I want to draw your attention to two of these contestants, Safira Afzaal and Yarden Levinson, because the rare names Safira and Yarden both debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1984 specifically:
18 baby girls
6 baby girls
(Safira may be based on the Islamic name Safeerah, meaning “messenger”; Yarden, the Hebrew name of the Jordan River, is derived from a Hebrew word meaning “descend” or “flow down.”)
Here’s how these two contestants looked during the introductions…
Over the course of the two-hour program, the field of contestants was reduced three times: from 21 to 10 (by a panel of judges), from 10 to 3 (again by the judges), and finally from 3 to 1 (by popular vote).
Both Safira and Yarden survived the first cut. The second portion of the show featured the ten remaining women modeling in swimsuits, modeling in evening gowns, and, rather unusually, doing aerobic exercise. (How ’80s is that?)
Here’s Safira doing aerobics:
And here’s Yarden:
Before the three finalists were announced, David Hasselhoff explained that each of the three would be assigned a specific “1-900” phone number.
To cast a vote for your favorite girl, you simply dial her phone number. It’s that easy. Your vote will automatically be registered in the phone company’s computer in Kansas City, Missouri, and there’ll be a telephone charge of 50 cents. The total number of calls received at the end of the ten-minute period by the phone company’s computer in Kansas City will be transmitted to us, five thousand miles away, in Hawaii, and we will know our winner.
The three finalists? Debi, Jaqueline, and Yarden. (Not Safira, sadly.)
Here’s Yarden, right after being named a finalist:
During the next ten minutes, viewers saw (among other things) clips of the finalists talking about themselves. Yarden mentioned that, in Israel, every girl goes into the military and “learns how to fight,” and that she “served in a rescue unit in the Air Force.” She also said:
I come to the competition and they look at me and they say, ‘You’re Israeli? You’re blonde, I mean, how can that be?’
Alas, Yarden finished in third place with just 17.48% of the vote.
The winner was Debi Brett, the Brit, with 53.46% of the vote. (She received over $100,000 in cash and prizes, including a 30-day round-the-world trip, a full-length mink coat, a grand piano, a diamond ring, a Dodge 600 convertible, and a Ricoh 35mm camera.)
So, neither Safira nor Yarden won the pageant. But their names live on the U.S. baby name data, which is arguably far cooler. :)
I’m not sure what became of Yarden after the pageant, but I can tell you a bit about Safira (whose last name is actually spelled Afzal). She was born in Pakistan, raised in England, and went on to earn a law degree and become a barrister.
(Other post-pageant careers: Debi became photographer; Antonia became a model/TV personality; Deborah won Miss Universe 1985 and became an actress/TV personality; “Jaqueline” (actually spelled Jacqueline) became a model/TV personality; and “Julie” (Julia) became an actress — in fact, she played the female lead in the second Rambo movie.)
So what are your thoughts on the names Safira and Yarden? Which one would you be more likely to use for a baby girl?
Which baby names were the most popular in each U.S. state in 2020? And which names only popped up in the data for a single state in 2020? Here are the answers! (Any name that also appeared in last year’s post is in boldface.)
Missouri’s 5 unique boy names: Travon, Bryton, Darrion, Sutter, Whitley
Montana’s top girl name: Charlotte & Olivia (tie)
Montana’s top boy name: Oliver
No unique girl names.
No unique boy names.
Nebraska’s top girl name: Olivia
Nebraska’s top boy name: Oliver
Nebraska’s 1 unique girl name: Breckyn
Nebraska’s 1 unique boy name: Eh
Nevada’s top girl name: Olivia
Nevada’s top boy name: Liam
Nevada’s 1 unique girl name: Unity
No unique boy names.
New Hampshire’s top girl name: Charlotte
New Hampshire’s top boy name: Lucas
No unique girl names.
No unique boy names.
New Jersey’s top girl name: Olivia
New Jersey’s top boy name: Liam
New Jersey’s top 10 unique girl names: Bluma, Ruchama, Leba, Avigayil, Jadelyn, Alianny, Arna, Bina, Ita, Maahi (total of 13)
New Jersey’s top 10 unique boy names: Boruch, Shraga, Gershon, Shaul, Avigdor, Naksh, Abeer, Nesanel, Refoel, Yerachmiel (total of 19)
New Mexico’s top girl name: Olivia
New Mexico’s top boy name: Liam
No unique girl names.
No unique boy names.
New York’s top girl name: Olivia
New York’s top boy name: Liam
New York’s top 10 unique girl names: Gitty, Yitty, Raizy, Sury, Esty, Goldy, Idy, Henny, Yides, Hinda (total of 174)
Esty came up in the 2020 Pop Culture Baby Name Game because of the Netflix mini-series Unorthodox, which features an ultra-Orthodox Jewish main character named Esty from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NYC. Of the 67 baby girls named Esty last year, 59 were born in New York specifically.
New York’s top 10 unique boy names: Lipa, Yechiel, Hershel, Pinchas, Avrum, Lazer, Md, Nachman, Berl, Muhammadyusuf (total of 157)
Carmelita Carmelita Geraghty was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1930s. She was born in Indiana in 1901. Carmelita was also a character name in multiple films, including Carmelita’s Revenge (1914) and The Magnificent Fraud (1939).
Carmencita Carmencita was the dancer who appeared in the short film Carmencita (1894). Carmencita was also a character name in multiple films, including Man from God’s Country (1924) and Adventurous Knights (1935).
Caryl Caryl Lincoln was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1960s. She was born in California in 1903. Caryl was also a character name in multiple films, including Caryl of the Mountains (1914) and Fighting Destiny (1919).
Dale Dale Fuller was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1930s. She was born in California in 1885. Her birth name was Marie Dale Phillipps. Dale was also a character name in multiple films, including Top Hat (1935) and King of Alcatraz (1938).
Derelys Derelys Perdue was an actress who appeared in films in the 1920s. She was born in Missouri in 1902. Her birth name was Geraldine Perdue. Derelys was also a character played by actress Lilyan Tashman in the film Take Me Home (1928).
Usage of the baby name Derelys (which debuted in the data in 1924).
Deria Deria was a character played by actress Julia Dean in the film Experiment Perilous (1944).
Despina Despina was the 114-year-old woman featured in the short documentary The Weavers (1905), believed to be the first motion picture shot in the Balkans. (There’s no proof of Despina’s year of birth, but if she really was 114 years old, then she’s the earliest-born person ever filmed.)
Dolly Dolly Larkin was an actress who appeared in films in the 1910s. She was born in New York in 1889. Her birth name was Margaret Larkin. Dolly was also a character played by actress Cleo Madison in the short film The Ring of Destiny (1915).
Dolores Dolores del Rio was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1970s. She was born in Mexico in 1904. Dolores Moran was an actress who appeared in films from the 1940s to the 1950s. She was born in California in 1926. Dolores was also a character played by actress Hedy Lamarr in the film Tortilla Flat (1942).
Dolorita Dolorita was a dancer who appeared in films in the 1890s and 1900s. Her first film, The Dolorita Passion Dance (1897), was the first motion picture to be banned in the United States. (It was banned in Atlantic City specifically.)
Domini Domini was a character played by various actresses (such as Helen Ware and Marlene Dietrich) in various movies called The Garden of Allah, all based on the 1904 novel of the same name by Robert Smythe Hichens.
Donia Donia Bussey was an actress who appeared in films from the 1940s to the 1950s. She was born in Ohio in 1899. Donia was also a character played by actress Edith Storey in the short film The Chains of an Oath (1913).
Dorinda Dorinda Clifton was an actress who appeared in films in the 1940s and 1950s. She was born in California in 1928. Dorinda was also a character name in multiple films, including Rosemary, That’s for Remembrance (1914) and The Farmer’s Daughter (1940).
Dorothea Dorothea Kent was an actress who appeared in films from the 1930s to the 1940s. She was born in Missouri in 1916. Dorothea was also a character name in multiple films, including The Heart of a Child (1915) and Broken in the Wars (1919).
The following baby names add up to 144, which reduces to nine (1+4+4=9).
“144” girl names: Yuritzy, Harleyquinn
“144” boy names: Constantino, Johnanthony, Oluwalonimi
9 via 153
The boy name Quintavius adds up to 153, which reduces to nine (1+5+3=9).
9 via 171
The following baby names add up to 171, which reduces to nine (1+7+1=9).
“171” girl names: Oluwatomisin
“171” boy names: Konstantinos, Oluwatimilehin
9 via 180
The unisex name Kamsiyochukwu adds up to 180, which reduces to nine (1+8+0=9).
What Does “9” Mean?
First, we’ll look at the significance assigned to “9” by two different numerological sources. Second, and more importantly, ask yourself if “9” or any of the intermediate numbers above have any special significance to you.
“9” (the ennead) according to the Pythagoreans:
“It is by no means possible for there to subsist any number beyond the nine elementary numbers. Hence they called it ‘Oceanus’ and ‘horizon,’ because it encompasses both of these locations and has them within itself.”
“Because it does not allow the harmony of number to be dissipated beyond itself, but brings numbers together and makes them play in concert, it is called ‘concord’ and ‘limitation,’ and also ‘sun,’ in the sense that it gathers things together.”
“They also called it ‘Hyperion,’ because it has gone beyond all the other numbers as regards magnitude”
“The ennead is the first square based on an odd number. It too is called ‘that which brings completion,’ and it completes nine-month children, moreover, it is called ‘perfect,’ because it arises out of 3, which is a perfect number.”
“It was called ‘assimilation,’ perhaps because it is the first odd square”
“They used to call it […] ‘banisher’ because it prevents the voluntary progress of number; and ‘finishing-post’ because it has been organized as the goal and, as it were, turning-point of advancement.”
“9” according to Edgar Cayce:
“Nine – the change” (reading 261-14).
“Nine indicates strength and power, with a change” (reading 261-15).
“Nine making for the completeness in numbers; […] making for that termination in the forces in natural order of things that come as a change imminent in the life” (reading 5751-1).
“As to numbers, or numerology: We find that the number nine becomes as the entity’s force or influence, which may be seen in that whatever the entity begins it desires to finish. Everything must be in order. It is manifested in those tendencies for the expressions of orderliness, neatness. To be sure, nine – in its completeness, then – is a portion” (reading 1035-1).
Does “9” — or do any of the other numbers above (e.g., 18, 63, 99, 144) — have any special significance to you?
Think about your own preferences and personal experiences: lucky numbers, birth dates, music, sports, and so on. For example, maybe your favorite sport is golf, which has 18 holes per game.
Also think about associations you may have picked up from your culture, your religion, or society in general.
If you have any interesting insights about the number 9, or any of the other numbers above, please leave a comment!
Source: Theologumena Arithmeticae, attributed to Iamblichus (c.250-c.330).