Three Months After Baby, Zooey Deschanel Reveals Her Daughter’s Name: Elsie Otter

10/19/2015 at 08:30 PM ET

It took a few months, but Zooey Deschanel has finally spilled the beans on her baby girl’s name.

The New Girl star and her husband, Jacob Pechenik, have chosen Elsie Otter for their now 3-month-old daughter, the couple told PEOPLE Wednesday at the Rock the Kasbah premiere in New York City.

“It’s Elsie…” Deschanel began, while Pechenik finished, “Otter.” “Like the animal,” the actress explained, with her husband adding, “Sea otter!”

The actress elaborated on Today Tuesday morning, saying, “We just really liked the name Elsie and then we both love otters — they’re very sweet and they’re also smart. They use tools … they hold hands while they sleep, there’s so many amazing things about otters. They’re wonderful animals.”

Born in late July in Austin, Texas, Elsie is the first child for the pair, who announced both their marriage and their daughter’s birth in August.

Zooey Deschanel Reveals Daughter's Name Is Elsie Otter Getty

Although Deschanel, 35, is keeping photos of Elsie under wraps for now, her New Girl costar Lamorne Morris assured PEOPLE that she is quite adorable.

“She’s an extremely cute baby,” the actor said back in August. “She looks like Zooey.”

Zooey Deschanel Body After Baby Rock the Kasbah Premiere
Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic

Looking slim in Lela Rose’s off-the-shoulder sparkle dress, accessorized with a Les Petits Joueurs clutch and pattern Wolford tights, the actress shared a few details about Megan Fox‘s guest appearance on the hit show while Deschanel finishes up her maternity leave.

“I’m super excited — we get to do one episode together. Essentially, [my character Jess] gets on jury duty and has to be sequestered, so the roommates rent out her room for a few weeks. I think [Megan’s] going to be fantastic.”

On Monday it was announced that Time Inc., PEOPLE’s parent company, has acquired HelloGiggles, the millennial women’s brand founded by Deschanel, Sophia Rivka Rossi and Molly McAleer in 2011.

Rock the Kasbah opens Friday, while New Girl returns in January.

— Sarah Michaud and Kristen Caires

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting , Zooey Deschanel

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Showing 65 comments

Gina on

Elsie…very cute. Otter? Wtf

Amanda on

Otter. I don’t get why anyone would give their child that Middle name.

klutzy_girl on

Otter’s a “what” choice but at least it’s the middle name. Elsie’s a nice name!

Anonymous on

El-Sea Otter?

Jessica on

Otter? How stupid. She named her kid after a hairy rodent. I mean really.

Jessica on

So….you go out of your way to name your baby after a hairy rodent. Way to show how much you care.

Maria on

@Anonymous I thought I was the only one who noticed. She named her baby “The Sea Otter.”

Librababe on

PB, J — and Elsie — Otter? (any ’90s/’00s kids remember that Disney show?)

I knew Zooey’s kid’s name would be different. But I wasn’t expecting Otter.

Guest on

I’ve always liked her. And how well-timed that she reveals the name right before Rock the Kasbah comes out!

Jen on

Cute first name. WTF at the middle name.

weee on

Of course

rubyovertherainbow* on


Anonymous on

No girl is ever going to thank you for the middle name “Otter”. Dear baby…don’t tell anyone.

Meghan on

Stupid. She’s a child, not a pet, you pathetic ‘hipsters’

M on

Let’s just stop with Elsie. I can cope with Elsie.

edie on

A sea otter is not a hairy rodent.

Sue on

Is this a joke?

ImALadyToo on

No offense, but all I can think of when I hear that name is Elsie the Cow.

Sunny on

SMH why is this happening to children? What is so cool and hip about naming your baby after a sea animal? Elsie is also bad. I’m sure she’s adorable the name is just not fit for anyone.

Faith on

What a couple of @$$holes! Otter…..seriously?!!

Edie on

Oh, these silly hipsters.

Faith on

What a couple of @$$holes. Otter….seriously?!

Sharon on

What in the world do they have against this poor little baby? Why didn’t they just name her “kick me” … it’s child abuse. Smh

Lisa on

Elsie the Cow has udders…oops otters…wtf.

Kim Chrisman on

These people otter know better

Anonymous on

I can imagine she is really cute, but is the surname their two names hyphenated? I HOPE NOT, what a mess that would be! Combine them and get Deschenik, or Desnik…

As to those making fun of the middle name, they otter be ashamed of themselves.

lolo on

I bet she is cute! I hope her last name isn’t hyphenated with those two surnames, what a mess that would be! Combine them to get Desnick, maybe?
As for those making fun of the middle name, they otter be ashamed of themselves.

Marianne on

Ok, Elsie is cute, and Ortter? Maybe, just maybe, Elsie was very active before she was born. Swimming and tossing and turning in her Moma’s belly, like a little otter-

Common on


Kestrel on

It’s a middle name – who cares? If you’re going to go with an unusual name, bury it in the middle so nobody has to use it. At worst, she can be Elsie O. Whatever.
Still, it sounds like El Sea Otter. It also sounds like they knew it’d be picked apart.

T Smithers on

You know… I get certain animals as names (my dad is Muscogee), but… Otter? I’m really hoping there’s a fantastic story associated with it. Perhaps a good friend who’s passed away’s nickname? A pet name for one of the grandparents (somehow)? If there’s not a story behind it other than, “Oh, gee. I love sea otters” I will absolutely feel for this kid in her future.

mic on

elsie otter change her middle name. i hope she doesnt look like one

Jennifer on

Sounds like a joke to get people off their back.

Anonymous on

Kestrel- Exactly! Most people don’t use their middle names in their every day lives (and even when signing legal documents and such, you can usually get away with just using your middle initial rather than the full name), so she’ll probably be just fine. 🙂

Ugh on

Unless Otter is a family name, that’s just ridiculous. Making a joke of your child’s name–“El Sea Otter”–is sick. And what is it with these stars refusing to tell the baby’s name for weeks or months after the kid is born? It obviously has nothing to do with privacy because if that was the case, they’d never tell. So what is it, just some bid to stretch out the publicity they get over it? Every move these people make is choreographed. You wonder if there’s even a real person underneath the mask or if they’ve sold their souls a long time ago.

Denise on

Cute. I think they may be joking around with the otter-thing but if not, I like it. Otters are the cutest animals in the world.

gardenboy on

Stupid people.Maybe the next one will be called Beaver !!

Marky on

I think it must be a joke…..whatever. Celebs don’t seem to realize that stunts like this aren’t amusing to those who are fans, and that after while, people who support them by buying tickets, DVDs, etc, just stop because the celebs who do this sort of thing..”Oh, my baby’s name is a big secret! Maybe I don’t even have a baby, who knows? Oh, I must protect my child’s privacy and never let you know what they look like….”, especially celebs who have been all over the place before….they just seem as if they are pretentious and think they are the biggest deal on the planet. Most of them aren’t even that good at what they do, and next thing you know….jobs aren’t even there any more.

martina on

Maybe it’s just Elsie and they were just joking about the ‘otter’ part? It doesn’t seem real that anyone would name their daughter The Sea Otter. I really think they were kidding.

bb on

It always bugs me when celebs with normal names bestow ridiculous names on their children. Example: Marie Osmond’s daughter gave her sweet new baby girl the first name “Rocket”. Really? The parents’ names? Rachel and Gabriel. To me, it’s self-indulgent. You aren’t thinking of the child and them being saddled with that for life. This girl will someday be a 40 yr old named Elsie OTTER. Think about it, parents. It may be cute in the moment, but think about the future!

Leigh on

It is so obvious that this name was picked for some sort of “cool” factor, when in reality it is just plain stupid.

Vanessa on

A sea otter may not be a hairy rodent, but it is a moronic name.

Guest on

I bet they thought they were so clever having some inside joke related to her name…el sea otter…the sea otter. Except that neither of you are nearly as clever or original as you think you are, and you are trying way too hard. In the grand scheme of things you are tiny spec. This screams that you think you are the center of the universe.

Truthfinder on

Like otters have said…If OTTER is a family name then, fine. If not, what are they thinking? Is this a game Hollywood plays? Who can out do the otter with the most outrageous name? If so, they otter be ashamed!

Guest! on

They have a name picked out for a boy someday–“Tony the Tiger!” 😉

Sara on

Why do celebrities compete to give their children the stupidest names?

arabrabbra on

I Just stayed in a hippie Air B and B in NOLA ( would recommend to ANYONE who wants a crazy experience, look up Hippie Bywater Bus on Air BnB) and the woman who runs it was named Otter! I mean, it suited her that is for sure. Never got to ask her why…Love Zooey, congrats! I bet that baby is cute with big eyes.

Barb on

They were probably both stoned at the naming.

Julie on

Kind of funny, but my 3X Great-Grandfather was named Otter— so my mother’s maiden name means “Otter’s son.” Therefore I (briefly) considered naming my son Firstname Otter Lastname, until I realized that combination would have made his initials P.O.S. It’s unusual, but I think the middle name is an very appropriate place for parents to get creative. It’s not like her classmates are going to be calling her by her full legal name.

Julie on

Oh and Otter is a legitimate (boys) first name in Norway. It’s a variant of Ottar, after Óttarr Vendilkráka Egilsson, 6th Century semi-legendary king of Sweden. (Same person was know as Ohthere/Ohtere in the poem Beowulf.)

kim on

I wouldn’t name my child Giraffe or Shark but I love both creatures. Common sense isn’t so common anymore.

alearose on

Otter? O.o


Anonymous on

I think it’s cute. Better than some boring ass name like Ann or Kayleigh. Easy to spell, cute, and unique.

Nycgirl437 on

Why does one of her feet have no polka dots?

Bee on

Yes otters are cute but they have also been known to rape baby seals to death, steal other otters babies as ransom for food and other terrible things I learned from watching otter documentaries. I can’t look at them the same and on top of that, the childs name sounds like a cartoon character 😦

Anna on

Guess I’m in the minority here, but I love it! It’s very lyrical. My friend gave her son the middle name Fox for pretty much the same reason. Otters are adorable. It really doesn’t matter what your name is, kids make fun of anything. My middle is Belle which literally means beauty but I remember some kids thinking it was weird and making fun of it. Which isn’t exactly the worst trauma I faced as a kid. Elsie will probably be pretty cool having such a strong female role model so I doubt it will make much difference if a few a-hole kids make fun of it. As an adult, most will probably assume it is a second last name. Don’t even know why there is an outrage; do you have a problem with Birdie, Wolf, Leo, Lark, Kitty, Raven, Merle, Corbin, Griffin, Robin? Cat Stevens or Tiger Woods?

jessiemaystorm on

Otter is an unusual choice, sure, but it’s not totally unheard of and sounds pretty cute with Elsie I think. To each their own.

Anonymous on

Marky- What’s wrong with celebrities wanting to keep their children’s lives private (I get that that obviously isn’t so much the case here, but you were speaking about celebs in general, so that is what I am answering about)? I can understand getting upset when a celeb denies that they’ve had a baby when everyone knows they have. But otherwise, I don’t know why they should have to share their kids with the world!

EA on

What a mindless moron Zooey Deschanel is!

Sally on

Um the name is kinda strange.

Katie on

El Sea Otter? really. And not to be too morbid but she talks about all this lovely stuff about otters, but ask anyone studying otter behavior and they’ll tell you that the males hold the females under the water and forcibly mate with them.. And in some instances males will perform necrophilia.. Sometimes on baby seals as well as otters

Rachel dykes on

she looks great with some weight on her, and i am so glad she has found someone to settle down with. They make a cute couple.

jmasin on

owow wooe ewoke oeoe eoo ek ekoekoe

lisa on

It’s cool, and otters are freaking adorable.
I feel bad for the kids name “braeden” or “neveah”
Horrible horrible.

Zara Tibbins on

Congratulations on the birth of your daughter, I love the name, we had a baby boy in March 2016 and his name is otter jody Keith.