Dear Duana,

We're expecting a baby girl any day now and she will be our second child. our first born is a boy and we were able to find a name for him that we both loved early on: Aidan. We chose this name because it's traditional but you don't hear it everywhere (disclaimer: i know it's been super popular in the States recently but we live in a French speaking part of Europe so not common at all here!). Another reason is that due to our different backgrounds and geography, any name we chose needed to sound good in English, French and Brazilian Portuguese (trust me, there's a difference between and Brazilian and Portuguese Portuguese!). This is not an easy feat!

We have been having trouble finding a name that fits the criteria above and that goes well with Aidan for our daughter. One name that we keep going back to is Leia...yes, like Star Wars, and therein is where our hesitation lies and why I am writing to you! My husband and I both like Star Wars and I think Leia is a great character as she is a strong, independent female lead. But to us  we would not actually be naming her after the movie. I always thought Leia was a normal name that was used in the movie, like Luke. But when I looked it up, it seems it is not a ´normal' name in English and was created for the movies?  In Portuguese, the name Leia is not a 'made up for a movie' name. So my questions to you is what is your opinion on the name Leia? Is it the same as calling your son Kal-El??? we are not telling anyone the name before the baby is born so this is also why I am desperate for another opinion!!

Also, I would love to hear your thoughts on what names would go well with Aidan that match our criteria! I think we need to get some outside suggestions if only to provide some much needed inspiration!

Thanks a lot in advance for your help!!
Ps: I listen to show your work, love, love it!!


I’m pretty comfortable with whatever pop-culture cred, or even geek cred I have, but I have to confess that I am only just learning Star Wars now.  That is, obviously I know who Luke Skywalker is and can identify all the Hallowe’en costumes, and if I didn’t know who Princess Leia was, the 1980s made enough jokes about baked-goods-as-hair-buns that I would get it. But I do. I know what’s up.  I may get my Laineygossip license revoked by Lainey and Sarah and Kathleen, but I’m catching up...slowly.

However, it means I’ve never associated the name Leia – or Luke, for that matter—with Star Wars inexorably. In fact, for me, the name is biblical, albeit spelled ‘Leah’. Or more accurately, I associate Leah, pronounced like Leia, with a line from Fiddler On The Roof,  where Perchik is telling Shprintze and Bielke stories from the Bible… which casts a whole lot of names in a different context.

Short story? Of course this is a normal name. Of course it’s fine to call your daughter this, and has nothing to do with Kal-El. Having said that, I think the odds are split on people who would, without being told, spell it Leia vs. Leah vs the relatively rare (but original Hindi spelling) Leya.  But while the former might get you some comments about Princess Leia, or even have adults calling her that before she knows what it means, it’s not going to make anyone sit back and blink, scandalized over your choice. You’re not calling her ‘Unicorn’.  I’m not sure which source told you it wasn’t a regular name, but they’re misinformed.

And yes, it works well with Aidan – I’d suspect you like the similar vowel sounds. AID-an and LEI-a have a rhythm and a style.  Other names that come to mind include Wesley, Una, Natasha, Drake, or Shea – but I’m not sure how all of these work in the various languages that apply. 

…which isn’t a problem, because you love Leia and you should use it, and it’s going to be beautiful both for those who Know, and those who haven’t yet learned about The Force.