Where did the baby name Tijwana come from in 1981?

Tijwana Lester as the "Beauty of the Week" in Jet magazine (July, 1981).
Tijwana Lester in “Jet

The name Tijwana was a one-hit wonder in the U.S. baby name data in 1981. In fact, it was the highest-hitting one-hit wonder of the year.

  • 1983: unlisted
  • 1982: unlisted
  • 1981: 18 baby girls named Tijwana [debut]
  • 1980: unlisted
  • 1979: unlisted

What gave the name such a boost that year?

A model named Tijwana Lester.

In July of 1981, she was featured as a “Beauty of the Week” in Jet magazine, which ran a full-page color photo of her (wearing a purple bathing suit) and included a short description of the Chicago-born model (who enjoyed swimming and dancing, and who was “studying to become a dentist” at that time).

Further research reveals that Tijwana Lester’s father was Robert Lester, a founding member of the Chicago vocal group The Chi-Lites.

What are your thoughts on the name Tijwana?

(Other “Beauty of the Week”-influenced baby names include Meyosha and Tchanavian.)


Image: © 1981 Jet

5 thoughts on “Where did the baby name Tijwana come from in 1981?

  1. I’m wondering if she was named for Tijuana, Mexico. I can’t think of any alternate origin, but the recent reputation makes that seem a little odd.

  2. That would be my guess as well, though I have no way to confirm it.

    In case anyone is interested, Tijwana had nine siblings — two brothers named Robert Jr. and Carey, and six sisters named Kimberly Johnson, Robin, Latoia, Chrystal, Kimberly, and Lynnette. (Apparently the family used the name “Kimberly” twice…?)

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