Disney's 'Wish' Is Ready To Launch A Hit Baby Name & Ariana DeBose Is Thrilled To Be The Inspo
Disney's new movie is very on trend for 2024 ⭐
Many parents look to pop culture when picking baby names, and while there are plenty of movies and TV shows from which to draw inspiration, there really is nothing like naming your baby girl after a Disney character.
Frozen and Raya And The Last Dragon inspired plenty of parents to name their girls named Elsa and Raya over the last decade, and Disney is poised to add another name to the list: Asha, the teen hero of the new animated film Wish.
Nameberry is already predicting that Asha will be one of the trendiest names of 2024, and Wish is likely to be a big reason why. Disney's slightly awkward teen with the big dreams is played by Oscar winner Ariana DeBose, and the actress says she’s thrilled at the idea that her character might inspire a baby name.
“Wow! I don’t know that I really contemplated that,” she told Narcity during at chat at Walt Disney Animation Studios in November. “I would simply think we put good energy into the world (and) we make a difference. That’s what we do it for, right?”
DeBose hopes other girls and women will see themselves in Asha, because even she got emotional when she saw the first sketches of her Disney heroine.
“I cried! Well, maybe not like a full-blown cry, but my eyes got misty because she’s beautiful and brown,” said DeBose. “And she has braids and freckles, and I just never really dreamed that I would voice a character that would even remotely look like me.”
Jennifer Lee, Disney’s chief creative officer and a writer for both Frozen and Wish, says it’s extremely moving to inspire a baby name through her work.
“It’s such an emotional thing, and the emotional part is when you actually meet someone with the name for the first time,” Lee told Narcity. “(It’s) meeting a young girl named Elsa, and you know where that came from, and it’s hard not to (cry).”
Elsa was the 528th most popular baby name in the U.S. when Frozen came out in late 2013, but it jumped up to No. 286 on the charts in 2014, according to data from the U.S. Social Security Administration. The name also exploded in Canada, going from No. 325 to No. 129 over those two same years.
Disney's Raya And The Last Dragon has also been driving a trend in baby girl names since 2021. Raya made its first appearance on the U.S. baby name list in 2020, when it ranked No. 937. However, once the film came out it jumped up to spot No. 495 in 2021, then ranked No. 402 last year.
Of course, that's not to say that every Disney character inspires a trend in baby names. Other hits like Moana and Encanto haven't quite triggered the same baby boom, although they have inspired some people. In Canada, for example, Moana first made the charts in 2017 after the movie came out, and a handful of girls have had that name each year since. Seventeen girls were named Mirabel in 2022, although it's unclear if that was entirely because of the protagonist from Encanto.
So what does all that mean for Asha?
The name has only cracked the U.S. top 1,000 twice over the last 25 years, and the story is similar in Canada where only 10 girls were born with that name in 2022. Those numbers are sure to go up in 2024 once audiences get a look at Wish and its new Disney hero.
"We created Asha as someone I hope everyone can see themselves in," said Wish co-director Fawn Veerasunthorn, who was also head of story on Raya. "Asha is inspiration to us," she added, "so if kids will be named after her, I'm all for it."
It's hard to say which characters might inspire boy names from the film, although Asha's goat sidekick, Valentino, is already well-represented in the U.S., where the name has been slowly growing in popularity since 2006.
Does Chris Pine sing in "Wish"?
The other big name from the film, Magnifico, is likely to inspire more TikTok videos than baby names. The charismatic sorcerer-king is voiced by Chris Pine, and his song "This Is The Thanks I Get" is one of the catchier tunes in the film. It's in the same vein as Ryan Gosling's bitter "I'm Just Ken" song from Barbie, so expect to hear it at karaoke bars for many years to come.
"That song is so fun, and I had so much fun making that," Pine told Narcity.
"The guy obviously has an inflated ego and low self-esteem. Just classic human psychology."
Pine added that while he might not be well-known for singing in his roles, "it's something I've always liked to do."
Pine says he sang a bit in high school and has done so in a handful of films over the years, including Into The Woods and Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, which released earlier this uear.
"When they called me up and asked me if I wanted to get back into it, I totally said yes and jumped in," he said.
Pine also said it was a pleasure to sing a duet with DeBose, who won a best supporting actress Oscar for her musical role in 2021's West Side Story. DeBose also starred in Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton.
"We already know how brilliant she is at what she does, but to see the magnitude of what she can pull off is pretty extraordinary," Pine said.
"I love the music," DeBose said in a separate interview with Narcity. "I think it's so fresh and different. It's a different Disney sound, you know? I think it's part of what's bringing Disney animation into a new era. Its 'so fresh and so clean' era, which is cool."
Walt Disney Animation Studios' Wish stars Ariana DeBose as Asha and Chris Pine as Magnifico, with additional voices from the likes of Evan Peters, Alan Tudyk, Victor Garber, Harvey Guillen, Angelique Cabral and many more.
The film opens in theatres on November 22.