Elizabeth Berkley is still known for her role as good girl Jessie on Saved by the Bell – and that’s a good thing. Fans watching on her the show (now in syndication) now look to her for guidance.
“Wherever I would go, whether it was Sephora or walking down the street, girls would come up to me and ask me questions,’’ says Berkley, who will be in town Wednesday to do some teen-advice workshops and promote her book, Ask Elizabeth (Putnam, $16.99). “It turned into this organic dialogue. I felt a certain calling to be of service.’’ The colorfully illustrated book covers issues girls today confront: body image, friendship, bullying, boys, even loss and grief. “I divide things up into categories,’’ she explains. “No matter where you are or what socioeconomic class you’re in, the thing that affected me the most is that everyone shares the same problems.’’ Ask Elizabeth is a perfect gift for the high schooler in your life. It looks like a private diary, filled with handwritten letters from fans. Example: From “I learned to love my eyes – which are two different colors!’’ to “I look like Sasquatch. I feel so awkward and big.’’ Berkley decided to show the girls’ actual handwriting.
“For me, it’s nostalgic and touching because I used to know the way my girlfriends wrote,’’ she says. “Kids communicate today in short sound bites, little texts and Facebook posts.’’ Even though Berkley is 38 and married (to artist and Ralph Lauren’s nephew Greg Lauren), she can still relate to teenagers. “I think all women have an adolescent inside of us,’’ she says. “I’ve done work on myself as a woman and have tools to help me navigate. I just wish I’d had something like this book when I was growing up.’’