completely by chance, the family ended up in a town near Atchison, Kansas, the birthplace of the Amelia Earhart.

As a child growing up in Kansas, bearing the name of its most renowned native didn't provide Earhart with much more than some light teasing and a lot of questions about aviation. However, as she grew older and learned more about Amelia Earhart's extraordinary life and accomplishments, her perspective on what it could mean for her own life began to shift.

"Around 15, I started to get more interested in Amelia," Earhart says. "People started comparing her to me: 'You're adventurous; you're tall; you love being outside.' I started to learn that she was a really cool lady. And I thought, 'This is something that I can choose to accept, or I can give into the teasing and all the silly things that go on with a famous name like this.' So I chose to accept it."

How she lived up to her famous name


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