9 Baby-Naming Trends You Can Thank a Celebrity For

pregnant mom choosing baby namesBaby name inspiration can come from anywhere -- family, friends, and certainly pop culture. From movies, to TV shows, to celebrity baby name choices, we have plenty of taste-makers that have shaped the course of baby names for generations to come.


"The affect of celebrities on baby names has really changed over the years," says Laura Wattenberg, baby name expert and founder of Baby Name Wizard. "In the past, parents would genuinely name after a celebrity, in honor of them. Today, parents are much less willing to name after anyone. There's a really powerful race to come up with the next name, so those ideas have to come from somewhere. Today, celebrities influence baby names just by giving us new ideas."

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Whether we're inspired by a celebrity's name, their baby name, or a character they portray on the big screen, there is a certain connection between pop culture and baby name trends. And here are 9 pop culture icons that have directly translated into top baby names:

  1. Bewitched: When the show first premiered in the 1960s, Samantha was a virtual unknown. "It practically didn't exist before Bewitched," says Wattenberg. "We can credit that show for its entire rise in popularity."
  2. Angelina Jolie: We have the celebrity mom to thank for really amplifying that 'x' trend. While she's named her sons Maddox, Pax, and Knox, the first has really proved to be the biggest influence. The two-syllable name has spawned other names like Jaxon, Braxton, and Maxim for parents today.
  3. Gwen Stefani: The singer chose to name her son Kingston in 2006. The name, at the time, was a ground-breaking trend, and started a baby name tradition for future generations, says Wattenberg. The two-syllable, ending in -n place name caused other like names like Ethan, Hayden, and Jackson, to pop up all over the country.
  4. Charmed: The witchy Piper helped make the WB show popular, but it also upped the name's demand. Parents saw the character and her supernatural powers, and they brought the name back, says Wattenberg. The real influence? "Movies or TV shows with attractive people with supernatural powers."

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  5. Nicole Richie: We can thank The Simple Life star, and her daughter, for bringing Harlow into the mainstream. Similar to Angelina Jolie's Shiloh, the -o sound ending has been a popular rise for the ladies, Wattenberg notes.
  6. Heroes: "When she starred on Heroes, Hayden Panettiere turned the name Hayden androgynous," Wattenberg says. "It used to be a football coach name and she single-handedly made it unisex."
  7. Game of Thrones: While we may not see many little Khaleesis running around, Arya has seen a resurgence. The difference? "These big female names that have a mystical sound to it, yet still sound familiar," says Wattenberg. 
  8. Frozen: Ah, Frozen. Kids love it; parents are over it. But you best believe it's here to stay. As is Elsa. "We tend to give those characters names that reflect that they are special," says Wattenberg, which may explain why Elsas will soon populate day cares. "But I think there's just something else about them that's right at the intersection of beauty and power." And Elsa definitely has both.
  9. Empire: As for shows that are currently on the air and may have influential power? Empire, Wattenberg says, can make a difference. "That show has a lot of potential to spawn names both from the actors and characters," she notes. "Lucious is just familiar enough but has never been common, and Taraji has a good chance."

Where did you find your baby name inspiration?

For more great baby name ideas, visit Baby Name Wizard.



Image via wavebreakmedia/shutterstock

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