How I Named My Baby: Quest Aiko
Kris and Noah Romero live in Phoenix, Arizona with their son Julian, and daughters Ajané, Imani, Dillan, and Quest.
Their youngest daughter, Quest Aiko, was born on November 20, 2021. Below, we chat with Kris and Noah about how they named their little girl.
Tell me how you named Quest!
K: We chose the name about two years ago before we were even trying to have another kid. One day we were in the car, listening to music, and thought Quest would be a cool name. From then on, we just stuck with it.
N: Being avid hip hop fans and growing up listening to A Tribe Called Quest, we liked it as a name. There’s also Quest Love, from the Roots. It was a two-for-one hip hop special to be able to name our next child Quest, whether it was a girl or a boy.
K: I liked Love as a middle name, but I didn’t want to name her Quest Love. And Noah’s dad is a drummer, and he would be upset if we named her after another one! Aiko, her middle name, is Japanese for “little loved one.”
N: So she’s actually Quest Love, if you think about it.
How would you describe your style beyond baby names?
K: We’re unorthodox — very nontraditional people. Noah has a lot of style — he wears whatever he wants to wear, however he wants to wear it. I’m more subtle.
N: We’re all about having fun and living our lives to the fullest. We don’t take ourselves so seriously and have the freedom to reinvent ourselves. As they say, live your truth.
Did you talk to anyone else about baby names besides each other?
K: I’m very much a people pleaser. Part of me didn’t want to say anything because I didn’t want to see people’s reactions and have them feel some type of way or it sway my decision, because I liked Quest so much. Even now, when strangers ask her name, they’re like “Quest? Oh, okay.” People don’t really understand, especially if they’re older.
N: It took my father up until a month ago to understand her name. I was breaking it down for him — outside of the Tribe and the Roots, the word quest is about being on a voyage, a journey, and seeking out love. And our last name, Romero, is someone on a religious pilgrimage. Her entire name represents a lovely spiritual journey. Now he thinks it’s cool.
Was it important was it to you to choose a unique name?
N: Without question! I’ve always been about making sure our kids don’t have generic names and that their names have meaning. When Kris and I became a union and started having children together, we were very intentional about their names. There’s a little story behind each one.
For Ajané and Imani, we wanted to honor our mothers with their middle names. Dillan and Quest’s names are completely hip hop. Quest Aiko is essentially Quest Love, and Dillan is Dillan Jaye, in honor of Jay Dilla, because she was born on his birthday. It’s feminine, but still represents hip hop.
Was there something special you liked to do during the pregnancy?
K: I normally don’t listen to old-school hip hop when the kids are in the car because some of the lyrics don’t have clean language, but when I was alone, I would intentionally listen to A Tribe Called Quest. I started to listen to a lot more hip hop again when I was pregnant with her. For a while, I had steered away from it, since I was trying to reshift spiritually.
I intentionally had A Tribe Called Quest colored nail polish throughout the pregnancy. My nails were always red, green, and black.
How do you feel about your own names, and how did that influence your choice?
K: My real name is Kristie, and I hated it because people were always calling me Kristine or Kristina or Krystal. That’s why I decided to just go by Kris, because you couldn’t really get it wrong. Because my name was tied to a common group of names, I gravitated towards names that were less common.
N: I went a good 20-plus years having Noah to myself. It always felt unique. It went hand in hand with allowing myself to be and learn who I am. Subconsciously, I think that’s what we wanted for our kids. We want them to stand out and be individuals. Cool names exude confidence.
They love their names. When we’re in the car and some Dilla comes on, it’s Dillan’s song. Or Pharcyde, because Imani is named for them. We’ll ask them, “Do you hear your name?”
What names did you like when you were younger?
K: We were going through our storage and came across journals from high school where my friends and I would write letters to each other and doodle future baby names. They had so many letters and so many syllables. I took a picture and sent it to my best friend and was like, “Can you imagine if you named your daughter this?” Jezebel was one of the names that I liked, which is crazy because ever since I met Noah, I’m a born-again Christian. I had no idea who Jezebel was! I liked the Z, the J, the -bel. It’s pretty!
N: As a teenager, when I would meet people I thought I would never see again, I would throw out a fake name. I would usually use Imani, because I thought it was really cool. And Kris wouldn’t go for it, but if we had had a son, I wanted to name him Fresh.
Actually, this year I’m submitting all the paperwork for a legal name change. I’m legally changing my last name, but it gave me the opportunity to add a middle name. I never had one! Since we can’t use it for a son, I was like, “You know what? Fine. I’ll give myself the middle name Fresh!”
Did you make anything special for Quest?
K: Our pregnancy announcement looked like the Tribe Called Quest album cover, but if you looked closely, the faces in the background were our kids’ faces and the silhouette on the album is a pregnant woman holding her stomach.
N: Instead of saying A Tribe Called Quest, it said, “A Chyld Called Quest.”
What are the cool names in your social circle?
N: There are lots of biblical names like Nehemiah. We know a Zoe and Rielle and Ellis and Skylar, a boy.
K: Royce and Royale, Martin and Ava, Winston and Kensington. I’m seeing lots of last names as first names. Jackson is a common one.
N: We saw the name Legacy about a month ago and were like, “Ooh, let’s have another kid just so we can use that!
K: For either sex, but I think it’s especially pretty for a girl. But we're not having another baby!
What was the most surprising part of the baby name process this time around?
N: The overall warm reception to Quest’s name. The people who know us understand that we have our squad of kids, we’re sociable and have our style. For them, it was like, “Of course you named your kid Quest.” It was surprising to have so many people on board.
What advice would you give someone who’s just starting the baby name process?
N: Think about this person who’s going to carry this name for the rest of their life. Names have power. There are a lot of names that sound cool but have no weight or value to them. Our kids’ names all match their personalities and talents.
Just let loose and don’t restrict yourself to names that are going to please other people. Matching a name to your values allows you to find the best name for your family.
What do you hope Quest’s name imbues in her?
K: I hope for her that she’s forever on a quest to have God in her heart. When people see her, they see the love of God in everything that she does.
I’ve been telling Noah for years, we don’t have anyone to carry on his dad’s legacy. What are we going to do with all his drums? So I hope she takes a liking to percussion, but if not, that’s okay.
N: I second all of that. For us and our beliefs, the definition of God is love. So if she’s always on a quest for love and God is love, then she’s always going to be full of joy, love, God, and everything that that represents.