Category: Angelina Jolie
Women’s history month draws to a close just as Sucker Punch’s girl army hits the big screen.
But to parents who grew up with The Bionic Woman and Tank Girl, there’s something appealing about a naming a daughter after a daring female figure. The women on this list are handy in a fight, quick with a sword or a wand, and might have a super power or secret government clearance, too.
Not every appealing character wears a great name. Sucker Punch’s heroine answers to Babydoll. You probably wouldn’t consider Agent 99 or The Bride, either. (Though The Bride’s given name, Beatrix, is quite stylish.)
Here are some of the better-known tough girls, many of which would wear well in the 21st century:
Buffy – Despite a big screen debut and seven seasons on television, we haven’t met many bitty Buffys. But rookie screenwriter Whit Anderson has been tapped to reboot the vampire slayer’s story. Could the third time be the charm?
Claire – Television’s Heroes captivated audiences with the tagline, “Save the Cheerleader, Save the World!”
Echo – From short-lived sci-fi series Dollhouse.
Fiona – Some parents fret that Shrek’s better half is a reason to avoid this name, but the world’s most famous female ogre is quite admirable.
There are some celebrity kids’ names that are immediately embraced by other parents and become instant hits. Take Kingston, for example, the name chosen for personal reasons relating to the city in Jamaica by Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale: it had all the ingredients to make it a success– accessibility, likeability, a strong, familiar sound with regal overtones, plus extremely high-profile parents.
Another name with similar qualities is Maddox, the first son of Angelina Jolie, which first entered the popularity lists in 2003 and has been steadily climbing ever since. A few recent names—Honor (Warren), Clementine (Hawkes), Seraphina (Affleck), and Harlow (Madden) spring to mind—were direct hits, and seem sure to spread.
On the other side of the coin are those that were just as instantly rejected as too weird for everyday consumption: the Ikhyds, Banjos, Bandits, Pumas, Pirates and Peanuts.
Some names that were greeted at first as too audacious have now become accepted.Romeo, second son of Victoria and David Beckham, had been considered too melodramatically Shakespearean until it became associated with a cute blonde crew cut and a British accent.The name of Romeo’s brother Brooklyn also produced a few guffaws when it was announced—but then other parents started to separate the two syllables into Brook and Lyn, gradually cancelling out the New-York-accented borough association and transforming it into a pretty name for a girl: now Brooklyn ranks in the Top 50 of girls’ names. That other New York borough name, Bronx, however, got an instant thumbs down.
Of course a lot of it is about exposure. The fabulous name of the kid of some C-list actress who has never once been seen in the pages of People or viewed on Access Hollywood probably isn’t gonna make it.
On the other hand, names that are paraded before the public daily, like Kelly Ripa’s Lola and Joaquin can’t help but be noticed and emulated. Teri Hatcher named her daughter Emerson in 1997, but it wasn’t until Hatcher hit it big with Desperate Housewives that the name really took off—as has her co-star Marcia Cross’s much-photographed twin’s Eden.
So which names have definitely been given a celebritized bounce? The leader of the pack is—hands down—Ava, used by no fewer than a dozen stars, most notably Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Philippe in 1999, and which is now the fifth most popular name in America.
Some others that have been boosted by a celebrity connection are:
AVERY for girls
FINLEY for girls
HARPER for girls
There ‘s also a more recent contingent of starbaby names that seem to have the potential for becoming more widely accepted, including:
First for the good news. Here are the starbaby names which we consider to have found the right combination of originality, charm and substance this year:
Full name Clementine Jane Hawke projects the image of a sweet but strong, prim but pretty heroine of a Victorian novel, and brings to mind the song lyric ‘Oh my darlin’ (never mind that her shoes were #9). It was previously the starbaby selection of Cybill Shepherd and Claudia Schiffer.
We applaud this choice that moves beyond the more common Puritan Virtue names like Grace, Hope, and Faith to one that projects an even more righteous image, but has rarely been heard in this country. An honorable decision.
The award for best twin names of the year goes to the always inventive but never quite over-the-top serial baby namers, the Jolie-Pitts. Knox continued their tradition of boys’ names ending in ‘X’ (as in Maddox and Pax), and also has family connections to Brad‘s grandfather, as does Vivienne‘s middle name, Marcheline, that of Angelina‘s mother. Runner-up twin names: Coldplay drummer Will Champion’s lively Juno & Rex.
In the name garden overgrown with Roses and Lillies, Violets and Daisies, it seems fitting that the granddaughter of the late iconoclastic comedian Richard Pryor would have a more exotic flower name. With its languorous feel, the lotus holds intriguing significance in several cultures.
An unusual but sunny day-of-the-week name, inspired by an Australian artist’s patron named Sunday Reed, it’s in tune with other current calendar names like January, May, June and August, as well as the seasonal Winter and Summer. Some people did think it strange that Sunday was born on a Monday.
And now for what we judge to be this year’s losers:
Poor little Bronx got nothing but Bronx cheers when his name was released, especially as paired with the name of the Disneyfied Jungle Book boy. If his parents thought this New York borough name would catch on the way Brooklyn has, they’re in for a big disappointment.
Is he a bulldog? Is he a prizefighter? No, he’s a baby, whose rambunctuous name will not do much to encourage his sensitive side. An example of the alarming trend towards giving doggy names (Lucky, Princess) to babies.
It could just as well be Cadence Klover, within the paradigm of using the initial letters C and K interchangeably, leading to regrettable innovations like Kasey, Kassidy, Karolyn and Kaleb. Fortunately, the trend seems to be waning.
Taking Max–which already means “the greatest”–to the max. INXS, we’d say.
The General Hospital star explained that this had been the nickname they used “when he was in mommy.” OK, good luck explaining that to him when he’s six feet tall and applying to Princeton.
We’d love to hear your nominations for the best and worst celebrity choices of the year, and won’t be surprised if you have very different opinions. Let’s hear from you lovers of Harlow and defenders of Kadence!