Starbaby Hall of Fame 2017: Best celebrity baby names
By Linda Rosenkrantz
2017 was an interesting though somewhat serene in the starbaby world, with few celebrity baby names crying out to be called outrageous.
George and Amal Clooney set the tone when they gave their twins non-attention-grabbing names Ella and Alexander—George suggesting that they would get enough attention as it is. And several other celebs followed suit with names high on the popularity list.
A few trends we’ve noticed: Several distinguished gentleman names made their entrances, including Beaumont, Montague, Robinson and Augustus. For girls there were sassy Sadies and Mabels and the resurgence of old classic names Jane, June, Jean and Joy.
Here are our picks for the outstanding starbabies’ names of 2017.
Alexis Olympia Jr. — Tennis great Serena Williams and Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian made news when they dubbed their daughter Jr., with daughters named after their fathers still a rarity in any world, celebrity included. But the baby is called Olympia, an equally powerful nod to mom’s Olympic champion status. We approve of a name that even-handedly honors both parents.
August—Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan acknowledged the month of their second daughter’s birth, and also linked it to older sister Max(ima)’s name via its Latin roots, strong meanings and unisex vibes.
Birdie Joe—Actress/model/wrestler Brie Bella picked this stylishly chirpy vintage nickname name, pairing it with her grandfather’s nickname (and not feminizing it to Jo). She also kept her husband’s family’s B-name tradition going.
Bodhi Soleil—Twilight’s Nikki Reed and Vampire Diaries’ Ian Somerhalder were among the first to use for a girl this popular spiritual Buddhist name related to enlightenment. Her middle name is the radiant French word name for sun.
Calliope Maeve—Actress/web-series creator Felicia Day made a felicitous choice with this winning combo, pointing out that Calliope was the Greek muse of epic poetry and Maeve an Irish fairy warrior queen. Both names are on the upswing, with Calliope new to the Social Security list and Maeve #23 on Nameberry!
Domenica Celine—This stunning choice by food maven Daphne Oz is perfectly in sync with big sister Philomena Bijou’s name. Let’s hope it will encourage more use of this neglected Latin name sometimes given to babies born on Sunday. It just might be our #1 pick.
Odette Elliott—Sheer charm brings Supernatural star Jared Padalecki and wife Genevieve’s first daughter’s name to this list. Sophisticated Odette was also chosen by Mark Ruffalo for his daughter in 2007. Elliott is a recent gender crossover, gaining in traction for girls.
Remy Anne—For his third daughter, Billy Joel chose a stylish French (male) saint’s name that has gone unisex: it’s now number 717 for girls, in the Top 500 for boys, and part of the Romy, Remy, Rory boys and girls club.
Rumi—Yes, there was some momentary head scratching when this Beyoncé and Jay Z girl twin name was announced—it being that of a celebrated 13th century Persian male mystic poet (who Jay Z later declared was the couple’s favorite). But, easy to spell and pronounce, it fits in well with some similar girls’ names and is now getting a lot of love. As for her twin brother’s name, I’m afraid it’s no Sir.
Ford Douglas Armand Hammer—The newest member of Armie Hammer’s illustrious family rated an appropriately distinguished moniker. The strong surname Ford is becoming a celebrity fave, entering the pop list in 2014 and now at #712—and rising. (shown are Armie, wife Elizabeth Chambers, daughter Harper and baby Ford)
Grey Douglas—One of the softest and subtlest color names was chosen by Molly Sims. His name was the persistent preference of 4-year-old brother Brooks; another factor in the choice was that Grey was born on a rainy, grey day.
Hal Auden—Benedict Cumberbatch and wife Sophie went doubly literary with the name of their second son, combining the Shakespearean history-play name of Prince Hal, the nickname of the young Henry V, with the poet name Auden.
Memphis —Though country singer Jason Aldean isn’t even from Tennessee, his hero was a Memphis boy, and he said “I’ve kinda been infatuated with Elvis since I was a kid.” This cool Southern-accented city name was also chosen by Girls’ Jemima Kirke for her son and—back in the 90s—by Bono for his daughter.
Odie Sal—At first we feared that the baby born to sitcom star Ashley Williams and husband Neal Dodson might have been inspired by the cartoon dog in Garfield. But—whew—Odie’s first name is a tribute to Dodson’s great-grandfather, and his middle name is a sweet allusion to favorite children’s book classic Blueberries for Sal.
Revel James Makai—Glee star Matthew Morrison was articulate about the joyful impulse behind his son’s innovative name: “I revel in his bravery…with everything that’s going on right now, he’s so brave to come into this world. It’s a lesson in patience. I’m learning how to communicate with him about him and what every burp and fart means.”
Strummer Newcomb–Tag this choice of Julia Stiles as one of the most unusual and original names of the year. Though it wasn’t met with universal admiration, we like its ‘strummin’ on the old banjo’ feel, and also recalls The Clash’s Joe Strummer.
There were lots of other cool starbabies born this year—any you would add to this list?
Every Sunday, our acting head mod @katinka sends us a roundup of the most fascinating, engaging, and useful new threads on the forums. We love reading these and thought you might want to join in. Here, this week’s roundup:
—Does Luca sound masculine? Madison feminine? How where you’re from affects your gender perceptions of names.
–If you’re looking for a name that passes the Supreme Court Justice test, check out this discussion of names that sound smart.
—Rhyming can be a clever way to update names for a new generation. Perfect if you’re trying to honor someone you love who has a name you don’t.
—What good is a middle name? A discussion of the value of middle names.
—You know they’re odd or old-fashioned or impossible or impractical, but there some names you can’t help but love. Puck is mine. What about you?
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on December 8th, 2017 at 12:04 am
Wow! Benedict Cumberbatch’s son has an amazing name!
on December 8th, 2017 at 5:43 am
I wonder if other Seljuk era Muslim / Turkish poets’ names will get popular like Rumi too?
Maybe Yunus Emre will get popular next and Emre/Imre will rise? Compared to Rumi, Yunus Emre is more simple and easy to understand IMO – that’s because I read their works in Turkish and language of Yunus Emre is closer to modern Turkish than Rumi’s who uses Persian and Arabic words alot.
on December 8th, 2017 at 10:59 am
I love Birdie Joe, Calliope Maeve, Domenica Celine, Odette Elliott, Albee (LOVE), Beaumont Gino, and Odie Sal. Revel James Makai has a fantastic name with a fantastic meaning.
on December 8th, 2017 at 11:54 am
People use French names but don’t even respect their origin. As a French, it bothers me a lot that people don’t even respect my culture. Remy is NOT a girl name. And there is no gender crossover in my country, it’s just not a thing.
August is not a girl name (August might be a month, but it’s first of all the English variant of Auguste), Elliott is not a girl name. I don’t understand what’s wrong with people. This trend is ridiculous and sexist.
on December 8th, 2017 at 11:56 am
I do like Robinson, Beaumont, Augustus and August for a boy, Grey, Calliope Maeve, Lyric, Elliott for a boy, Olympia & Albie.
on December 8th, 2017 at 4:52 pm
Calliope Maeve is a wonderfully whimsical, yet grounded, name. I also love Albee and August, which are truly adorable “a” names!
on December 8th, 2017 at 5:00 pm
I’m unsure how to reply directly to someone, but I would like to say something to McCharlie.
I respect that you think the origin of a name should be taken into account, but there is no need to call parents that bypass the origin “sexist”. Just because a name was originally meant for a certain gender doesn’t mean that the name should be restricted to children of that gender. It’s like saying only girls can wear the color pink. Limiting a name to a gender is sexist, not the other way around. I personally think it is wonderful that some names are becoming unisex! I think your opinion is valid, but calling these parent’s ideas sexist just takes things a bit too far.
on December 8th, 2017 at 11:18 pm
@McCharlie; I hate to break it to you, but August is originally Latin, derived from Augustus and augere, meaning “increasing, or “to increase.” Same goes for Remy, which is related to the Latin Remigius. As for Elliott, the name comes from either Elijah or Elias (Hewbrew!), the latter actually being unisex.
You may not necessarily agree with a trend, but that doesn’t mean you should get p!ssy about it. Many people are of French origin, so I don’t see why it’s such a big issue. And even if they aren’t, names are just names (for the most part) – there are much bigger problems than some dude putting a French name on his kid.
on December 9th, 2017 at 9:36 am
TheNamingNinja: I disagree that respecting the gender is sexist. It’s just like respecting he and she. Nobody thinks that it is sexist to use she for a girl, and he for a boy. Now the trend is sexist (I’m not saying the parents are or that their ideas are), because people use masculine names for their girls, but I’m 100% sure none of them would call their little boys Rose, Elizabeth, Jane or Violet. So we are once again in the stereotype “being a strong boyish girl is cool and attractive” (let’s be honest, that’s what the parents like about it) but a boy with a feminine name is “gay”, “weak”, “a pansy”. So being a man = strong, being a woman = weak. And I highly disagree with that, obviously. My girls can be as strong as men, even with their feminine names. Feminine names can be strong.
Now, I don’t have any problem with new names being unisex: Aspen, Wren, Sparrow, Indigo, Dakota, River, Emerald, etc. I think it’s cool. I just hate when names have such an old history and people don’t respect it, especially if the name is from a different culture. It’s disrespectful. And I also hate it if it’s because “it will make my little girl stronger”, which actually is in general.
on December 9th, 2017 at 9:45 am
RedRobin: Thank you, I know where my boy’s names come from 😉 So yes I can get pissed because I picked masculine names for my kids. If I wanted my kids to have unisex names, I would have picked unisex names. Also, I’m not an American with French origins, I’m French. I was born in France, my parents, grand-parents, great grand-parents were born in France, I live in France, I’m just married to an American. Maybe that’s why it bothers me more than people who just have French origins. I do like my culture, French names are a part of my culture.
That being said, Augustus is still a masculine name and has been since a looong time (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augustus). Auguste is the French variant of the name, and August the English variant. Elliott comes from Elijah, a masculine name as you can see in the Bible (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elijah). Elliott being a masculine name is not from yesterday (but it’s given to girls since… Scrubs… 2001). Same for all its variants (Eli, Elija, Helias, Eliasz, Elie, Ilyes, Ilyas, Iliès, Ilias, Eliès, Eliaz, Eliel, Elior), in Africa, Spain, Greece, Russia, Germany, etc, you will not find girls named Elias either (whatever spelling they use, see above). And Remigius is also a masculine name. All the Saint Remigius and Remigius were men. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remigius).
I really feel like not respecting the gender is an American thing. We really don’t have that in Europe (And it doesn’t prevent our boys to play with dolls and love pink or our girls to love blue and play with little cars).
on December 9th, 2017 at 6:49 pm
please, can we just keep social justice and cries of sexism out of a name post? just once?!
on December 9th, 2017 at 8:54 pm
Lyric Dean McLean? Did they say that out loud before they finalized the birth certificate? Do they know the names rhyme?
on December 9th, 2017 at 11:48 pm
@kate4hisglory – I only noticed that when you pointed it out about Lyric Dean McLean, a little too rhyme-y for me too.
on December 10th, 2017 at 6:53 am
Melissa Rauch, or Bernadette on The Big Bang Theory, gave birth to Sadie on Monday, December 4th. Just thought I’d add that sunce unfortunately it wasn’t included.
on December 10th, 2017 at 10:13 am
No we can’t, because once again we have 3 girls with masculine names and 0 boy with feminine names. And nobody sees the problem, obviously. Reinforcing the stereotypes, nice.
on December 11th, 2017 at 12:13 am
My favorites are Calliope Maeve…..so whimsical! Odette, like swan lake, pretty and sophisticated. Domenica Celine and sister Philomena Bijou- gorgeous! Grey Douglas, Ember Jean, Revel James Makai, Augustus Alexis, Alexis Olympia and Birdie-which is just so cute to me.
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