At just 17 years old, Carrie Berk is already a bestselling author – with 21 books published – and a teen ambassador for No Bully. She is also the creator of Carrie’s Chronicles, a style empowerment website and brand celebrating unapologetic individuality.
Close-up Culture’s James Prestridge caught up with Carrie to talk about overcoming bullies, the power of fashion, her love for storytelling, and much more.
Q: What was your first experience of being bullied? How did you respond to that interaction and how would respond differently – if at all – if you relived it?
A: Throughout middle school, I was bullied for my sense of style. People would tell me that my glitter sneakers were “too loud” or my comic strip sweatpants were “out there.” The comments really hurt, knocking my self-esteem off balance and driving me to temporarily don monochromatic clothing. But over time, I’ve realized that what makes you different is what makes you beautiful.
If I could go back and tell my middle-school self one thing, it would be that the negativity is only temporary, and I should always own what makes me me.
Q: What would your message be to young people who are worried about being their true selves?
A: Always be yourself. People may disapprove or hurl negative comments at you, but bullying stems from insecurity—it’s never really about you. Just do you, and try to focus on people who celebrate your individuality, not put you down for it.
Q: What was important to you when crafting Carrie’s Chronicles and creating this space for young people?
A: Carrie’s Chronicles is dedicated to celebrating unapologetic individuality, whether through fashion, beauty, food, places and spaces, or fitness. It is also fundamentally a style empowerment website, encouraging people to always dress to express the exclamation point of who they are!
Q: Carrie’s Chronicles has so much exciting content (I’m a big fan of the Q&As), but I know first-hand how difficult it can be to do this consistently and to a satisfying standard. What has been the most exciting and the most challenging part of running the website?
A: The most exciting part has been writing about topics I’m passionate about. As an aspiring journalist, it’s thrilling to write up reports on the latest fashion trends, beauty brands, or fitness movements.
The most challenging part is trying to squeeze in time to write and format each article, but over the years, I’ve become an expert at time management. I write articles on airplanes, in the back of taxis, and even while I’m waiting in line at pop-up shops!
Q: Who would you love to have on Carrie’s Chronicles for a Q&A?
A: Anna Wintour! She is my idol. The way in which she handles every issue of Vogue and navigates the fashion industry with such wisdom and grace inspires me to be not just a better journalist but human being.
Q: Can you tell us a story involving fashion that speaks to the strength this form of expression has given you?
A: Recently, I attended Sally Miller’s Catwalk of Courage, presented by Bloomingdales 59th, supporting Solving Kids’ Cancer. The presentation featured numerous cancer survivors, all of whom walked the runway sporting Sally Miller’s latest fall collection. I was honored to sit front row and cover the event—it was truly an inspiring afternoon, and I hope that those who read my article about the catwalk were equally empowered.
Q: What are your favorite pair of sneakers you have owned?
A: My Golden Goose pink glitter sneakers! Although I was once afraid to sport them in public, now, I strut down the school hallways proudly wearing them.
Q: You are a bestselling children’s author with 21 books to your name. What does storytelling bring to your life?
A: I love to infuse real-life themes within a fictional context. Storytelling gives me the power to push the limits of my imagination while still staying true to topics that need to be depicted to a young audience. For example, although The Cupcake Club features fun friendships and baking recipes, it also sheds light on the severity of childhood bullying.
Q: Who are some of your favorite storytellers?
A: F. Scott Fitzgerald is a master writer. I loved reading his detailed depictions of Gatsby’s fictional mansion in The Great Gatsby. He seems to possess a superpower of sorts that makes his words immediately come alive upon reading them.
Q: You are an ambassador for No Bully. Is there an interaction you’ve had while working with them that stands out or is particularly meaningful to you?
A: One year ago, I penned the script for a public service announcement video in collaboration with No Bully called “Girls Against Bullying.” The video highlighted several teen actors/actresses and celebrities declaring how bullying is prominent, especially among girls, and we must do everything we can to stop it immediately. I was amazed to see so many powerful young women come together to speak out about the cause.
Q: You’ve had success in so many creative fields and your list of accomplishments is too long to fit in this article. How do you maintain that work ethic and drive to keep achieving new goals?
A: I’m constantly challenging myself and pushing my boundaries. One achievement only begets another—I’m only 17, and I have so many more things I want to accomplish. This is just the beginning!
Q: What goals are on your horizon heading into 2020?
A: To continue practicing my passion for writing while simultaneously keeping up with my platform as a social media influencer. I can’t wait to see what the new year holds!
Social Media Channels:
Facebook: Carrie’s Chronicles
Pinterest: Carrie’s Chronicles