So, Drew Barrymore announced the birth of her baby daughter yesterday (the baby was actually born September 26th, which means they kept it out of the news for almost a week…kinda cool), and she named her Olive.
So we have another “creative” name (well…not totally creative. In 1999, Drew voiced the title character Olive in the TV Movie “Olive, the Other Reindeer” AND Isla Fisher/Sasha Baron Cohen’s daughter is named Olive). But still, outside of L.A. you aren’t meeting a lot of “Olives” outside of a Martini glass. While I do think Olive actually sounds cute, the name still speaks to the celebrity need to stand out. Every week we hear about the next star who just HAD to use an unconventional name for their baby. I certainly do NOT think these kids will be taunted (as was the theory when Gwyneth named her daughter Apple), in fact, everyone will probably know exactly who they are in their private L.A./London/NYC school and they’ll grow up surrounded by other food & geography inspired names (Tennessee – Reese Witherspoon’s daughter, Brooklyn Beckham, Egypt – Alicia Key’s son, etc.), joining the other studio head/drummers/Broadway actor’s sons and daughters in a group singalong of “We are special and we know it.”
So, is the contest of “weirdest name wins” an effort to differentiate, or is it a case of celebrities trying to pretend they’re low-key/artsy/cool (if I have to hear one more famous woman claim to be a hippy – as she spends an hour and a half with a hair stylist perfecting her best “I’m low maintenance and just running errands” look or imports a chef from Africa to make juices from a rare weed found only in the Kalahari desert (that, of course, produces weight loss) and tells Vogue all of her friends make fun of her for this “weird, smelly, hippy drink she gets from a shack in Venice Beach”, etc. I’m gonna puke. I think its a combination of both. Celebs are constantly walking the line between “I’m just like you – enough that you should relate to me and come see my movies, but I’m also much better than you – I’d never actually talk to you and please covet me and wish you were me and aspire to be.”
The irony of the baby naming bonanza is, in an effort to be so unique, these celebs have turned their kids into total cliches. You know what would be super edgy and cool and different? Giving your child a simple, traditional name the rest of the world is familiar with (Kudos to Selma Blair for naming her son Arthur and Sandy Bullock with adorable little Louis). These kids will be in school one day and Pilot Inspektor will go, “John? What does John mean?!? Wow your parents must be really interesting and cool”