Thursday 23 November 2017

Celebrity name game has me feeling blue

It was a long wait last Sunday before the official confirmation. Early reports claimed that Beyonce and Jay-Z's new baby girl was called Ivy Blue Carter, and my heart sank. While I love to hear of a healthy new baby coming into the world this particular story stopped me in my tracks.

The Western world includes a section of people who idolise celebrities to the point that they name their children after them, and even copy their baby names.

I find this the height of poor taste, and was horrified to hear that the world's newest celebrity baby shared her name with my 18-month-old daughter. I fretted that her slightly unusual name was about to hit the big time.


It took another eight hours before I read official reports that the new baby is, in fact, called Blue Ivy.

I breathed a huge sigh of relief, hoping that the celeb-obsessed out there will now focus on the Blue part of the child's name, though it seems like a peculiar name to land any little creature with. (U2's The Edge clearly disagrees, as one of his daughters is called Blue Angel.)

Not everyone shared our love of the name Ivy when we announced our daughter's name in 2010. My dad did a poor job of concealing his disappointment. He was thrilled to have a granddaughter but I could tell by his tone that he disliked her name.

Several of my friends have revealed that they prefer my boys' names -- Cal and Ely.

Naturally, everyone wants people to love their child's name as much as they do, but that just can't happen.


One of my buddies chose such a quirky name for her first-born that I typed it in to a blank text on my phone to see if predictive text had changed its spelling -- it hadn't, and it took us all quite a while to get used to it.

That's the funny thing about names: they are truly personal. Someone recently told me that Ivy is part of a trend called granny chic that's seeing a resurgence of old-fashioned girls' names like Martha, Edie, Sadie, Norah and Pearl.

Funny that, because I think of Ivy as a pretty nature name, in the style of Amber or Fern.

Luckily, names grow on people, and I'm sure Blue Ivy will sound as normal as Fifi-Trixibelle or Beyonce now do to us all. The same goes for the slew of kids growing up called Apple, Harper, Shiloh, Brooklyn and Suri, in honour of their celebrity counterparts.

I understand why parents don't want to choose a name that will be ten-a-penny among their children's peers -- and that's why mine have normal but not overly common names -- but I'll never understand why someone chooses a headline-grabbing moniker to honour their child's existence.

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