Savannah, London, Brooklyn. In 2016, that might be your list of places to visit next year, or maybe it’s your preschooler’s new class list. City, state and country names for kids have gone mainstream, and plenty of parents are borrowing baby naming inspiration from the map.
Celebrity parents are no exception. In fact, they’ve introduced some intriguing options for our sons and daughters. Here are a dozen of the best “star baby” place names worth considering.
Model Anne Vyalitsyna hails from Russia. Her tech guru fiancé Adam Cahan is originally from New York. Apparently, the couple named their daughter Alaska because that’s where the U.S. and Russia meet. A record number of girls were given the name Alaska in 2015 ― 60 total, including Anne and Adam’s daughter.
A fashionable seaside resort, England’s Brighton has long been favored by kings and commoners. New York boasts a Brooklyn community by the name, immortalized in Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs. Actor and filmmaker Jon Favreau named his younger daughter Brighton Rose.
We love Charles and Charlotte, so it’s no surprise that city of Charleston is gaining in use for baby names. Actor Joey Lawrence is dad to daughters Liberty and Charleston. Short-lived NBC drama “State of Affairs” featured Katherine Heigl as Charleston Tucker from 2014-2015, boosting the Southern city name dramatically.
Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz welcomed son Egypt in 2010. Since then, it’s seen a sharp increase in use ― but has actually become more popular for girls. The name choice came a year after Keys vacationed in the ancient land, a trip she described as inspiring.
Strictly speaking, Holland is just one province of the Netherlands, but in the past, foreigners often used the name to refer to the country as a whole. It has a long history of use as a surname and given name, too. Today, it ranks at No. 845 in the girls’ U.S. Top 1000 list. Television host Courtney Hansen named her daughter Holland in 2014.
A place name with a long history of use, India fits in beautifully with popular girl names like Sophia and Olivia. The country’s name is taken from the Indus River. Famous families to choose the name include singer Sarah McLachlan, “Avengers” actor Chris Hemsworth and Elsa Pataky, and Harvey Weinstein and Georgina Chapman.
Credit fictional adventurer Henry “Indiana” Jones ― who borrowed his name from the family dog ― with making this U.S. state name feel wearable. Ethan Hawke gave the name to his daughter; so did country music duo Joey + Rory. (The late Joey Feek was born in Indiana.) It’s big in Australia, too, thanks to young actress Indiana Evans.
Singer and style icon Gwen Stefani took the name of Jamaica’s capital from rarity to mainstream favorite when she and ex Gavin Rossdale gave the name to their son in 2006. Kingston quickly doubled, then quadrupled in use. Today, it ranks No. 142 in the U.S.
Once the name of a major city in ancient Egypt, today Memphis is a Tennessee city with a strong music history. Musician Bono chose the name for his younger daughter back in 1991. In 2012, “Girls” actress Jemima Kirke also welcomed a daughter named Memphis
Mariah Carey is mom to Moroccan, and Mike Tyson chose the country’s name for youngest child Morocco Elijah in 2011. Morocco is among the rarest of place names on this list, but it has potential, especially since the country remains a popular tourist destination.
With this summer’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this possible place name is inescapable. The Spanish and Portuguese word for river, Rio might be best for a boy. No Doubt’s Tom DuMont is dad to Rio Atticus, and soap opera stars Wendy Moniz and Frank Grillo have Rio Joseph. But Duran Duran sang that her name is Rio, and Goldie Hawn has a granddaughter by the name
Reese Witherspoon grew up outside Nashville, and chose this state name for her youngest child to honor her Southern roots. While the name has a long history of sparing use, the Oscar-winning actress boosted the name for boys and girls following the 2012 birth of her son, Tennessee James. Others might think of famed playwright, Thomas “Tennessee” Williams.