Written by Linda Rosenkrantz for Nameberry
When Mason jumped 10 places to become second most popular boy’s name in the country in 2011, it wasn’t just because more parents were noticing this pleasant occupational surname. No, anyone who had kept up with the Kardashians would know that cute little Mason Disick, featured on E! roughly a thousand times a week, had a lot to do with it.
For decades now, the names celebrities give their kids have had a tremendous effect on baby naming, one that has increased exponentially. From Ava to Willow, Maddox to Kingston, the proof is in the numbers.
Nameberry compared the fastest climbers on the Social Security list with the most popular baby names so far this year on our website to pinpoint the most influential celebrity today. Click through the gallery below to find out which 12 celebrities are the biggest name influencers right now.
There was much ado around the birth of the Beyoncé-JayZ baby last year, first about her names (‘Are you sure it’s not Ivy Blue?’) and then about the parents’ attempt to trademark it. Both names are on the upswing: Ivy has climbed 33 places on the Social Security list, 137% on Nameberry, whereas the hipper Blue hasn’t yet made its inevitable move to the national list, but it’s jumped a whopping 499% so far this year over last on Nameberry.
Of all the cute Victorian nicknames vying for attention, Hattie is pulling ahead, and largely because of the naming of Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott's third child Hattie Margaret last year. This celeb baby brought her name back onto the list after 43 years in limbo and fetched an increase of a startling 242% more hits on our site so far this year.
Angie Harmon and Jason Sehorn have not once but three times achieved some pretty effective gender-bending with their daughters' names, all of which have proved contagious: Finley, Avery and Emery. The youngest, born in 2008, when Emery was strictly a boys' name, is proving she has as much name power as her sisters. Emery moved 195 places higher on the SSA list since her birth and is up 211% this year on Nameberry.
With Finn enjoying such popularity, Flynn doesn't seem like much of a stretch. But when Miranda Kerr and Orlando Bloom picked this Irish surname in 2011, Flynn actually hadn't been used very much in the US. Although it had been featured in the Disney film "Tangled," the name only landed on the national list on the year of Flynn Bloom's birth. Nameberries have their eye on it though -- Flynn was searched 181% more so far this year than last.
Yes, even ancient Old Testament names have their ups and downs, and sometimes a celebrity can spark new interest in a long latent biblical name. After the livelier-than-most-OT-names Levi was chosen by Camila Alves and Matthew McConaughey for their son in 2008, the name jumped into the Top 100 , and on Nameberry, it’s drawn 181% more queries this year than last.
One of the most romantic of names, Valentino didn’t enter the Top 1000 until 2008, the year Ricky Martin chose it for one of his twin sons (the other is Matteo). It has risen 146 places in the national standings since then; Nameberry interest is up 176% for 2012.
Maya Rudolph and Paul Thomas Anderson's first daughter, Pearl Bailey, was born in 2005, when Pearl was a grandma's gem sequestered in the back of the jewel box. But now, thanks in major part to its celebrity connection--which also includes Jack Osbourne's daughter--Pearl sits alongside Ruby at the forefront of this category. Pearl wasn't even on the list in 2005; it's now at 814, and love for it at Nameberry has increased 152%.
Nicole Richie and Joel Madden pretty much invented the concept of using old Hollywood glamour girl surnames when they picked Harlow for their first child (followed by the less alluring Sparrow) in 2008, but others soon shared the enchantment. Unheard of till then, Harlow entered the list in 2009 and has since climbed an impressive 280 places. Nameberries concurred: Harlow increased 141% in searches this year thus far.
Sometimes it takes the confluence of two celeb choices to propel a name into the spotlight. Cate Blanchett and Debra Messing both picked the name Roman for their sons in April 2004, giving the name double exposure. Roman has climbed 81 places since then, part of the Ronan-Rowan brigade. Interest in it among Nameberryites is up 141% so far this year.
All the Jolie-Pitt names, from Maddox through Zahara, have had some impact, and now it’s Vivi’s turn to shine. Given the French version of Vivian to reflect her Nice, France birthplace in 2008, Knox’s twin has propelled her name up 148 places on the national list; interest on Nameberry has spiked 140%.
Though some people got confused and thought Jenna Fisher's baby name was Cecelia, as it was on "The Office," her real life son was actually dubbed Weston, a name that is growing appreciably, along with cousins West and Wesley and Easton. For the general public, Weston has ascended almost 200 places since the millennium; on Nameberry it's been a particular popular search target, rising 305% this year.
An unusual celebrity baby name can have an impact even when it’s in the middle place. Tina Fey’s daughters’ first names, Alice and Penelope, both helped revive those quiescent classics (a later Kardashian pick of the latter didn’t hurt either), but Penelope’s middle name, reflective of her mother’s Greek heritage, is a surprise hit. Athena rose about 50 places on the Social Security list at the most recent count, but a substantial 187% uptick in interest was shown on our site so far this year.
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