One day when I was walking around near my old apartment in SoHo, I almost bumped right into Elizabeth Berkley. I did a double-take and thought to myself, "OMG, Jessie Spano from Saved by the Bell?!?!" Awesome! Of course, then, I remembered that she was also in Showgirls, but I couldn't really put my finger on anything else she's done as of late. Well, now we're finding out what she's been up to all of this time: Coaching teen girls!
She actually has been out and about promoting her brand new book, Ask Elizabeth: Real Answers to Everything You Secretly Wanted to Ask About Love, Friends, Your Body ... And Life in General, which covers a variety of topics -- from bullying to body image and sex. And it's getting rave reviews from tons of stars, from Cameron Diaz to Janet Jackson and Vanessa Hudgens!
I guess after all of those years of dealing with tons of late '80s-early '90s teen issues you can think of in the fictional hallways of Bayside High, she figured she might be able to relay some wisdom to today's young girls. Maybe save them from taking caffeine pills, then finding themselves dressed in spandex from head-to-toe, singing, "I'm so excited! I'm so excited ... I'm so SCARED!!!!!" (Classic, right?)
But, in all seriousness, it's really awesome that Berkley has basically transformed herself into a guru of sorts for teen girls. Her new book is actually the result of five years' experience volunteering her time working with over 30,000 teen girls on self-esteem in 'Ask Elizabeth' workshops around the country. The goal: Provide teens with a safe environment to share and confess their private thoughts and problems.
What seems to be the most effective part of what Berkley's doing is that she's not just standing up at a podium preaching to crowds of young female faces. She's actually getting them involved in helping one another. She explained to PopEater:
I set a framework to enable the girls to help each other. I don't profess to have all the answers. I provide a safe place with certain exercises and methods that allow them to feel safe at every turn. I don't talk at them, I talk with them.
AWESOME! She elaborates that it's not enough to talk; offering the girls tons of ideas and options for taking action is important too.
She also said that girls seem to be struggling the most with self-loathing, and that just breaks my heart. How are these young women supposed to feel strong, powerful, empowered to figure out who they are and what they can accomplish -- if they're spending so much time and exerting so much energy hating on themselves? It's heartbreaking, and it's totally an epidemic that needs to be addressed on a large scale.
That's why a program and a book like Berkley's seem to be called for now more than ever. It's really thrilling to see a star (she's no Rob Pattinson, but she'll do) become so active and vocal about the issue. Go, Jessie Spano!!!
Do you think the Ask Elizabeth book and workshops sound like great resources for teen girls?
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