It’s an inarguable fact that celebrity baby name choices have an impact on the rest of the population. But which of them have had a lasting influence and which luminaries have hit the sweet spot more than once?
With some names, it was not a single celebrity but a confluence of several that helped propel a name to stardom — among these are the namers of Becketts, Dashiells, Harpers, Romys, Romans and, perhaps most of all, the now-ubiquitous Ava. And we see that even a middle name can pack an impact, as in Beyonce and Jay-Z’s (Blue) Ivy.
Angie Harmon and Jason Sehorn introduced a whole style of names with their three daughters — Avery, Emery and Finley, all boyish names ending in “y.” First came Finley, born in 2003, when the name was nowhere to be seen on the girls’ Top 1,000. It appeared there two years later, and is now at No. 349, with close to a thousand baby girls bearing that name annually.
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Daughter Avery was born in 2005; there were approximately 4,000 girl Averys born the year before her arrival, more than 5,000 the year after, and more than 8,000 this past year. The third daughter, Emery, was born three years later when the name was No. 467; it is now at 211.
Two of the Jolie-Pitt kids’ names have made their mark. The eldest, Maddox, was born in 2001; the name popped onto the list two years later, and is now at No. 167, accounting for almost 2,300 baby Maddoxes. Another x-ending Jolie-Pitt boy name, Knox, also struck a chord. He arrived in 2008 with twin sister Vivienne — whose name is also rising. The following year, Knox entered the list, and it is now No. 368.
Going back a few years, we can thank, at least in part, the Will Smiths for inciting the Jaden et al et al explosion, and as for sister Willow, who would become a tween singing sensation, her name was No. 760 when she was born in 2000 and is now 171.
And yes, several celebs were there before with Mason and yes, Tina Fey had started the Penelope renaissance, but the consensus is that Kourtney Kardashian, with her legions of reality show followers, gave these two names the biggest push with her boy and girl. Mason is again the second highest boys’ name this year, and Penelope, which came back onto the list at No. 946 in 2001 for the first time since 1975, has now leaped to No. 125.
Hazel: When Julia Roberts chose this gentle nature name for her twin daughter in 2004, Hazel was at No. 681. It has climbed 506 places since then.
Olive: Picked by Isla Fisher and Sacha Baron Cohen in 2007 when it was barely at the bottom of the list, Olive is now No. 368 and will probably be further boosted by Drew Barrymore’s use of it this year.
Pearl: It too was scarcely making an appearance when Maya Rudolph and Paul Thomas Anderson picked it for their first daughter’s name in 2005. Pearl has now risen more than 200 places, was also used by Jack Osbourne and is a new middle name favorite.
Hattie: Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott chose trendy but not unusual names for three of their four kids — Liam, Stella and Finn — the exception being their third — the cute Victorian Harriet nickname Hattie. It had been off the list for 43 years when they chose it in 2011; almost 400 more Hatties arrived the following year.
Violet: This sweet-smelling, old-fashioned floral was at No. 369 when Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck’s first daughter was born in 2005, but their choice was undoubtedly a factor in its rise to No. 89 in 2012, and we think it could be a Top 20 name before long.
Harlow: Though this glamor girl surname had been used without much fanfare by Patricia Arquette in 2003, it was the birth of Nicole Richie and Joel Madden’s daughter in 2008 that set the name in motion. It entered the list at No. 901 in 2009, and by 2012 it was at 598.
Kingston: Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale had personal reasons for choosing this Jamaican-place name for their son, but it wasn’t long before it went public. Kingston is now at No. 210.
Romeo: Of the Beckham kids, it was Romeo that helped transform an over-the-top romantic name into a more generally accepted choice. Romeo has risen 244 places since his 2002 birth. On the other hand, big brother Brooklyn’s name quickly went over to the girl’s side.
Some other celeb kids who have had a less clear-cut influence: Orlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr’s Flynn, Julianna Margulies’ Kieran, Liam Gallagher’s Lennon, Camila Alves and Matthew McConaughey’s Levi, Will Ferrell’s Matthias and Magnus, Jamie Oliver’s Poppy, Kate Hudson’s Ryder, and Patrick Dempsey’s Sullivan.
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