Celebrity Baby Names: The Nameberry 9 newsiest

 Appellation Mountains Abby Sandel covers several bases in the Nameberry 9 this week, mostly centered on the complexities of  celebrity baby names

Jeremy Sisto is stumped.  He and wife Addie Lane are already parents to daughter Charlie Ballerina.  Now they’ve welcomed a baby boy, but apparently the right name has proved elusive.

Imagine the pressure.  Not only do you have the neighbors and grandparents and colleagues saying, “Congratulations!  What’s his name?” but then there’s People Magazine and US Weekly and probably your publicist, too.

Given all the talk of baby name regret that we’ve heard over the last few weeks, maybe waiting to decide isn’t such a bad idea.  James Van Der Beek and wife Kimberly also welcomed a son last week, a little brother for Olivia.  So far Baby Van Der Beek is also nameless – or at least, the proud parents aren’t sharing.

All babies do get names eventually, of course, and a few of the names in the news this week are the very opposite of the Sisto/Van Der Beek situation.  It looks like Jessica Simpson’s choice is now public knowledge, and Jersey Shore’s Snooki has shared her shortlist for a baby boy.  But if the reality star has a daughter, she could be in the same boat as Sisto – in an MTV special, she said she had no ideas for a girl’s name.

My kids’ names were picked ages before they were born, and my husband and I shared them without hesitation.  But it is an enduring question.  How far in advance can you decide?  Do you need to meet the baby first?  Even if your mind is made up, dare you share the name?

This week’s list is so interesting that you have to believe the parents put lots of thought into the names in advance:

Amelie AmayaHave you seen the latest super cool time-lapse video birth announcement?  The planning required for a shoot like this is completely beyond me, especially because this couple apparently moved in the midst of the production!  The baby name revealed is intriguing.  Amelie is catching on, but she’s anything but ordinary when paired with Amaya.  It strikes me as an update on Big Red Dog Clifford’s best friend, Emily Elizabeth.

Mortimer – Could this possibly be the name of Audio Science’s little brother?  Actress Shannyn Sossamon made headlines with her firstborn’s name.  Eight years later, Mortimer – an English surname with French roots – seems to be finding a warmer response.  The –mer refers to the sea, so Mortimer has a hint of nature name about him.  Last October, Nameberry pegged Mortimer as part of the next wave in revival names.  And why not?  Arthur and Felix were fossils a few years ago.

Maxi – Speaking of surprises, rumor has it that Jessica Simpson’s daughter will be called Maxi.  Maxi seems both perfectly on trend and completely unthinkable, all at once.  Tori Spelling has a little Hattie and other sassy, short picks like Sadie and Ruby are all the rage.  Maxi has some baggage in the US, though.

MaxwellRemember earlier this year when Lindsay Sloane named her daughter Maxwell LueJessica and fiancé Eric Johnson could be poised to do the same.  Maxwell is Eric’s middle name, and a family name on dad’s side.  While mom and dad are staying mum, a girl named Maxwell fits with the hints they’ve offered – nontraditional, but “nothing you’ll have to add to the dictionary.”  Then again, Simpson hails from Abilene,Texas, and Southerners have a rich tradition of passing on family names without regard to gender.

Jackson – Here’s another surname in the news.  Charlize Theron is a new mom to son Jackson.  He’s been in the US Top 100 for more than a decade, and reached #25 last year.  Is Jackson headed to the Top Ten?  J has always been a popular letter for boys’ names.

Jionni – Here’s another J name in the news, but one that might not prove as influential – I hope.  While Gianni feels like a stylish Italian option, a short form of Giovanni, cousins to the impeccably classic John, Jionni is a newcomer.  Jersey Shore’s Snooki announced that she and fiancé Jionni LaValle are considering naming a son after dear old dad.  Other possibilities include Tommy and Tony and Lorenzo.  As of 2010, Jionni wasn’t even a blip, though a handful of boys did receive names like Jiovanny.

Duncan – Here’s a name I wouldn’t mind seeing on more boys.  Parents might hesitate for fear of jokes about doughnuts – or possibly basketball.  For Jon Paul and Crystal Dennison, the hoops reference would be perfectly appropriate.  The new parents named their firstborn after San Antonio Spurs player Tim Duncan.

Parker – That’s not really newsworthy, though.  What made headlines was the name given to Duncan’s identical twin brotherParker, as in fellow San Antonio Spurs player Tony Parker.  The two boys were photographed in their oversized, black and silver Spurs jersey while just days old.  Not only are the new parents big fans, they actually met while working at the Spurs’ home arena.  Should the couple wish to name future children after other players, there’s no shortage of options.  The current roster offers Blair, Neil, Leonard, and Dawson.

Aoife Belle – All-girl pop group The Saturdays is a big deal in the UK.  Ireland’s Una Healey is the first of the five to embrace motherhood.  Her daughter’s name is the emerald green Aoife, a Gaelic name worn by a warrior princess and meaning beauty.  Belle, of course, means the same thing inFrance.  Despite the duplication, I find the name charming.

Heard any names with great stories this week?  And tell me honestly – does the thought of a girl called Maxi seem at least a little bit cruel?

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18 Responses to “Celebrity Baby Names: The Nameberry 9 newsiest”

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spotlightstarlit Says:

March 19th, 2012 at 12:40 am

Maxi… pad. It is all I hear and even thinking about the dresses, it still isn’t “name-worthy” to me as far as meaning.

Will her son be Oxford, or the next daughter be Stiletto?

It seems like the “joking” sort-of name you warmly coo to your bump, but not the name you want your twenty-year-old to respond to.

Did think of one thing, little Maxi (nope, still can’t get into it) will have an ‘x’ in her name like cousin Bronx, so that’s cool.

spotlightstarlit Says:

March 19th, 2012 at 12:41 am

I have been crushing on Amelie since I watched that video (twice!)

Poppy528 Says:

March 19th, 2012 at 1:00 am

Maxi is such a mean name! It’s next to Dick in my book. On a celebrity i feel only schadenfreude.

amandaberry Says:

March 19th, 2012 at 2:30 am

Maxi is kinda cute, but because of the association, it really shouldn’t be used, but I would go so far as to say it cruel. What’s more cruel is naming a girl Maxwell. Save it for a boy. I dislike seeing boys names, especially masculine ones, being hijacked for girls. There’s plenty to pick from so why whittle down the boys list even further?

euonym Says:

March 19th, 2012 at 2:53 am

My best friend as a child was named Maxine, and we all called her Maxie for short. And even now at the age of 30, she’s still Maxie! I think Maxi is a great name, but Maxine gives the option for a more grown up name should they desire it.

Reeny Says:

March 19th, 2012 at 4:10 am

All this business of girls being given clearly masculine names (wouldn’t name a boy Isabelle, now would we?) will *hopefully* swing around when these girls are old enough to be naming their children – as long as people don’t see the name Maxwell for a boy redundant simply because it’s being used for a girl.

Miss Maxwell will grow up being constantly confused and be so fed up with it by the time it’s her turn to dish out a name.

Unless boys start to take on girls names in this future era – now that would throw us.

JessicaT11 Says:

March 19th, 2012 at 7:51 am

Its not like one or two girls named Maxwell is going to automatically make everyone assume every “Maxwell” in the future is a girl.

I wouldn’t worry about her being “being constantly confused and be so fed up” either. When she is standing in front of someone, they will know she is a female.

Regardless, Maxie is cute, but my first thought is Maxie-Pad.

Abby Says:

March 19th, 2012 at 8:42 am

@Reeny – I remember seeing the opening credits for The Waltons. Michael Learned was always credited as “Miss Michael Learned” – apparently for fear that viewers would be baffled seeing a man’s name associated with the show’s matriarch.

miloowen Says:

March 19th, 2012 at 11:20 am

I love the name Duncan, and even used it for my new Bengal kitten (from the book Duncan and Dolores, a charming story about a toddler and a cat). I knew two Duncans when I lived in Canada, but of course it’s Tim Hortons in Canada, not Dunkin Donuts.

As for Maxi, the obvious reigns. Maxine is not my favourite name, but Massima is lovely.

I love the names Gianni and Giovanni, but I know so many people who pronounce these names incorrectly. I too have a student named Giovante.

melissa2 Says:

March 19th, 2012 at 1:12 pm

I have no problems with Maxwell on a girl if there’s a family connection. As Abby pointed out, most Southerners don’t blink an eye at girls with surnames as firsts. If you’ll recall, the daughter in “The Blindside” is Collins; I teach girls named Mims, Herron, Sawyer and Baxley. Good grief, if you can pull of Mims, how difficult is Maxi?

MollyKat78 Says:

March 19th, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Maxi is NOT cute..what is she thinking?I totally hate this name

mindybird Says:

March 19th, 2012 at 4:11 pm

I adore the name Mortimer. I’ve loved it since I was a teenager and saw that old Carey Grant movie, “Arsenic & Old Lace.” It’s just too bad that it has such a terrible meaning. My husband and I have decided to use French names, and this would definitely not do in a francophone family. Still, I’ll go on secretly loving this name forever and sending out wishes that other mothers will use it.

littlebrownpony Says:

March 19th, 2012 at 6:46 pm

I actually know a family who has a daughter named Maxima. Her older brother’s name is Ajax. I’m not kidding. I hope they’re getting royalties.

mmljar1 Says:

March 19th, 2012 at 7:24 pm

My first thought on Maxi was that I hope she doesn’t have a weight problem. Not a fan…

Duncan is used sometimes in Austalia but here we have to contend with a well known song “I love to have a beer with Duncan, cause Duncan’s me mate”.

KickinKay Says:

March 19th, 2012 at 10:39 pm

It is definitely not what I expected girly Jessica Simpson to use, but I kind of like Maxwell. Personally if I used Maxwell it would be on a son. As for the nickname Maxi I think it’s a bad idea. Alternative! Spell it Maxie and most people won’t notice the association as quickly as the would with “Maxi”.

Also on this blog I really like Jionni/Gianni and Aoife Belle, if you say it quickly it sounds like Evabelle and I think that’s really pretty.

vaness1 Says:

March 19th, 2012 at 10:44 pm

I actually kind of like Maxi. I LOVE Maxine, and Maxie would be a cute nickname for that. Maxi as a given name would be pushing it for me though. I’m not sure if its my (Canadian) accent, but when I say Maxi like I would for the name, I have more emphasis on the Max part, whereas when I say Maxi as in Maxi Pad, I have more emphasis on the I. My first reaction was that it was cute, not the Maxi Pad reference.

lemon Says:

March 21st, 2012 at 10:44 pm

I went to school with a girl named Maxie, just Maxie. To me, Maxine is a little dated, Maxima is a little too much name, but Maxie could be cute. I wouldn’t want it to be my name, but it isn’t heinous. I would definitely spell it with a “e” at the end, though, just to save face. Naming a daughter Maxwell, or Maxie, isn’t what I’d expected from Jessica Simpson, but it’s workable. She’s got some nice surname options in her own family tree, though! Mom’s maiden name is Drew, dad’s middle name is Truett – Drew clearly works on a girl (hello, Drew Barrymore!) and Truett, with wordy True as a nickname, could be very fun for a little lady! In fact, if I were naming baby, I would go with Drew Annabel Johnson – Drew for granny’s maiden name and Annabel as a merging of mom and dad’s middles (Ann and Maxwell).


notcinnamon Says:

April 19th, 2012 at 6:52 am

Maxwell is a surname, and as such, fair game, especially to Southerners like me! 🙂

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