Anjelika Temple, the founding partner and chief creative officer of one of our favorite websites Brit + Co, is mom to Anokhi, 2, with another daughter on the way. She and husband David, head of content for Pinterest, are deep in the search for baby names.
How do style professionals with multicultural backgrounds (her family is Indian, his British) choose the perfect baby name? We recently talked with Anjelika about Anokhi’s name and the process for naming baby #2.
How did you choose the name Anokhi?
My husband and I are both first generation Americans — his parents immigrated from the UK to the States in the ‘70s, and my parents immigrated from India to the US in the late ‘60s. Since we knew our babe’s last name would be British, we both wanted to choose an Indian or Indian-inspired first name to have both sides of our heritage represented. The identity piece of it is a tricky one, because it’s important to us that our daughter feels free to identify as American, Indian, British, and anything else she feels connected to.
Once we knew we were having a girl, we both started searching furiously on the Internet for Indian baby girl names that were easy to pronounce, carried relevant meaning (the meaning of your name is SO important in Indian culture), and that simply felt like us. Anokhi came up in one of our earliest searches — I was familiar with the word Anokhi because it means “unique” in Hindi and happens to be the name of a block-printing design store in India, but I’d never seen it used as a name. The moment we saw it, it rose to the top of our list. My mom also did her own bit of research and sent over a Word Doc organized by “short names”, “names with the best meaning,” “names that can be shortened to Ava, Ani, Ana”, and some other clever categories. A few of those made it to our final list as well!
How difficult was it to decide on a name for Anokhi?
Honestly, it feels like it was easy in comparison to thinking about this second babe! But in reality, it was hard. Throughout the process we always had a top three that rotated between the top ten names on our list. Anokhi was always towards the top, but like with anything, we second guessed ourselves, thought maybe we found it too quickly and need to look more, and so on. But once we met our daughter, it was clear that she was simply Anokhi — unique, extraordinary, a gem.
At what point during your first pregnancy did you begin to think about baby names? How about this pregnancy?
We vaguely started thinking about names in those first few weeks, but really went for it once we knew the sex. In this pregnancy, we didn’t even entertain the brainstorm of names until finding out the sex, and even now (at 18 weeks) seem to be putting it off. We have a running list, but nothing seems to be rising to the top at the moment. It still feels early!
Did you go in with multiple options for Anokhi, or had you decided on her name prior to the birth?
Yes, we went into the hospital with multiple options for Anokhi. I remember having a convo that night before my c-section where we both were like “dude, this kid is definitely Anokhi right?” But then we still couldn’t commit! We agreed that we would decide the moment we met her, and if we were unsure then we wouldn’t rush to choose. The moment they put that little bean on my chest I looked into my husband’s tear-filled eyes and we both mouthed “Anokhi” at the same time. It was kind of magical and makes me emo just thinking about it!! Or maybe that’s the pregnancy hormones 😉 The other two names weren’t even mentioned from that moment on, all doubts and second guesses melted away.
What are the most important factors to you when it comes to choosing a baby name?
It’s funny, whenever we come up with a new possible name, I google that name plus our last name to see if someone exists and if they do, I’m immediately not into the name. Clearly that’s because I have a unique name and used to being the only “me.” My husband’s name is David, so he is way less concerned about making sure the name is the only one out there. I’m learning to get over this myself too!
Anyway, the most important factors to us are some connection with our heritage, how does it sound / how easy is it to pronounce, what nicknames might happen, and so on. Really the usual stuff! I feel like when you come across the right name or names, you kind of just know. And sometimes all those factors you thought were important get thrown out the window.
Are there any names you didn’t use for Anokhi that you’re considering this time around?
Haha, I’m actually kicking myself for being so thorough in our baby name research when I was pregnant with Anokhi. It feels weird to use any of our rejected names for baby #2, but some of them have definitely made it onto our working list.
Do you think it’s easier naming a first baby or a second?
It feels SO much harder this second time around, especially because we’re expecting another baby girl. It feels impossible to find a name that fits our family as perfectly as Anokhi, but we’re trusting that we’ll get there when the time comes. While we don’t necessarily want baby #2’s name to “match” Anokhi, we do want to make sure they work nicely together.
Do you and your partner agree on names and if not, how do you resolve your difference?
We generally do! It seems like we need to process and digest possible names on our own, but usually end up with the same conclusion so it’s been pretty easy.
What names do you love but, for whatever reason, can’t use?
Is it completely narcissistic to say my own name? I love Anjelika (made up by my mom when she was a kid growing up in India, and had no idea “Angelica” or “Angelina” even existed). I also really love the traditional Indian name that it derives from, Anjali — but I could never, ever use it! I even have moments where I think, what if I changed my name so I could use it, but that would be 100% insane. But seriously, when I read this question I started to list out some of the names we decided are definite no’s and immediately started doubting whether they are really on the “no” list, like maybe I actually like them and we should reconsider — lol! So all I can say is, the list of names I think we can’t use changes on a weekly basis.
Anjelika and David Temple met during their sophomore year of college in Vermont and have been adventuring together ever since. After college, the pair traveled abroad for a year, Anj working as an artist-in-residence and David working on farms, in hotels, and for non-profits. Then they moved to NY where David worked in finance and at a tech startup, and Anj worked in the creative department of an ad agency followed by a stint at an art startup called 20×200. After five years in NYC, the two fled the east for the west and have never looked back.
They currently live just north of San Francisco in Mill Valley with their two-year-old daughter Anokhi, sweet little dog Turkey, and another bun in the oven due in August. Anjelika is the Founding Partner and Chief Creative Officer of Brit + Co, where she is responsible for the editorial and visual identity of the brand across the company. David is the Head of Content + Creators Product at Pinterest. They are both 35, deeply committed to ‘90s grunge music, and try to go camping as often as possible, including taking their daughter Anokhi on her first camping trip when she was 5 weeks old!
— Sophie Kihm