Rami Malek, after winning the Oscar for Best Actor in early 2019 [vid]:
I grew up in a world where I never thought I was gonna play the lead on Mr. Robot because I never saw anyone in a lead role that looked like me. I never thought that I could possibly play Freddie Mercury until I realized his name was Farrokh Bulsara. […] That was the motivation that allowed me to say, “Oh, I can do this.”
Winnie Harlow, born Chantelle Brown-Young, upon being asked where the name “Winnie Harlow” came from:
It’s literally just from Winnie the Pooh! I was a big fan growing up, and it was actually from a joke with some friends. We were on the phone with some boys, I grabbed the phone from one of my girls, and was like, “Don’t give my friends attitude!” And the boys asked, “Who is this?” I looked over, my friend was wearing a Winnie the Pooh T-shirt, so I said my name was Winnie. When I started working, it felt kind of natural to just continue with it. Harlow comes from Jean Harlow; I’m a really big Marilyn Monroe fan, but I didn’t want to use Monroe, because that felt cheesy. But Jean Harlow was one of Marilyn’s really big career inspirations, so I took the name Harlow. I do love my actual name a lot. At the beginning, I tried to go by Chantelle Winnie, but then decided to keep Winnie Harlow and Chantelle separate. My family calls me Chantelle.
Monica Lewinsky, on “the Monica Lewinsky scandal” of early 1998:
“The scandal was named after me,” she said. “Any time that this has been referenced, every single day, every single day in the past 20 years — so it may not be a direct reference to me, but because the investigation and the scandal have my name, I’m then, therefore, attached to it.”
“Bill Clinton didn’t have to change his name,” Lewinsky said, when Oliver asked if she considered changing hers. “Nobody’s ever asked him, did he think he should change his name.”
From an article about an 11-year-old golf player who happens to have been named for the Ryder cup:
With a name like Ryder, practicing golf at a young [age] is no accident. Ryan Carlson says, yes, his son’s name is inspired by the Ryder Cup, but he didn’t expect he’d be such a natural. Shortly after he began to walk, Ryder began swinging a plastic golf club, quickly learning how to hit balls.
From an article about Southern names (via Abby):
[W]hen Southerners make up new names, it’s usually a more meaningful exercise than simply slapping a K where it does not belong, like when people name their girls after their daddies. This results in the likes of Raylene, Bobette, Earline, Georgette (one of George Jones’s daughters), Georgine, and my personal favorite, Floy (feminine for Floyd). As it happens, I almost got a masculine name (unfeminized) myself. I was named after my maternal grandmother, Julia Evans Clements Brooks, and my mother was dead set on calling me Evans until my father put his foot down on the grounds that that was the kind of stuff that Yankees did. Maybe, but we do plenty of the last name/family name business for girls down here, too. Off the top of my head I can think of three Southern women I love a lot: Keith, Cameron, Egan.
From an article comparing the relative popularity of twin professional hockey players Daniel and Henrik Sedin by looking at the B.C. baby name data:
[T]he name Henrik magically first started appearing on B.C. baby announcements in 2007, which, maybe not so coincidentally, was also the year following the Sedins’ breakout season.
Interestingly, the largest spike — a total of 13 baby Henriks — came in 2011, which coincides with the Canucks’ march to the Stanley Cup Final.
From an article about “theybies” — kids being brought up without gender designations:
Three-year-old twins Zyler and Kadyn Sharpe scurried around the boys and girls clothing racks of a narrow consignment store filled with toys. Zyler, wearing rainbow leggings, scrutinized a pair of hot-pink-and-purple sneakers. Kadyn, in a T-Rex shirt, fixated on a musical cube that flashed colorful lights. At a glance, the only discernible difference between these fraternal twins is their hair — Zyler’s is brown and Kadyn’s is blond.
Is Zyler a boy or a girl? How about Kadyn? That’s a question their parents, Nate and Julia Sharpe, say only the twins can decide.
How did presidential candidate Robert Francis O’Rourke acquire the nickname Beto?
He was named after his grandfathers. His mother Melissa O’Rourke said on the campaign trail during his U.S. Senate run that “Robert” — her father’s name — didn’t seem to fit when he was a baby.
The family has deep roots in El Paso, Texas, and “Beto” is a common shortening of the name “Roberto,” or “Robert.” If you’re wondering, it’s pronounced BEH-toe and O’Rourke is oh-RORK.
From an article about America’s first exascale supercomputer:
The supercomputer, dubbed Aurora — which [Secretary of Energy Rick] Perry joked was named after his three-legged black lab Aurora Pancake — is scheduled to be fully operational by the end of 2021, as the DOE attempts to keep pace with China in a supercomputing arms race.
(Turns out the dog’s nickname is “Rory.” I posted a quote about another named computer, the Lisa, last year.)
From an article about the divorce of Lady Davina Windsor, 30th in line to the British throne, from husband Gary “Gazza” Lewis, a Maori sheep shearer:
Lady Davina gave birth to a daughter, Senna Kowhai, who is now aged eight, and a son, Tane Mahuta, six. He was named after the giant Tane Mahuta kauri tree in the Waipoua Forest, in New Zealand.
(Here’s more on the famous Tane Mahuta tree. The name Kowhai was also inspired by New Zealand tree.)