Why no baby Oprahs?

Celebrities have had an enormous influence on baby names over the past few decades.  Stars’ names like Angelina and Jude, Sienna and Anderson have risen up the popularity list.

Yet for every celebrity that inspires a rash of little namesakes, there seems to be another, equally attractive and popular star whose name doesn’t become famous, at least for babies.  Oprah may have the power to catapult books to bestsellerdom and even to influence presidential elections, but the millions of moms who love her don’t seem to love her name.  Madonna may have legions of fans over several decades, but there’s still only one Madonna.  Okay, two.

Maybe you’ll say that the problem is in the names Oprah and Madonna themselves and true, those might be difficult monikers to carry.  But that doesn’t seem to always be the reason a name doesn’t achieve the star power of its original bearer.

Case in point: Diana.  We were sure, through the long reign of Princess Diana, that her name would rise up the charts.  It’s a beautiful name with classic roots that sounded neither dowdy nor trendy.  But Diana, as a name, never took off.

A lot of the other hot and not celebrity-influenced names are similarly difficult to figure out.

Jada: Hot.   Beyonce: Not.

Ashton: Hot.  Demi: Not.

Tyra: Hot.  Heidi: Not.  

Trista: Hot.  Ryan: Not.

Scarlett: Hot.  Ryan: Still not.

Reese: Hot.  Jake: Well, Jake‘s hot too, but not because of Gyllenhaal.

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1 Response to “Why no baby Oprahs?”

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Elise Says:

October 28th, 2008 at 11:54 pm

It usually depends on how well the name fits into current trends. Old Testament names are much more in fashion for boys than girls. And the more popular girls’ names tend to be the simpler ones like Sarah and Hannah – not unusual like Kerenhappuch, Bathsheba, Mehitabel or Orpah. Plus, people tend to favor youth in female names – they’re less likely to pick a name associated with an older woman. So they’ll name a daughter after teenage Miley Cyrus, but not middle-aged Oprah.

As for the rest, well, Ashton is similar to Ashley and Ashlyn, and is an Anglo-Saxon surname. Demi is a word many associate with bras. Tyra is primarily associated with a young model. Heidi already had a bout of popularity, so it seems dated. It’s hard to bring bad a name of a previous generation – hence Cindy Crawford and Linda Evangelista being unable to do much for their names.

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