Top Baby Name Influencers 2023
Baby name influencers don't set out to start name trends, but ultimately, their names go viral.
When it comes to influential names, there’s a formula for success. Whether the name is that of a celebrity or their child, it needs to be connected to someone who’s highly visible in the media and hit the right style notes of the moment.
So who are the baby name influencers today? We analyzed the data to find the most influential celebrities and starbabies on American baby names, below.
Top Celebrity Baby Name Influencers
Celebrities are often responsible for introducing unusual names into the mainstream. In fact, we have stars to thank for the debut of a number of names that are now long-established, such as Lauren (Bacall), Tyrone (Power), and Ingrid (Bergman).
Here, the top baby name influencers whose names have gone viral in 2023:
Angelique took the prize for the third-fastest-rising girl name of 2021, in major part due to French-Mexican actress Angelique Boyer, who starred in the telenovela Imperio de mentiras (Empire of Lies). Telenovelas have a huge impact on baby name trends in the Hispanic and Latin American communities and Angelique — with its angelic imagery and feminissima sound — was this year's breakout star.
Similarly, Arleth rejoined the Top 1000 — following a one-year stint in 2005 — thanks to telenovela actress Arleth Terán. Her most recent role was in 2019 in the TV show La reina soy yo (I am the Queen), which reintroduced her name to prospective parents. Arleth is the Spanish variation of the French name Arlette, which is also used within Hispanic and Latin American communities.
Billie was bound to reenter the Top 1000 eventually, but young music sensation Billie Eilish brought it back with a bang. Billie has been one of the fastest-rising girl names for six years straight, but 2021 was the first year it's been back in the Top 1000 since 1997. Grandpa names for girls are a hot trend right now, and names like Scottie, Georgie, and Bobbie are poised to follow in Billie's footsteps.
In 2020, 17-year-old dancer Charli D’Amelio became the most-followed person on TikTok, garnering over 100 million followers. Her impressive visibility has helped make her name the fastest-rising spelling variation of Charlie. Last year, Charli officially displaced Charleigh and Charley, the next-most common spellings for girls.
Sleek, unisex Drew is piquing parents’ interest — it rose over 100 rankings between 2020 and 2021. It was introduced as a girl name thanks to Drew Barrymore, who was given her great-grandmother’s maiden name. The ratio of baby boys to girls named Drew is shrinking as parents continue to go after gender-neutral names for their daughters.
Tech billionaire (and crazy celebrity baby namer) Elon Musk may not have inspired many parents to use his children's names, X and Exa, but his own unique biblical name is on the rise. Elon is an attractive spiritual nature name — meaning "oak tree" — but the strong connection to the unpredictable and eccentric Musk makes it a somewhat risky choice for a child.
Killian in all forms is on the rise, but unexpectedly, the fastest-rising among them is Kylian. This non-traditional spelling has been boosted by the handsome French soccer player Kylian Mbappé, who boasts 72.8 million followers on Instagram.
Mononymous actress Zendaya singlehandedly carried her name into the Top 1000, first from 2014-2016 and then again in 2019. Her success with Euphoria and achievement as the youngest-ever Emmy winner will only inspire more parents to use her distinctive Shona name.
Top Starbaby Name Influencers
Celebrity baby names often have a stronger effect on the popularity charts than the names of celebrities themselves. Starbaby names are more likely to be in line with current baby name trends — half of the ever-important influence formula.
Below are the top eight starbaby names currently influencing American parents.
Archie Harrison, son of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, has now become the strongest association with his name, putting it back on parents’ lists for the first time in decades. It was previously avoided due to ties with Archie Bunker and Archie of the comics and Riverdale fame. In 2021, Archie was among the fastest rising names for boys, proving there’s no better endorsement than a royal baby.
Hilary Duff introduced Banks to the baby name pool in 2018 when she welcomed her daughter Banks Violet Blair. Despite using it as a girl name, Banks turned out to be a big hit for boys. It entered the Top 1000 the following year and continues to be among the top risers. Banksy, an artistic baby name and Duff’s nickname for her daughter, made its debut for girls on the 2020 charts.
Vanessa and Kobe Bryant’s youngest daughter, Capri Kobe, was born in 2019. While names associated with all members of the Bryant family increased in use after Kobe and Gianna’s deaths, Capri resonated with parents in particular and rose over 600 spots on the charts in 2020. 2020 was the first year it made the Top 1000, debuting at Number 685. It's now at Number 624.
Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik named their daughter Khai in 2020, but it was one of the biggest risers for boys in 2021. Gigi and Zayn chose it to honor Gigi's grandmother Khairiah, an Arabic and Quranic name. Parents may be attracted to Khai as a heritage choice or as a more unusual spelling of Kai.
Lyra, already a hit in the UK, was experiencing a very slow rise in the US until Ed Sheeran chose it for his daughter. In 2021, Lyra finally broke into the US Top 500. However, her middle name, Antarctica, didn’t have any takers.
Saint was destined to be a success, not only because uber-influential celebrity (former) couple Kim Kardashian and Kanye West chose it for their son in 2015, but because it fit in with some of the rising trends at the time. Short, exalted word names — including Reign, another name popularized by a Kardashian — are now extremely hip, thanks in no small part to stars like Kim and Kanye.
When Emma Roberts named her son Rhodes in 2020 (on the recommendation of our Name Guru to the Stars) it was a bona fide unique name — about as common as Chevy or Todd for babies born that year. In 2021, Rhodes almost doubled in popularity. It was given to over 200 baby boys last year and surely has a spot in the Top 1000 of 2022.
Rupert Grint singlehandedly transformed Wednesday from Addams Family campy to quirky-chic after he announced the birth of his daughter in 2020. The name increased in popularity by over 47% over the course of 2021. Wednesday is the most popular English day name of the year, soaring past Tuesday and just edging out Sunday.
We expect Sunday may reclaim the title for 2022 thanks to influencer Savannah LaBrant.
Future Starbaby Name Influencers
These celebrity babies were born too recently to know if they will have any impact on current baby names, but we expect them to be among the biggest baby name influencers of 2022 and beyond.
Michael Bublé welcomed his fourth child in April, daughter Cielo Yoli Rose. Cielo is a Spanish word name that means "sky". As interest in Spanish word names such as Rio, Soleil, and Alma increases, celestial Cielo is one to watch.
Cy was recently revealed to be the name of Jennifer Lawrence and Cooke Maroney's son, born earlier this year. Cy is going to be the new Kai, and we expect to see it as a full name and a first syllable. Nev Shulman also has a son named Cy, and Adriana Lima recently welcomed a son named Cyan.
Ed Sheeran has proven himself to be a baby name influencer with his daughter Lyra, but will the same hold true for Jupiter? His daughter Jupiter Seaborn Sheeran was born in May. Jupiter was already a fast-rising name — thanks in part to Ashley Tisdale, who has a daughter named Jupiter Iris — as parents consider it a gender-neutral, astrological, and unique alternative to Juniper.
Onyx has made past lists of starbaby name influencers, connected to Iggy Azalea's son Onyx. But Nick Cannon welcomed daughter Onyx Ice in September, which may send her name soaring for girls.
YouTube star Trisha Paytas called everyone's bluff when she named her daughter Malibu Barbie (yes, really) in September. This particular combo is not destined to take off, but Malibu — full stop — could easily be a future hit. It's a sunny place name, not unlike Savannah or Rio. Other unique place names recently chosen by the stars include Monaco, Ethiopia, and Carmel.
Nick Cannon is at it again. His most recent arrival (for the next few weeks, at least) is a son named Rise Messiah with Brittany Bell. Rise joins the class of modern Christian names that appeal to spiritual parents with contemporary style.
Cardi B and Offset welcomed their son Wave in 2021 but revealed his name this past April. It's an ultra-rare choice, only given to seven baby boys last year, but beachy word names are poised to be a big trend, with names like Coast, Cove, Sunny, and Dune heating up.
Kylie Jenner caused a stir when she announced that her son's name is not, in fact, Wolf Jacques, as she had previously announced. The public still doesn't know the name of baby boy Webster, but everyone's talking about the name Wolf. Expect it to rise in the coming year, along with variations Wolfe, Wolfie, Wolfgang, and Wolfram.