Animated Baby Names for Girls
By Abby Sandel
Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling kept us guessing about their daughter’s name for weeks. But as Esmeralda Amada has gotten older, they’ve shared not only her name, but also their reasons for the choice. In a recent interview, they shared that the name appealed because it works in English and Spanish, but also thanks to the character from The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
The famous couple says that the novel by Victor Hugo, as well as the Disney movie, inspired their choice. The Disney version, with the singing gargoyles and the happy ending, might be a little easier to explain to a child than the bleaker original version of the tale.
The Mendes-Gosling family isn’t the only one to take inspiration from animation.
Another recent example? Hotel Transylvania gave a fusty, dusty name to Dracula’s darling vampire daughter when it came out in 2012. The movie was successful, and a sequel is planned for later this month. As for Drac’s daughter? Her name has caught on, too, re-entering the US Top 1000 since the movie’s debut.
Movies can make us take a fresh look at a forgotten name. The nine names on this week’s list are somewhere between fusty and fashionable, but all have been boosted by an animated character in the recent past:
Mavis – Hotel Transylvania was a 2012 hit, and the sequel comes out at the end of September. Both stories center on Dracula and his daughter, Mavis. Yes, Mavis. In 2012, just 43 girls were given the name. By 2014, there were 231 newborn girls named Mavis. That’s a big jump, and the adorable animated vampiress must get some of the credit. Mavis also shares sounds with Top Ten favorite Ava and up-and-coming Maeve.
Mabel – Mabel is one of Cinderella’s stepsisters in fractured fairytale collection Shrek. She first appears in 2007’s Shrek the Third. The franchise helped make Fiona a mainstream favorite in the US. The ogre and his rag-tag collection of companions might not be the reason Mabel is making a comeback – but it didn’t hurt. In 2013, Mabel re-entered the US Top 1000.
Elsa – There’s no question that Elsa’s surge in popularity was thanks to Frozen mania. But the name was quietly rising before the Snow Queen belted out a single verse of “Let It Go.” Back in 2012, Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie included Winona Ryder as Elsa Van Helsing. The name was a nod to Elsa Lancaster, who starred in the Bride of Frankenstein in 1935.
Nell – Tim Burton movies have some great names. 2009’s Corpse Bride was the story of the dearly departed Emily – a Top Ten staple. Nell was mother of the groom, Victor. While Nell isn’t quite making a comeback yet, I think the name shows promise. Ella, Nora, Grace … why not Nell? Another fun and fusty choice from the movie was Maudeline, but I think that one will remain rare.
Coraline – Let’s talk about one more from Tim Burton. Burton based 2009’s Coraline on a 2002 Neil Gaiman book. Gaiman claims he invented the name when he accidentally reversed the letters in Caroline. Others have pointed that Coraline has a history of use as a given name in France. What’s certain is that American parents did seldom considered Coraline a possibility until the movie’s release. In 2008, there were just eleven girls given the name. By 2009, there were 120. And in 2014, 450 newborn Coralines arrived.
Margo – The Despicable Me movies are all about aspiring super-villain Gru, his band of minions, and the three orphaned girls he takes in. The sisters’ names are a delight. The eldest is Margo. When the first movie premiered in 2010, there were 82 newborn Margos, plus 155 Margots. By 2014, there were 150 Margos, plus another 372 girls named Margot with the silent ‘t.’
Edith – The middle sister in the Despicable Me franchise answers to Edith. There were 326 Ediths in 2010, and 452 born in 2014. Earlier this year, we learned that Cate Blanchett had adopted a daughter named Edith Vivian Patricia, so it’s a safe bet that the name will continue to rise.
Agnes – At first glance, the youngest Despicable Me sister has the least stylish name. But in 2010, there were just 67 newborn Agneses – and by 2014, 187, putting the name just outside of the US Top 1000. Plus there’s still at least one more installment coming in the series, in 2017. There’s plenty of time for parents to fall in love with Agnes.
Astrid – Back in 2008, The Office celebrated a baby shower for newborn Astrid, repeating the (wildly inaccurate) claim that the name meant “Viking princess.” Two years later, How to Train Your Dragon introduced us to a fearless Viking girl with the name. In 2010 there were 185 newborn Astrids. By 2014? 293 girls answered to the Viking-approved appellation.