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Unusual names attract attention for the stars who bear them and often inspire hundreds of baby namesakes. But which uniquely-named celebrities have the biggest influence on baby name trends?


Some celebrities here have already turned their rare monikers into baby name hits. Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams has propelled her charming nickname-name into the Top 600 in the United States and The Top 60 in the United Kingdom, for instance. And the African Zendaya rose into the U.S. Top 1000 thanks to the singularly-named actress, singer and social media star with 43 million Instagram followers.

On the boys’ side, One Direction bandmates Zayn and Niall have pushed their unusual names into the spotlight, as has actor Asa Butterfield.

Other names here, such as Amandla and Gal for girls and Alden and Hannibal for boys, are equally inspirational but just beginning to influence baby name trends.

New stars with rare names we predict you’ll be hearing a lot more of include:

Amandla Stenberg

Sometimes it can just take the addition of a single letter to make a name seem brand new, as in the case of this actress, best known for portraying Rue in The Hunger Games. It’s actually a name that means power or strength in two South African languages, IsiXhosa and Zulu.

Dove Cameron

She began as a Disney Channel teen star, playing both parts in Liv and Maddie. She traded her birth name of Chloe Celeste for the soft, sweet symbol-of peace name Dove, which, along with Lark and other bird names, is poised to take flight.

Gal Gadot

A sensation as the latest Wonder Woman, this lovely actress was born and raised in Israel. Her name means ‘wave’ in Hebrew, is pronounced to rhyme with ball, and is unisex in its native habitat, but we can see it more as a powerful inspiration for girl babies here.

Gigi Hadid

Named British International Model of the Year, the high profile Hadid dropped her birth name of Jelena Noura in favor of the spunky nickname Gigi, which is remembered as the heroine of a classic Hollywood movie, based on a novella by Colette. Gigi is well liked on Nameberry, ranking at #469–and could go higher.

Halston Sage

The single name of a seminal 1970s fashion designer is now equally associated with a young up-and-coming TV actress. Halston has many qualities that could lead to baby name success as a future classmate of Hadley, Harper, Harley and Harlow.

Kiernan Shipka

We watched her grow up as Sally Draper on Mad Men for nearly eight years from child to teen, and fans of the show have had an emotional attachment to the young actress. Will it carry over to her boyish Irish name?

Maisie Williams

This young actress plays Arya in the iconic Game of Thrones, and both her name and that of her character have struck a chord with baby namers. The sweet old-fashioned Maisie made a return to the Top 1000 in 2014, and there’s no doubt that this actress played a role in that.

Rebel Wilson

If ever there was a self-defining rockstar word name, this is it, and this outspoken, uproarious Australian actress-comedian fits it to a T. We’re not sure how many parents might see it as a risky self-fulfilling prophecy, even in this more tolerant era of daring choices. It’s been used for boys as well.

Samira Wiley

Two key roles have brought this actress to public attention—as Poussey in Orange is the New Black and Moira in The Handmaiden’s Tale, for which she just received an Emmy nomination. Her shiny Arabic name, meaning “companion in evening conversation,” is one that could easily catch on with name-seeking parents.

Saoirse Ronan

Before her breakthrough appearance in Brooklyn, Ronan spent much of her time and energy explaining the pronunciation of her name (“rhymes with inertia”), but now Americans have fallen in love with this Irish name enough to bring it into the Top 1000 this year.

Tavi Gevinson

Tavi Gevinson became a sensation as a widely read fashion blogger at the age of 11 and now, at 21, is a feminist writer on pop culture, a magazine editor and Broadway actress. Her lively name feels like an appealing blend of her Jewish and Norwegian roots.

Zendaya

A post shared by Zendaya (@zendaya) on

Zendaya Maree Stoermer Colman, who goes by just her first name, got her start (as so many young actresses and singer do) on the Disney Channel. Her rhythmic African name means “to give thanks” and thanks to her popularity, as well as parents’ love for the initial Z and the intriguing nickname Zen, Zendaya entered the US Top 1000 in 2014.

Alden Ehrenreich

In his short career Alden Ehrenreich’s already worked with such iconic directors as Francis Ford Coppola, Woody Allen and the Coen brothers, and next he’ll be starring as the young Han Solo in a Star Wars spin-off. A surname dating back to Pilgrim days, Alden became one of the hottest names of last year, up 73 percent, partly due to this dreamy dude.

Ansel Elgort

This hot young star has been featured in such hit movies as the Divergent Series, The Fault in Our Stars and Baby Driver. The son of a photographer, Elgort’s name was inspired by that of famed Western photographer Ansel Adams. (BTW, his middle name is Marie.) Ansel is a German name that had some popularity a century ago, and is ready for a comeback.

Armie Hammer

Born Armand, Armie Hammer has, since 2010, starred in films ranging from The Social Network to The Man from U.N.C.L.E. He is the namesake of his oil tycoon/philanthropist great-grandfather Armand Hammer. While Armie now seems like a one-person name, it could catch on a la Archie and Alfie.

Asa Butterfield

British-born Asa Maxwell Thornton Farr Butterfield was acclaimed as Young British Performer of the Year at the age of 11 and has had major roles ever since. He’s brought new attention and a more youthful image to his short but strong biblical name, which now ranks at #518, the highest it’s been since 1910, and we predict it will move even higher.

Daveed Diggs

This charming actor-rapper originated the role of Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson in the smash musical Hamilton, for which he won a Tony and a Grammy, and is now moving into film and TV. His parents named him the Hebrew pronunciation of David because his father “liked the look of it” and we think other parents might, too.

Dev Patel

Best known for his roles in Slumdog Millionaire and Lion, Dev Patel was born in London to Indian parents. Dev—also the lead character name in Master of None—with its appealing simplicity, could well catch on here. Three other names in this category: Aziz Ansari (Master of None), Riz Ahmed (The Night of) and Ramni Malek (Mr. Robot).

Ellar Coltrane

In the real-time film Boyhood, we were able to watch the actor evolve from a six-year-old to the age of 19. Ellar is a rare name with Scottish roots that is also used for girls. But with the El- beginning so trendy (Eli, Elijah, Elliot, Elvis), Ellar has some potential to rise.

Hannibal Buress

Yes, Hannibal is the real name of this stand-up comedian and actor, named for the legendary ancient military leader; he called his first album My Name is Hannibal. Let’s hope these two positive references will be able to finally overcome the scary memory of Hannibal Lecter.

Kit Harington

The British have long used Kit as a nickname for Christopher and in fact this Game of Thrones heartthrob has Christopher on his birth certificate, named for Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe who was also called Kit. Another plus: Kit is what Benedict and Sophie Cumberbatch are calling their first son Christopher.

Kyrie Irving

The name of this basketball star with the Cleveland Cavaliers and also the winning US Olympic team, Kyrie is a unisex Greek name used in the church refrain “Kyrie Elieson.” Thanks to the popularity of this athlete, it has risen to Number 285 for boys.

Nash Grier

From the exploding world of alternative media comes wildly popular, sometimes controversial, internet teen star personality Nash Grier (born Hamilton Nash), known for his online Vine videos starting in early 2013. The name Nash has been steadily climbing and has now reached #286

Niall Horan

A post shared by Niall Horan (@niallhoran) on

This Irish singer is one-fourth of the popular band One Direction. Niall (pronunciation varies, but Horan uses NYE-uhl) was the name of a legendary Irish king of Tara and is currently very popular in both Ireland and England. Has a lot cooler image than the dated Neil.

Zayn Malik

Niall Horan’s One Direction bandmate goes by his first name only. Though this—and his birth name Zain—appear to be alternative spellings of Zane, both are Arabic names meaning beauty and grace. And thanks to this Zayn, his name has zoomed up the popularity charts in the past three years, now at #421. (Trivia tidbit: his current partner Gigi Hadid is on our girls list.)

Original story by Linda Rosenkrantz for Nameberry.

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While breastfeeding might seem like a simple task, there are so many pieces to the puzzle aside from your breasts and baby. From securing a good latch, boosting your milk supply and navigating pumping at work or feeding throughout the night, there's a lot that mama has to go through—and a number of products she needs.

No matter how long your nursing journey may be, it can be hard to figure out what items you really need to add to your cart. So we asked our team at Motherly to share items they simply couldn't live without while breastfeeding. You know, those ones that are a total game-changer.

Here are the best 13 products that they recommend—and you can get them all from Walmart.com:

1. Medela Nursing Sleep Bra

"This fuss-free nursing bra was perfect for all the times that I was too tired to fumble with a clasp. It's also so comfy that, I have to admit, I still keep it in rotation despite the fact that my nursing days are behind me (shh!)." —Mary S.

Price: $15.99

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2. Dr. Brown's Baby First Year Transition Bottles

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3. Multi-Use Nursing Cover

"When I was breastfeeding, it was important to me to feel like a part of things, to be around people, entertain guests, etc. Especially since so much of being a new mom can feel isolating. So having the ability to cover up but still breastfeed out in the open, instead of disappearing into a room somewhere for long stretches alone to feed, made me feel better."—Renata

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4. Lansinoh TheraPearl Breast Therapy Pack

"I suffered from extreme engorgement during the first weeks after delivery with both of my children. I wouldn't have survived had it not been for these packs that provided cold therapy for engorgement and hot therapy for clogged milk ducts." —Deena

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5. Medela Quick Clean Breast Pump Wipes

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6. Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter

"This nipple butter is everything, you don't need to wash it off before baby feeds/you pump. I even put some on my lips at the hospital and it saved me from chapped lips and nips." —Conz

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7. Medela Double Electric Pump

"I had latch issues and terrible postpartum anxiety, and was always worried my son wasn't getting enough milk. So I relied heavily on my breast pump so that I could feed him bottles and know exactly how much he was drinking. This Medela pump and I were best friends for almost an entire year" —Karell

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8. Lansinoh Disposable Stay Dry Nursing Pads

"I overproduced in the first couple weeks (and my milk would come in pretty much every time my baby LOOKED at my boobs), so Lansinoh disposable nursing pads saved me from many awkward leak situations!" —Justine

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9. Haakaa Silicone Manual Breast Pump

"This has been a huge help in saving the extra milk from the letdown during breastfeeding and preventing leaks on my clothes!" —Rachel

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10. Medela Harmony Breast Pump

"Because I didn't plan to breastfeed I didn't buy a pump before birth. When I decided to try, I needed a pump so my husband ran out and bought this. It was easy to use, easy to wash and more convenient than our borrowed electric pump." —Heather

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11. Milkies Fenugreek

"I struggled with supply for my first and adding this to my regimen really helped with increasing milk." —Mary N.

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12. Lansinoh Breast Milk Storage Bags

"I exclusively pumped for a year with my first and these are hands down the best storage bags. All others always managed to crack eventually. These can hold a great amount and I haven't had a leak! And I have used over 300-400 of these!" —Carla

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13. Kiinde Twist Breastfeeding Starter Kit

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This article is sponsored by Walmart. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Orange Is the New Black star Danielle Brooks is pregnant and frustrated. The actress took to Instagram this week to lament the lack of plus-sized options for pregnant people.

"It's so hard to find some clothes to wear today....Although I get to pregnant I still can't find no clothes. It's so hard to find some clothes when you're pregnant," she sings in a lighthearted yet serious video.

"It's so hard to find cute plus size maternity fashion while pregnant, but ima push through," she captioned the clip.

Brooks has been talking a lot this week about the issues people who wear plus size clothing face not just when trying to find clothes but in simply moving through a world that does not support them.

"I feel like the world has built these invisible bullets to bully us in telling us who we're supposed to be and what we're supposed to look like. And I've always had this desire to prove people wrong—to say that this body that I'm in is enough," she told SHAPE (she's on the new cover).

"Now that I'm about to be a mother, it means even more—to make sure that this human being I'm going to bring into the world knows that they are enough," she said.

Danielle Brooks is the body-positive hero we need right now. Now can someone make her some cute maternity clothes, please?

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In prior decades, body image issues usually didn't hit the scene until kids reached adolescence. But thanks to social media, and our culture's relentless pursuit of thinness, we now have to find creative ways to teach young children how to develop healthy body images.

Before I dive into some practical tips to help kids improve body image, I want to first diminish any shame that you might be feeling if you have body issues of your own. It's so important to remember that you downloaded every internal message from somewhere else. Of course, it's critical to work on your own issues, but it's also important to know it is not your fault that you developed them in the first place!

So, whether you are struggling with your own body image, or you love your body, here are some tools to help your child feel better about the precious body he or she lives in:

1. Break the spell

How do you know if your child has a bad body image? Perhaps they've begun making negative comments about their size or shape. Maybe they are comparing their body to others. Maybe they are avoiding foods or activities they once enjoyed because they feel uncomfortable about their body.

Often the most common response a parent has is to reassure their child that they are “fine," or “beautiful" or “perfect." And while there is certainly nothing wrong with some reassurance, it simply may not be enough to overpower the cultural messages kids are surrounded by. Reassure them that they are perfect just the way they are.

2. Unkind mind, kind mind and quiet mind

This little menu of options encourages kids to identify and differentiate between three different thinking states within themselves. I refer to them as “mind moods." Try teaching your child about these three states of mind and brainstorming examples of each. For example, unkind mind = “I hate my thighs." Kind mind = “I love singing." Quiet mind = Peacefully resting or playing.

This will raise their awareness of their thoughts and help them to choose their mind moods more consciously. As they learn to turn up the volume of their kind minds and spend more time in their quiet minds, they begin to feel more present and peaceful.

Once you have helped your child identify their unkind mind as a distinct voice, they can then try on some different responses and see which ones help bring them some relief. Try asking them to write or say all the messages their unkind mind is saying and practicing using strong, soft, silly or silent responses. Kids can learn that their unkind mind is not all of who they are, and that it doesn't have to run the show.

3. Get to the root

This concept helps kids discover what triggers their body dissatisfaction. You can help your child by asking questions or taking guesses about what might have started their bad body image. For example, I helped one 7-year old get to the root of her body obsession by noticing it started when there was a death in her family. Right around that time, her best friend started talking about dieting, so she latched onto food obsession as a distracting coping tool.

Once we uncovered this, she was able to learn about healthy grieving and truly healthy eating (as opposed to what the diet culture deems as healthy—which can actually be unhealthy).

4. Mind movies vs. really real

Try asking your child to show you some things around them that are real (i.e. things they can see, touch or hear). Then ask them if they can show you one single thought in their minds. You can playfully challenge them to take a thought out of their head and show it to you or fold it up and put it in their pocket. This tool teaches kids how to be more present.

Of course, they might use their imagination to do this, but with some finesse, you can teach your child to distinguish between the mind movies that cause them stress and the really real things around them. This is an immensely helpful tool that will not only help them with body image (since body image is one long mind movie) but will also improve the quality of their lives in general.

5. Dog talk and cat chat

Many kids cannot relate to the concept of being kind to themselves but ask a child how they feel about their favorite pet, and a doorway to their compassion, kindness and unconditional acceptance opens. For non-pet lovers, you can ask your child to imagine how they would speak to a baby or their best friend.

Dog talk and cat chat can help teach youngsters how to take the loving words and tones they use toward a beloved pet, and direct these sentiments toward themselves and their bodies.

6. Do an internal upgrade

In addition to helping your child combat the messages they receive out in the world, you can also work on the messages they get in your home. Again, if you struggle with body image, it is not your fault, but you can work on healing—and not only will you feel more peace, but your child will benefit as well.

To the best of your ability, refrain from talking about foods as “good" or “bad." Refrain from making negative comments about your (or anyone else's) weight or looks. Refrain from praising someone (or yourself) for weight loss.

Practice welcoming your child's tears and anger without trying to change their feelings before they are ready. Practice eating all food groups in moderation. Foster a positive, grateful attitude about your body.

May you and your child feel comfortable in your bodies, eat all foods in moderation, move and rest in ways that feel good, and find abundant sweetness and fulfillment in life.

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Learn + Play

After a long day of doing seemingly everything, when our partners get home it kind of becomes a habit to ask, "How was your day?" In between prepping dinner, handing off the kids, finishing your own work, we don't exactly get much value from this question. Sure, it may open up the opportunity to complain about that awful thing that happened or excitedly share that presentation you killed at work—but it usually stops there.

I could do a better job of really talking in my relationship. After 12 years and two kids, sometimes all we can come up with post bedtime routine is, "You good? I'm good. Fire up the Netflix."

Here are 21 questions to dig deeper into your marriage after a long day—see where they take you!

  1. Did you listen to anything interesting today?
  2. If you could do any part of today over again, what would it be?
  3. How much coffee did you drink today?
  4. Will you remember any specific part of today a year from now? Five years?
  5. Did you take any photos today? What did you photograph?
  6. What app did you open most today?
  7. How can I make your day easier in five minutes?
  8. If we were leaving for vacation tonight, where do you wish we would be heading?
  9. If you won $500 and had to spend it on yourself today, what would you buy?
  10. If your day was turned into a movie, who would you cast?
  11. What did you say today that you could have never expected to come out of your mouth?
  12. What did you do to take care of yourself today?
  13. When did you feel appreciated today?
  14. If you could guarantee one thing for tomorrow what would it be?
  15. If we traded places tomorrow what advice would you give me for the day?
  16. What made you laugh today?
  17. Imagine committing the next year to learning one thing in your spare time. What would it be?
  18. Did you give anyone side-eye today? Why?
  19. What do you wish you did more of today?
  20. What do you wish you did less of today?
  21. Are you even listening to me right now?

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Love + Village

Alexis Ohanian has made a lot of important decisions in his life. The decision to co-found Reddit is a pretty big one. So was marrying Serena Williams. But right up there with changing internet culture and making a commitment to his partner, the venture capitalist lists taking time off after his daughter's birth as a significant, life-changing choice.

"Before Olympia was born, I had never thought much about paternity leave and, to be honest, Reddit's company policy was not my idea. Our vice president of people and culture, Katelin Holloway, brought it up to me in a meeting and it sounded O.K., so why not?" Ohanian writes in an op-ed for New York Times Parenting.

He continues: "Then came Olympia, after near-fatal complications forced my wife, Serena, to undergo an emergency C-section. Serena spent days in recovery fighting for her life against pulmonary embolisms. When we came home with our baby girl, Serena had a hole in her abdomen that needed bandage changes daily. She was on medication. She couldn't walk."

The experience changed the way Ohanian viewed paternity leave. It was no longer something that just sounded like a good thing, it was a necessary thing for his family. It was crucial that he take it and now he is advocating for more fathers to be able to. In his piece for the NYT Ohanian points out something that Motherly has previously reported on: It is hard for fathers to take paternity leave even when their government or employer offers it.

A report from Dove Men+Care and Promundo (a global organization dedicated to gender equality) found 85% of dads surveyed in the United States, the UK, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Japan and the Netherlands would do anything to be very involved in the early weeks and months after their child's birth or adoption, but less than 50% of fathers take as much time as they are entitled to.

Dads need paid leave, but even when they have it social pressures and unrealistic cultural expectations keep them from taking it and they choose not to take all the time they can. Ohanian wants lawmakers and business leaders to make sure that dads can take leave and he wants to help fathers choose to actually take it.

"I was able to take 16 weeks of paid leave from Reddit, and it was one of the most important decisions I've made," Ohanian previously wrote in an essay for Glamour.

Ohanian recognizes that he is privileged in a way most parents aren't.

"It helped that I was a founder and didn't have to worry about what people might say about my 'commitment' to the company, but it was incredible to be able to spend quality time with Olympia. And it was perhaps even more meaningful to be there for my wife and to adjust to this new life we created together—especially after all the complications she had during and after the birth," he wrote for Glamour.

In his NYT piece, Ohanian goes further: "I get that not every father has the flexibility to take leave without the fear that doing so could negatively impact his career. But my message to these guys is simple: Taking leave pays off, and it's continued to pay dividends for me two years later. It should be no surprise that I also encourage all of our employees to take their full leave at Initialized Capital, where I am managing partner; we recently had three dads on paid paternity leave at the same time."

The GOAT's husband is making the same points that we at Motherly make all the time. Research supports paid leave for all parents. It benefits the baby and the parents and that benefits society.

By first taking his leave and then speaking out about the ways in which it benefited his family, Ohanian is using his privileged position to de-stigmatize fathers taking leave, and advocate for more robust parental leave policies for all parents, and his influence doesn't end there. He's trying to show the world that parents shouldn't have to cut off the parent part of themselves in order to be successful in their careers.

He says that when his parental leave finished he transitioned from being a full-time dad to a "business dad."

"I'm fortunate to be my own boss, which comes with the freedoms of doing things like bringing my daughter into the office, or working remotely from virtually anywhere Serena competes. My partners at Initialized are used to seeing Olympia jump on camera—along with her doll Qai Qai—or hearing her babbling on a call. I tell them with pride, 'Olympia's at work today!' And I'll post some photos on Instagram or Twitter so my followers can see it too," Ohanian explains.

"The more we normalize this, on social media and in real life, the better, because I know this kind of dynamic makes a lot of men uncomfortable (and selfishly I want Olympia to hear me talking about start-ups!)," he says.

This is the future of family-friendly work culture. Take it from a guy who created an entire internet culture.

[A version of this post was originally published February 19, 2019. It has been updated.]

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