By Abby Sandel
If you’re a fan of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, you might know that Lauren Manzo is a new mom. The Manzo family graduated to their own Bravo series, Manzo’d with Children, in 2014. Lauren and husband Vito Scalia married a year later. They welcomed daughter Marchesa Anna Scalia last week. They’re calling her Markie.
Marchesa makes a fascinating, distinctive choice for their family, part-designer label, part-aristocratic title.
Another name I’m watching: Bonnie, the choice Joseline Hernandez of Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta fame made for her daughter at the end of 2016. It’s simple, sweet, and ready for revival.
Do parents actually take their naming queues from reality television?
The answer seems to be yes. MTV debuted The Real World in 1992, launching the modern era of reality television. From Dancing with the Stars to Teen Mom, the new generation of celebrities has changed the way we name our children.
Here are nine choices, all proof that reality television translates to real-life name choices.
Bentley – Who would’ve thought MTV’s reality series about teenaged mothers would become so influential when it comes to naming? In 2008, just over 200 boys were named Bentley. Then 16 and Pregnant cast member Maci Bookout welcomed son Bentley Cadence in October 2009. By the end of the year, the number of Bentleys more than doubled; by 2010, there were more than 3,750; and in 2011, over 5,500 newborn boys with the name. Maci and her family have stayed in the public eye as Teen Mom stars, and Bentley remains in the US Top 100.
Bristol – The Palin family entered the spotlight thanks to politics. But former vice presidential hopeful Sarah Palin’s eldest daughter quickly became a reality show veteran, competing on two seasons of Dancing with the Stars, and even landing her own short-lived series. Her unusual name comes from her dad’s hometown. Since Bristol has been in the public eye, her name has risen into the US Top 500.
Duke – Giuliana and Bill Rancic welcomed son Edward Duke in 2012. He’s known by his middle name. The baby’s arrival was documented on the couple’s long-running reality series. Duke sounds like a brother for Marchesa, but it also brings to mind iconic actor John Wayne. It hadn’t appeared in the US Top 1000 since the 1970s, but the year after baby Rancic debuted, Duke doubled in use.
Kaius – Celebrity stylist and designer Rachel Zoe brought the world of high fashion to the small screen with The Rachel Zoe Project in 2008. She welcomed her two sons, Skyler and Kaius, during the show’s run. Kaius was born late in 2013. It’s more than doubled in use since. The C spelling, Caius, has climbed dramatically, too.
Kiptyn – A creative spin on surname Kipton, this name was unheard of before 2009. That’s when Season 5 of The Bachelorette aired. California’s Kiptyn Locke would be the season’s second runner-up. The name soared into wider use. Over 80 boys were named Kiptyn in 2009, and more than 130 in 2010. Kipton also surged in use. Since then, both spellings have faded, but remain far more common than pre-Bachelorette days.
Kroy – The Real Housewives of Atlanta premiered in 2008. Original cast member Kim Zolciak spent five seasons on the show before getting her own spin-off. Zolciak married former Atlanta Falcons linebacker in 2011. Not long after, son Kroy, Jr arrived. The name inspired at least a few other parents. Prior to 2011, it was nearly unknown. By 2015, more than fifty boys were named Kroy that year, and over 170 total since Kroy, Jr.’s birth.
Lorenzo – (shown) Jersey Shore featured Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi. The reality series star graduated from partying at the beach to parenting, welcoming son Lorenzo during the first season of spin-off series Snooki & JWoww. Both JS alums are now married moms of two. Traditional Lorenzo was given to around 1,000 boys in 2012, the year Snooki and Jionni LaValle named their son. Since then, it’s climbed nearly 100 spots in the US popularity rankings.
Mason – It’s tough to talk about reality television without mentioning the Kardashian family. Mason is the eldest of the next generation, the son of Kourtney Kardashian and her on-again, off-again boyfriend Scott Disick. The name already ranked in the US Top 50 when Mason was born in late 2009; two years later, it had leapt to the #2 spot in the US. Mason’s sister Penelope also proved an influential pick, though other members of the next generation, like North, Saint, Reign, and Dream, might not be quite as mainstream.
Sadie – Duck Dynasty profiled the Robertsons, a Louisiana family known for their duck calls and other hunting equipment. Daughter Sadie is one of six siblings. Sadie soared in the US Top 100 in 2013, the year after the A&E series became a break-out hit. Since then, Miss Robertson has graduated from high school to Dancing with the Stars, keeping her sassy, retro nickname-name in the spotlight.
What are your favorite names from reality television? Are there any you might consider for your children?