Baby Naming Lessons from the Kardashians
By Abby Sandel
Back in 2007, a little reality show called Keeping Up with the Kardashians debuted on the E! channel.
Nearly a decade later – yes, it’s been that long – we’re still following the family’s foibles, from the scandalous to the mundane.
Along the way, matriarch Kris Jenner has become a grandmother to six. The most recent arrival is Dream Renee, daughter of Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna. Every pregnancy and birth has been detailed on the family’s shows and in the press, meaning that you probably recognize the next generation’s names, even if you’re not keeping up with the family.
We can’t explain it, but there’s an intensity to the Kardashian family baby name watch that’s undeniable. It’s as if we hope the names will be trend-setting, dramatic, extravagant, and daring. Without fail, the family has delivered.
Kardashian birth announcements make headlines, but can we learn anything from reality TV’s royal family?
Before you say no, let me try to convince you that there is wisdom to be gleaned from the family’s high profile baby naming.
Let’s look at nine baby naming lessons from the Kardashian cousins.
Short names can be long on style – So often we swoon over longer names and bonus middles, but the Kardashians remind us that a one-syllable name can pack a style punch. That’s true whether you prefer the spare classics – Claire and Jack and Jane – or love the bold choices made by this famous family.
Trends were made to be followed – When eldest daughter Kourtney welcomed her first child in 2009, Mason was already a Top 50 name. It’s since soared to Number 3 in the US. Daughter Penelope’s name is following a similar trajectory. The names are popular, but they still have plenty of appeal.
Reinventing family names works – With both Kim and Rob, rumors flew that they’d choose family names for their children. But it is Kourtney who creatively reinvented family names for as middles – Dash, from KarDASHian for son Mason, and SCOTland, from Scott for her daughter.
Bucking family tradition works, too – Despite coming from the most famous family to ever rock the letter K, none of the next generation shares the initial. Maybe Khloe, Kendall, or Kylie will eventually use some of those great K names we suggested for Kim. It’s a good reminder that you’re never obligated to continue a naming tradition.
True unisex names can wear well – When we talk about unisex names, it tends to mean traditionally masculine names now used for girls. But with those bold word names – Reign, Dream, Saint, North – the Kardashians reminded us that it’s very possible to choose a name that works equally well for a son or a daughter.
That name that won’t go away? It might be The Name – When Kourtney named her youngest son Reign, she’d considered it for Mason five years earlier, and had Rain on her list for Penelope. Some parents prefer to start fresh with each pregnancy, but if one of those names keeps coming back? It might be the right choice.
Our favorite things can inspire – Kourtney’s youngest son is Reign Aston. It appears Reign’s middle comes directly from his dad’s automotive obsession. Not only does Scott collect cars, he has a particular affection for Aston Martin. Prefer to name a child after something more substantial than a luxury good? Favorite artists, philosophers, musicians, colors, plants, places, and even ideals fit this category, too.
There’s no shortage of modern word names – Girls have answered to Grace and Faith for generations. But now there’s a whole new category of modern meaningfuls, ones that the Pilgrims wouldn’t recognize. Word names like Dream and Saint seem different now, but some of them will likely filter into the mainstream in another generation or two – though others, like Reign, may always feel a little too royal for regular use.
Go big! – If there’s any lesson to draw from reality show royalty, perhaps it is this: big, bold baby names can work just as well as their more mainstream cousins – though they’re definitely not for everyone.
Out of the six Kardashian names, do you have a favorite?
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on November 14th, 2016 at 12:34 am
What have I learned from the Kardashian naming style? That having a lot of money does not make one have any taste whatsoever.
on November 14th, 2016 at 3:03 am
I love Reign & Dream. I knew of a girl named Dreamer.
I suggested Rain as a girl’s middle name. It would have been an honorific for Lorraine.
on November 14th, 2016 at 7:47 am
From briefly watching the Kardashians and reading the occasional article about them, I have learned one lesson: that no matter how famous you are, how much money you have, or how many people idolise the ground you walk on, it will never be enough to hide the fact that you’re the physical manifestation of poor choices and bad taste. So, with that said, I personally would want the names I choose for my future children to be as far away as possible from the boring and standard Mason and Penelope, and even further still from the inappropriate, narcissistic and childish Dream, North, Reign and Saint. But that’s just my opinion…
on November 14th, 2016 at 9:43 am
What I learned from the Kardashians: Don’t be like the Kardashians.
on November 14th, 2016 at 11:03 am
Kinda disappointed to see a post about this family on Nameberry, tbh.
on November 14th, 2016 at 3:58 pm
I’m sensing some hostilities toward the Kardashians in these comments.
on November 14th, 2016 at 6:22 pm
Dream Renee, Reign Aston, and North are my favorite.
on November 15th, 2016 at 12:03 am
I love the point made about names like Dream and Saint not being too far off from names like Faith and Grace. I love unique and uncommon names, personally i’d place them in the middle name spot, but I wont fault the Kardashians for having the guts to use them as first names. && How is Dream or North anymore unusual than Coco or Apple?
on November 15th, 2016 at 1:24 pm
Penelope Scotland was a pleasant surprise for me. And tbh North is quite cool.
on November 15th, 2016 at 8:30 pm
@grnberyl, why disappointed? Like it or not, famous personalities can have a big influence on naming trends, and can also be a bold example of current naming trends. So it makes sense to see what celebrities name their kids, especially a family as limelit as the Kardashians.
As for all the other disparaging commenters, I personally think the Kardashians are pretty brilliant. They’ve managed to turn their daily lives into profit, and they’ve become reality TV and social media mavens. I myself don’t “keep up” with them (I’ve never watched their show) but I can appreciate the brand they’ve managed to create for themselves. Also, I’ve never been clear on what’s supposedly so bad or disgraceful about them to deserve such disdain and mockery. Check yourselves, y’all.
Finally, re: the names. I actually really like Saint and North, though not Dream as much. I think they’re very cool, modern and truly unisex word names. And like most I was pleasantly surprised by Penelope Scotland… Penelope is so classy and lovely, and I like Scotland the same way I like Ireland and Holland. Dash and Scotland are neat examples of ways to reinvent family names, or give a twist to an honor name.
9 baby-naming lessons we learned from the Kardashians – Mommies Today Said
on November 17th, 2016 at 12:21 pm
[…] shows and in the press, meaning that you probably recognize the next generation’s baby names, even if you’re not keeping up with the family. We can’t explain it, but there’s […]
2016 Baby Name Faves – Baby Name Blog – Nameberry Said
on December 11th, 2016 at 11:44 pm
[…] some ways, that’s because the line for outlandish baby names has been pushed way back. Blame it on the Kardashians. After North, Saint, Reign, and Dream, names like Wren, Kai, Blaze, and Saylor seem as ordinary as […]
on December 13th, 2016 at 4:36 am
Good piece. See the meaning of the name Khadija http://www.suggestbabynames.com/meaning_of_african_girlname_khadija.html
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