The baby name Zoella?

While I was checking out my traffic stats the other day, I noticed that my Zoella name-page has been getting a weirdly high number of visitors lately. Which is odd, because Zoella isn’t exactly an in-demand baby name.

In the U.S., usage of Zoella peaked in the last decades of the 1800s and first decades of the 1900s. The name has only appeared on the SSA’s baby name list a total of three times:

  • 2011: 5 baby girls named Zoella
  • 1921: 5 baby girls named Zoella
  • 1920: 5 baby girls named Zoella [debut]

Why are people searching for a name that hasn’t been in style for nearly a century? Why might Zoella have popped back into the data recently?

Beyond the fact that Zoella looks like a combination of the trendy names Zoe and Ella, my best guess is popular UK beauty and fashion blogger/vlogger Zoella, a.k.a. Zoe Sugg. She won the Cosmo Blog Award for “Best established beauty blog” in 2011 and, just a few weeks ago, won “Best British Vlogger” at BBC Radio 1’s Teen Awards.

If Zoella’s visibility has indeed inspired parents to start naming their baby girls Zoella, this could be the very first case of a blogger/vlogger affecting the baby name charts.

Do you like the name Zoella? Do you think it’ll become more popular over the next few years?

P.S. I’ve checked the full England & Wales popularity lists going back to 2007. So far, no Zoella.

Update, 10/25/2020: Zoella has appeared in the data quite a bit since I published this post seven years ago! Here are the latest numbers for Zoella:

  • 2019: 31 baby girls named Zoella
  • 2018: 34 baby girls named Zoella
  • 2017: 13 baby girls named Zoella
  • 2016: 20 baby girls named Zoella
  • 2015: 20 baby girls named Zoella
  • 2014: 13 baby girls named Zoella
  • 2013: 6 baby girls named Zoella
  • 2012: unlisted
  • 2011: 5 baby girls named Zoella
  • 2010: unlisted

And here’s the visual:

baby name Zoella popularity graph

I find it very interesting that the baby name data seems to mirror (with a several-year lag) the Google Trends graph for Zoella:

“United States. 10/25/08 – 10/25/20. Web Search.”

(That high point happened in December of 2014.)

Where do you think the name Zoella is headed? Will usage start to taper off (like the searches did), or will the name stick around in the data (despite the waning popularity of the vlogger who drew attention to it in the first place)?

9 thoughts on “The baby name Zoella?

  1. You could be right, but I suspect that both Zoe and the -ella names like Ella, Bella, Isabella are leveling off. Zoella could be a has-been before it ever gets off the ground. It will be interesting to see what happens!

  2. Interesting observation! You could be right about the -ella names — most aren’t climbing like they were a few years ago, and some are already headed downward.

    (Possible exception: Briella. I imagine the parents who like Bella but want something more distinct are going for this one.)

  3. I thought I came up with Zoella since I had never heard it and couldn’t find it on meanings lists but I guess not… This is the first page that has a lot of information and actual feedback I’ve found. I thought of the name as a remake to my husband’s grandmother’s name, Mozella. I wanted to honor her but with a modern twist. I am glad to see it has been used before but is not too popular, gives it the right of passage without overdoing it and causing confusion in school. Our son’s name was the same way but a year or two after he was born the name exploded, hope that doesn’t happen for this one too.

  4. @Christin – I like how you came up with Zoella as a modernized form of Mozella! But you’re right, there’s always that risk — no way to guarantee that a cool, underused name won’t suddenly blow up.

  5. I named my baby girl Zoella, and she also goes by Zoë. She was born on Cinco de Mayo 2015. 5/5/15…I was looking for a “Z” name because in my family we have 2 of each letter of our first names which is me Charlene and my daughter Cheyenne, my husband Kerry and our son Kaleb and our son that we adopted Zander. We needed another “Z” name to go with his. So my daughter watches people on YouTube and I saw her watching Zoella Sugg. I started watching Zoella with her and I started to like the kind if person she was and I really liked her name, so that is were I got the name, Zoella! So now we are the “KCKCZ²” family.

  6. Zoelle I’d like better, classy and extra mature, but I really don’t like the look and seem of Zoella. Noelle, Noella could be similar, but a lot nicer.

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