Melissa and Luke have a little girl named Audrey, and are expecting their second child in a few months. Audrey doesn’t have a middle name, since they have a hyphenated surname, and this will be the case for the new baby as well, whether it’s a boy or a girl.
Mel and Luke have quite compatible naming styles, with both preferring traditional or slightly retro names. Mel likes the idea of older names which are familiar, but not overly common; however, a popular name isn’t an issue unless it seems “trendy”.
Mel and Luke’s Name List
Girls – Genevieve, Margot, Eliza (not in order)
Boys – Elliot is the front runner, but Mel can’t seem to let go of Theo, Sonny, and Remy. These last three names were possibilities for Audrey’s name if she had been a boy, and went on and off the list during the last pregnancy too. Mel thinks that the reason she feels uncertain about them is because they feel too “nicknamey”.
Luke’s preference for a girl’s name is Genevieve, but Mel worries it’s slightly too clunky, and doesn’t much like the nickname Jenny/Genny. Mel’s preference is for Margot, which she thinks is quite spunky, but every time Luke sees actress Margot Robbie in a magazine, he says that he’s concerned that Margot is going to be the next celebrity-inspired trendy name. Mel thinks that it’s celebrity baby names which are more likely to become trendy, not the names of celebrities themselves.
Mel wants to know whether a celebrity name like Margot might really become too trendy as a baby name, and would be especially interested to know what we think of their boys names? In particular, what about Sonny? Is it a “proper” name?
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I love all the girls names you are considering. I must say, I never thought of Genevieve as clunky before – it’s so elegant, but with real substance. Jenny was the usual nickname for Genevieve during the loooong period that Jennifer was popular, but these days I think Evie is the more obvious short form.
Margot is simply gorgeous, and so stylish. I think one thing Margot Robbie has done for the name is give it more oomph, because I didn’t really think of it as a “sexy” name before (in fact it seemed quite cool and intellectual to me).
That’s an interesting question about whether celebrities or their children are more likely to influence popular names. I had a look at the Top 50 girls names, and I noticed that a few names do seem to have been influenced by celebrities.
Mia first charted in the 1960s, at the same time as Mia Farrow became known from soap opera Peyton Place, but didn’t reach the Top 100 until the 1990s. Olivia first ranked after Olivia Newton-John’s career started, and appeared in the Top 100 in the late 1970s. Sienna has ranked since the 1990s, but suddenly took off in the 2000s when Sienna Miller began her career, and reached the Top 100 almost instantly. The name Isla only began charting in the 1990s, when Isla Fisher joined the cast of Home and Away, and it became a Top 100 name in the late 2000s.
So I can see where Luke’s concerns come from – he’s thinking, “Sienna Miller and Isla Fisher were pretty young women in the magazines a decade or so ago, and now there’s thousands of Siennas and Islas. What if the same thing happens with Margot?”
Well, for a start, there can be quite a wait before the name becomes popular – Mia took thirty years! And even if it happens relatively quickly, as with Olivia, Sienna and Isla, there might still be 10-15 years between the names beginning to be known, and becoming popular. To me it feels as if celebrity baby names have a more immediate effect on name popularity.
And there’s another thing to consider: Mia, Olivia, Sienna, and Isla were “new” names, in that they had never been in the charts before. Margot has already been in the charts – which in my view, saves it from being a “trendy name”. It charted from the 1930s to the 1970s, coinciding with the career of ballerina Margot Fonteyn, and it never became popular – the highest it got was #218.
At the moment there’s not really any sign of an imminent Margot revival, although in 2012 six babies were named Margot in Victoria (where Margot Robbie began her career); just enough to show up in official data. So, while anything is possible (and Margot is rising in both the UK and US), it still seems a safe choice, as far as trendiness goes.
I rather hope one of you will convince the other to choose either of these names, as they are both so lovely. Otherwise, there’s always Eliza, which both of you like, and which makes a wonderful match with Audrey.
Elliot is a great choice for a boy, and I think it’s brilliant as a brother to Audrey, although I suppose it does make having an Eliza later a bit less likely. However, there’s those three names you just can’t quit …. I’ve had that experience too, of those names you just can’t give up, even though you keep tossing them off the list, and I know family and friends who have been through the same thing.
In my experience, two things might cause this issue:
- The name you keep being drawn to is the right name, and your head just keeps over-ruling your heart by coming up with excuses like, “Too nicknamey”.
- The name is one that you genuinely love, but a more sensible part of you knows that no matter how desirable the name is, it’s not really right for you. (This is the part of your brain that stops you from buying a stunning evening gown that you know you will only wear once, or from going trekking in Nepal with five children under the age of six).
I can see that part of the reason you can’t really say Yes or No to the names is that you originally picked them for your first child. If you had had a boy first, you could have taken these names with you to the hospital, and one might have been a perfect fit and you would have called your son Sonny (or Remy, or Theo). Or you might have realised they weren’t for you after all, and your son would have been Elliot (or Leon or Hugh or something else). But instead you had Audrey, so you never got a chance to try them out for size in the real world.
I think you should stop throwing them off your list, and grant them amnesty. Wait until the baby is born, because you might be bringing Audrey home a sister rather than a brother anyway, and once again the names could end up in the Maybe One Day category of baby names.
But if you do have a son, this will be your chance to try the names out on a real live little boy. Maybe Remy (or Theo or Sonny) will be so completely his name that you will finally understand why your heart could never let that name go. Or maybe you’ll think they are lovely names, but not quite right after all.
They don’t really seem to be traditional or retro, which you said was your style, but then again, neither is Elliot, exactly. I wonder if your style is actually traditional or retro for girls, and something more modern for boys? I’ve noticed that we Australians often seem to like girls to have fairly conservative names, but will choose contemporary names for our boys. Theo, Remy and Sonny are cute and modern-sounding, although Remy is not a “nickname” name – it’s French for the Latin name Remigius. I think they’re all adorable, and very cool.
As to whether Sonny is a “proper” name: to me if you are allowed to put a name on the birth certificate, it’s a “proper” name. Yes, its origins are definitely nicknamey and affectionate, like Buddy and Buster, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a real name. It’s been in use since the 16th century, so it has a surprisingly long history, and it’s actually in the Top 100 and rising in the UK, while in the US it has charted consistently since the 1920s. So not only is it a “proper” name, it isn’t even very new or very uncommon.
What do you think, readers? Will Margot Robbie make the name Margot trendy? Is Sonny a proper name? And what do you think of the names Mel and Luke have chosen?
UPDATE: The baby was a girl, and her name is Margot!
POLL RESULTS: A majority of people felt that Margot was a safe choice, with 34% thinking it probably wasn’t coming to become trendy, and 22% saying that it couldn’t become trendy, as it was already an established name. However, there were still plenty of people who weren’t convinced of this, with 27% believing it probably would become trendy, and 8% absolutely sure it would become trendy. A cautious 9% weren’t sure what the future held for Margot.
A majority also thought that Sonny was a proper name, with 40% saying it wasn’t exactly a traditional name, but still acceptable, and 16% deciding that it definitely was a proper name. A tolerant 4% believed that all names were “proper names”. However 32% thought Sonny was more of a nickname, and 8% were adamant that Sonny wasn’t a real name at all.
Margot was the clear favourite for a girl’s name, with 50% of the vote going to Margot, 28% to Eliza, and 22% to Genevieve.
Elliot was the favourite for a boy’s name, with 39% of the vote going to Elliot, 33% to Theo, 18% to Remy, and 10% to Sonny.
(Photo is of Margot Robbie)