By Abby Sandel
Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman suggested that she missed the 89th Academy Awards ceremony because she was due any day with her second child. Turns out that Natalie and husband Benjamin Millepied actually welcomed their new daughter day four days prior to the awards show. Amalia arrived on February 22nd, joining older brother Aleph.
Amalia also represents exactly the kind of name many parents seek – it’s feminine, traditional, and familiar. And yet it’s quite rare, too. That makes for a winning combination. Are there other names with a similar profile?
Absolutely. Here are nine more names for girls inspired by Amalia:
Guinevere – We love Genevieve and Evangeline. So why not Guinevere? The Queen of Camelot makes a romantic, unexpected choice for a daughter. And while we all instantly recognize the name, fewer than 200 girls were named Guinevere in 2015.
Katrina – A German form of the evergreen Katherine, the name brings to mind Sleepy Hollow’s fair Katrina Van Tassel. Katrina has been rare in recent years; blame it on the devastation of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. And yet, Katrina remains a traditional, international choice with potential for rediscovery. On Disney Channel’s KC Undercover, Zendaya plays Katrina Charlotte Coretta “KC” Cooper.
Linnea – Every bit as botanical as Lily or Rose, Linnea is common in Scandinavia. In the US, it’s a rare bloom indeed; the plant is often called the twinflower instead. Classic picture book Linnea in Monet’s Garden puts this name in the company of other stars of children’s literature, like Eloise and Matilda. In our age of Lydia and Layla, Linnea seems quite wearable.
Louisa – Louisa May Alcott makes this name effortlessly literary. It’s a nickname-rich pick, too, with options from Lou to Lucy to Lulu. While Louisa has gained in use lately, it was given to just over 300 girls in 2015. That’s far fewer than other vintage gems like Sophia or Evelyn.
Magdalena – Elaborate and unusual, Magdalena is the Latinate form of a name we know best as Madeline. Magdalena is heard in more than a dozen European languages, but has failed to crack the US Top 1000 in four of the last five years. And yet, Magdalena is immediately familiar as a given name, too.
Marcella – American parents love a good –ella name, and yet we’ve largely overlooked Marcella. The feminine form of Mark was worn by an early saint. Johnny Gruelle, the inventor of Raggedy Ann and Andy, took inspiration from his daughter Marcella’s rag dolls. Now it’s the name of a British detective series, and might make a great alternative to the well-used Isabella.
Persephone – Penelope is racing up the charts, while this ancient name remains relatively rare in the US. Berries love it – the name makes our Top 200. In Greek myth, Persephone split her time between the Underworld, with husband Hades, and Earth, with mother Demeter. Her annual return to the land of the living brought forth spring.
Susanna – Long-neglected, Susanna fits right in with Sophia and Isabella. It’s elaborate, feminine, and Biblical. Hard to believe that fewer than 200 girls were given the name in 2015. Susannah, with an h, serves as yet another possible spelling, though it’s even rarer than Susanna.
Viola – A musical instrument, a Latin flower name, and one of Shakespeare’s characters, there was plenty of reason to like Viola before Viola Davis. Now the Oscar-winning actress is just one more reason to consider this lovely name. It’s the Latin form of Violet, but far less popular than its flowery cousin.
What do you think of Amalia? Are there other feminine, not-too-popular names that you would consider for a daughter?