Thursday, January 17, 2013


Chloe Grace Moretz as telekinetic teen Carrie in the 2013 remake of Stephen Kings 'Carrie'
The posters for the new 'Carrie' movie sport the tagline "You Will Know Her Name". And indeed they are right. 2013 will likely be a big year for Carrie, with two of the most famous fictional Carries returning to the screen.

This week saw the first episode of 'The Carrie Diaries' air on CW. For those unaware, this show is the prequel to the much loved 'Sex and The City'. It follows the life of a teenage Carrie Bradshaw (played by Anna-Sophia Robb) as she deals with the death of her mother, the perils of high school and becoming....well....Carrie Bradshaw.

And then in October this year Chloe Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore star in the remake of Stephen King's 'Carrie', the chilling tale of a mousy teen whose telekinetic powers take on a hellish turn when high school bullying and her oppressive mother become too much for her.

Despite the well recognised "scary" Carrie - first portrayed by Sissy Spacek in 1976 - the popularity of Carrie does not seem to have suffered. When America started keeping SSA records in 1880, Carrie sat at a high #20 on the charts. In 1915 she slipped out of the top 100, and slowly declined for a number of years before re-entering the top 100 in 1968.

In 1976 when the original 'Carrie' came out, she was at a peak for that decade of #28, a position that remained steady in 1977 when Carrie Fisher made Princess Leia a cult figure in the first (now technically the fourth) Star Wars movie, 'Star Wars:A New Hope'. Her popularity waned again after that, and in 2009 fell out of the top #1000 for the first time.

But I don't think this is because Carrie has lost any of it's charm. Maybe we have just become a little Carrie-wary. Carrie Bradshaw graced our screens for 6 seasons (over 7 years), to be followed by 2 movies. Stephen King's 'Carrie' remains a Halloween favourite, and Carrie Fisher has become an almost legendary figure for Star Wars fans. In addition to that, we also have:

  • American Idol winner Carrie Underwood
  • Carrie Brownstein, singer, writer and actor in 'Portlandia'
  • 'The Matrix' actress Carrie-Anne Moss
  • American dancer, choreographer and 'Dancing With The Stars' judge Carrie Ann Inaba
  • 'King of Queens' main character Carrie, played by Leah Rimini
  • Actress Carrie Preston, who plays Arlene on 'True Blood'
  • Lead character of 'Homeland', Carrie Mathison, portrayed by Claire Danes
  • plus many, many more notable Carries!

So many Carries could mean we feel it's overused, but a big positive is that it also means that society doesn't have a particular stereotype for this name. You could be a fashionista, a writer, a dancer, a musician, a political activist and a powerful force to be reckoned with. People wouldn't necessarily see Carrie on a resume and think "dumb blonde", "sound's like a snob" or "that's a stripper name". Carrie is familiar, but by no means boring.

Carrie - like so many names ending in "ie" - started as a pet name, most notably for Caroline (Stephen Kings Carrie was actually short for Carietta, which has never appeared in the US charts). This gives it an Old German origin, and a meaning of 'free man'. Many names with this "ie" ending are being polished off and are making an appearance on today's birth certificates.

Carrie may be one of the few that was too recently popular to fall into the "vintage charm" category that characterises most of these re-discovered names. But with two fresh, beautiful young women playing teenage Carries this year, we are once again reminded that Carrie can be youthful, vibrant and strong. And that can be a powerful combination. One way or another, we'll be seeing a lot of Carrie in 2013.

Anna Sophia Robb as a youthful Carrie Bradshaw in 'The Carrie Diaries'

1 comment:

  1. I would love to use the name Carrie Brownstein because sleater Kinney are my fave band, or more recently from the tv show Portlandia but feel that everyone will think it is inspired by sex and the city.