Celebrity Baby Names: Brooklyn yes, Bronx no
There are some celebrity kids’ names that are immediately embraced by other parents and become instant hits. Take Kingston, for example, the name chosen for personal reasons relating to the city in Jamaica by Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale: it had all the ingredients to make it a success– accessibility, likeability, a strong, familiar sound with regal overtones, plus extremely high-profile parents.
Another name with similar qualities is Maddox, the first son of Angelina Jolie, which first entered the popularity lists in 2003 and has been steadily climbing ever since. A few recent names—Honor (Warren), Clementine (Hawkes), Seraphina (Affleck), and Harlow (Madden) spring to mind—were direct hits, and seem sure to spread.
On the other side of the coin are those that were just as instantly rejected as too weird for everyday consumption: the Ikhyds, Banjos, Bandits, Pumas, Pirates and Peanuts.
Some names that were greeted at first as too audacious have now become accepted.Romeo, second son of Victoria and David Beckham, had been considered too melodramatically Shakespearean until it became associated with a cute blonde crew cut and a British accent.The name of Romeo’s brother Brooklyn also produced a few guffaws when it was announced—but then other parents started to separate the two syllables into Brook and Lyn, gradually cancelling out the New-York-accented borough association and transforming it into a pretty name for a girl: now Brooklyn ranks in the Top 50 of girls’ names. That other New York borough name, Bronx, however, got an instant thumbs down.
Of course a lot of it is about exposure. The fabulous name of the kid of some C-list actress who has never once been seen in the pages of People or viewed on Access Hollywood probably isn’t gonna make it.
On the other hand, names that are paraded before the public daily, like Kelly Ripa’s Lola and Joaquin can’t help but be noticed and emulated. Teri Hatcher named her daughter Emerson in 1997, but it wasn’t until Hatcher hit it big with Desperate Housewives that the name really took off—as has her co-star Marcia Cross’s much-photographed twin’s Eden.
So which names have definitely been given a celebritized bounce? The leader of the pack is—hands down—Ava, used by no fewer than a dozen stars, most notably Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Philippe in 1999, and which is now the fifth most popular name in America.
Some others that have been boosted by a celebrity connection are:
AVERY for girls
FINLEY for girls
HARPER for girls
There ‘s also a more recent contingent of starbaby names that seem to have the potential for becoming more widely accepted, including:
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on June 10th, 2009 at 3:43 pm
I must say, I love Romy.
I also find it interesting how popular Max (and Maxwell and other variations) is among celebrities.
To name a few with babies named Max:
Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony
plus many more.
on June 10th, 2009 at 6:12 pm
The list is great, but I just don’t see the appeal of Anniston – thanks to reruns perpetually of Friends how will it ever be associated with anything but Jennifer Anniston? Yeah, my mom was a real fan of the show and my dad thought she was real hot. Yes, nothing for better for a child then to spend their life perpetually explaining their name!
on June 11th, 2009 at 12:35 am
Alice has the advantage of Twilight as well.
Though, also, Anniston was chosen by a fairly c-list actress who is primarily known for her part on Grey’s Anatomy so I’m not sure that matches your thought that a name needs to have a big star attached as parent. I think if a name resonates, the star just needs to be well known enough to get a mention on the blogs and the mags.
on June 11th, 2009 at 2:41 am
“Moxie” is the name that Penn Jillette and his wife gave to their baby girl not too long ago. The folks at the Bronx Zoo liked it so much, that they named their latest addition — a female lion cub — “Moxie.”
on September 5th, 2009 at 2:05 am
I’m expecting twins, a boy & a girl, & I am really in love with the names Bronx for the boy & Brooklyn for the girl, but everyone else (hubby included) HATES the name Bronx. They’re ok with Brooklyn though, so now I just need a name for my lil’ guy 🙂
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