Do you know the wicked stepsisters’ names?
We all know the story of Cinderella. There’s a Pumpkin coach with footmen mice, the handsome prince and one glass slipper, left behind when the clock strikes twelve. An exhaustive search roils the kingdom, but it all ends happily ever after.
The tale originates in the ancient world, and we’ve reinvented it frequently. While our heroine’s name remains relatively stable, those wicked stepsisters? They’re named and re-named with nearly every new telling.
While most stories give us a deliciously self-absorbed duo, some writers cut the stepsisters to just one jealous competitor. And others make one of the pair more sympathetic, even a friend to Cinderella.
If you grew up with the Disney version of the story, this might take you by surprise. And the list of gorgeous girl names worn by wicked stepsisters? It’s much longer than you might guess.
CINDER + ELLA
Before we get to the sisters, it’s worth noting that the princess remains the same. She’s called Cendrillon in French and Cenerentola in Italian. The Brothers Grimm named her Aschenputtel. They all translate to almost the same thing – a reference to ashes or cinders in the hearth, a name for a lowly servant girl.
Sometimes it is clear that this is a nickname, and not a very nice one. In other stories, it is the only name she’s given throughout the story. Most recently, from Disney’s live action reboot to Amazon’s 2021 musical version, her real name is Ella.
Anastasia and Drizella/Drisella – Maybe the best known version of the stepsisters’ names was popularized by Disney’s animated classic. The 2015 live action adaptation kept the names – and the sisters’ selfish, spoiled personalities. The ‘z’ spelling comes from the animated version, while the ‘s’ spelling appears in the live action one. Amazon’s 2021 reboot will also give us wicked stepsisters named Anastasia and Drizella.
Zelly and Stacy – Here’s a twist. A Disney+ version of the classic tale will give us a male Cinderella. Well, he’s Sneakerella, and his prince is Kira King, daughter of a sneaker empire magnate. The main character answers to El, and Zelly and Stacy are his just plain awful stepbrothers. Still, the names are unisex enough to make this list – and they’re clearly nods to Disney’s standard go-tos for wicked steps across the years.
Alice and Marianne – Diane Stanley’s 2006 novel Bella at Midnight gave the wicked stepsisters these traditional names.
Beverly – ABC Family is big on Cinderella-esque tales, and in their 2011 A Cinderella Story: Once Upon a Song, Lucy Hale plays the worthy Cinderella-esque Katie. Beverly is her undeserving stepsister.
Brianna and Gabriella – Hilary Duff played Samantha/Cinderella/Diner Girl in 2004’s A Cinderella Story. The sisters’ names are all pitch-perfect for California teenagers. This version adds a few twists. Brianna and Gabriella are twins, plus there’s a bonus mean girl, a cheerleader called Shelby.
Britt and Bree – There’s something fun about this duo – individually I wouldn’t notice them, but together, I rather expect them to be horrible! When Selena Gomez stepped into the glass slippers for 2008’s Another Cinderella Story, these were her spoiled stepsisters.
Catherine and Jeanne – You might expect the most unusual stepsister names from Cinderella Monogatari, an Italian-Japanese anime version made for television in 1996. But they went with the traditional – and plausible – Catherine and Jeanne.
Charlotte and Gabrielle – The 2013 Broadway reboot of the classic tale features a much more modern spin on the story. Cinderella is Ella, and her stepsisters are Charlotte and Gabrielle. It gave all three characters names that they would share with the girls in the audience.
Doris and Mabel – In the Shrek franchise, we eventually meet Cinderella, as well as her stepsisters, Doris and Mabel.
Hattie and Olive – Ella Enchanted isn’t exactly a Cinderella story. Ella of Frell’s biggest problem is the gift of obedience, not a wayward glass slipper. She does, however, have a pair of rotten stepsisters with these names.
Malvolia and Narissa – Camila Cabello plays an entrepreneurial Ella in the 2021 Amazon musical take on the tale. This time, her stepsisters answer to Malvolia and Narissa. The first sister’s name sounds like malevolent. Maybe the second is related to narcissistic?
Clorinda and Tisbe – This pair comes from the French opera by Isouard. The opera debuted in 1810, and was the favored version of the tale until Rossini’s Italian version came along in 1817. Rossini kept the stepsisters’ names the same, but called his Cinderella Angelina.
Odette and Aloisa – A ballet version used these names. It was first performed in 1893 in St. Petersburg. In Russian, Cinderella is Zolushka.
Noemie and Dorothee – In Jules Massenet’s 1899 opera, the stepsisters answer to these appealing names.
MID-CENTURY WICKED STEPSISTERS
Araminta and Arethusa – Eleanor Farjeon re-christened the stepsisters with these lovely names. The Glass Slipper came out in 1944.
Birdina and Serafina – Back in 1955, MGM released The Glass Slipper, their musical take on the famous story. Leslie Caron played the lovely Cinderella. Elsa Lanchester – famous as the Bride of Frankenstein – played her none-too-nice stepmother.
Della and Golda – During the 1960s, an off-Broadway production titled just Cindy gave these names to the stepsisters.
Portia and Joy – Rodgers and Hammerstein took a shot at a musical adaptation of the classic tale in 1957. It was written for television, with Julie Andrews as Cinderella.
Prunella and Esmerelda – A 1965 refresh of the Rodgers and Hammerstein version resulted in another name change. This time, the sisters answered to Prunella and Esmerelda.
Venus and Olive – Years before Brandy played the princess, Cindy was an all-black production made for television, set in World War II-era Harlem. Venus and Olive were the stepsisters’ names. The actresses went on to far greater successes – Nell Carter played Olive, and Alaina Reed-Hall – you know her as Sesame Street’s Olivia – was Venus.
Armelinda and Maguelonne – Pauline Viardot started out as an opera star. By the early twentieth century, she had graduated to composing. She wasn’t the first to tackle Cinderella, but her version renamed the stepsisters Armelinda and Maguelonne. Maguelonne is a very rare diminutive form of Margeurite.
Clothilde – A 2010 Austrian reinvention of the story reduces the stepsisters from two to one. In the German-language Aschenputtel, there’s only Clothilde.
Domino and Taffy – In 1990, Jennifer Grey and Rob Lowe co-starred in an update to the story called If the Shoe Fits. Taffy and Domino weren’t wicked stepsisters. Instead, they’re Jennifer Grey’s awful roommates.
Florinda and Lucinda – Stephen Soundheim’s Into the Woods was a Tony Award-winning fairytale extravaganza in the 1990s. It features many a familiar tale, including Cinderella and her two stepsisters. This time, they’re Florinda and Lucinda. The 2014 movie version kept the names.
Isobella and Palatine – A 1976 British production gave these names to the wicked stepsisters.
Marguerite and Jacqueline – You’ve probably seen Drew Barrymore’s turn as Cinderella-Danielle in 1998’s fairytale-inspired Ever After. Jacqueline was the nice stepsister, while Marguerite was as wicked as they come.
Minerva and Calliope – Parents of this generation might remember the 1997 television version, featuring Whitney Houston as the fairy godmother, and Brandy in the title role. Her stepsisters? Minerva and Calliope.
Pearl and Peony – These names come from Marissa Meyer’s Cinder, the first book in her fairytales-revamped extravaganza. Peony is a sweetheart. Meanwhile, Pearl is the traditional villain.
Originally published on September 26, 2014, this post was revised and updated on July 13, 2019 and again on August 2, 2021. Thanks to readers’ comments for additions to the list!
Cosima and Casimira.
There is a 1970s era Czechoslovakian Cinderella / Christmas movie, “Tři oříšky pro Popelku” (“Three Nuts for Cinderella”) that’s still really popular in Czech culture today, as well as in other Central and Eastern European counties. It’s actually quite a cult classic. In Germany (it’s called “Drei Haselnüsse für Aschenbrödel”), they hold themed balls! It’s a beloved Christmas staple for sure.
This time there’s only one step-sister and her name is Dora.
is the 2015 movie “Cinderella” the one with Lily James and Cate Blanchett? The steppies were also Anastasia and (spelled) Drusilla.
I think the name Drizella is very pretty. I like how it has the “ella” at the end, Ella would be a cute nickname for Drizella.
Elizabeth Johnson says
I have a book adaptation written by Diane Stanley called “Bella at Midnight”. In it, the step-sisters are called Marianne and Alice.
I always thought the stepsisters were called Anastasia and Drusilla, but just now looked that up and see that “Drizella Tremaine is the dark brunette-haired older daughter of Lady Tremaine.[in the 1950 Disney version of “Cinderella”] Her name is commonly misspelled as “Drusilla”.” Wonder how I missed that all these years!
There is another Italian version with Cinderella called Zezolla, and the Egyptian version where Cinderella is Rhodopis. Rhoda, which makes a great nickname for Rhodapis, and makes me think of the names from the Guys and Dolls era, making it a bit more modern. 🙂
Britt and Bree seem like a good set of wicked stepsister names to me.
There’s also a (quite good!) modern Cinderella movie called If The Shoe Fits, starring Jennifer Grey and Rob Lowe. Jennifer Grey plays a struggling young shoe designer in Paris. Instead of wicked stepsisters, she has two wicked roommates named Taffy and Domino.
Laura D says
My favorite version is the 1965 Rodgers and Hammerstein version with Lesley Ann Warren. The sisters are named Prunella and Esmeralda.
Really? That’s awesome!
Also my favorite!!!!
In another adaptation of Cinderella, “Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister,” Gregory Maguire names his stepsisters Iris and Ruth, while Cinderella is Clara. It has been years since I read the book, but this post has inspired me to give it a re-read.
This is a fantastic list, by the way. Nice work!
This is my favorite post so far! Awesome job! I think Cinderella and her sister’s unique names are what got me so name obsessed since childhood. I really enjoyed reading this one!
Thanks, Sarah – it’s quite the list, isn’t it?
Brooke Cussans says
They are a surprisingly pretty bunch for “wicked” characters!
My all time favourite pair is Araminta and Arethusa (or Minty and Thusy), from the Eleanor Farjeon novel “The Glass Slipper”
Ooh … Araminta and Arethusa are great additions to the list!
Christina Fonseca says
Pearl and Peony are gorgeous names and would make a wonderful sibset!!!
The Mrs. says
Minerva and Calliope for the win! Minnie and Callie are the most adorable nicknames. Both are Greek, both have three or more syllables, both are underused. LOVE this sibset… but not for bad girls!
For the meanies, Venus and Olive. Together, they sound dull, disjointed, and irritable.
Love this list, Abby!
Oh, I love your description of Venus and Olive – that’s exactly what those stepsisters are supposed to be, right?
Minerva and Calliope were the choice I made…just “sounds” nasty…LOL.
I like Pearl and Peony and Isobella and Palatine. I’m not sure any of the names, on their own, seem especially wicked stepsister-y other than Drizella. It has a harsh sound and doesn’t look particularly appealing either. This one I can see as a wicked stepsister.
Agreed – Drizella seems like it was invented for the character. Sort of a spin on Griselda, maybe?
Or maybe its from Drusilla/Drucilla/Drusilda and its many many forms of other spellings. I once saw an old 1800 birth record, where it was spelled Druzilda. So it could be a spin off, considering that standardization in spelling is really a recent thing.