Question for all my '90s baby dudes: how many Ashleys did you know in third grade? Five? 10? Was the popular kid that everybody had a crush on Mike H. or Mike B.? The '90s were weird and great for a whole lot of reasons, not the least of which were their super idiosyncratic baby name trends. What do you consider to be the most '90s names ever? Let's take a little trip down memory lane. Don't worry — I brought enough slap bracelets and scrunchies for all of us.
Baby naming can be tough, and I don't think I'm alone in hoping that whatever I ultimately choose for my kids won't immediately date them. Granted, I am also a snob who doesn't want my children's names to even hit the top 100, but you know. Whatever. I own it. I do wonder, though: In 10 years, will all the Brooklyns of the world be mad because hiring managers can immediately pin their age? Will Brooklyn even be a place anymore? Who knows. I certainly don't. And you probably don't either, unless you are from the future.
A lot of the super popular '90s monikers, like Brandon and Ashley, spawned their own fictional characters who have kept their memories alive, regardless of their waning popularity in the real world. Just pop in an Olsen Twins movie, and you'll immediately be transported to a time of sleepovers and those weird, black choker necklaces and super chunky blonde highlights.
And these, of course, were your friends:
I will always associate the name Ashley with the Olsen Twins, whose movies were my absolute favorite things when I was 7. The moniker hit its peak in 1996 (and the next year the cartoon Recess debuted its mean girl clique "The Ashleys"), though its reign was long enough that it holds the number two spot for baby girls born in the 1990s, according to the Social Security Administration.
Yes, Michael is a very common name, but the '90s were peak Michael time. Michael Jordan, Michael Jackson, Michael Keaton as Batman, Mike Myers as Austin Powers and Wayne from Wayne's World, Mikey from the cartoon Recess... it's no wonder that Michael is the top name for boys born in the 1990s.
Though it's been out of the top 100 for a while now, Jessica was the top baby name for girls in the both the 1980s and '90s. Which would explain why I'm now Facebook friends with no fewer than 15 Jesses, Jessies, and Jessicas.
Anybody else feel like Derek was the name of every older popular boy at school? Maybe it was because Derek Jeter, baseball dude extraordaire, is credited with helping Derek make it into the top 100 baby names for the first half of the 1990s. If you're naming your child after a Yankees player, then you probably like sports and things of that nature.
Visions of scrunchies and velvet overalls dance through my head every time I hear the name "Amber," which also happens to be one half of the most '90s name ever in history: Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, star of Saved by the Bell and lover of hairspray and headbands. Though it hovers around number 300 in terms of popularity, it was number 20 for overall '90s babies. Oh, how the mighty fall.
6. Brittany (And All Its Variations)
I mean, hi, Britney Spears. I feel like "Hit Me Baby (One More Time)" alone would explain how Brittany hit number seven for the '90s. And also maybe how it now rates close to number 500. Anybody else think it's a weird coincidence that Brittany is also like a super historic province in France that's known for its super elaborate cultural costumes?
For a name that means "broom-covered hill," Brandon sure was popular in the '90s. It was the name of Jason Priestley's dreamy AF character on the original Beverly Hills 90210 and stayed in the top 10 for baby boys from 1992 to 1998.
Granted, the only Kimberly I knew was Kimmie Gibler from Full House, but apparently, Kimberly's resurgence in the '90s was its second go-around the baby name popularity track. It initially hit the top five in the 1960s and '70s. Very rad.
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