Olive The Other Parents
(Lainey: for those of you new to the site, Duana is a name snob - click here for a refresher - and thus is our go-to writer on the subject of celebrity - or anyone, really - baby-naming.)
The time-lapse between the first email titled “Drew Barrymore Baby” and my flight to my favourite name websites was short. Not only did I see the predicted spike in the name Olive, I also found a page from earlier this fall, where parents worried that Drew Barrymore would “take” their baby names; they had thought of the perfect cute/offbeat/adorable girl’s name, and if it was chosen by Drew before they had a chance to name their children, it would be forever hers.
As crazy as this might sound to you, I’m going to go ahead and agree that this is a thing – if a celeb names their baby something, you do look like a copycat, no matter how original you are. It is even possible for a celeb of a certain rank to gank the style of someone lesser – there were many baby Blues before Blue Ivy, but she’s the very Bluest. Likewise, Sacha Baron Cohen and Isla Fisher will now have a relatively anonymous daughter (whose name is also Olive) relative to Drew’s. How could they not? I imagine this baby will be on Letterman soon enough.
What’s interesting to me though is what she’s accomplished by choosing Olive. Lainey’s comment was “Of COURSE she called her Olive”, and I hear that. It’s offbeat and not necessarily “pretty”. Olive was the name of the little girl in Little Miss Sunshine and, of course, was The Other Reindeer, courtesy of Barrymore herself. Yes, it’s obviously a name Drew loves, and yes, it loudly connotes “not terribly traditional”, but I do wonder if growing up “Drew”, in an era where her contemporaries were Jodie and Staci and etc., made Drew value the less traditionally feminine names? Am I stretching? Hear me out.
Nobody requires an Olive to be pretty. She might be, but it’s not a sure thing, not in the same way “Ashleigh” has to be. Olive can be as loud or as quiet, as well-behaved or as naughty as she wants to be – there just aren’t the same expectations on her as on, say, “Vanessa”. But I can hear you saying that Drew Barrymore would never have named her kid Ashleigh or Vanessa – which is when we bring out the Supreme Court Justice test.
You know about the SCJ test, right? It’s one that tests whether the beautiful name you’ve chosen for your kid will stand up in a serious career. So by comparison to other “celebrity baby” names, which get criticized as “weird” whether they are or just haven’t been in the top 50 that year (remember the outcry over Julia Roberts’ Hazel?), Olive Barrymore Kopelman is a perfectly serviceable name that passes the SCJ test. “Honorable Judge Apple Martin presiding”? Hmmmm. “Honorable Judge Dollie Rebecca Rose O’Connor”? I dunno. But “Honorable Judge Olive Barrymore Kopelman”? That works, right?
Yes, it’s notably “offbeat”. Yes, she wants people to notice and make the comparison to her film of many years ago. But she could have done a lot worse.