Starbabies 2014: The luscious and the ludicrous
By Linda Rosenkrantz
2014 was another amazing year for starbaby names, with some of the most varied, at times contradictory trends, ranging from classics like Rosemary, Frances, Evelyn and Eric to gender-benders, oddball spellings, and words refigured as names.
Among the strongest trends of the year: more boys’ names borrowed by girls than ever– celebrity daughters included Wyatt, Asa, Bowie, River and Mars; a torrent of lofty aspirational names out to rule the world, generic nature names like Vale and Delta, sweet, soft vintage choices such as Hazel and Jane and Rose, and lots and lots of nickname names, including Drew Barrymore’s cute Frankie.
Here are the Nameberry Awards for the best, the worst, and the wildest.
Best smoosh name
Merging the megapopular classic Elizabeth with the overworked Twilight-infused Bella yields a lovely new name, one we can expect to see more of. This also gets the Celebrity Name Most Likely to be Imitated Award.
Longest alliterative sibset
The recent arrival of third daughter Hayley rounds out this trifecta of HH-monogrammed girls in the Hader family. Not exactly reaching the Duggar dimension, but a good start.
Most adorable alliterative pairing
We’re loving the rhythm of James Caan’s grandbaby’s name and the idea of combining a nostalgic vintage nickname with the classic, traditionally male name of her grandpa. Others in this category are Marshall Allman’s June Joanne, Eva Amurri Martino’s Marlowe Mae, Kelly Clarkson’s River Rose, and Bijou Phillips’ Fianna Francis.
Best roots-inspired name
Philomena is moving in on last year’s Penelope as the new Greek name on the block, chosen as a first name by The Chew’s Daphne Oz (daughter of Dr. O) and as a middle by Megan Hilty for her daughter Viola. Runner up is Esmeralda, the seductive choice of Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling, inspired by The Hunchback of Notre Dame character.
Most surprising girls’ middle-name sensation
Before Mariah Carey bestowed this name on her twin daughter in 2011, in tribute to her idol Marilyn, Monroe was a middle-aged accountant with a name that hadn’t been in the Top 1000 for forty years. It has now become a middle name du jour, picked by Jenna Von Oy (Marlowe Monroe), Tila Tequila (Isabella Monroe), Rosie Pope (Bridget Monroe), and yes, even for one boy, Poppy Montgomery’s Gus Monroe.
Revived vintage name with most dramatic turnaround.
What a difference a decade makes. Regarded as fusty and frumpy when Julia Roberts chose it in 2004, Hazel has had a complete image reversal, now seen as a soft and appealing nature name. She’s well on her way, now at Number 157, and likely to go higher as a result of the celebrity link.
Most bizarre name inspiration
Mike, also dad to Spike, explained the day-of-the-week choice for his daughter was because “Me and my wife Kelly hate Sundays”—so it’s now this little girl’s challenge to turn that around. An even more bizarre inspiration was Jason Biggs’ son Sid, whose mom, Jenny Mollen, said, “He’s not this sweet baby I thought I’d have…so we decided on Sid, because Sid Caesar had just died and I liked Sid Vicious and he just felt like a little old man in a pinstriped suit, betting on the ponies. Okay!
Most androgynous sibset
Most surreal sibset
Most forward-looking baby name
The rapper born Nayvadius DeMun Wilburn opted to bestow on his son his optimistic stage name.
Latest reality show possibility
JAXIE, daughter of Mackenzie Doothit
The reality show Teen Mom has shown its powerful influence before—when Bentley, the stuffy British surname and luxe car brand, zoomed up the charts via the son of teen star Maci Bookout, and also with the boy name Jace, a Teen Mom 2 pick. Jaxie is right in line to follow, with its bouncy feel and resemblance to already popular Max, Jax, and Jaxon et al.
The McFly crooner merged the name of an astronaut/Toy Story character with a great Italian Renaissance sculptor. Really? And yet somehow it works. Runner up is Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green’s Bodhi Ransom, combining the conflicting concepts of enlightenment and criminal payoff.
Most fairy-tale-brought-to-life name
Instead of the more predictable Aurora, this celeb couple went for her Disneyfied alternate name in Sleeping Beauty, projecting an ethereal aura that will cling to this girl for life.
Breeziest baby name
Battle of the Titans—or which starbaby will rule the world competition
Will Kourtney Kardashian’s Reign reign or will L’il Kim’s Royal Reign reign? Will Kelly Rowland’s Titan be more titanic? Will Jenelle Evans’s Kaiser live up to the meaning—emperor—of his name? Or will Gwen Stefani’s Greek sun god Apollo become all-powerful? Or perhaps Omarion’s Megaa prove to be the most mega of all? Stay tuned.