Celebrity Names Blog

MTV Star Welcomes Baby on the Freeway

Long-time fans of MTV's The Real World know that the current season, The Real World: New Orleans, is not the first time the show has filmed in the great Louisiana city. Ten years ago, season nine also took place there.

Diehard fans may even remember season nine's Matt Smith, a sweet-tempered virgin who did not reciprocate the feelings his roommate Julie Stoffer had for him. Fast forward ten years: Smith is now married and has a two-year-old daughter named Norah Grace. Last week, he and his wife, Candyce, welcomed their second daughter, Stella St. Clare Smith.

Mom and baby are healthy and doing fine, but all was not smooth sailing when Stella arrived during a full moon on October 21st. En route to the hospital, Candyce suddenly asked Smith to pull over on the side of the San Tan freeway outside of Tempe, Arizona; as he opened the passenger car door, Smith heard the cries of his younger daughter.

Eventually, with the help of an ambulance, they did make it safely to the hospital, and nurses suggested the name Santana after the San Tan freeway where the littlest Smith was born. Smith and his wife opted instead for the more traditional Stella, which, in 2009, was ranked #186 in the U.S. as a whole, but was #40 in Minnesota. That same year Stella was in the top 100 in several northern states bordering Canada, and, unsurprisingly, was ranked #92 in British Columbia and #111 in Quebec.

Stella Smith is also in good celebrity company, joining the likes of Stella Banderas (daughter of Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas), Stella Damon (daughter of Matt Damon), Stella McDermott (daughter of Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott) and Stella Pompeo Ivery (daughter of Ellen Pompeo) among others. While Stella peaked in the 1880s at #59 and then fell dramatically out of favor, the name is now gaining fans all over again and has been slowly tiptoeing up the charts since the early aughts. All the celebrities babies have no doubt helped its ascent.

Santana, however, is a different story. We suspect that in addition to the San Tan freeway, the nurses in Tempe were also inspired by the musician Carlos Santana and the character Santana Lopez on Glee. Santana didn't make it onto the charts at all until the 1970s. It went on to peak at #879 in the 1980s before quickly disappearing again. There's little question that Carlos Santana's rise to fame in the 1960s and 1970s helped propel this name onto the charts and, when his star waned, so too did the name's popularity.

What Stella and Santana do have in common is that their meanings both stem from romantic languages. Stella is derived from the Latin word for "star." Santana comes from the Spanish for "holy." Seeing as Stella was born outside (well, sort of) under a full moon, we think it's rather fitting that her name means star.

We can't say for certain what inspired Stella's middle name. We do know that St. Clare founded a monastic religious order for women and was the first woman to write a monastic rule, both of which are pretty cool and would make great inspiration--not to mention aspiration--for a baby girl's name. But we suspect it was something else that motivated Smith to name his daughter after this strong female saint: in 1958 Pope Pius XII named her the patron saint of television!

What do you think of Stella? What about Santana? And how about that unique middle name, St. Clare? Do you like that the Smiths kept the "St." rather than just naming her Clare? We kind of like it but realize it may not be everyone's cup of tea.



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November 4, 2010 12:46 AM
By lulus mummy (not verified)

Its probably pronounced "Sin Claire".

November 4, 2010 6:41 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

The initials are SSS, and that's kinda too alliterative for my taste. I wouldn't have minded had their surname started with something other than [s], but as it is... too much for me.

November 4, 2010 8:10 AM
By Elissa (not verified)

I love it. It has a lot of style, is fun to say, and has a great meaning behind it. And, it sounds super aristocratic! Not such a great sibling set with Norah Grace which sounds really "Plain Jane" to me. Stella St.Clare is gonna be a stahhh!!!

November 4, 2010 3:07 PM
By Jennie

All I thought was STella ST. Claire, born on a ST.(reet)

November 9, 2010 1:29 PM
By Valerie (not verified)

Doesn't Santana ultimately derive from Santa Ana?

November 9, 2010 2:19 PM
By Joslyn (not verified)

I first heard the name "Santana" as one of the cheerleaders on the new hit show, Glee.

September 3, 2014 6:01 AM
By url (not verified)

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