Who knew Khloe Kardashian was so influential on the good ole U.S.A.?
While her big sister Kim monopolizes the spotlight — with her country-hopping wedding, that absurdly lavish first birthday party for North West, and the steady stream of bikini pics and hair makeovers — Khloe, who turns 30 on Friday, has made a name for herself in another way. The "doll"-obsessed, gym-loving, controversy causing, soon-to-be divorcee is a trendsetter in the world of names.
Fact: Since 2006, the name Khloe has skyrocketed in popularity. As in, it was never on the Social Security Administration's list of popular names in America. However, it emerged out of nowhere that year — when Khloé started hitting red carpets with her famous sister in advance of the 2007 debut of Keeping Up With the Kardashians — and quickly shot up the list, peaking at No. 42.
"Khloe Kardashian absolutely gets credit for the popularity of 'Khloe,'" Laura Wattenberg of Baby Name Wizard tells Yahoo. "Previously, the name Chloe was hot as a quirky, literary antique. Khloé gave it a very different spin — modern and splashy — and brought it to a new audience."
Momager Kris Jenner clearly had a thing for "K" girl names (as also evident by Kourtney, Kendall, and Kylie) and the unique spelling has appealed to parents looking for a new twist on an old classic.
"Most of all, she brought the name a new spelling," Wattenberg says of French Montana's (maybe) lady love, who uses an accent in her name to the disdain of web editors everywhere. "Before the Kardashians hit the tabloids, it was either Chloe or the simplified Cloe. Parents considered the 'Khl' spelling too strange and confusing until the celebrity example made it familiar."
When the SSA announced the most popular baby names in recent years, Mason and Penelope — the names Kourtney, who's expecting her third child, bestowed upon her wee ones — have been among the fastest-rising monikers. Even so, they don't hold a candle to their Aunt Khloé when it comes to being influential.
"I consider Khloe the ultimate Kardashian name," Wattenberg continues. "Mason got the biggest boost in terms of the sheer number of babies involved, but it was already a big hit. Penelope was already poised to rise fast, and had other celebrity flag-bearers like Penélope Cruz and Tina Fey's young daughter. Khloe, in contrast, might never have been a hit at all without Khloé Kardashian."
And while Kim seems to reign supreme when it comes to the Kardashian klan — they've all made a living riding on her coattails — she'll never top Khloé when it comes to name popularity. Despite a whopping 21 million Twitter followers and another 21.9 million Facebook likes, the name Kim dropped off the SSA's Top 1000 list in 1993 — and isn't poised for a resurgence. It's considered passé.
"I'm not surprised that Kim Kardashian couldn't spark a Kim comeback," says Wattenberg. "Her name was just too familiar from a generation of popularity: It's a 'mom name' today. As usual, when it comes to celebrities and baby name style, the name counts more than the fame!"
So as Khloe marks her 30th birthday, she has one more reason to celebrate.
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