Friday, April 26th, 2013
Gwyneth Paltrow was just named People’s Most Beautiful Person—but you’ll be hard-pressed to find another Gwyneth in real life. It’s a pretty name, reminiscent of the far more popular Genevieve, and has a lovely meaning—cherished. But I’m thinking the Gwyneth Paltrow backlash against the Marie Antoinette-ish lack of reality in her GOOP newsletter. (I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a half a million dollars to spring on “wardrobe essentials.”)
Which got me thinking about some other names you should be seeing around the playground, but never took off. Here’s my list of names that should be higher on the radar.
Suri My younger daughter and I actually brushed past Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’s intriguingly named offspring recently. (We both attended the same performance of Cinderella on Broadway and both ended up hanging out backstage at the same time.) Tom and Katie claimed the name meant rose or royalty in Persian or Hebrew, but experts say it’s a name that has more negative connotations—like “pickpocket” in Japanese. Whether it’s part of the Tom Cruise backlash or it’s the fact that Suri rhymes with “slurry,” this name hasn’t caught fire.
Pax The names of some of Brangelina’s other offspring have really taken off—we’re looking at you Maddox, Vivienne, and Knox! But Pax has yet to take off—despite the fact that it has that cool “x” ending and a really neat meaning, “peace.”
Seraphina It’s been four years since Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner gave this angelic name to their daughter, and it still hasn’t cracked the top 1000. It’s a nice alternative to the far-more-popular Sabrina.
Harry A handsome British royal and the world’s most famous boy wizard haven’t done anything to bring this variant of Henry back from its slow and steady decline. (Though Henry itself has been on the rise!)
What names do you think should be more popular than they are? (Or are you too afraid to share them, in case you want to use them?)
Image: Gwyneth Paltrow by s_bukley / Shutterstock.com
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Celebrity Baby Names, In Name Only, Must Read
Wednesday, February 29th, 2012
When Jennifer Garner appeared on Jay Leno last month, the eight-months-pregnant actress shared that her daughters were suggesting names for their new sibling: Ralphie, Frankie, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Rosemarie. But when Garner and her husband Ben Affleck, welcomed their third baby, a boy, on February 27 in Santa Monica, they went a completely different route. Instead of the more adventurous path they took with daughters Violet and Seraphina, they chose the Biblical name Samuel for their son.
Samuel has long been a popular Old Testament classic, ranking as the 24th most popular boy’s name in the country, with over 11,000 other little Samuels born last year. The Biblical Samuel was one of the great judges and prophets of the Israelites, destined for a holy life from birth and establishing the Hebrew monarchy. Several other high-profile celebs have chosen to name their sons Samuel, including Jack Black and Naomi Watts and Liv Schreiber.
And while it’s the extreme baby namers that get all the attention, a surprising number of other celebs have made traditional choices as well, including Kelly Preston and John Travolta (Benjamin), Jennifer Hudson (David), Jon Bon Jovi (Jacob), Jon Stewart (Nathan), and Chris Daughty (Noah).
By giving Samuel his mom’s maiden name, the Afflecks followed another long tradition, one that is very much alive today in Hollywood and everywhere else—Howard for Bryce Dallas Howard’s son Theodore, Russell for Keri Russell’s boy River, and Spencer for Tennyson and Charles, sons of Russell Crowe and Danielle Spencer.
With the old-fashioned but neglected Violet and Seraphina, the pair proved to be trendsetters. Violet has moved rapidly up the popularity lists to Number 123, and Seraphina is being increasingly considered by parents.
Photo: Jennifer Garner at the 12th Annual Critics’ Choice Awards via Featureflash / Shutterstock.com
Linda Rosenkrantz and Pamela Redmond Satran are the creators of the baby name site Nameberry and the authors of ten bestselling books about names, including Cool Names for Babies and The Baby Name Bible.
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