Zooey Deschanel named her daughter Elsie Otter Pechenik, ‘like the animal’


Here are some photos of Zooey Deschanel at last night’s NYC premiere of Rock the Kasbah, a film where Zooey plays a rock star and Bill Murray plays her roadie/tour manager or something. It looks sort of stupid, honestly. It looks like the “comedy” is based on Bill Murray making fun of Arabic-speakers because they speak Arabic. Anyway, Zooey looks pretty here. She’s made very few public appearances since giving birth in August and she’s probably just enjoying her time at home with her new husband and baby. While on the red carpet, Zooey did confirm her daughter’s name too, and this is the first time we’re hearing it. Zooey, the Forever Manic Pixie Dream Girl, has named her daughter… Elsie Otter. Elsie Otter Pechenik.

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.”

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

[From People]

Elsie Otter sounds like a children’s cartoon character. Elsie Otter is BFFs with Beverly Beaver, Alonzo Alpaca and Mary Meerkat. A lot has been said about Zooey and her twee hipster nonsense, but I really and truly thought that when Zooey met a real, adult dude (Jacob), she grew up a bit. But I guess there was still a lot of twee left in Zooey. Either that or Zooey is just a massive Benedict Cumberbatch fan and we never knew.


Photos courtesy of WENN, Fame/Flynet.

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72 Responses to “Zooey Deschanel named her daughter Elsie Otter Pechenik, ‘like the animal’”

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  1. poppy says:

    to be fair, Austin is the Brooklyn of Texas.

    • Esteph says:

      Ugh that’s what it’s turning into. I am a born and raised Austinite and I really don’t like the way Austin is turning out to be, but I guess oh well.

    • V says:

      Pretty sure you mean the Williamsburg of Texas….I live in Brooklyn and believe me it’s not all filled with hipster nonsense…yet

  2. Mimz says:

    Yes i saw that on twitter, I think it’s the most ridiculous I’ve heard lately, even if it’s a little endearing how she finds it cute.
    This girl will be bullied even at the school she will attend with Apple Martin, RocketMan and Blue Ivy (insert other celebrity baby names).

    And her dress is too long, the stockings and the shoes are hideous.

    This is coming from someone who really likes Zooey.

    • SypherMomma says:

      I think the dress would have been okay, had she paired it with younger cuter looking shoes and lost the black pantyhose. She’s a beautiful woman, but she has no fashion sense.

      • ImFlying says:

        Same. I think she looks great in the dress, but she definitely needs to lose the black nylons. I can barely see the shoes but I think they are probably ok.

    • Norman Bates's Mother says:

      It’s silly but I don’t see it as a big issue as it’s only her middle name. Most people don’t use it. My middle name is simply Anna but barely anyone knows or cares and if it’s ever used – it’s only as an initial after my first name, so I wouldn’t mind even if the A. stood for Alpaca. At school she will be Elsie, while other kids you mentioned will still be Apple, Blue and Rocket. Elsie is another lovely name after Edie and Evelyn.

      I agree about the pantyhose and shoes – hideous.

      • Hudson Girl says:

        I looove the name Elsie. For me it’s due in large part to association. One of my sweetest friends is an Elsie. For me the name means someone who is hysterically silly, smart and hard worker, loyal- all about the sisterhood, and there for people when times are tough. Once you are her friend, that’s it.

      • Mimz says:

        Yeah I have no issue with Elsie. It’s the El-Sea Otter combination that she made sure we knew about. Ok maybe I’m just cranky today.
        Elsie’s a lovely name.

      • tealily says:

        I agree. And I think Otter and is cute and playful… and a middle name, so does it really matter? Zooey’s always seemed pretty mature to me, actually. Absolutely more mature that the majority of the celebs we see in this space. I don’t get why she incurs such wrath! You don’t like here clothes and her bangs, I get it. I’ve always thought she seems pretty cool as a person though.

    • Jegede says:


      Your avatar pic is really nice.

    • MG says:

      I worked with an Elsy who was a complete jerk, so I don’t care for that name. And well, Otter, just ridiculous.

      Her shoes and stockings ruin that look. But that’s her…quirky.

    • Naddie says:

      Oh my, I know Apple and Blue, but who’s RocketMan?

      • Mimz says:

        Oops Rocket Ayers Williams is Pharrell’s son. Rocket Man is the song he was inspired by to name his son. My bad.
        But you see what I mean….

  3. smcollins says:

    Eh, could be worse. It’s not like her first name is Otter. Elsie is cute, though.

  4. Hannah says:

    Sounds like she had cumberbatchs love child

  5. sensible says:

    Her husband needs to take care of his fly, or perhaps go up a pants size?

  6. littlemissnaughty says:

    I don’t get this, Elsie is fine and you think “Oh how nice, she reigned it in.” but then the name crashes and burns. Quickly. Why do adults do this? Give their kids crazy-a** names? Won’t somebody think of the children???

  7. Stef Leppard says:

    It sounds like they’re fking with us. I’m going to need to see the receipts.

    • UESider says:

      That was my thought, too–the way he jumps in made me think it was a joke or they were intentionally floating a fake name. (Though Otter could also be a family surname and they just said “like the sea animal” as a way to explain how to spell it.)

      • Stef Leppard says:

        It’s not the otter part but the El-sea otter…

      • Abbott says:

        Steph, El-sea Otter has to be a joke… right?

      • UESider says:

        Haha J/K she was just on the TODAY show and lamely explained they both just love otters for their intelligence blah blah something about them using tools. Benefit of the doubt rescinded!!

      • Dara says:

        I completely thought it was a joke, but if she doubled-down on the TODAY show then maybe not.

  8. LAK says:

    Those shoes don’t go with that dress.

  9. Jayna says:

    Elsie is an adorable name. Otter? Dear God.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      Yeah. At least it’s her middle name.

      • YES. They had enough sense to put it as her middle name. As long as it’s not a first name. But I also knew this couple that had like ten boys…..and named them all John. Their first name. And then they called them by their middle names OR John B…..which is just ridiculous.

        But my mom’s side of the family is funny with nicknames. Sometimes they never know their actual names. Like she has a cousin whose nickname is Superman. That’s what they’ve called him since he was a baby. Have no idea what his real name is. Or there was a set of identical twins–one had a huge head, other one didn’t. So they called them “Big Man”, “Little Man”. I think that is sooo cute.

  10. Patricia says:

    What a dick move, Zooey. Would you like to be named Elsie Otter?! Probably not.

  11. byland says:

    Of course it is. From now on when a person sees an otter in the wild they will not refer to it as such but as “that thing the chick from New Girl’s named her baby after.” Rebranding!

  12. Mayamae says:

    My grandmother’s name was Elsie and she disliked it so much that she went by her middle name Irene.

  13. Jonathan says:

    “Otter” is unfortunately too close to “Beaver”. This child will be teased relentlessly. C’mon, if you were a kid could you let that one pass? No way, that’s teasing gold. Sad.

    • tealily says:

      It’s the kid’s middle name. How many kids are ever going to hear it?

    • Kitten says:

      The thing is, this kid is going to grow up privileged as f*ck like every other celeb kid. I doubt people will give a sh*t what her name is, you know? She’ll be considered cool because she has famous parents.

  14. Skyblue says:

    Elsie is the new Jennifer or Emily of girl names. I know several people who have named their daughters Elsie. Otter for the middle name is kind of cute. At the end of the day, who cares?

    • hmph says:

      Yeah, Jennifer and Emily is late 80s and 90s and Ella and Isabella are the 2000s… a lot of Rose/Rosie’s and Elsie/Evelyn/Eva/Ava and boy names for girls, IDK.

  15. Dana m says:

    This must be a joke! “El- Sea Otter”?!!

    BTW, here in Austin, for the most part, people give their kids regular names. The “original” or “unique” baby naming is more of a Hollywood craze IMO.

    • michkabibbles says:

      Yeah, I feel this is a huge joke. I think we’re just so used to celebrities giving their kids weird names, we just believe it. But I think (hope) he was just kidding…

  16. Wilma says:

    I kind of think she’s trolling us here.
    Otherwise: http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/animals-can-be-giant-jerks

  17. hmph says:

    A lot of celebs give out fake names for their children to the public in order to protect their privacy. For example, it was reported that Christian Bale’s daughter was named Emmeline or something like that but it turns out that is not her actual name. We have no idea what her real name is.
    So her daughter’s name may not actually be “Elsie”. There is no way of knowing unless you see their BC.

    • Norman Bates's Mother says:

      The biggest troll was probably David Bowie. To this day people comment on how ridiculous he was for naming his son Zowie Bowie, even though his son has always been officially named Duncan Jones and Zowie was only a nickname he gave to the media. Duncan himself explained it several times on Twitter – that he never had to actually change his name because his birth certificate had his proper name on it.

      • hmph says:

        Wow. I did not know that, thanks! All this time I thought that was his real name.
        That was really stupid of him…and now I am thinking about all the other crazy names, like Inspector gadget (or whatever it was), apple etc..if they are actually really named that. Who knows.
        I get it but at the same time, if you want to throw us off don’t go crazy with it because poor kid!

      • WinnieCoopersMom says:

        @hmph – wasn’t it Pilot Inspektor? LOL i cant…too early for all this

      • Kitten says:

        That’s hilarious. David Bowie is awesome 🙂

    • Charlotte15 says:

      Isn’t it the same with Steve Martin? I don’t think anyone knows his daughter’s name.

  18. PennyLane says:

    A weird middle name is fine – the first name is unremarkable.

    She gave the kid future options, that is all; if her daughter ends up going to art school ‘Otter’ might be a good name. Or she can go to law school and be Elsie. No judgement here.

  19. claire says:

    I feel terrible about this but I kinda think it’s cute.

  20. Battyfrog says:

    Well, her name is ‘Zoo’-ey after all. Methinks there’s room for a few more twee animals in that oven…’Hilda hedgehog’ and ‘Oswald Owl’ perhaps?

  21. manda says:

    When I was a young lawyer, I had a ward named Elsie. She had dementia, she was in her late 90’s. She had been placed in a nursing home, and I was in charge of her property. I asked her if there was anything she wanted from her house, anything she wanted to do with any of her stuff. All she wanted was a small pair of scissors that she kept on her dressing table. She told me that she used to need them to clip stray eyebrow hairs but now that she was old, she needed them for stray chin hairs. She was so funny! So for me, that name will always be for really tiny, really old ladies.

  22. OTHER RENEE says:

    So instead of Elsie the Cow, she has Elsie Otter. Some people should not be allowed to name children.

    • Charlotte15 says:

      Wasn’t there a children’s book with an overweight character named Elsie? I only vaguely remember it but it is the only Elsie I’d ever heard of so I guess the name stuck in my ten-year-old head!

  23. belle de jour says:

    Elsie is the name of Borden Dairy’s spokescow & mascot.

  24. Nancypants says:

    The middle name is insignificant in my opinion.
    My business partner – of 8 years – recently asked me my middle name.
    I would think she would have known that but no matter.

    Maybe it’s because I’m older than any here or because of the area where I grew up but ELSIE is a cow name.
    It is. Elsie the Cow from Borden.
    Her cute mug was on trucks, dairy products and billboards all over the South although I think she got her start to stardom in New England.

    I like Zooey. I liked New Girl the first few seasons but she named her daughter cow otter

    • Mirawing says:

      I’m older too and vividly remember Elsie the cow. The cow was cute, but never liked the name.

  25. Dawn says:

    I like the Elsie part and the Otter part is just silly but it is only a middle name. She can happily tell her story when she is older and simply use the letter O in her signature. As for Otters, they are really a beautiful animal, sleek with big brown eyes and fantastic swimmers but mean as all hell!

  26. gogirl says:

    Elsie just reminds me of the fat girl who stole everyone’s money to buy candy in Nothing’s Fair In Fifth Grade.

    • Charlotte15 says:

      THANK YOU! That was the book I was trying to think of and it would have driven me crazy all night if I couldn’t remember the name of it. I LOVED that book. (Wasn’t there a sequel? Off to google 🙂 )

  27. Tacos and TV says:

    That name is on another level of strange. I really don’t like commenting on children, but I am hoping that Otter has a level of significance. Maybe on one of their dates they saw an Otter and that’s when Zooey found out she had a case of the babies…. I hope.

    • tealily says:

      Why would that matter? That would make you like the name better then?

      • Kitten says:

        Um, yeah it makes it better if the name Otter signifies some sort of sweet story about the two of them. I’m sure Elsie would appreciate that more than just “we named you after a semiaquatic mammal to amuse ourselves.”

      • tealily says:

        I don’t really think that makes it a less odd name, though. Nor would she be less likely to made fun of. *shrug*

  28. Kate says:

    I think Otter is silly and weird, and while I was growing up we had a pig named Elsie (I grew up on a farm, obviously), so I can’t be objective about it. Also, unrelated and an opinion which probably puts me in the minority in this fringe-hating site, but she looks 100% better with her bangs. I hope she cuts them again soon.

  29. I very much like the name Elsie. Probably because it is mine. Haha but Otter? Like wtf!