Cool Name of the Week: Louisa 28210

I'm calling this my Mayan summer. We had asked Maggie's summer camp to ensure that she was grouped with her pal Maya, a gorgeous, curly-haired girl with an impish personality. So imagine my surprise when she ended up in a group with not one, not two, but three Mayas—out of just 16 kids in the group.

That seems especially interesting, considering the name was only ranked number 62 in the year that my daughter (and the Mayas 3) were born—though it was ranked a bit higher that year, at number 41 in our state.

Today, Maya's still in the 60s—and it makes a nice alternative to the (even more popular) Mia. It's a pancultural name—the name of the vibrant Central American culture (you know, the one with the calendar everyone's buzzing about), which is also the Sanskrit word for "illusion," another name for the Hindu goddess Durga, and the name of the mother of Buddha. It's a name in a song by late Beatle George Harrison—and the name of Pablo Picasso's daughter, who appeared in his painting, Maya With Doll.

Both author Maya Angelou and actor/comedian Maya Rudolph have the name, and it's been popular with celebrity parents. Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke gave the name to their daughter, as did actors Josie Bissett and Rob Estes, and actor Justin Chambers.

As for what to pair this beautiful name with, I'm liking it with Blue. That combination is a nod to history—Maya Blue is actually the name of a bright blue pigment that was developed in the Mayan culture centuries ago, that was used in Mayan art. I also think it pairs beautifully with longer middle names. I like the idea of a Maya Caroline, a Maya Beatrix, or even a Maya Clementine.

What do you think of Maya? Does it work for you, or is it too popular for your taste?

Photo: Pregnant woman via Ronald Summers/