A Week of Wild Baby Names
By Abby Sandel
Just last week, we were enjoying a mini-revival in classic baby names. There was the nicely-named – and beautifully alliterative! – Christopher Carlton Cumberbatch, a Mary Cecilia called Mamie, and lots of kids named Lucy and Oliver.
Then along came this week, and it’s a very different story. The names are bold, surprising, and in many cases, absolutely new.
And that’s a reason to celebrate. Because when parents feel like they have permission to choose from such a deep pool of baby names, we all win. Considering Bridger or Canyon to honor your love of the outdoors? They’ll be right at home in the same classroom as vintage revivals like Mavis and Millicent, and imports like Odin and Giovanna.
But what about those names at the fringes? Are they the Avas and Masons of 2035? Maybe some of them, but this week’s names are so distinctively different that I doubt they’ll crack the US Top 100 any time soon.
Nalu – Gossip Girl alum Matthew Settle – he played Rufus, the cool dad – has welcomed his second daughter. He and first wife, model Naama Nativ, are parents to Aven Angelica. Now Matthew and new girlfriend Maria Alfonsin have welcomed daughter Nalu. It’s a Hawaiian word meaning wave. Just five boys were named Nalu in 2014, so this is a rare choice, indeed. Settle is definitely a daring namer.
Cleo – As the mom of a Clio, I’m always watching to see if this name is on the rise. Cleo was given to 100 girls in 2014, plus 32 Clios, so signs point to yes. More evidence? Thanks to Nikki for pointing out that Disney’s Sofia the First recently featured a character by the name, and now the October 2015 Disney Channel movie Invisible Sister is about sisters called Molly and Cleo.
Honey – Move over Olive and Clementine! British television personality Fearne Cotton and husband Jesse Wood have given their daughter the edible appellation Honey Krissy. The middle name honors Jesse’s late mother. Honey isn’t completely new as a given name, of course – if we’re counting Bond girls and Jamie Oliver’s kids. It fits right in with the English preference for nickname-names, from Bertie and Buddy to Daisy–Mae.
Monterey – Thanks to Megan for spotting this one: the new face of Johnson’s Baby Wash is an adorable baby girl named Monterey. Monterey is a California place name, with the rhythm of favorite girl names like Emily and Avery. Monterey is known equally for its natural beauty and the arts, including its legendary jazz festival.
Rocket – Marie Osmond is a grandmother again. In 2013, her son Stephen named his son Stephen. Her second grandchild has a far less conventional name. Marie’s daughter Rachael opted to call her new addition Rocket Jade. Rachael joins director Robert Rodriguez, musician Pharrell, and Australian actor-model couple Sam Worthington and Lara Bingle, as well as a handful of other parents to choose the name. The difference? Nearly all of the other Rockets are boys.
Wylde – And yet, Rocket wasn’t the most out-there name given to a girl this week. Model-actress Lily Cole and partner Kwame Ferreira are new parents to daughter Wylde. Wilder has been on the rise for boys, thanks to a mix of preppy, outdoorsy, and even Hollywood associations. Donald Faison and CaCee Cobb named their daughter Wilder Frances. But Wylde definitely turns it up to eleven.
Ranger – Speaking of outdoorsy, rugged Ranger is the name that Bachelor alum Kacie Boguskie chose for her new son with husband Rusty Gaston. Ranger is another rarity on the rise. It was given to 53 boys in 2014 – a new high. If Archer, Fletcher, Thatcher, and Bridger are Top 1000 names, why not Ranger?
Pilot – Some names do slowly transition from what-were-they-thinking to what-a-great-name. One example? Pilot, famously chosen by actor Jason Lee for his firstborn in 2003. It was unheard of back then, and topped every crazy celebrity baby name list for years. But nearly 100 parents have also named their son Pilot since then, and with names like Jett and Skye in favor, it feels much more mainstream. Names for Real recently spotted a Pilot Isaac Finn.
Max Red – Max is traditional, but actress Casey Wilson chose a bold color name for her son’s middle. Plenty of names mean red, from Rory to Scarlett. But just Red is a rarity. As a nickname for athletes, actors, and at least one fighter pilot, of course. But could Red catch on as an independent given name? Eleven boys were named Red in 2014, so maybe …