Celebrity Baby Names from Around the World
With new arrivals at Yahoo! HQ and in Trump Tower, I thought this week was going to be all about preppy boy names. Yates and Bennett and company, the kind of choices that scream rep tie and polo pony.
But somehow, the rest of the world crept in and I was reminded that American celebrities aren’t the only ones welcoming new babies with lovely, intriguing appellations. Of course, celebrity baby names that sound mainstream in Belgium or Belize might feel quite exotic in the English-speaking world, and the opposite is equally true.
Foreign language baby name blogs report that homegrown celebrities have an impact on naming trends everywhere. While those influences are rarely felt in the US, they can capture our attention, especially should their parent strike it big in Hollywood or score an international hit single.
The nine most intriguing names this week come from all over the planet:
Spencer Frederick – Spencer is a preppy choice with ties to the golden age of Hollywood – a fitting name for a little Trump. Donald, Jr. and wife Vanessa are also parents to Kai Madison, Donald John III, called Donnie, and Tristan Milos. I think Spencer Frederick is my favorite of the four.
Macallister – Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer and husband Zachary Bogue finally named their new son. Macallister sounds like a brother for Spencer, but he’s a little more vibrant and unexpected. He makes for a refreshing spin on Alexander, too. Plus, Marissa and her parents all share names that start with M, so baby Macallister’s name is in the family tradition.
Delta Faye – From preppy boys to Southern belles, country crooner JT Hodges has welcomed a daughter called Delta Faye. It’s an appealing choice for a Nashville-born baby. Delta joins big sister Charlee Joy.
Mafalda – Let’s cross the Atlantic to Portugal, where singer Katia Guerreiro is a new mom to daughter Mafalda. English speakers may recognize Mafalda as a minor Harry Potter character. She’s also the name of an Argentine cartoon character, pictured here; an Italian princess arrested for her role in the resistance during World War II; and the Italian and Portuguese form of Matilda.
Rayaan – Bollywood star Amrita Arora and her husband have welcomed a second son. Baby Rayaan joins big brother Azaan. I’m not confident of Rayaan’s pronunciation, but the meaning seems to be “door to heaven.”
Hadrien – French food writer and television personality Julie Andrieu is a new mom. Hadrien arrived earlier this month. Hadrien has a history of use in France, but I can’t tell if he’s considered an underused classic, a daring choice, or somewhere in between.
Vesper – Here’s one that caught my eye. Dutch newscaster Annechien Steenhuizen is a first-time mom, and her new daughter answers to the name Vesper. Vesper would be a wildly unusual choice in the US, and seems to be pretty rare in the Netherlands, too. Then again, the baby name Harper has made headlines internationally – possibly paving the way for more exotic ends-with-r choices for girls.
Alec – Just as Marissa Meyer was settling on Macallister for her new son, Belgian radio personality Evy Gruyaert was choosing another form of Alexander. Like Hadrien, it is tough to know how Alec is perceived at home, but in the US, he’d be a fresh choice.
Henrietta – Speaking of surprising, let’s head back to the US where comedienne and actress Alex Borstein has welcomed her second child with husband Jackson Douglas. Henrietta joins big brother Barnaby. Neither name seems likely to catch on anytime soon, but I’m completely charmed by this quirky, throwback sibset.
Do you find yourself tempted to borrow names from abroad? Which languages or places produce your favorite names?
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on October 29th, 2012 at 12:08 am
When I hear “These are my daughters, Charlee and Delta” all I can hear is “Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo…” I wonder if it is a reference or just coincidence?
on October 29th, 2012 at 3:04 am
Vesper is my #1 girls name right now! Too bad I won’t get to use it for a while!
on October 29th, 2012 at 4:36 am
The only one I like from this list is Henrietta and I LOVE the nn Etta. Henrietta is ready for a comeback!
on October 29th, 2012 at 7:17 am
KrissyKat, I was wondering the same…. Alpha, Beta, Charlie, Delta…
For some odd reason, I thought Vesper would be a boys name… Almost like Jasper and all.
on October 29th, 2012 at 7:20 am
Forgot to mention I also love Henrietta!! Ahh darling <3
on October 29th, 2012 at 8:11 am
From 1970 and on Hadrien has gained popularity in France, 4,170 currently people bear the name.
on October 29th, 2012 at 8:19 am
Rayaan is pronounced rayahn.
on October 29th, 2012 at 9:02 am
I was just inquiring about Henrietta last week. It is nice.
on October 29th, 2012 at 9:08 am
Thanks, sellerofdreams. Can you tell us anything more about the name Rayaan, its meaning or history? Uniquenamelover, I agree on Henrietta!
Sarah A Said
on October 29th, 2012 at 12:41 pm
I don’t know what Rayaan means but I do know it’s Arabic and that it’s pretty popular in the Arabian Gulf countries. I think it’s considered somewhat of a new name; I’ve never heard of anyone over 30ish named Rayaan. I love it, but it does seem to have pronunciation issues…
Henrietta and Barnaby are my absolute favorite celeb sibset, after the Hanson brood that is 😉
on October 29th, 2012 at 1:04 pm
I love that Mafalda was picked this week! I love this name and my husband and I named one of our cats this after the Argentine comic book character.
on October 29th, 2012 at 5:50 pm
@SarahA – Thanks!
Henrietta is getting a warm welcome, isn’t she? Alexandra, Isabella, Wilhelmina, Henrietta … why not? Plus, I love all of her nns. Personally, I’d go with Hettie.
@expensivemarket – Mafalda is gorgeous, isn’t she?
on October 30th, 2012 at 2:42 pm
Vesper was also a woman in the 2006 Bond movie “Casino Royale”…
on April 9th, 2020 at 9:46 pm
on April 15th, 2020 at 12:29 am
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