By Abby Sandel
Taylor Swift’s latest video is a who’s who of Hollywood stars, up-and-coming singers, and supermodels galore.
“Bad Blood” stars Taylor as a sort of James Bond/Wonder Woman/Katniss Everdeen warrior extraordinaire. After her fellow BFF-spy betrays her, she enrolls in assassin school and assembles a crack team of allies to help her take down her nemesis.
It doesn’t sound like inspiration for baby names. But the cast and characters answer to an eclectic bunch of global, daring names. One of these might be just right for your daughter.
Gigi – Palestinian-American model Jelena Hadid is better known as Gigi. Gigi can be short for so many names: Georgia, Genevieve, Virginia, Gabrielle. In the 1958 musical Gigi, it’s a pet name for Gilberte. Gigi is rarely bestowed independently, but with nickname-names like Coco and Lulu so stylish, it’s possible we’ll hear more girls named just Gigi. Cynthia Rowley has a daughter named Gigi Clementine.
Lena – Pan-European Lena is the kind of short, simple name that parents have embraced in recent years, from 2014’s Number One Emma to Top 100 choices Ella, Nora, and Eva. Lena is on the upswing, possibly because of Girls creator Lena Dunham. And yes, she’s in “Bad Blood,” too, as the cigar-smoking Lucky Fiori.
Martha – Americans might think of the original First Lady, Martha Washington. But Taylor Swift’s pal is model Martha Hunt, a Victoria’s Secret Angel and the sword-wielding HomeSlice in the video. It’s a very different spin on the Biblical name. In the US, Martha has been out of favor for years. But now that good girl names like Hannah and Abigail are past their peak, maybe Martha is ready to be rediscovered.
Ellen – Speaking of good girl names, Ellen was a 1960s staple seldom heard in recent years. Taylor Swift is a huge fan of actress Ellen Pompeo, who cameos as tough-as-nails Luna in “Bad Blood.” Right on time, Ellen is starting to feel fresh again. There’s Ellen Degeneres, of course. Also credit Pompeo, and Oscar-nominated actress Ellen Page.
Luna – Ellen’s character’s name is one of the hottest names of the moment. The celestial Luna, chosen by Penelope Cruz and Uma Thurman for their daughters, has gone from quirky Harry Potter heroine to mainstream favorite. Luna ranked Number 143 in 2014 – the most popular name on this list!
Justice – In the US, Justice is a gender-neutral virtue name, currently ranked Number 420 for girls and Number 531 for boys. It was recently in the headlines thanks to a New Zealand woman. She says her name is Justice; New Zealand authorities insist it isn’t a name. (They say she’s Justine.) In the video, Justice is the alter ego of Mariska Hargitay. Just like Ellen, Mariska is one of Taylor’s long-time heroes.
Domino – Domino is a go-to name for a tough girl, from a famous James Bond character to real-life bounty hunter Domino Harvey, played by Keira Knightley in a 2005 biopic. No surprise, then, that “Bad Blood” gives the name to a motorcycle-racing master played by Jessica Alba.
Zendaya – Zendaya Coleman is a mega-star on the Disney Channel with a rising career in pop music. Her unusual name was among the biggest debuts of 2014. Now Zendaya is a member of the “Bad Blood” crew, playing Cut-Throat. As long as Zendaya’s star is on the rise, we’ll likely hear more of her name.
Serayah – The most unusual name on this list belongs to Serayah McNeill, better known as Tiana on Empire. McNeill’s given name comes from the Old Testament, where’s it’s a masculine name, often spelled Seraiah. Six girls were called Serayah in 2014 – before the debut of the hit television series.
Would you consider any of these names for a daughter?