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Miley Cyrus Ruined My Daughter's Name

In 1994, my husband and I had a daughter and named her Miley Elizabeth. Even though she was named way before people even heard of Miley Cyrus, people keep insisting that she was named after her and call her mean names because they do not like the Cyrus kid. My daughter hates her name now and wants to change it. I suggested we call her by her middle name but in our area there are a lot of girls named Elizabeth and pretty much any nickname for Elizabeth has been taken. She wants to change her name to Zarya because no one has that name and it means princess. Should we let her? I personally do not like the name Zarya and the name Miley Elizabeth means so much to my husband and me. - Miley's Mom

Ah, your poor daughter! There she was, all set with a creative, unusual name that put a smile on people's faces, when a celebrity came along and stole it right out from under her.

Whether you love Miley Cyrus or loathe her, you have to admit that she has taken control of the name Miley. For a baby born today, that shouldn't be a big problem. The girl will grow up in a world full of Mileys, Kileys and Brileys. But for a young lady the same age as Ms. Cyrus, it's a blow to her personal identity at an age when forging your own identity is job number one.

I appreciate that you're taking your daughter's name trouble seriously. This isn't one to laugh off. But I don't recommend legal name changes for minors on grounds of style. Just as you'd hold off on purchasing high-end shoes or sporting equipment for kids whose bodies are still growing, you should hold off on choosing new names for kids whose selves are still growing.

For the time being, let your daughter choose any nickname or alter ego she likes. The legal change, though, can wait until she's a legal adult. By that time she'll have had the chance to try on more identities, and will have a better sense of whether Zarya, or princess, really fits -- or whether Miley might become "hers" again after all.

Comments

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August 31, 2010 6:42 AM
By Meg (not verified)

I agree with the answer. I hated my name when I was a kid, loathed (Ramona). I wanted to change it but my mom and I couldn't agree on anything else, and she said we had to agree (she kept throwing Stephanie and Tiffany into the ring while I was saying Katherine or Elenore). I did eventually change my name (at age 22) to Margaret and I'm thrilled I did. Let her go by what she wants now, and if she still wants to change it when she's older, support her.

August 31, 2010 9:18 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Maybe you could come up with an alternative nickname to Miley that you both like. Leya? Miles? It seems like the number of nicknames for Elizabeth is never ending too. Are Eliza, Betsy, Liza, Beth, Lizzy, Liz, Lisa, Izzy, Ellie all out of the question? I agree with Meg that a legal name change now may lead to a name that isn't what she'll want as an adult.

August 31, 2010 11:43 AM
By Jessica (not verified)

Excellent answer!!!

August 31, 2010 11:49 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Ah, I can relate to this!!! We just chose the name Myley Gracyn for our daughter who was born in March. We are in our late twenties so we could care less about Miley Cyrus even though people ask if that is why we chose the name. We actually chose it because we simply liked the name and heard it in a movie. I think Myley/Miley is a beautiful name!! But, I understand her pain!! I do not understand why people insist that you name your kid after someone when you just like the name...!!! It probably be difficult to come up with a nickname at her age that will stick, but good luck to you all!!!

August 31, 2010 11:53 AM
By Bree (not verified)

I HATED my name (Brandy) as a child because I was always being teased about having a stripper name, with the 'Brandy' song, that my parents must be alcoholics, etc etc etc. I'm 20 now and I'm so glad I didn't change it! In my area, Brandy is unique enough that I don't know anyone else with my first name, but it's still not one of those trendy made up names.

I went by the nickname Bree in middle school (and I still do sometimes!) and that helped me a lot. There's no need to legally change a name. All she needs to do is, on the first day of class when a teacher is taking roll, politely say "I'm Miley, but I go by ______." When the teachers starts calling her that, the other students will follow suit.

August 31, 2010 11:56 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I agree completely! I have a cousin who was named Miley back in the mid-90s, way back before anyone ever heard of that Cyrus kid. She has many of the same feelings about her name, so she has started to go by the nick-name Myla. She actually likes her new NN because it helps distinguish her from all the Kiley's, Riley's and Briley's at her school. Something to consider....

August 31, 2010 12:07 PM
By Kit (not verified)

Since Miley Cyrus took control of your daughter's name, take your revenge by taking Miley's original name, Destiny Hope.

August 31, 2010 12:08 PM
By yana (not verified)

I don't think a name change is necessary. All you and your daughter have to do is tell people..."no, my daughter/I was born way before miley's "age" and that miley changed her name from destiny faith(i think it was faith)so it isn't her original given name. I dont understand why people would call your daughter horrible names just b/c they hate or dislike Miley Cyrus. That is just mean and childish. Your daughter will learn to be strong and love her name! Im sure from those who call your daughter these name have a namesake out there who isnt ideal!!

August 31, 2010 12:33 PM
By S. Evelyn (not verified)

If she's the type of kid who is really bothered by people making fun of her (which it sounds like she is), changing her name might not be the best solution to the problem.

My given name is Sarah Evelyn and, frustrated by the commonality of my first name, I decided to start going by Evelyn the year I was a freshman in high school. To make a long story short: This was viewed as "weird" by a lot of the kids at my school and they let me know it in a variety of ways, some more hurtful than others. Even today, a lot of high school acquaintances who I run into make a point to call me Sarah. I even have a friend who calls me exclusively by a nickname because, though he knows and respects that I don't want to be known as Sarah, he's still hung up on the fact that Evelyn is not my "real name". In high school, I appreciated his creativity but at 23, I'm getting a little offended that he hasn't gotten over the supposed weirdness of my choice to forgo my given first name.

I'm glad I started going by my middle name but the honest truth is that I'm not quite over the trauma of having done it in high school.

So, if Miley's Mom reads this, my advice is to dissuade Miley from changing her name now but encourage her to do it later. She'll have to accept that people she knows in her hometown will probably always call her Miley but she'll have a much cleaner transition.

Also, she might want to think about changing her to name to something for which Miley could conceivably be a nickname (e.g. Amelia) so that when people from her future life inevitably meet people from her current life, they might assume that she went by Miley as a kid but uses her full name as an adult. Or she could just fib and tell people that Miley was a nickname if she's comfortable with that. I often tell people that I started going by Evelyn in kindergarten and that it was my mom's idea to change my name even though that's not true because I've found that people react to this story better.

August 31, 2010 12:48 PM
By Allison Margaret (not verified)

I agree with the Name Lady's advice. Let Miley try out going by whatever she wants for a while -- she can tell everyone she changed her name if she wants (after all, she is changing it in practice!). If she feels like Zarya (or any other name) still fits her when she's old enough to do the legal process on her own, she can feel confident about making the official change.

Other nicknames she could try would be Mya, Mia, Mimi, or Lee/Leigh. She could also try changing the first letter -- maybe she'd rather be Riley or Kiley? Or if old-fashioned is more her style, she could easily switch from Miley to Millie.

Plus, there are TONS of nicknames for Elizabeth. Have all of them really been taken? Ellie, Ella, Elsa, Elsie, Eliza, Liza, Lisa, Liz, Lizzie, Libby, Lily, Beth, Betsy, Bess, Bessie, Betty...

August 31, 2010 12:54 PM
By Pamela S (not verified)

Your daughter has a real case for her having the name first. I believe Miley was a nickname that evolved from "smiley" and she only change it legally a year or two ago. If ignorant people insist on saying your daughter copied Miley Cyrus she should tell them to do their homework; she had the name first. Miley Cyrus copied her!

August 31, 2010 2:15 PM
By Andrew J (not verified)

Miley Cyrus original name was Destiny Hope Cyrus. Not Miley.

August 31, 2010 4:27 PM
By LauraZ (not verified)

Meg, I can't believe you hated Ramona! I am DYING to name a daughter Ramona- actually Ramona Margaret, Margaret after a family member- and my husband really dislikes it :(. I think it's the perfect combination of easy to spell and pronounce, unusual, and not weird. Plus I loved Ramona Quimby when I was little. Oh well, maybe for our next dog...or some delivery-room wheedling.

August 31, 2010 4:41 PM
By Brandi (not verified)

I am another Brandi who HATED her name in younger years. I got all that same teasing, and couldn't even go by Bri, as that was my little sister's name(brianne)! I wanted so badly to change my name, and my mom said I was allowed to, as long as I chose something that rhymed, in order to make the transition easier. I am now 28 and I like my own name - and am SO glad I did not end up a Shandi or Candi. Kids will be picked on, whether it's about a name or something else. Call her whatever she wants as a nickname, but whoever she thinks she is now will change a few times before she'll settle into her real self and feel comfortable with who she is regardless of what anyone else says.

August 31, 2010 5:59 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I understand why she doesn't like the name Miley when people are constantly associating it to that slut faced ho-bag Miley Cyrus, that being said, the name Zarya is so SO much worse and she will hate that even more when she is older.

August 31, 2010 7:12 PM
By Elisabeth (not verified)

Wow. Slut-faced ho-bag? That's a harsh bit of stone-throwing.

I agree with all the commenters who have suggested saving the legal name change until (at least) 18. Names are like tattoos: they are part of you, and changing them is a long, tiresome process. That lower-back butterfly tattoo that was SO COOL and that you wanted SO BADLY when your were fourteen? Not so awesome when you're thirty-five. In fact, you're really glad you weren't old enough to indulge your teenage bad taste. But there's a good chance you'll still like a tattoo you chose in your early twenties, even when you're fifty.

A good time to switch names is after high school. I was Lisa as a child, and while I didn't hate the name, I got tired of being one of three Lisas in my class. I changed it to Elisabeth when I started college, and since no one knew me there, there was no teasing or resistance. I'm thirty-eight now, and I've never regretted it.

August 31, 2010 7:45 PM
By Colleen Newman (not verified)

I like the idea of going by "Miles" as I actually thought of that too. Kind of fun and unique, you have the whole "boy's name used for a girl" thing going on (remember how Jamie on Mad About You went by James? Maybe not. I'm showing my age here!). I have a daughter named Dinah Elizabeth and we often call her Dinah Liz or Dinah Beth, southern style. Gives a while different flavor to her name. Maybe if she went by "Miley Beth" or something like that, it would soften the criticism.

So sorry people are being so mean about her name. It's like when Hurricane Katrina hit and suddenly any child named Katrina (a perfectly lovely name) was fair game for the mean people.

August 31, 2010 8:10 PM
By Tiff (not verified)

I met a girl named Mylee twenty years ago:-) I thought then it was a pretty, distinctive name. She's another one who predates the singer (actress?). I suppose adding an S to the front would give her Smiley. (Pretty song from the 1960s/70s, though Smiley in that case was a boy.)

August 31, 2010 10:23 PM
By Paula (not verified)

This brings back memories of my freshman year of high school, the year the TV show "Mork & Mindy" first came on. A girl in my homeroom class was named Melinda but went by the nickname of Mindy, and in a fairly short time, she was thoroughly sick and tired of hearing "Where's Mork?" from smart-mouthed jokesters at school! But eventually the "newness" of the TV show wore off and of course the show itself didn't last forever, and she's still Mindy!

I think Miley Cyrus is a talented young lady, though I am awfully tired of the media overkill! However, I don't think that will last forever, either, so if your daughter can be patient and wait it out, she will have HER name back again at some point!

Meanwhile, does your daughter have any siblings? If so, then she's somebody's sister, so how does she feel about being "Sissy" or "Cissy"? And though it's most commonly a nickname for Melissa, how about "Missy" for your daughter, since her given name also starts with an M? In fact, "Missy" sounds like it could be a "mash-up" of Miley Elizabeth.

My friend Mindy (whom I also went to college with for a few years and have recently reconnected with on line) could certainly sympathize with your Miley!

August 31, 2010 11:20 PM
By Lisa (not verified)

I'm with Pamela S on this one - tell them to do their research. Or I would be saying "oh yes, my parents copied Billy Ray Cyrus, they were great friends back when Miley and I were little" LOL

August 31, 2010 11:40 PM
By Lisa O (not verified)

How about just going by her initials? M.E.? Pronounced "Emmy"?

September 1, 2010 2:17 AM
By Em (not verified)

I am also hindered by celebrities "ruining" unique names. I know they are entitled to it as much as the next person, but it does encourage a trend (and many alternative spellings in the mean time).

I would like to point out that the Cyrus girls birth name is actually Destiny Hope and she herself chose to change it to Miley. And I believe that there was a "Miley Jane" or similar in Elvis Presley movies back in the day?

I too think it is a really pretty feminine name - my name is unique and i went through hell in school with made up nick names and incorrect pronunciations (thus leading to more nick names and teasing). My parent's weren't interested in changing my name or worrying about my harassment at school, so i think you are a wonderful parent to consider an alternative.

I agree with Margaret (at the very top) agree on a cute nick name for the time being and let her change it legally when she is older; if she still wants to.

September 1, 2010 2:30 AM
By jenna (not verified)

wow! i really like elisabeth's tatoo example and Lisa O's suggestion of Emmy for the initials M.E. we have got a lot of good, positive suggestions and discussion this week. and to the anonymous poster with the slut faced hobag comment- I get what you're saying and agree that she will most likely regret the name Zarya, but you should probably tone it down a bit if you want to maintain any sort of credibility.

September 1, 2010 10:16 AM
By Kristina (not verified)

I was going to point out that Miley is not actually Miley Cyrus' legal first name, but obviously I've been beaten to it. So your daughter could always tell people that she had the name before it was cool, or that it's so cool, Miley stole it from her. And hopefully by the time she is old enough to legally change her name, Miley Cyrus will have faded into the background. I don't think she will have the staying power to "own" the name, like Elvis, Marilyn, Grace Kelly, etc.

September 3, 2010 8:43 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I agree with the first Margaret. I also always hated my first name (Lauren), and I started trying to change when I was about three years old. It never worked; I could never get anyone to take it seriously. A few years ago, at 26, I changed my religion, and took advantage of the conversion to have my name legally changed to something completely different. I'm glad I waited, because the name I chose has a lot of meaning for me, and waiting gave me a lot of time to think about it carefully and ultimately be very certain that I'd made the right choice.

The letter-writer's daughter should let her experiment with names she likes better, but wait to change it until after high school, or possibly after college, when she's sure she's found the right name. If Zarya is the name that is meant to be hers, she'll still feel that way in a few years. No need to hurry.

I think "Mai" would be an adorable nickname, but that's just me.

September 3, 2010 8:44 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

The letter-writer's daughter should let her experiment with names she likes better,

Gaa, that should read, "The letter-writer should let her daughter experiment..." Sorry about that.

September 3, 2010 2:21 PM
By Marie (not verified)

:) I like that idea!

September 3, 2010 10:30 PM
By Anna (not verified)

PLEASE don't let your daughter name herself Zarya... please. Believe it or not I used to love the name Zaria when I was 16 -- um, that was only three years ago!! Taste can change very quickly.

September 8, 2010 8:10 AM
By Mindy (not verified)

I can certainly understand your daughter's frustration. I was a teenager when the show "Mork and Mindy" came out. I was bombarded with "NaNu NaNu" (and the little finger gesture), "Where's Mork?" and various other "Mork from Ork" comments. I hated that show, and although I really liked my name (it was somewhat unique), I hated the association. It is a shame that one person (or show) can ruin a name for everyone else. This is especially difficult for teens who are already struggling to estabish their own identities. Remind your daughter of all the Britneys, Lindseys, and Jessicas in the world who can relate to her situation. In fact most people can think of someone with their same name that they would not want to be compared to! Today no one even remembers "Mork and Mindy". As your daughter gets older and her peers hopefully mature, things will get better.

September 8, 2010 9:27 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Why not just change the spelling of her name to Mylee for a bit? I changed the spelling of my nickname by dropping a y and adding i and it stuck.

September 8, 2010 11:26 AM
By PiiNK (not verified)

I'm a Jill and people ALWAYS used to ask, "Where's Jack?" Drove me insane as a child. In middle school, I tried going by Missy because my middle name is Melissa and it just didn't fit my personality and the fact that there were 20 other Missy's in the school. In high school, I went by Jilly Beanz, the teachers called me Jilly and my friends called me Beanz half of the time! Now, I'm 22 and I go by Jill and whenever I run into an old friend from high school I still hear them call me Beanz, its quite of sweet that they remembered the nickname and I just embrace it. I did think of it because I LOVE jelly beans! :D

September 8, 2010 2:55 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

As a child I hated my name Jeneane. It was spelled different but pronounced Janine. When I was 12 I told everyone to call me by my middle name Ann. That didn't last very long. As an adult, I love my name and I am glad it is spelled different. So I think this is just a phase your daughter is going through. Every child gets teased some time in their life, thankfully its just a name. Tell her when she is in highschool and everyone matures people will remember her name.

September 12, 2010 9:01 PM
By Kimberly (not verified)

I named my daughter "Ariel" well BEFORE "The Little Mermaid" came out (at least 8 or 9 years!). She liked her name until then. When the movie came out, she started to hate it ["Hey Ariel, how's Eric?" <- the love interest... "Why don't you MARRY him?!)]. And just like your situation, everyone thought she was named AFTER the movie came out. Guess what?? It won't last forever!! She really loves her name and wouldn't change it for the world!!

September 14, 2010 10:04 PM
By cathymac (not verified)

great answer!

September 15, 2010 11:05 PM
By -Kalina Ember- (not verified)

I did the same. I hated my name (Kalina)..everyone kept calling me kylie or kayle it was really annoying so i begged my dad to call me something else because so many people would pronounce it wrong, so we used kali (like california). Eventually my family, friends, and teachers all started calling me that. My fiancee didnt even know that was my real name tell my father called me by it on my birthday. So tell her to not worry, that it will all blow over soon enough and to hang in there. I love my name now, its very unique. Ive only meet one other with my name but it was spelled different. Oh and for the record im not a miley cyrus fan either...

September 27, 2010 1:52 PM
By Jade (not verified)

One of our daughters is named Paris. The choice had nothing to do with, and she was name before, Paris Hilton's sex tape and other things notorious things she did, but it did make people react at the height of her infamy. I just kept saying by the time she was at an age that it would matter, Paris Hilton would be long gone. Mostly I am the only one that has been effected, hopefully it remains that way.

I also disliked my name growing up. It was too different. As an adult I love it. Growing up I thought Jaden would be a fantastic name to pass onto a son, I was before my time as it is way to popular now to use. I also find it funny now piking my kids up at school as all the mothers call out for their Jadens and Jadas. A first I was always looking around to see who was calling me before the names were finished being called.

We have an Autumn, Paris, Parker and Eden. While I knew Parker was popular, there are two Autumns the same age, another Paris a couple of years older and a couple of older Edens. Funny how sometimes you never notice a name until you make it yours. Waiting for number five to join the family. No names yet.

September 27, 2010 2:10 PM
By ClaireP (not verified)

A friend of my kids' is named Jacob, and went by Jake. For whatever he decided that he wanted to be called by his middle name, Will. He made the formal announcement.

There was a period of confusion, where people called him Jake, Will, Will that used be called Jake, etc. What has now settled out - everyone calls him Jill. He actually has a good sense of humor about it for a teenaged boy, but not everyone would be so happy.

October 6, 2010 6:25 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Haha i had a little laugh at the ClaireP I'm 16 and i personally love my name, its Philippa, the only problem is when my sister on purpose calls me Phil. Which i immensly dislike. Anyway, I agree with most of the other comments, give your daughter a nickname - as some of above mentioned, Mai, Ellie or beth Etc, but dont let her name herself legally, she will regret it - support her if when she is a bit older, and she decides to change it. The name Zarya Is pretty bad, even if it does mean Princess.

October 13, 2010 12:42 AM
By B (not verified)

Did every Brandi/Brandy hate their name?? I am one of them too! Actually, my mom took it a step further with Brandi-Lee. I am 28 and in elementary school I longed to be Crystal or Laura. A 'normal' name. When my little brother was born and got a little older he gave me the nickname 'B' and it stuck. Everyone calls me 'B' and I like it! While I can't say I am in love with my name, it's certainly grown on me through the years and I'm glad I didn't change my name to Crystal or Laura! (Although they are lovely names :)

October 14, 2010 5:44 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I love the idea of M E pronounced Emmy! Very cute and not permanent!

November 1, 2010 9:28 PM
By Anna (not verified)

Oh my gosh! I feel so sorry for the daughter! Miley isn't even Miley Cyrus' real name! It's a nickname and I really don't see how you can get Miley out of Destiny Hope (I don't think the name Destiny Hope is good either). I love the name Miley too but good names are ruined by bad stars and that is not fair!

January 5, 2012 3:43 PM
By Renny (not verified)

Officially I'm a 'Karen Rose'. I liked the Rose part of my name but I've never been a fan of Karen. ((I COULD have been a cute Ceri (Welsh spelling of Kerry) but my grandma didn't like it "-_-))

I went by Karen all the way up until I was 18 when I decided to shorten it to Ren. On my first day at university I introduced myself as Ren and everyone just accepted that that was my name. My family still call me Karen but I don't mind as it's what they've always called me ((and 'Karen Rose' looks good on formal documents so I'd never totally get rid of it))

So for the past seven years I've been Ren or Renny : ) I still love it : )

December 4, 2012 6:47 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Hi my name is completely different to my nickname everyone calls me ruby and my name is Rebecca so it doesnt really matter what the nickname is just as long as you dont change the name I feel everyone has a name for a reason because the parents like it or it means something to them

January 24, 2013 2:40 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I totally disagree! Just because its her name doesn't mean that she owns it. Other people can be called that too. Miley Cyrus doesn't even know your daughter so it's wrong to say that she stole it from under her nose. Names are names, and if they mean a lot to you then you can call your child that, even if there's somebody else out there with the same name!

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