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By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Last week, designer Rebecca Minkoff and her actor-director husband Gavin Bellour introduced their new baby, Bowie Lou.  Daughter Bowie joins big brother Luca Shai at home.

The new arrival’s name got me thinking: how many high profile parents have chosen baby names borrowed from other celebrities?

Of course, it is possible that the Minkoff-Bellours loved Bowie for another reason – maybe it is a family name, or maybe they’re thinking of folk hero Jim Bowie, who gave his name to the Bowie knife before meeting his end in the Battle of the Alamo.

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It seems that celebrities are as starstruck as the rest of us, judging from some of the names they’ve picked for their kids.  Musicians tend to salute their musical idols, while others honor glamorous stars from Hollywood’s golden age–and even some of their contemporaries.  And they aren’t above pulling a gender switch or two either.

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by Linda Rosenkrantz

It’s an inarguable fact that celebrity baby name choices have an impact on the rest of the population.  But which of them have had a lasting influence and which luminaries have hit the sweet spot more than once?

With some names it was not a single celeb but a confluence of several that helped propel a name to stardom– among these are the namers of Becketts, Dashiells, Harpers, Romys, Romans and, perhaps most of all, the now ubiquitous Ava.  And we see that even a middle name can pack an impact, as in Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s (Blue) Ivy.

TRENDSETTERS

Angie Harmon and Jason Sehorn introduced a whole style of names with their three daughters, Avery, Emery and Finley, all boyish names ending in ‘y.’ First came Finley, born in 2003, when that name was nowhere to be seen on the girls’ Top 1000.  It appeared there two years later, and is now at Number 349, with close to a thousand baby girls bearing that name annually.  Daughter Avery was born in 2005; there were approximately 4,000 girl Averys born the year before her arrival, 5,000+ the year after, and 8,000+ this past year. The third daughter, Emery, was born three years later, when the name was Number 467; it is now at 211.

Two of the Jolie-Pitt kids’ names have made their mark. The eldest, Maddox, was born in 2001, the name popped onto the list two years later, and is now at Number 167, accounting for almost 2,300 baby Maddoxes.  Another x-ending Jolie-Pitt boy name, Knox, also stuck a chord.  He arrived in 2008 with twin sister Vivienne (whose name is also rising); the following year Knox entered the list, and it is now Number 368.

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When the name Mason jumped ten places to become the 2011 second most popular boy’s name in the country, it wasn’t just because more parents were noticing this pleasant occupational surname. No, anyone who had kept up with the Kardashians would know that cute little Mason Disick, featured on the E! Entertainment channel roughly a thousand times a week, had a lot to do with it.

For decades now, the names celebrities give their kids have had a tremendous effect on baby naming, one that has increased exponentially. From Ava to Willow, Maddox to Kingston, the proof is in the numbers.

So what are the latest starbaby influencers right now? We compared the fastest climbers on the Social Security list with the most popular baby names so far this year on Nameberry to pinpoint the most influential celebrity baby names today. They are:

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hanames2

Have you noticed the sudden pop in popularity of girls’ names starting with the happy-go-lucky syllable ‘Ha’—some on them shamelessly stolen from the boys?  Caught in the spotlight by two recent high-profile starbabies, Harper Seven Beckham and Jessica Alba’s Haven Warren, this is among the baby name trends that seem to be spreading like wildfire both inside and outside the celebrity sphere.

So it’s ta-ta to Haley, Hayley, Hailee, Hailey and Hallie—and hello to:

Harper. Originally a Scottish family name, this is the biggest hit of all, now Number 119 on the girls’ list, after just arriving in 2004, and jumping more than fifty places in the last year.  It was inspired at least in part by America’s romance with the much-loved classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper (born Nelle) Lee, the book that has also propelled the name Atticus for boys.  Harper’s cred was then reinforced by the character of Harper Finkle on The Wizards of Waverly Place, introduced in 2007 and to a lesser extent by a more minor one in Gossip Girl. Though Harper is still used for boys, most of the many recent starbaby Harpers—from Lisa Marie Presley’s to Neil Patrick Harris’s, have been girls.  Trivia note: During fashionista Posh Beckham’s pregnancy, there were some snide rumors that her future daughter’s possible name was inspired by Harper’s Bazaar magazine.

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