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A TV icon and cool-girl appeal: Why Aussie parents have fallen hard for the baby name Frankie.

“Frankie” is having a bit of a moment.

In October last year, Jennifer Hawkins and husband Jake Wall welcomed their first daughter, Frankie Violet, into the world. In December, Kris Smith and Sarah Boulazeris welcomed their second daughter, Frankie Elle. The same month, American singer Cassie and her husband Alex Fine announced the birth of their little girl, Frankie Stone.

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Obviously, there’s a lot of love for Frankie right now. But the interesting thing is that Australian parents love Frankie a lot more than anyone else. Frankie has been among the top 50 girls’ names in Australia for the past couple of years, while not even making the top 100 in either the UK or the US.

In the UK, Frankie is more popular as a boys’ name (Freddie, Reggie, Ronnie, Alfie, Albie, etc, are all big for British baby boys).

In the US, Frankie got a boost in 2014 when Drew Barrymore and Will Kopelman named their second daughter Frankie, a sister for Olive, after rejecting the names Hazel and Pepper.

“Hazel’s a great name [but] no, that’s two shades of green,” Barrymore told Ellen DeGeneres at the time.

“And I love the name Pepper so much, but we were like, ‘Olive and Pepper. Like that’s two things you find in a pantry.’”

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Frankie entered the US girls’ top 1000 the following year for the first time in four decades, but it didn’t get very high.

So why have Australian parents fallen so hard for the name?

Well, there are a few possible reasons. Firstly, it has that cute vintage thing going on (think Evie, Elsie, Sadie) and secondly, it has that cool gender-neutral vibe (think Charlie, Riley, Darcy). You can call your kid Frankie and claim it’s in honour of some older relative of either gender.

In 2016, Scrubs actress Sarah Chalke announced she’d named her daughter Frankie after her grandfather. (Of course, in the past, Frankie was often a nickname. Comedian Frankie Boyle was originally a Francis, singer Frankie Valli a Francesco and Malcolm In The Middle star Frankie Muniz a Francisco.)

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Still, how about this whole Australian obsession?

Okay, so in 2004, Love My Way came along – just one of the greatest Australian dramas ever, with the beloved Claudia Karvan starring as Francesca “Frankie” Paige. That must have put the name in a lot of people’s heads.

Then, in 2013, another truly great Australian drama came along – Wentworth, with Nicole da Silva starring as Francesca “Franky” Doyle. Franky was ruthless, brutal and totally smoking hot.

The following year, 2014, Frankie entered the Australian girls’ top 100 for the first time. Coincidence? Unlikely. If you wanted to give your little girl a name with an “I’m cute, but don’t mess with me” kind of vibe, you couldn’t do much better than Frankie.

See? So many reasons to love it.

What gender-neutral names do you love? Let us know in the comments below.

Feature image: Instagram/@jakewwall @krissmith13

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