Several months ago, the cast of the inaugural season of MTV’s The Real World held a 6-day reunion in the very same NYC loft they shared back in 1992. The reunion — which was filmed, of course — is now airing as a series on the Paramount+ platform. (Here’s the trailer.)
When I was a teenager, I loved watching The Real World. (And I appreciated that the names of the cast members were always prominently displayed in the opening credits!) So I think now would be a great time to go back and see if any Real World cast member names had an influence on U.S. baby names.
First, let’s start with a comprehensive list of all the cast member names from each of RW‘s 33 (!) seasons…
- The Real World: New York (1992): Andre, Becky, Eric, Heather, Julie, Kevin, Norman
- The Real World: California (1993): Aaron, Beth (x2), David, Dominic, Glen, Irene, Jon, Tami
- The Real World: San Francisco (1994): Cory, Jo, Judd, Mohammed, Pam, Pedro, Puck, Rachel
- The Real World: London (1995): Jacinda, Jay, Kat, Lars, Mike, Neil, Sharon
- The Real World: Miami (1996): Cynthia, Dan, Flora, Joe, Melissa, Mike, Sarah
- The Real World: Boston (1997): Elka, Genesis, Jason, Kameelah, Montana, Sean, Syrus
- The Real World: Seattle (1998): David, Irene, Janet, Lindsay, Nathan, Rebecca, Stephen
- The Real World: Hawaii (1999): Amaya, Colin, Justin, Kaia, Matt, Ruthie, Teck
- The Real World: New Orleans (2000): Danny, David, Jamie, Julie, Kelley, Matt, Melissa
- The Real World: Back to New York (2001): Coral, Kevin, Lori, Malik, Mike, Nicole, Rachel
- The Real World: Chicago (2002): Aneesa, Cara, Chris, Keri, Kyle, Theo, Tonya
- The Real World: Las Vegas (2002-2003): Alton, Arissa, Brynn, Frank, Irulan, Steven, Trishelle
- The Real World: Paris (2003): Ace, Adam, Chris, Christina, Leah, Mallory, Simon
- The Real World: San Diego (2004): Brad, Cameran, Charlie, Frankie, Jacquese, Jamie, Randy, Robin
- The Real World: Philadelphia (2004-2005): Karamo, Landon, Melanie, M.J., Sarah, Shavonda, Willie
- The Real World: Austin (2005): Danny, Johanna, Lacey, Melinda, Nehemiah, Rachel, Wes
- The Real World: Key West (2006): Janelle, John, Jose, Paula, Svetlana, Tyler, Zach
- The Real World: Denver (2006-2007): Alex, Brooke, Colie, Davis, Jenn, Stephen, Tyrie
- The Real World: Sydney (2007-2008): Ashli, Cohutta, Dunbar, Isaac, KellyAnne, Parisa, Shauvon, Trisha
- The Real World: Hollywood (2008): Brianna, Brittini, Dave, Greg, Joey, Kimberly, Nick, Sarah, Will
- The Real World: Brooklyn (2009): Baya, Chet, Devyn, J.D., Katelynn, Ryan, Sarah, Scott
- The Real World: Cancun (2009): Ayiiia, Bronne, CJ, Derek, Emilee, Jasmine, Joey, Jonna
- The Real World: D.C. (2009-2010): Andrew, Ashley, Callie, Emily, Erika, Josh, Mike, Ty
- The Real World: New Orleans (2010): Ashlee, Eric, Jemmye, McKenzie, Preston, Ryan (x2), Sahar
- The Real World: Las Vegas (2011): Adam, Dustin, Heather (x2), Leroy, Michael, Nany, Naomi
- The Real World: San Diego (2011): Alexandra, Ashley, Frank, Nate, Priscilla, Sam, Zach
- The Real World: St. Thomas (2012): Brandon (x2), LaToya, Laura, Marie, Robb, Trey
- The Real World: Portland (2013): Anastasia, Averey, Jessica, Johnny, Joi, Jordan, Marlon, Nia
- Real World: Ex-Plosion (2014): Arielle, Ashley (x2), Brian, Cory, Hailey, Jamie, Jay, Jenna, Jenny, Lauren, Thomas
- Real World: Skeletons (2014-2015): Bruno, Jason, Madison, Nicole, Sylvia, Tony, Violetta
- Real World: Go Big or Go Home (2016): CeeJai, Chris, Dean, Dione, Dylan, Jenna, Kailah, Sabrina
- Real World Seattle: Bad Blood (2016-2017): Anika, Anna, Jennifer, Jordan, Kassius, Katrina, Kimberly, Mike, Orlana, Peter, Robbie, Theo, Tyara, Will
- The Real World: Atlanta (2019): Arely, Clint, Dondre, Justin, Meagan, Tovah, Yasmin
The names in boldface line up with a discernible increase in baby name usage. (Other Real World names may have affected baby names as well, but it can be hard to tell when, say, a name is already common, or already on the rise.)
Here are details on all the boldfaced names, plus two more influential RW names (from seasons 6 and 18) that didn’t even belong to primary cast members.
- The name Jacinda (from season 4; 1995) saw peak usage in 1996.
- The name Flora (5; 1996) saw increased usage in 1997.
- The name Kameelah (6; 1997) saw increased usage in 1998.
- The name Syrus (6; 1997) saw increased usage in 1997.
- The name Jason (6; 1997) was probably not affected, but the name of Jason’s girlfriend, Timber, saw increased usage in 1998.
- The name Amaya (8; 1999) saw sharply increased usage in 1999 and 2000.
- The name Kaia (8; 1999) saw increased usage in 1999.
- The name Ruthie (8; 1999) saw increased usage in 1999.
- The name Aneesa (11; 2002) saw peak usage in 2002.
- The name Arissa (12; 2002-3) saw peak usage in 2003.
- The name Brynn (12; 2002-3) saw sharply increased usage in 2003.
- The name Irulan (12; 2002-3) debuted in the data in 2003.
- It looks like she was named after the fictional character Princess Irulan from Frank Herbert’s Dune books…?
- The name Trishelle (12; 2002-3) saw peak usage in 2004.
- The name Mallory (13; 2003) saw increased usage in 2003 and 2004.
- The name Cameran (14; 2004) saw peak usage in 2004.
- The name Jacquese (14; 2004) both returned to the data and saw peak usage in 2004.
- The name Johanna (16; 2005) saw increased usage in 2005.
- The name Nehemiah (16; 2005) saw increased usage in 2005 and 2006.
- The name Janelle (17; 2006) saw increased usage in 2006.
- The name Svetlana (17; 2006) saw peak usage in 2007.
- The name Colie (18; 2006-7) both returned to the data and saw peak usage in 2007.
- The name Tyrie (18; 2006-7) saw peak usage in 2007.
- The name of Tyrie’s girlfriend, Jazalle, debuted in 2007 and is a one-hit wonder so far.
- The name Kellyanne (19; 2007-8) returned to the data in 2008.
- The name Baya (21; 2009) saw sharply increased usage in 2009. In fact, Baya was one of the fastest-rising baby names of 2009.
- The name Averey (28; 2013) saw peak usage in 2013.
- The name Kassius (32; 2016-17) saw increased usage in 2017.
Of all the names above, which one(s) do you like most?
And, for all the Real World fans out there: which season(s) do you like most? :)