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Sharing a name with a Disney princess can be kind of a drag. Ariel Malloy knows this — so much so that the 21-year-old feels a kinship with all the baby Elsas out there who have not yet come of age.
Her main advice for those teeny-tiny Elsas who are bound to hear princess jokes and jabs all their lives? Own it.
“Don’t let it get you down. Claim your Elsa!” Malloy, a recent graduate from Northwestern University, said with confidence. “At the same time, you’ve just got to let it go. Elsa is also a really good princess to be compared to. There are worse options.”
Parents have been inspired by more than just the music and plot of Disney’s 2013 smash-hit animated film “Frozen.” Elsa, the name of movie’s magical protagonist, has jumped in popularity on the list of common baby names.
Based on the Social Security Administration’s baby-name database, Elsa ranked as number 286 in the United States in 2014. The name hasn’t surpassed the 500 mark since 1917; today, Elsa is more popular than it’s been in at least 114 years.
The name Ariel saw a similar spike in fame after the release of “The Little Mermaid” movie in 1989. It peaked in popularity between 1990 and 1993.
Malloy explained that whenever she tells people her name, they usually reference the Disney film — even today. However, her name is pronounced differently (the way Sebastian the crab says it instead of the rest of the movie’s characters), since her mom was actually inspired by their Jewish heritage instead of the movie. Princess Ariel's name is pronounced “air-e-elle,” whereas Malloy’s name is pronounced “are-e-elle.”
“I mean, it’s annoying when people say ‘Ariel’ because that’s not my name,” Malloy said. “But it’s great because they’ll be like, ‘Oh my gosh, you’re a princess,’ and I’m like, ‘You’re right.’”
Malloy said she personally thinks parents should be more original when naming their children. No matter what, though, she said it’s most important for people to be confident in their names and to know who they are.
“You’ll never build your own ice castle,” she told the Elsas of tomorrow. “But at the same time, own your princess nature, because that’s what you were probably named after.”