Sibling Names: Celebs and citizens
It’s a sibling names special this week, with lots of well-matched sets in the news. Plus glimpses into the school roll-calls of 2029, name prejudice, and a girl named after a colorful singer.
Earlier this week our celebrity name guru Sophie used sibling patterns to try to predict what the next wave of expectant stars will call their children. Just to prove the point, the latest birth announcements show that, like many other parents, the famous like to tie their children’s names together with shared themes and styles.
It was always likely that basketball legend Kobe Bryant would use an Italian name for his fourth daughter, considering his older three are Natalia Diamante, Gianna Maria-Onore and Bianka Bella. Sure enough, the new arrival is Capri Kobe, nicknamed Koko. Actually, this is a twist on the theme: Capri is an Italian place-name, a scenic and stylish island in the Bay of Naples. Kobe has previously said that his wife was hoping for a son one day, so maybe putting dad’s name in the middle spot is an acknowledgement that there may not be a male junior.
Another family who loves Italian (and Spanish) names is comedian Sebastian Maniscalco and his wife. Their baby boy Caruso Jack has a one-of-a-kind name that comes from an Italian surname meaning “close-cropped hair” – maybe from the family tree? It’s long and lyrical, just like his big sister Serafina Simone.
Now for a completely different sibling names style. Journalist Sara Haines likes well-loved names that reached their peak popularity a while ago, to judge by her children Sandra (high point: 1947) and Alec (1994). Their new brother Caleb Joseph has a first name that’s still in the Top 50, but ranked highest back in 2009.
Over in Australia, an announcement caught my eye because not only do the siblings’ names match each other, they also match their mother’s name. TV personality Fifi Box recently welcomed her second daughter Daisy Belle, a sister for Trixie Belle – perhaps from the Jamie Oliver and Bob Geldof school of naming?
More cute sister names? But of course.
What happens when you name your children under the influence…of pain meds? This essay is a lot of fun. The author was all about giving her daughters strong middle names honoring her European ancestors – Evgenia and Wilhelmina, to be specific. But when the birth drugs kicked in, that went out of the window and her girls became Clementine Louella and Beatrix Kitty Plum, which are admittedly pretty sweet. Especially with those food names that are good enough to eat.
Back in March, I read about a Texas mother of sextuplets who named the girls Zina and Zuriel. I made a note to check back on what she’d chosen for the boys, and it was worth the wait. There’s a clear initial theme going on: the Z-girls’ brothers are Kamsi, Kaeto, Kachi, and Kaobi.
Finally, a sibling name that’s under fierce debate. Once upon a time, a couple decided that he would choose names for any future girls, and she would name the boys. First they had a girl, and dad chose her name. Now they’re expecting a boy, and mom wants to call him Lannister. If you don’t know Game of Thrones, it’s the name of a powerful family who partake in, er, highly questionable behaviour. But then again, so does Kylo Ren in Star Wars, and that hasn’t stopped hundreds of parents from giving his name to their children. So I think the question here isn’t so much about the impact of the name, as the parents’ agreement, and whether it’s ok to use a name they don’t both like. Would you enter into an arrangement like this, or would you add some conditions?
For name-lovers, it’s sometimes easy to forget that the names we talk about a lot here at Nameberry – like Clementine, Poppy, Huxley, and Wilder – can still seem out-there to people who have, shock horror, other interests.
Case in point: this spoof video of fourth-grade roll call in ten years’ time. Sure, it would be pretty unusual to have a class full of non-traditional names like Moon, Reign, Onyx and Kannon, without an Amelia or a William among them. But out of the 45 names the teacher calls, 30 of them are in the current Top 1000, with Maverick the highest at 73. The new normal diversity of names is heading towards schools – and after that, to universities, hospitals, and one day even the Supreme Court.
PhDs and prejudice
The comedian in that video chose to send up parents who like nature and respellings of names – easy targets, maybe. But the nastier side of judging people by their names came out in two stories showing different angles on typically African American names.
First, a celebration! Dr Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck just earned her PhD by researching – what else? – names. Inspired by people’s reactions to her own unusual name, she interviewed black students with distinctive names about the effects that had on their education and their treatment by teachers. And her own name? She’s proud of it and wouldn’t change it, but admits that it has its downsides, like when weed producers try to connect with her on LinkedIn.
On the other side of the coin, an article about what it’s like to be a white woman named LaKiesha caused controversy recently. It aims to show how much racial prejudice there still is around names, but many have commented that it simply reinforces white privilege. If you haven’t read it yet, see what you think.