From an interview with Val Kilmer in Interview Magazine:
UKLANSKI: Your childhood was a while ago. And of course these are your memories, and yet you are bringing this up. Is it when you look back at your life, it’s cliché?
KILMER: I don’t think of my life as a cliché, but I’m a cliché eccentric. Complete with a strange name — I mean, who’s named Val? How many Vals do you know? I mean, really?
From an interview with GoDaddy.com CEO Bob Parsons in The Baltimore Sun:
Q: Do a lot of people register their own names with you? [Full disclosure: I did.]
A: That’s a phenomena that’s starting to actually grow, but I would say it’s still a minority. What I would say is we’ve noticed a trend of baby names. Parents will purchase the dot-com name for their baby. We have been aware of some instances where somebody didn’t name their child a particular name because the dot-com wasn’t available.
From an article by Veronica Agard at PolicyMic:
My parents couldn’t have known that my peers of color would tease me and say, “That’s such a white girl name.” My parents couldn’t know that I would be approached by people of color, after we corresponded electronically, and be told, “I thought you were white.”
From an article about baby-naming in GQ by Drew Magary (who I’ve also quoted here and here):
Think about the kid and not yourself. Are you giving this kid a one-of-a-kind name because you’re fishing for cheap compliments? Do you want friends and family to be dazzled by your creativity? That’s probably what’s going on here, even if you can’t admit it. A name shouldn’t make a person. A person should make a name for himself. He has to go and earn it by fighting bears and seducing the wives of dictators. On his own. Without your help. So before you fill out that birth-certificate application, think hard about the person who’s gonna be carrying around this name for life. Put yourself in the kid’s shoes, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll have the balls not to name her Brixie.
From an interview with poet Warsan Shire (discovered via A Mitchell):
KJR: Your names are Warsan Shire. What do your names mean? Who gave you these names? Back on February 25, 2011, you wrote “the birth name”. In this piece you wrote, “give your daughters difficult names. give your daughters names that command the full use of tongue” and “my name doesn’t allow me to trust anyone that cannot pronounce it right.” Can you discuss these two lines?
WS: Warsan means “good news” and Shire means “to gather in one place”. My parents named me after my father’s mother, my grandmother. Growing up, I absolutely wanted a name that was easier to pronounce, more common, prettier. But then I grew up and understood the power of a name, the beauty that comes in understanding how your name has affected who you are. My name is indigenous to my country, it is not easy to pronounce, it takes effort to say correctly and I am absolutely in love with the sound of it and its meaning. Also, it’s not the kind of name you baby, slip into sweet talk mid sentence, late night phone conversation, whisper into the receiver kind of name, so, of that I am glad.
From Michelle Nickolaisen’s website:
I have a Shiba Inu named Rain, which everyone thinks is a reference to actual precipitation. However, the fact is that I named her after Reynard, but didn’t want to spell the shortened version of her name as “Reyn” because then I would feel like a pretentious douchebag.
Two quotes from an article about name stories in the San Jose Mercury News. 1st:
When I was a teenager, my father and I were out walking in the garden, and he pointed out a rose bush he had just planted underneath my bedroom window. He told me that this was my rose bush, a literal “rose of Sharon.”
He then proceeded to tell me that when I was born, he had wanted to name me Rose of Sharon after the character in the John Steinbeck novel “The Grapes of Wrath.” My father was born in 1918, in Ada, Okla., and, I think he must have seen a lot of his own family’s struggles in that book. It meant a lot to him. However, my mother wouldn’t hear of it, and I was eventually named just Sharon.
-Sharon Virginia Starns, 64, Hollister
I was born during the Great Depression. In those hardscrabble days, men like my dad, a college graduate, worked wherever they could find a job. His was digging ditches for the WPA. Needless to say, he was very tired after a day’s work.
In the meantime, Hollywood was doing its part to lift people’s spirits. The movies, according to my mother, changed every day in Niagara Falls, N.Y. Mom cajoled and cried and convinced Dad that they needed to go to the movies to keep up their (her) spirits.
At that time, there were two movie stars named Constance: Constance Moore and Constance Bennett. I was named after them. In those days, most people were named for relatives, usually wealthy ones. So my middle name is Louise, which was my paternal grandmother’s middle name as well. It was that grandmother who took me to church to be baptized as Agnes Louise Mooney (her name). No Hollywood movie star’s name for her granddaughter.
-Constance Louise Langford, 80, San Jose
From a blog post about an episode of TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress:
Duvae, a 19-year-old bride from Utah, explained to consultant JB that her namesake is “duvet” because her parents knew she’d be a comforter in their lives.
[For reference: Duvet.]
From an article about bizarre names in The Courier-Mail (Australia):
One teacher who had worked in Logan for more than 20 years said she had seen names become more bizarre over the years.
“It’s like a competition as to who can come up with the most unique, bizarre name,” she said.
“We don’t see John Smith or Mark Brown anymore – those names are long gone.”
The teacher said while many children in Year 1 often had difficulty learning to spell their own name, no one batted an eyelid during roll call.
“Sometimes it’s a matter of taking a deep breath and trying not to laugh.
“These children do have to grow up to be adults and most of the ones with unusual names will have to spell them out for the rest of their lives.”
[Names of schoolkids in the Logan City area include Alareal, Australasia, Bravado, De ja Vu, Gorgeous, Heritage, Jezzer, Kalaize, Khaileb, L-Car (pronounced “Ledashcar”), Narvasha, Psalmz, Sambo, Shizia, Styles, Taylay and Twinkle.]