Gorgeous Girls’ Names: This week’s Nameberry 9
It was a week for gorgeously named girls. Four sets of celebrity parents got it just exactly right with their new arrivals.
Of course, it was also a week for wailing and gnashing of teeth. A friend of mine, the mother of an eight-month Penelope, is still fuming. It is one thing when Tina Fey’s daughter shares your daughter’s name. It is something a little different when the Kardashians add it to their family tree. We all knew Penelope was catching on, but much discussion ensued about whether she would still be wearable. My guess? Yes, she will be, and yes, she’s headed straight for the US Top 100.
The names that had us talking weren’t outlandish. In fact, many of them have made this column previously, with other celebrity parents using them.
The nine most newsworthy baby names from last week were:
Penelope – Is she the next Olivia, a name that feels vintage and quirky, but is actually more popular in the twenty-first century than the nineteenth? Penelope was the faithful wife of Odysseus. Since then there’s been Penelope Pitstop, Penelope Cruz, and Christina Ricci’s pig-snouted heroine in the 2006’s modern fairytale, Penelope. Since Scott and Kourtney helped push Mason into the #2 spot in the US, it is easy to imagine their daughter’s name catching on, too.
Scotland – But what about the littlest Kardashian’s middle name? Just like Mason Dash is a nod to mom, Penelope Scotland seems to be a way to honor dad. Whether you’re a fan of place names or not, you have to admit that this was rather clever. There’s just no good feminine form of Scott, though Scottie and Scottlyn, choose your spelling, have been seen. If Penelope is the new Olivia, could Scotland be the next Brooklyn?
Faith – Kelsey Grammer has welcomed a fourth daughter, his first with wife Kayte. Her first name appears to be a nod to the couple’s difficult journey to parenthood, but Faith is lovely enough to choose without any specific motivation. Grammer is also father to daughters Spencer Karen, Kandace, Mason Olivia, and son Jude Gordon.
Evangeline – Little Miss Grammer’s full name is Faith Evangeline Elisa, a surprisingly lush and romantic appellation after gender-bending choices like Mason and Spencer. File Evangeline with Penelope – an elaborate name that feels like a sepia-toned throwback, but is actually on track to be at her most popular this century.
Michaela – Speaking of popularity, did you read the reports from Ireland? Emily and Jack are the top names for 2011 – nothing shocking there. But did you notice that Michaela is the fastest climbing name for girls? I’ve always thought that the feminine form of Michael deserved wider use. She hovered just outside the US Top 100 in the 1990s as Makayla, Mikayla and other re-spellings caught on. As the McKayla/Makenzee/M’Kenna trend fades, will the classic Michaela have another chance in the US?
Marlowe – Sienna Miller is a new mom, and the name she and Tom Sturridge chose for their daughter is at the height of style. Miller opted for the most elaborate spelling possible of Marlowe, just like fellow actor Jason Schwartzman. Blogger extraordinare Heather Armstrong has a daughter called Marlo Iris. Could Marlowe follow Harper and Madison up the popularity charts? It’s a sleek, modern choice with plenty of potential.
Ottoline – If Marlowe is sleek and modern, Ottoline is a deliciously rich vintage pick, suited for a nineteenth century British aristocrat. Many of the feminine forms of Otto have gained some attention recently, with Ottilie the most frequently heard. Combined, Marlowe Ottoline makes for an unexpected and stylish combination.
Charlotte Sofia – Jennifer Aspen – she plays Sharon on GCB – has welcomed a daughter called Charlotte Sofia. I love seeing more elaborate names in the middle spot. Even though both choices are very popular right now, together it makes for a pleasing name.
Lorenzo – After eight lovely names for girls, let’s end with one for the boys. Nicole Polizzi, better known as Snooki from The Jersey Shore has settled on a name for her son, due later this year. Call me crazy, but I’m wild about Lorenzo. It feels like a great Italian heritage choice, with a nod to the Renaissance statesman Lorenzo de Medici, known as the patron of Michelangelo and da Vinci – a thoughtful choice for a reality star.
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on July 16th, 2012 at 12:10 am
I like almost all of those names… except Ottoline. I just think of it as a name like Helga the Horrible. As in, Ottoline the Ogre. It just sounds ugly.
on July 16th, 2012 at 1:02 am
How has Ottilde gone completely unchecked? I like it better than Ottoline since in this name the accent is on the ‘Otto’, while Ottilde is an astronomical name as well as having a nice connection to Mathilda. Other than that, I really like this name list, and the point made for Charlotte Sofia. Sometimes the best combinations utilize the best of the popular names for a great combination!
Oh and I love Marlowe with nn Marli.
on July 16th, 2012 at 5:38 am
@Xanthe – Ottilde absolutely belongs! She’s completely lovely.
on July 16th, 2012 at 5:59 am
On the subject of there being no decent feminine forms of Scott – what about Scotia? She’s pretty.
on July 16th, 2012 at 7:36 am
Kind of sad snooki is using Lorenzo, as it is the name for my first son, due to family traditions. Hopefully, it won’t tarnish the name too much or make it too popular. Ughh.
on July 16th, 2012 at 8:49 am
Kelsey Grammar also has a daughter named Greer. She’s on that MTV show, Awkward.
Betsy Buttercup Said
on July 16th, 2012 at 9:05 am
Love Lorenzo, and especially love it for Snooki’s son (I actually kind of have always really liked Snooki)!
There was a girl named Schotland (pronounced Shotland) at my summer camp growing up. I always wondered where that name came from, and I think it would be neat to meet little girls named Scotland.
on July 16th, 2012 at 9:21 am
I’m Irish, and actually have a friend named Michaela, only instead of the mickayla pronunciation, it is just like the boys name Michael, but with an a.
At first this is odd to get your head around, but its really lovely when you think about it. Different, without being wierd.
on July 16th, 2012 at 9:39 am
I’m crazy about Lorenzo and have seriously considered it. I wouldn’t mind seeing it more, though I hope celebrity use doesn’t just make people weary of it.
on July 16th, 2012 at 10:06 am
I normally don’t care when a celeb uses one of my favorite names, but I was so upset when I heard Kourtney and Scott named their baby Penelope! After the giant boost they gave Mason, Penelope is bound to leap way too high. It’s one of our very favorites, but by the time we have a girl I’m sure it’ll be way too popular for us. On the plus side, I’d be thrilled if my kids had a friend named Penelope. And I guess it ups my chance of having a daughter-in-law named Penelope (lol, thinking ahead!), but I’d really love to have a daughter named Penelope of my own, and now I’m pretty sure that won’t happen.
on July 16th, 2012 at 10:20 am
I always think it’s interesting when parents get mad over a celebrity using “their” name for a child. Kourtney and Scott can name their daughter Penelope if they very well please, and it does not mean the name now “belongs” to them. We should all rejoice at the possibility of Penelope entering the top 100. It means one name will be leaving the top 100. Wouldn’t we name nerds rather see Penelope in the top 100 instead of Mackenzie, Aubree, or Destiny?
on July 16th, 2012 at 10:28 am
Unfortunately, I’d say that Michaela’s new found fame in Ireland is due to the upsetting death of Michaela McAreavey, who was found dead on her honeymoon in Mauritius. She is the daughter of very famous and celebrated Gaelic Football manager, Mickey Harte. The murder trial has been ongoing snce January 2011. All the media coverage may have lended to Michaela’s rise in popularity in the Irish Baby names charts. I’m guessing she as named in honour of her father, too.
on July 16th, 2012 at 10:34 am
LyndsayJenness, you took the words right out of my mouth. I hate that they used Penelope, and it has gone straight from my favorite to “can’t use” for me. I’m sad….but at least there are a ton of names to choose from, so now I can start thinking about it again. agirlinred, I agree with you in theory, but just thinking about the people who will be using it now and all in the next 1.5 years or so (right around when I hope to have a daughter) just makes me want to avoid it. I do not want to have a “Jennifer” situation with any child of mine.
on July 16th, 2012 at 11:42 am
Penelope and Evangeline WERE two of my top names, but the sudden rise in popularity is making them far less appealing now.
I REALLY hope Ottoline doesn’t jump on the popularity wagon – Ottilie has been on my long list for years, I would be really sad to see it become popular. Marlowe Ottoline is really unexpected and *almost* makes me like Marlowe – but not quite. 😉
I’ve always been a fan of Michaela, I think it’s beautiful – but all the butchered spellings (MaKayla, McKayla, Mikaylah….) have really turned me off from using it or adding it to my list.
on July 16th, 2012 at 11:47 am
I don’t think that the Kardashians are responsible for Mason’s climb. I think Mason, along with Harper, were made popular by the show Wizards of Waverly place. Plus if you look at the SSA website, Mason was on the rise long before anyone knew who the Kardashians were.
on July 16th, 2012 at 2:07 pm
I didn’t know Kelsey Grammar had a Spencer Karen- that was one of my combos.
on July 16th, 2012 at 4:52 pm
I have to say that I think Ottoline is very pretty and love its antique, vintage and feminine qualities. A very good choice.
Also love Faith and Evangeline.
For the modern miss I think Marlowe is perfect and if you want something a little more mainstream then there is the gorgeous Margot too.
I am not a Penelope fan but I am very pleased that the celebrity used a ‘proper’ name for her child.
on July 16th, 2012 at 5:51 pm
@littlebrownpony – Thank you – I love Greer … don’t know how I missed that one!
@NoahsARK – how sad! And yet, you’re probably right. That does seem to happen …
@agirlinred – Good point!
@Finuneby – Here’s hoping Lorenzo stays in that lovely familiar-but-not-popular space …
@samipants – It has taken me a few tries, but you’re right – Michael + a does have an appealing sound.
on July 16th, 2012 at 11:44 pm
Evangeline is my Grandmother-in-law’s name and one of my personal favorites! I love the alternative Evangelina for a first name that my hubby loves too (his gma goes by Vangie, so we would do Evie for a nn or Jelly). It’s too gorgeous to let go because of a celeb, I will be keeping it in my top 5 baby names for sure 🙂
The only other names I love off this list are Penelope & Charlotte.
Ottoline is a little weird but I do like Ottilie. But I don’t think I would use as a fn personally.
on July 17th, 2012 at 12:11 pm
I’m a bit embarrassed that I’m going off of Penelope, but it’s getting way too much attention and I am sure will make it to the top 100 very soon. Oh well. It is a nice name…but I doubt I will use it now.
I do LOVE Ottilie, and even Ottoline. I might use it.
on July 18th, 2012 at 12:26 pm
So the name snobs have finally lost their beloved Penelope to none other than the humble Kardashians. What poetic irony. Now everybody who has been endlessly flogging this name will have to (gasp!) find something else.
on July 18th, 2012 at 5:01 pm
I am actually pleased with the name Penelope, but can’t say the same for Scotland. It just sounds weird to me, no offense to anyone who likes it.
I considered Michaela for a girl because my husbands name is Michael but I would only use it as a middle name.
on July 18th, 2012 at 9:36 pm
@Lou Thanks so much for mentioning my real name, Scotia! I was reading the article and was shocked that a name-driven site had forgotten my name! Pronounced “Sco-sha” of course. Like Nova Scotia. Follows the same Latin rule of pronunciation as Portia, “Por-sha”.
on July 21st, 2012 at 12:18 am
I disagree that there isn’t a good feminine form of Scot. I would have MUCH preferred Scotia over Scotland. I am surprised it didn’t occur to anyone beyond Lou and Munro.
on July 23rd, 2012 at 3:46 pm
I’m actually starting to like Penelope and even though Scotland sounds a little bit odd it also sounds a little bit cool tool.
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