I'm a little bit behind with 'Project Runway' this season - to be honest, I hadn't even realised that a new season was underway until I saw Kelly's post about the great names of the older models featured on episode six over at NameFreak. It is a great bunch of names, but the one that caught my attention was one of the contestants - Layana Aguilar.
Layana was born and raised in Brazil, currently lives in New York, and has her own fashion line. Her site states that a woman who ears her designs is wearing pure confidence and delicateness. The same description could be applied to her name, which feels strong and confident, but soft at the same time.
The Layana on 'Project Runway' pronounces her name Ley-AH-na, but you could probably get away with pronouncing it Lay-AH-na if you prefer because it's uncommon enough that most people wouldn't really know what the correct pronunciation should be. Because it's so uncommon, there's very little background information to be found about this name. It doesn't seem to be a super popular Brazilian name, as it didn't appear in their top 100 girls names in 2011. Besides, I'm guessing that if it is popular in Brazil I probably would have heard the name before now.
Layana has been seen on the American charts though. It first appeared on 6 girls in 1978, then faded to pop up again in 2002. Since then it has charted every year since 2004, so far peaking at #5155 in 2009.
So should I speculate as to where this name comes from and what it means? One theory I've seen (and probably the best one) is that it comes from the Arabic name Layan, meaning 'soft, gentle'. It's also quite similar to:
- Lalana, a Sanskrit name meaning 'playing';
- Liana, a Hebrew name meaning 'god has answered' or a French name;
- Lulana, reportedly a Zulu name meaning 'the winner';
- Ayanna, an African name meaning 'flower blossom' or Hindi name meaning 'innocent';
- or even Aiyana, a Native American name meaning 'forever flowering'.
I quite like the sound of Layana, although find myself saying Layani more often. I guess it just rolls off my tongue more easily. Either one is very pretty. Both were already recent newcomers to the US charts, and I can only imagine that the exposure the name Layana will now get through 'Project Runway' will boost its use. But as I'm only one episode into the season so far, I guess that's assuming that this Layana doesn't turn out to be the hated villain of the season. Although let's face it - unless the person is really, really heinous, a little villainy doesn't necessarily hurt a name whose star is on the rise.
|The Cast of 'Project Runway' Season 11