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Interview with Pamela Redmond Satran

Aired May 15, 2003 - 15:52   ET


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: All right, think about that for a second. Wolf, Wolf Blitzer. Where do these names come from? Not from most popular baby names list that's for sure. Now a list released from Baby Center LLC and based on social security records, here's the top names for newborn girls these days. Emily, Madison, Hailey, Kaitlyn, Hannah, Sarah, Brianna, Ashley, Alexis, and Abigail.
For boys, it's really back to the bible for inspiration. Jacob, Michael, Matthew, Joshua, Nicholas, Christopher, Joseph, Ethan, and Andrew and Daniel.

Joining us from New York to talk about the trends, author Pamela Redmond Satran. Her latest book on branding kids is called "Cool Names For Babies." The book comes out in August.

All right good to have you with us today.


PHILLIPS: Let's talk about these names. Let's go back to these -- the names that are moving up, OK?

We have a graphic we've sort of put together here, Faith, Sophia, Isabella, Gavin, Dominick, Brandon. How did you -- why are these names that are hip right now?

SATRAN: Well, in "Cool Names" we call these the bo bo names, and these are (UNINTELLIGIBLE) names that people in -- who used to be known as yuppies favor these days. A lot of them are ethnic names that hearken back to grandparents. And people are looking for names from the families, names that have meaning and names that have history.

PHILLIPS: You mentioned bo bo. There's a book out about the bo bos. I remember that it was a top seller.

SATRAN: Right.

PHILLIPS: So if you name -- if you name your child one of these hip names, it does affect them as they grow up?

Do they have more confidence? Do they feel more secure?

SATRAN: Well, I think that kids do like having popular names. Kids do like being like everybody else. But these days, being like everybody else sometimes means having an unusual name. And parents who grew up feeling sorry for the kid who had the weird name, I think, don't need to feel sorry for that kid anymore or worry about giving their child an unusual name, because that's something that's more and more common and kids are more and more comfortable with.

PHILLIPS: So patients shouldn't be worried about naming their child an unusual name and getting beat up or teased?

It's a good thing?

SATRAN: I don't think that as much teasing goes on these days, beyond the obvious names that I think any parent can anticipate, a child being teased for. I don't think kids get teased for having unusual names or ethnic names or old fashioned names. Even girls with boys names, those kinds of things are much more usual and I think kids appreciate the unique name.

PHILLIPS: All right, Pamela let's talk about the names that are moving out.

Samantha, Dylan, Jasmine, Anthony, those are on the out list, why?

SATRAN: Right. It's, you know, there are inevitably as names move up, they move down. And it's happening faster these days. A name that gets overused very quickly, parents don't want to use anymore. It seems like a lot of parents these days have a horror of giving their child a common name and that's why we really wrote "Cool Names," and our other book, "Beyond Jennifer and Jason." Also is about the whole trend away from trendy names.

PHILLIPS: OK, you mentioned cool baby names in your book, Calista, Hailey, Liam, Monet, Raphael, and it goes on.

How did you decide that these were the cool names?

How did you pick these?

SATRAN: Well, there are thousands of cool names, but the cult of the celebrity has really influenced parents to look not only to celebrity names, like, say, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) name, but an artist name like (UNINTELLIGIBLE), a hero name. I've heard a lot of Clintons lately. I think parents want to find names that mean something to them to their families, about their ethnic heritage, something they love, even place names, you know, the place you had your honeymoon, your favorite place in the world, the place your ancestors came from, those names are popular.

PHILLIPS: Do you think you can name your child what you want them to be?

If you name your child Toulouse, are they going to be a great artist or Halle Berry, will they be an absolutly beautiful actress?

SATRAN: I think a lot of parents have the wish. Whether the wish comes true, I'm not sure. I think a name might influence a child, but I don't think a name is everything. It's important, but not the only thing that's important. I think it's more important to be a loving, kind parent.

PHILLIPS: All right. Author Pamela Redmond Satran, the book is branding -- "Cool Names For Babies." Now when is this -- coming out in August, right?

SATRAN: That's coming out in August. Right. This is our eighth baby naming book.

PHILLIPS: All right, so what do you think of the name Vicky?

SATRAN: You know, I actually have always loved the name Vicky and it's not particularly trendy and I think that classic names like Victoria are always a good choice.

PHILLIPS: Very good. I had to ask you.

And Judy Woodruff, how about that name?

SATRAN: Well, you know, Judy is a name that was really popular when I was growing, and I think that biblical names for boys are coming up and a few biblical names for girls like Judith I think are due for a revival.

PHILLIPS: Pamela thank you. Vicky is my producer, our new producer. She is staying on with us. She's very creative. And of course, we're going on to Judy Woodruff now. Pamela, thank you so much.

SATRAN: Thank you.


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