Unique Celebrity Names
Unique celebrity names are names that are so tied to a single celebrity that the celebrity in question barely needs a last name — and often doesn't even use one. While a handful of these unique celebrity names start out as one-of-a-kind only to spawn a legion of little namesakes (case in point: Zendaya), others remain indelibly linked to the personages who inspired them. After all, there’s only one Oprah!
Along with Zendaya, other unique celebrity names now used for hundreds or even thousands of babies include Chance, Drake, Keanu, Leighton, Pierce, Sutton, and Zayn. Singular celebrity names on the rise include Halsey, Lake, Rashida, and Winona. Some names are uniquely tied to a single celebrity due to an unusual spelling, such as Bethenny and Ginnifer. Other celebrity names are unique for their gender: for a girl, the name Drew always summons Drew Barrymore, while for a boy it's not remarkable.
Our picks for this distinctive group of unique celebrity names include the following, ordered by their current popularity on Nameberry.
Description:Scarlett originated as an occupation surname, designating a person who sold scarlet, a luxury wool cloth produced in Medieval Europe. The word is thought to derive from the Arabic siklāt, referring to silks dyed with kermes. The fanciest, favorited color was scarlet red.
Description:Zayn zoomed up the popularity charts thanks to former One Direction member Zayn Malik; it was one of the fastest-rising names of 2016. The name can also be spelled Zain; the feminine version is Zayna or Zaina.
Description:An attractive French word name known here via former child TV star Soleil Moon Frye, aka Punky Brewster. It started to be lightly used in the U.S. in the 1920s and is now attracting some attention as both a sunny nature and an international word name. It's currently in the Nameberry Top 500.
Origin:English, diminutive of Philippa
Meaning:"lover of horses"
Description:Pippa, a peppy condensation of Philippa that turns it from serious to sprightly, has come into the public eye in a big way via the former Kate Middleton's sister. Heard far more in the UK (where it's currently just outside the Top 100) than the US, Pippa has been used on its own since the nineteenth century, popularized by Robert Browning's dramatic poem, Pippa Passes. A recent book and film was titled The Private Lives of Pippa Lee.
Description:Though to most Americans Viggo is a one-person name attached to intense actor Mortensen, it is actually an old Norse name dating back to the Vikings, and is currently the 32nd most popular appellation in Sweden. Viggo Mortensen is a Jr., sharing his name with his Danish father. We think this name is so, well, vigorous, that it might appeal to others as well. Taylor and Natalie Hanson seemed to agree when they chose it for their fourth child.
Origin:Italian variation of Roland
Meaning:"famous throughout the land"
Description:Orlando, the ornate Italianate twist on the dated Roland, with a literary heritage stretching back to Shakespeare and before, has appealing book-ended o's, and is open to combination with almost any last name, a la British actor, Orlando Bloom.
Meaning:"the coolness, or the cool breeze"
Description:An evocative name brought from Hawaii to the mainland by Keanu Reeves, who was born in Beirut to a part-Hawaiian, part-Chinese father. It moved into the Top 1000 for the first time in over a decade in 2016. Keanu ranks among
Meaning:"little dark one"
Description:Keira is an attractive girls’ name that's gotten a huge boost from the meteoric rise of Keira Knightley. Original spelling Kiera, which relates more directly to the male Kieran, was the more popular form until the rise of Keira Knightley reversed the order. Both are Anglicized versions of the Irish Ciara.
Origin:Spanish variation of Joachim
Meaning:"God will judge"
Description:Actor Joaquin Phoenix (brother of River, Rain, Liberty and Summer) highlighted this one, then Kelly Ripa began talking about younger son Joaquin on her daily TV show, and presto—it's now one of the hottest and most appealing multicultural baby boy names.
Meaning:"from the southern homestead"
Description:Sutton is a plain-sounding surname most notably worn by Tony-winning Broadway actress Sutton Foster, now starring in TV Land's Younger -- based on a novel written by Nameberry co-creator Pamela Redmond Satran.
Description:The name of a heavenly planet and the Roman goddess of beauty and love was an intimidating no-no until tennis champ Venus Williams put an athletic, modern spin on it.
Origin:French diminutive of Adelaide
Description:Credit the award-winning single-named British singer for taking the girls’ name Adele from a quiet semi-retirement back into currency. Adele reentered the US Top 1000 popular baby names in 2011 and has remained there ever since.
Adele is both a saint's and a royal name, having originated as the French version of the German Adela. It's one of the most stylish girl names starting with A.
Molly Ringwald chose Adele for one of her twins, and Fred Astaire's first dancing partner was his older sister Adele.
Origin:Latinized variation of German Tillman, “one who plows the earth”
Description:One of the coolest of names, thanks to legendary jazz pianist Thelonious Sphere Monk, who inherited this Latin-sounding German name from his father. It has been used very sparingly since the 1960's, with just a sprinkling of baby boys receiving the name each year, though it's one of the unique baby names we predict will get much less unique as more parents embrace its quirky charms.
Meaning:"from the high stronghold"
Description:This old Cornish name took on a whole new identity via Denzel Washington, who has inspired several thousand namesakes. The actor was named after his father, who was named for a Dr. Denzel, who delivered him.
Description:Mia, Gia, and now Sia!
Origin:English word name
Meaning:"dragon; or, male duck"
Description:A simple one-syllable name that has been on the popularity list since the mid-1980s, Drake is most associated today with the single-named rapper (born Aubrey). The name peaked at Number 197 in 2010 and has since been on a slow decline, but it still can be counted among the stylish contemporary boy names starting with D.
Description:When the King was alive, and for years afterwards, few people (except Declan McManus who became Elvis Costello) dared use his singular name, but now it's very much up for grabs.
Description:Because of Gwyneth Paltrow, this has almost become a one-person name, but not in the prohibitive there's-only-one-Oprah sense. Also seen as Gwenyth and Gweneth, this mellifluous appellation is definitely becoming more and more appreciated by American parents-- enough to land it on this year's Top 1000.
Meaning:"little dark one"
Description:Ciara is very popular in Ireland, more familiar here as the Anglicized Kiera or Keira. The uninitiated will tend to pronounce Ciara as the Italian Chiara, a form of Claire—kee-AHR-a or even see-AHR-a, like the American singer-songwriter Ciara. In the US, Ciara peaked in 2005, when it was the Number 150 name; it's since fallen down to Number 882.
Description:A common Welsh name virtually unknown before the emergence of the charismatic Idris Elba, first on The Wire and then depicting Nelson Mandela in the acclaimed film.