Penelope's former image of an elderly British gardening lady in large-brimmed hat has of late been counterbalanced by the dramatic sensuality of Spanish actress Penelope Cruz. Penelope's popularity is on the rise, jumping into the Top 125 this year, and it's sure to climb much further and faster now that it's been chosen by Kourtney Kardashian for her baby daughter. Penelope was also picked for their girls by Tina Fey, by Natalie and Taylor Hanson, of the group Hanson, and by Anna Chlumsky. In 2001, before this rash of celebrity usage, Penelope was down at Number 945.
Penelope has long been associated with the faithful, long-suffering wife of Odysseus in Homer's Odyssey. It has several British novelists as namesakes--Penelopes Fitzgerald, Mortimer, Gilliatt and Lively. And yes, she's also a Harry Potter character: Penelope "Penny" is a student at Hogwarts.
Penelope is a strong Nameberry favorite, though instead of the traditional Penny as a nickname, many Berries suggest Nell or Poppy.