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Category: Brooke Shields

baby name zooey

You’ve probably noticed that Aiden is now way more popular than the original Irish Aidan.  And also that Zoey is catching up with Zoe, while other names like Isiah, Kaleb, Camryn and Sienna are either ahead of or breathing down the necks of their conventionally spelled cousins.  Sometimes the reasons for these changes are clear-cut, sometimes it’s just something in the ether.

Not that this is a new thing.  I remember the first time that someone asked me to spell my first name.  “Huh?”  “Well, is it Linda with an ‘i’ or Lynda with a ‘y’?  Without my really noticing, Lynda had become a spelling alternative in the wake of  the popularity of Lynn.  Something similar has happened with Aidan/Aiden.  When the epidemic of rhyming ‘en’-ending names erupted–Jaden, Braden, Caden et al–it was a logical development to make Aiden a legitimate member of that family.  And when ‘K’-beginning boys’ names became a rage, Kaleb began pursuing Caleb up the list.

The case of Zoe/Zooey is a little different, as the spike of the latter version can be pretty much traced to a single phenomenon–‘Zoey101′–the Emmy-nominated teen sitcom starring (now teen mom) Jamie Lynn Spears, which appeared on Nickelodeon in 2005.  And the publicity surrounding Jamie Lynn’s big sister Britney’s second son helped spread that spelling of Brayden.  The rise of the British actress Sienna Miller spurred the spelling change of the Italian town of Siena, actress Jorja Fox legitimized the phonetic spelling of Georgia, and Gossip Girl hottie Chace (originally his middle name) Crawford has the spelling of his name chasing Chase.

In terms of image, rather than spelling, Scarlett Johansson challenged the long-term connection of her name to Gone With the Wind spitfire Scarlett O’Hara, just as the charms of Jude Law have managed to erase the age-old associations of his name to Judas.

More recently we’ve seen a couple of starbabies who might have some influence on the future spellings of names: Brooke Shield’s Grier (rather than Greer) and Angie Harmon’s Emery (rather than Emory).

Can you think of any others?

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Boys to Girls–Baby Name Gender Switches

Let’s say you have a two-year-old son named Connor.  Then suddenly you wake up one morning and see that Scarlett Superstar has just named her new baby daughter Connor.  And the thought runs through your mind–omg!!–are thousands of other parents now going to follow her lead and name their little girls Connor?  Is this the end of Connor as a boy’s name?

To the horror of many parents of boys, it can and sometimes does happen.  Think about Addison and Avery and Jordan and Morgan and all the other gender blurring  we’ve seen in recent years–and sometimes it is a single starbaby who has, if not incited the trend, at least accelerated it. A few once strictly-male names that fit this profile:

BAILEY–somewhat used for girls since the 80s, but really popped after several celebs chose it.

DYLAN–never heard as a girl’s name until Mia Farrow used it for her daughter in 1985, with the Sean Penns following suit in 1991–it’s now fully accepted as a female option.

EMERSONTeri Hatcher’s daughter was born in 1997, but the name didn’t really take off until all the publicity surrounding the mega-success of Mom’s show Desperate Housewives.

FINLEY –used by Angie Harmon and Jason Sehorn in 2003, hopped onto the girls’ popularity list in 2005.

ROWAN–the Irish surname chosen by Brooke Shields in 2003 that led to hundreds of baby girl Rowans born last year.

To a lesser degree, this can happen with a celebrity’s own name too.  Although Glenn Close and Daryl Hannah didn’t do much to alter the gender images of their names, Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Reese Witherspoon certainly did–there were over 2,300 girls named Reese last year.

So, which celebrity-endorsed boy-to-girl names have had or will have a lasting impact?

STARBABIES WHO HAVE ALREADY HAD AN EFFECT:

AVERY

BAILEY

EMERSON

FINLEY

HARPER

RILEY

ROWAN

RYAN

SAM

Those that could:

EASTON

ELLIOT/ELIOT

KAI

LUCA

MASON

SAWYER

SPENCER

Those that probebly won’t (though you never know):

ATHERTON

DEXTER

FINN

HUDSON

JAGGER

JUDAH

NOAH

OWEN

RIPLEY

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