Meet the teenage girl who has named 200,000 Chinese babies.

Would you let a 16-year-old girl name your baby?

That’s just what 200,000 Chinese families have done. They paid British teenager Beau Jessup to help them choose a culturally appropriate name for their newborn.

The 16-year-old student, at the exclusive Cheltenham Ladies College in Gloucestershire, has earned more than $84,000 (AUD) since her baby naming service began six months ago.

She told Gloucestershire Live that while all Chinese babies are given a traditional Chinese name at birth, which is written in Chinese characters, there is now a massive demand for Chinese to also adopt an additional English name.

School students, teenagers and business people all use them for ease and for use on email and study in the west.

Even businesses often have a space on forms for “Chinese name” and “English name”.

These names were traditionally chosen at school by an English teacher or by kids themselves but as evidenced by the plethora of “Cherries”, “Cinderellas” and “Apples” out there, many Chinese have yearned for a better option.

Enter Beau Jessup.

The teenager told The Telegraph that she came up with the idea during a family visit to China when a friend of her parents asked her to suggest an English name for their newborn baby.

Beau said she decided to set up the website after hearing some of the “embarrassing” English names like Rolex, Gandalf and Pizza.

“When I went to China I kept being asked to name babies for my parents’ friends. They explained an English name is vital because you can’t use a Chinese name on email or a university application to the UK.  Your English name stays with you for life.

“But I also heard lots of examples where people had chosen culturally inappropriate English names they’d heard from films or read online and realised there was an opportunity to help Chinese people get it right from the start.”

According to Quora, in a post that went viral on social media, the Chinese are notorious for picking somewhat socially awkward English names.


There are those thought to be sweet and pretty like Apple, Cherry, Chocolate, Lemon, Cake, Pie, Treacle and Melon.

Those thought to be exotic like Snow White, Cinderella and Elsa, and those that are just plain old odd like Lightning, Tomphy, Rabbit, Eggs, Faceman, Seven, Eleven, Pizza, Evian, Duck, Devil. Whale. Chlorophyll, Violante,  and Tomato.

Shall we name her Treacle or Tomato? Via IStock.

Beau said that people often try and get a cultural reference in there but as a name, it doesn’t quite fit.

“Being exposed to luxury items and things like Harry Potter, Disney films and Lord of the Rings means they use those for reference. I once heard of someone called Gandalf and another called Cinderella," said Beau.

Her website asks parents to select from a list of 12 personality traits they hope their baby will have as an adult and then allocates three culturally-appropriate names for the baby, along with the original meaning of the name and a famous namesake such as Grace Kelly or Catherine Middleton.

From the site, Special Name.

It then shares the shortlist of suggested names with friends and family via Chinese messaging giant We-Chat and asks family and friends to help make the final choice.

One user, Songbu Wang told Gloucestershire Live the website helped her chose her son's English name.

“My friends told me specialname was very useful, so I decided to have a try.

“I chose Nathan because it sounds strong, what's more, I have seen the definition from my specialname certificate; Nathan means 'generous'.

For Beau, who is using the profits to go towards her university fees, it's nice to be a part of a baby’s life.

"It is called 'special name' and it's based on individual preference and what they personally want their child to be. It's nice to be a part of such a happy experience and be a part of those young stages in a baby's life."

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