Handling Celebrity Name Theft
They had the perfect baby name all ready to go, until a famous singer gave it to his daughter – just weeks ahead of their due date! How do you handle celebrity name theft?
It sounds dramatic but I feel crushed, and I’m losing sleep thinking of new names. In your opinion, will people associate the name with Ed Sheeran and do you think it will become very popular?
I can’t decide whether to stick with Lyra or try to find another name.
One: Is this the first prominent use of the name?
After all, she’s the heroine of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series. (If you’re not a fan of the books, movie, or the new BBC/HBO series, Lyra Belacqua ends up in the middle of a cosmic battle between good and evil when most kids her age are still in middle school.) It’s not quite Harry Potter-level famous, but for nearly thirty years, Lyra has been a hero name.
It also succeeds on sound. Think of Lily, Layla, and Lyla. And, of course, it refers to the stringed instrument and the constellation, making it as musical as Aria or Melody; as celestial as Stella or Luna.
Ranked number 673 as of 2019, Lyra is the kind of name others will recognize, but few will share.
Truly unique names – Chicago or Apple-level unique – make headlines. If you named your baby X AE A-XII, we’re all going to assume you borrowed it from Elon Musk … even if you planned the name out back in middle school.
Two: Are the parents likely to keep their kiddo in the spotlight?
All but the wildest celebrity baby names fade quickly. After all, unless they’re reality stars or royals, few celebrity children remain in the spotlight.
We’re always curious about what celebrities name their babies. But unless it’s a favorite – either the star or the name – we quickly forget.
That means Lyra passes the second test, too.
There are lots of reasons Lyra could rise in the popularity rankings. Maybe Ed and Cherry’s daughter will contribute, just a little. The HBO series seems like it might have a bigger impact. (
Just think of Khaleesi.)
But if Lyra doubles in use between 2019 and 2020, and then doubled again the following year, it still wouldn’t rank in the US Top 100.
Should you introduce your daughter and someone replies, “Oh, like Ed Sheeran’s baby?” You can absolutely tell them that you thought of it first.