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Celebrity Baby Names Q+A: Elizabeth Holmes

photo by Lindsay Wiser

by Sophie Kihm

Our latest celebrity baby names Q+A:

We were so thrilled to talk to Elizabeth Holmes, journalist and creator of “So Many Thoughts.” She and husband Matt Stuart have two sons, and are expecting a daughter later this summer.

What are your children’s names?

Fitzgerald and Oliver

How did you choose your children’s names?

For Fitz, Matt and I differ on where the idea came from! I remember making dinner reservations at the Waverly Inn and emailing a host named Fritz, which got me thinking along those lines. Matt would say it was because we lived on Manhattan’s Upper Westside at the time, near a building called The Fitzgerald.

With Oliver, we just really liked the name! And I thought it went well with Fitzgerald (more on that below).

How difficult was it to decide on a name for each of them? 

We settled on Fitzgerald quite easily. It checked my boxes — longer, with a classic or timeless feel, as well as a good meaning and respectable historical connotations — and met Matt’s request for something sort of unique. But we waited until after Fitz was born to get a good look at him before we made it official.

Oliver was trickier. We went to the hospital with two top contenders for both the first and the middle names. I assumed I would have another long labor, like I did with Fitzgerald, and we would have time to mull it over. But Oliver ended up being born quite quickly via emergency c-section. Before I knew it, he was in my arms and the nurses were asking if we had a name. I didn’t know what to say! At that time, Oliver looked exactly like Fitzgerald. It totally threw me, because I kept thinking: “This baby looks like a Fitzgerald.” It took us several days to pick one of the two choices, I really agonized over it. But I’m so glad we went with Oliver. It fits him perfectly.

At what point during your first pregnancy did you begin to think about baby names? How about this most recent pregnancy?

I’ve always been someone who thought a lot about names and have always daydreamed about possible combinations. I also really admire fantastic names — strong, unique, dignified sounding names — and I take the responsibility of naming someone very seriously.

Infertility, and our IVF journey, made dreaming up names a little scary, almost like jinxing it. But as soon as our pregnancies were far enough along that I started to feel the baby kick, I let myself start to mull over possibilities.

What are the most important factors to you when it comes to choosing a baby name?

I wanted the names to be appropriate both in childhood and well into adulthood. Someone once asked me to consider how the name would look at the top of a resume. That really stuck with me! There are a lot of names we liked but ultimately didn’t go with because I wasn’t sure it would serve both a child and an adult well.

How is the process of naming your daughter different from naming your sons?

I have had a girl’s name in my mind long before we started trying to have children. I can’t say that I settled on a favorite for a boy all those years ago, but one girl’s name in particular has always been a favorite of mine. It’s our top contender right now but we have a few others in the mix, too. We’re waiting to see what she looks like!

Do you and your partner agree on names and if not, how do you resolve your difference?

We both have given the other veto power. It’s not any sort of formalized system or even a written list — we just tend to throw out a name and, based on the other’s reaction, either discard it or put it in our mental list of contenders. We tend to have pretty strong feelings on things, which makes it easy.

Do you think it’s easier naming a first baby or a second/third?

For us, it was much easier naming the first. The second was harder than I imagined, in part because I think we were worried about how it went with the first’s name.  (More on that below) The third feels as hard as the second.

What do you know about baby naming now that you didn’t the first time around?

People have very strong reactions when you share the name. I wasn’t expecting to have to explain it to people, even strangers at the playground. The more unique the name, the more confidence it takes, I think. Because in those early days you have to say the name a lot, and talk about the name a lot.

Also, nicknames are a very fluid thing. I thought for sure we would call OliverOllie” for short, but we never have and I don’t think we ever will. Instead, he’s just “O” to us.

Do you believe in the idea of sibset naming—that your children’s names should go together—or do you consider each name an independent project?

I am quite hung up on this, if I’m being honest! I care a lot about how they all sound together — even though I full recognize it really doesn’t matter for most of someone’s life. How many people know you well enough to know your siblings’ names? But the rhythm of it, the cadence of saying three names, matters greatly to me.

Matt, on the other hand, would be willing to choose a name that doesn’t quite go for the sake of a really good name.

What names do you love but, for whatever reason, can’t use?

I love Matilda, but it’s a tad close to Matt’s name for his liking. I also love my name, Elizabeth! But I’m not about to have an Elizabeth Junior running around.

Elizabeth Holmes is a veteran multimedia reporter and creator of the Webby-honored series “So Many Thoughts,” which offers sartorial commentary on the royal family on Instagram. She spent more than a decade on staff at The Wall Street Journal, most recently as a senior style reporter and columnist focusing on fashion, beauty, and lifestyle trends. Her work has appeared in a host of national outlets, including The New York Times, Town & Country, Real Simple, and InStyle. 

Elizabeth is currently working on her first book, HRH: So Many Thoughts on Royal Style, which will be published Fall 2020 by Celadon, a division of Macmillan. She lives in the Bay Area with her husband and two young sons. They are expecting their third child, a daughter, this summer.

Sophie Kihm is Nameberry’s Baby Name Guru to the Stars. Her column analyzing and predicting celebrity baby name choices appears monthly on Nameberry and also on Nameberry’s Instagram page, which Sophie curates.

Photo by Lindsay Wiser.

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beynotce Says:

July 26th, 2019 at 9:11 am

Fitzgerald and Oliver are a cute sibset!

It’s very interesting that “sort of unique” was on Dad’s wishlist the first time around (and is mentioned as a quality that Mom thinks is “fantastic,” as well), and then they went with the much more familiar Oliver for their next son. I wonder if uniqueness became somewhat less appealing after the actual experience of giving Fitz a pretty surprising name?

I always think one of the challenges of naming Baby #2 is that you’ve learned things from naming Baby #1 that might change what you find desirable about a name, but you often still want names that “match.” If that’s the case here, I’d say Elizabeth and Matt pulled it off pretty well!

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