TV Names: Happy Soap Opera Day!
Today is officially Soap Opera Day (woo hoo!) and though this isn’t as big of a deal in the baby name world as it once was, with a lot fewer sudsers on TV than there were when soap operas were the main staple of daytime programming, we have to acknowledge the influence that they did have in the past—just as powerful as reality show show TV names do today.
This is true both in terms of trends (as in sometimes condescendingly considered “soap opera names” on the order of Thorne and Trent, Blade and Brent, and also place names like Sierra and Egypt, boys’ names for girls) and individual names—the classic example of which is Kayla. It’s highly doubtful that there would have been 16,000 baby girls named Kayla in 1996 if popular good girl Kayla Brady hadn’t appeared on Days of Our Lives a decade earlier. And the same goes for all those Ashleys too.
What follows is a list of soap opera names across three decades that did have some influence—though it sometimes took as long as a decade or two to make an impact (and of course there could be other factors involved)—followed by the year in which they were at the peak of their popularity.
Brooke—All My Children—2003
Kylie—Search for Tomorrow–2003
Caleb—As the World Turns—2011
Haley—As the World Turns–2000
Holden—As the World Turns–2011
Jackson—All My Children– 2011
Jasmine—As the World Turns, Days of Our Lives-1993-94
Jonah—Days of Our Lives—2008
Kayla—Days of Our Lives—1995-96
Kendall—All My Children—2011
Lexie—Days of Our lives—2010
Savannah—Days of Our Lives–2006
Taylor (girl)—As the World Turns—1994-96
Azure—The City—not yet, but a color name that could pop
Braden—All My Children–2005
Brady—Days of Our Lives—2007
Connor—The Bold and the Beautiful—2004
Cooper—Days of Our Lives–2010
Lark—The Bold and the Beautiful—not yet, but definitely on the rise
Mateo—All My Children—2011
Do you know of anyone who was named for a daytime drama character? Or any other TV character for that matter.
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on June 21st, 2012 at 5:51 am
My middle name was named after Laura Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie. It was supposed to be my first name, my mother loved Laura Ingalls from the show, but while she was out after the emergency c-section my dad had seen a nurse with the name Jessica which he had only heard once in his life and thought it beautiful. Jessica Lara R.(he messed up the spelling which I love) and being born in ’87 I was forever Jessica R. in school. My mom was pretty upset over not naming me Laura but in the end she loves my name and the story behind it.
on June 21st, 2012 at 6:19 am
Fun post! Santa Barbara was where I first heard Eden for a name too.
on June 21st, 2012 at 6:25 am
My step-grandmother (born era 1936) was actually named Aurelia for some radio soap opera her mother listened too. And since she passed away in 1997, I now have a younger sister and two cousins sporting it as a middle name.
on June 21st, 2012 at 9:27 am
My own name is a soap opera name. My mom use to watch “Ryan’s Hope” when it was on in the 70s (she was in high school, then, I think) and there was a character named Jillian on the show. She loved it right away when she first heard it. In the 80s I guess my name was really popular, but I wasn’t born until 1993 and by then it had decreased some in popularity. I can count on one hand how many other Jillians I’ve met in the past 19 years.
on June 21st, 2012 at 10:04 am
I’m an 80’s baby and my name is Brittney–but I know my mom didn’t get it from a soap, and she spelled it “different” because she says that’s how most people actually pronounce it. I have a cousin Miranda, and it’s very possible her name did come from soaps.
My oldest son’s name came from television. Husband and I were watching Law & Order SVU and we both looked up at Elliott’s name and asked the other if they liked it. It was the only name we agreed on for more than two weeks, so it stuck!
on June 21st, 2012 at 10:15 am
I watched “Days” in the 90’s, and I remember I loved the name Karlie. I still think it’s cute. It’s also the first place I heard Calliope, which I thought very odd at the time. I never heard it again until Nameberry!
on June 21st, 2012 at 10:16 am
Surprisingly, my name isn’t on there. My son’s name is, but you can be assured that he wasn’t named after any soap opera.
on June 21st, 2012 at 11:56 am
My father wanted to name me after a character in a soap opera named Felicia. My mom insisted “NO” and I ended up being Alycia instead 🙂
on June 21st, 2012 at 4:28 pm
How funny that another Jillian has already commented! My mom got my name from Ryan’s Hope as well (in 1982) and I’m not sure I had actually met another in person until law school, where I had a Jillian in my classes whose name was inspired by the same show. Sometimes I joke around about “being named after a soap opera character” but honestly I love my name and I’ve always gotten tons of positive feedback on how beautiful it is. When people aren’t accidentally calling me Julian, that is. I’m not a fan of that.
on June 21st, 2012 at 5:05 pm
I know of two girls who are named Erica and Bianca after the Kane women in All My Children. I thought it was just because the names sound good together, but it is actually after the soap opera!
on June 21st, 2012 at 5:19 pm
I have a friend names Aristede.(he’s in his early 40’s) He says his mom named him after a vampire in a television series she used to watch. Does that count?
on June 21st, 2012 at 5:30 pm
Cruz Castillo, from “Santa Barbara,” gets credit for my first exposure to Cruz…Cruz and Eden’s daughter Adriana might have been my first Adriana, too. I remember being on pins and needles waiting to find out what the baby would be named, and I found Adriana pretty “exotic” at the time.
With the “Dallas” remake in the works, it will be interesting to see what names they use and if they have any impact on the naming scene. Good post!
on June 21st, 2012 at 6:23 pm
You forgot the soap with the best names: Barnabas, Quentin, Angelique, Jamison, Nora, Magda, Josette….
My name is Victoria Winters….
Also, why aren’t Luke and Laura listed?
on June 21st, 2012 at 8:59 pm
Some friends of mine recently surprised me by naming their second daughter Greenlee (a name they heard on All My Children). I was mostly surprised because their elder daughter has what I consider to be a more classic/traditional name.
on September 30th, 2012 at 5:30 am
Oh my gosh! I have a soap opera name (sort of). My mum and her friend were having myself and my friend at the same time and so (although I ended up being 3 months early) my friend Selena was named after a character on the Australian show home and away while I was named after the actress that played her, Tempany Deckert, however my name was spelt with an ie and not a y
on March 25th, 2013 at 9:20 pm
Greenlee is my favorite and my daughter’s middle name! 🙂
on May 5th, 2013 at 5:19 pm
My daughter was kind of named after Isabellla on the Days of Our Lives in the nineties.
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