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Mariska Hargitay: Naming Our Baby Was a Family Decision

04/07/2011 at 11:30 AM ET
Amanda Schwab/Startraks

When it came time for Mariska Hargitay and husband Peter Hermann to choose a name for their 1-week-old daughter, the entire family got involved.

“We all talked about names because everything is a family decision in our house,” says Hargitay.

That meant also consulting her 4½-year-old son, August, for ideas.

“I threw out my name and he threw out his name and I said, ‘August, why do you get to name the baby?’ And he said, ‘Because it’s my idea!’” the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, 47, says with a laugh.

The family settled on Amaya Josephine — an adaptation of one of Hargitay’s favorite names, Maya.

“I liked that name, but I wanted her to have the same initials as August,” Hargitay explains. “I thought adding the ‘A’ was so feminine. Amaya sounded so open and feminine and beautiful — just like her.”

– Charlotte Triggs

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Showing 28 comments

Siana on

I am surprised to hear the name’s origin as Amaya is a Basque name, and it’s quite common in Spain (it can be spelled Amaia too) :-)

Alecia on

That’s also my daughter’s name however I spelled it ‘Amaiya’

Alexis on

I am so happy for her and her family!

Amaya Josephine is a beautiful name!

SAR on

I like the names Maya and Amaya too. They’re both very pretty. I’m glad the new baby will have the same initials as her big brother.

They’re such a sweet family.

Amitiel on

Amaia or Amaya is the oldest name in the Basque language, it means End or End of battle. It is part of the Basque mythology. My niece is called Amaia, but where Basque so that is why her name is that. It is a beautiful name, and had my brother not used it, I would have :)

Its pronounced Ah Ma Ya, or Ah Ma I Ah for any one that was wondering :)

pamela on

how do you pronounce amaya?

Jamie on

It is really cute when kids ask for a sibling. If it was August, who came up with idea of a new sibling, I would say he had a good reason to get to name the baby :-)

Laura on

Well you pronounce Maya like “MY Uh” so I’m guessing Amaya is “Uh-my-uh” but I guess we won’t know til she says it in a spoken interview!

Alli on

Babynames has Amaya listed as a Japanese name meaning Night Rain, which I think is really pretty.

Corrie on

I have so much respect for Mariska and this makes me extremely happy. Congratulations to her and the rest of the family on the new arrival. :)

Lorri on

This is wonderful news! Mariska seems like such a hands on Mom.
Love the name too!

ecl on

My parents gave me a list of 10 names and I got to pick a name off the list for my sister.

Erika on

Love the name! Thank you for giving a loving home to a child in need!

Anonymous on

As a personal fan of hers- not only as an actress but as a role model to women- I am overjoyed and so happy for her. She has already been a wonderful mother to 4 1/2 year old August, so no doubt she will be as just as wonderful a mom to little Amaya!

Allie-Rose on

Pamela – in France, we’d pronounce it “Ah-may-ah”

annachestnut on

cute story

Simone on

OMG how wonderful iam so happy for them!!!

Beautiful names and Josephine means God adds (its our 10yr olds name as well)

I know that little girl is going to grow up being very much loved what a blessing!!!!

Lisa on

I love the name I named my baby girl the same but I added a twist in the spelling Amyah…Congrats on the new addition to your family….

Terri on

I totally missed this! Congratulations to the family. I was wondering if their family would be expanding.

Capri on

Seriously people can’t pronounce Amaya?! It’s pretty common, just spelt a variety of different ways…Uh-My-A

Jillian on

Capri, you can also say it Ah-Mye-Ah….. Just saying.

Sandy on

@Simone, my 10 year old’s name is also Josephine. We call her Joey. Obviously, I think it’s a beautiful name. Congratulations to them!

Vanessa on

I myself would pronounce it as A (as in Amazon)May (as in the month)a(h). Depends too on the way you speak/your accent. Hope that makes sense!

pam on

I would have pronounced it Ah-May-Ah. I don’t get how Maya is pronounced My-ah. So that’s why I asked.

Mags on

Precious…name, baby, meaning, August’s involvement and adoption of a beautiful child in need. I love Mariska even more!

cindy on

My beautiful daughter is also Amaya Faith Kathleen and we pronounce it Ah May Ah..like the month of May

Nic on

Here in Aus we pronounce ‘Maya’ as May-a so ‘Amaya’ is ‘Ah-May-ah’ (also like the month of May as someone else said). This is my daughters name and most people pronounce it as I would, however some pronounce it the American way.
‘Myah’ or ‘Mya’ is another name altogether.

mandy on

Amaya is my daughter’s middle name, I loved the name Mya but she has a cousin named Mya, so I decided on Amaya instead her full name is Jada Darian Amaya, congrats to Mariska and her family

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