You guys, we have a very, very special interview on the blog today. As most of you know, I recently launched The Kind Coalition – a clothing and home goods line which donates 50% of its profits to three amazing anti-bullying organizations, including No Bully. Through No Bully, I was lucky enough to meet one of their OUTSTANDING teen ambassadors, Carrie Berk.
No, really. You’re going to be blown away by her laundry list of accomplishments: she’s written 21 books to date, licensed them as off-Broadway shows, been awarded as Outstanding Individual Performance at the New York Musical Festival, launched her style empowerment blog, Carrie’s Chronicles, and served as an Instagram Live correspondent for Girls’ Life, covering red carpet arrivals and celeb interviews at the Teen Choice Awards. And guys – trust me when I say that these are the cliff notes.
I’ve been lucky enough to cross paths with Carrie in our mutual efforts to support No Bully in their mission to eradicate bullying, and we’ve recently teamed up for an exciting new project that I can’t wait for her to share with you!! Take a read!
Carrie! I’m so excited to chat with you. You are quite an impressive young woman – you published your first book series, The Cupcake Club, when you were only in second grade, and have gone on to write two more series (Fashion Academy, Ask Emma) since. What inspired your love of writing?
I was first introduced to the concept of realistic fiction in second grade. It fascinated me how someone could extract important themes from real life and put them into fictional scenarios. I came home from school one day and penned a paragraph that told the story of The Cupcake Club, four middle-school outsiders who come together in a baking group to combat bullying. My mom, who is a celebrity ghostwriter, forwarded the idea to her agent, and we had three publishers who wanted to work with us!
And you also have your own lifestyle blog, Carrie’s Chronicles. What made you decide to venture into blogging as well?
Two summers ago, I was a part of the Seventeen Magazine Fashion Experience. I had always loved to write, but interning at Hearst really ignited my passion for fashion. I decided to combine my two interests to create a blog called Carrie’s Chronicles, which has now evolved into a full-on style empowerment website with articles on food, fitness, beauty, style, entertainment, places & spaces, and more! The site also boasts a Carrie’s Q & A section featuring exclusive interviews with today’s top celebrities.
What is your favorite thing about being a writer and blogger?
My favorite thing about being a writer/blogger is that I get to empower others through my platform. My style empowerment motto, “Your Style, Your Superpower,” demonstrates how others should embrace their individuality unapologetically. It has been amazing to see others adopt and share the message, especially through my recent t-shirt collaboration with Fini Shoes and No Bully (I am a teen ambassador for the non-profit).
What do you find to be the most challenging part about creating content – whether fiction or non-fiction?
Trying to make the writing as authentic as possible. Although it often comes naturally to write in Emma’s voice, since she is modeled after my younger self, I’m a perfectionist and I doubt myself and my abilities at times. I’m so lucky to have people who constantly lift me up and inspire self-confidence. In terms of my website, it’s hard to hone in on just a few articles a week—I have so many ideas, I could be writing 24/7!
Your latest series, Ask Emma, was motivated by your personal experience as a teen lifestyle blogger and someone who has experienced cyberbullying firsthand. Can you tell us a bit about the series and why you felt moved to share your experiences?
Ask Emma tells the story of a middle-school advice blogger named Emma Woods (inspired by Jane Austen’s Emma) who faces online bullies. As someone who was bullied on social media growing up, I felt a responsibility to share my story through Emma and show others how to deal with that type of situation.
How do you handle cyberbullying?
Do not give power to the bullies by reciprocating negativity. It is our responsibility as a community to support each other and choose kindness. If you ignore whoever is hurting you and instead surround yourself with people who love and support you, the bully won’t matter.
When you’re not busy blogging and writing, you also serve as a Teen Ambassador for the anti-bullying non-profit, No Bully. Tell us a bit about that. How did you get involved? What are some of your responsibilities?
No Bully is a non-profit organization that encourages students to practice empathy in order to eradicate bullying worldwide. When I learned about the program, I was immediately drawn to it. I loved their message and it perfectly aligned with my brand and beliefs. I even dedicated the first book in the Ask Emma series to No Bully, as I am so inspired by their work. Today, I continue to help spread their message and engage in frequent collaborations.
Most recently, you scripted and filmed a PSA video “Girls Against Bullying” starring several teen celebs/influencers as well as real girls. What inspired this PSA?
We are living in a very important time for women’s rights. More and more, women are standing up and supporting their fellow females, empowering each other to make their voices heard. But I noticed a huge disconnect between what these women are doing and what young women are doing. Instead of lifting each other up, teen and tween girls are frequently tearing each other down. Bullying and cyberbullying is rampant—especially among girls. And it has to stop. Teenagers are the voices of change, and I knew that if we all came together, we could get one step closer to eradicating bullying. I am so grateful that we have a variety of teens and celebrities on board to help spread our message, and we hope you can support by reposting the video and tagging @carrieberkk @nobully_org @shopthekindco #100KCHOOSEKIND.
Can you tell us a bit about what went into creating it?
First, we met with Laura Luc, the director and producer and worked out the vision based on the script I had written. Laura gathered a teen ensemble, as well as a small group of celebrities, to be featured in the video. I am so grateful that we could all come together under one roof to spread such a significant message.
What do you hope people take away from the video?
I hope people hear our urgent demand: bullying needs to stop. It is rampant, especially among girls, and we must empower each other instead of putting others down.
What advice would you give to other girls who are/have been the subject of any type of bullying?
Don’t let the negativity get to you. Always own who you are. True friends and family will love and support you no matter what.
Who inspires you and why?
My mom inspires me to be the best person I can be. She encourages me to lead a life with confidence and humility, and I’m so lucky to have her by my side.
Finally, can you share a few words you live by?
Be yourself. There’s nothing more beautiful than that.