Where did the baby name Vendela come from in 1993?

Fashion model Vendela Kirsebom

The rare baby name Vendela both debuted and saw peak usage in the U.S. in 1993:

  • 1995: 7 baby girls named Vendela
  • 1994: 7 baby girls named Vendela
  • 1993: 9 baby girls named Vendela [debut]
  • 1992: unlisted
  • 1991: unlisted


Because of supermodel Vendela (pronounced VEHN-deh-lah) — born Vendela Kirsebom in Sweden in 1967.

After modeling in Europe for several years, she relocated to New York City to become “the face” of American cosmetics company Elizabeth Arden in 1989.

Though she was often featured in advertisements and on magazine covers, her name didn’t pop up in the U.S. baby name data until she became a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue covergirl in early 1993. Importantly, her name was also on the cover:

Vendela name on the cover of Sports Illustrated (Feb. 1993)
Vendela’s name

Speaking with Glamour magazine in the late ’80s about her name, she said:

I’ve never met anybody else with my first name. It’s old-fashioned and people don’t use it much anymore. When I was younger I didn’t like it because everyone always had to ask again, “What was your name?” Now I like that it’s different.

The name Vendela is a Swedish feminine form of the Germanic name Wendel, which was derived from a Germanic word referring to the Vandals (an ancient Germanic tribe).

What are your thoughts on the name Vendela?


Images: Clippings from the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine (22 Feb. 1993)

2 thoughts on “Where did the baby name Vendela come from in 1993?

  1. All I can see in the name is the Spanish meaning: “Sell her.” Not what I’d name a baby girl.

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