Stepping Into Young Adulthood With Confidence & Finding Your Own Form of Self-Love: An Interview with Carrie Berk
Carrie Berk has nearly a million Instagram followers. She also has written children’s books, and acted in Stage Fright, Crown Lake, and starred in the Paramount+ reality series Next Influencer. As she is now twenty-one years old, she is ready to launch into adulthood, with My Real-Life Rom Com, a book with Generation Z in mind. She is passionate about advocating for her generation on: confidence, mental health, and self love. She shared with me her insight:
Meghan Forte In what ways do you feel like My Real-Life Rom Com encourages young women to feel confident in being single, and in their own skin?
Carrie Berk: My book explores themes of dating as a teenager and as a Gen Z-er. There are really no books out there written by a teenager for teenagers about love and romance, so I wanted to fill that void. I think as Valentine’s Day is approaching, it is particularly important to read and freshen up in order to prove to yourself that you don’t necessarily need to be in a relationship to be happy. My book is definitely a feminist’s guide and shows that you don’t have to be in a relationship to be happy. I’ve been single for the entirety of the book, just exploring different relationships and crushes. Although sometimes I’m down about it, I ultimately learned that the best version of love is self-love. The last chapter is literally called the journey to self-love. Because once you’re able to love yourself fully, that’s when you’re able to spread love outwards towards others. I think that’s a very important lesson that we all need to be reminded of leading up to Valentine’s Day.
Meghan Forte: Why is it important to remind women of the sentiment “Just because you’re single on Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean you’re a failure?”
Carrie Berk: That’s a really important reminder for everyone to hear, especially because you see so many people coupled up, so many different Valentine’s Day proposals, when people ask others to be their Valentines. You see so much of that going on. You can get caught up in that and get down on yourself for not being in a relationship, but I would use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to practice self-love. So, taking that workout class you’ve been wanting to take for a long time, taking a nice warm bath, reading a book you’ve been wanting to read. Or use it as an opportunity to celebrate Galentine’s Day. There are so many people out there that are single, you are not the only one. So gather with some of your single friends and host a party. You know, playing a card game, there are really endless opportunities. You don’t have to be in a relationship, to have fun this Valentine’s Day.
Meghan Forte: When did you start writing this book and putting it together?
Carrie Berk: My Real-Life Rom Com came out during the pandemic, I actually started writing it without knowing I was writing it when I was 16. I had just gotten through my first breakup and I was heartbroken. I turned to writing as a form of self-therapy. It helped me get my emotions out on the paper, process everything I was going through, and really just process my breakup. Because I felt so broken. During the pandemic, I looked back on the essay that I wrote, and just started writing and writing and writing. Everything I could remember about that relationship and about other connections in the past that I felt like I didn’t get any closure with. And what was a form of self-therapy became something so much greater. Because, like I said, there are no books out there by teenagers for teenagers about love and dating. So, this just became a greater mission. I wanted to create, not necessarily a guide for how to date and who to date, but an example to look at, and to say ‘Here’s another girl who’s going through the exact same thing as me, and she’s not perfect, she’s making mistakes, too’ just to give them someone to relate to, so they feel like they’re not alone in their adventures of love.
Meghan Forte: Was writing this book emotionally therapeutic for your own self-esteem and confidence?
Carrie Berk: I think it was difficult at times, because you’re recalling these very emotional memories of heartbreak, and loss, and that’s really difficult sometimes to look back on. But ultimately, writing about those emotions helped me work through them, in a way that just keeping them bottled up inside of my brain couldn’t. It was ultimately helpful. And I think what also helped me get through that was that greater mission and realizing that being vulnerable and being emotional was going to help so many people out there that may not have the courage to do so. The book is directed to Gen Z, but the book could apply to anyone exploring the dating world. Someone who’s 40 and single who might feel like a failure, or like there’s no hope left. Or someone who just went through a divorce. We study these themes in the book, heartbreak and loss, and the guy not texting back. So many of these themes could be applied to all ages. Even though it is directed toward Gen Z-ers, I’ve had people who are middle-aged email me and say ‘Wow, I can’t believe how much I could relate to these themes as an older adult.’
Meghan Forte: Why do you feel that spreading acts of kindness is important?
Carrie Berk: It’s cliché, but it costs nothing to be kind. What you give to the world, you will receive back, so why not just be kind to others and spread joy? When you radiate joy, you can’t help but feel happy and confident. Just thinking about when you give someone a small gift, and see their smile, it ultimately benefits you as well.
Meghan Forte: What would you like to tell YA readers about the importance of taking care of their mental health?
Carrie Berk : My Real-Life Rom Com is directed towards young adults, so I would ultimately say mental health is such an issue, suicide is one of the leading causes of death among young adults today. And it is so important, now more than ever, to take care of your mental health. We saw such a rapid decline in mental health due to the pandemic. And I think it’s so important to focus on self-care, since it’s your mind and body. If you need a day to yourself, listen to what you need, and also, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Now more than ever, mental health matters. You need to go out there and take control of your life and do what you need to do to take care of your mental health. It doesn’t have to be taboo. I didn’t learn about anxiety or OCD until I was 18, and then I started experiencing it myself. We don’t have enough mental health education in today’s education systems. That’s why I think it’s important to speak out about that as well and try to advocate for more mental health education. That’s how we’re going to educate future generations.
Meghan Forte: What do you practice or incorporate into your daily routine to give yourself a moment of self-care?
A: As mentioned, the last chapter of the book is called ‘The Journey to Self-Love.’ Each chapter of the book is dedicated to a guy and a different dating encounter, but the last chapter I dedicate to myself, because the most important form of love is self-love. So, practicing self-love as part of your daily routine is simple but it differs for everybody. For one person, it may be going really hard in a workout, for another person it may be setting time aside to take a nap. To listen to yourself and your own needs, that’s what’s most important. I’m a runner, so I love going out on a run, that always clears my head. And, also writing of course, sitting down at my computer and writing down how I’m feeling. If I’m in a really anxious mood, I love just pouring out onto the paper all of my emotions and making sense of them by putting the words in front of me.
Meghan Forte: Who or what sparked your interest in writing?
Carrie Berk: My mom is a celebrity ghostwriter, so I was kind of born into it. I grew up watching her type away at her computer when I was a young girl and I was always super inspired by her. When I learned about realistic fiction in school in 2nd grade, it sparked my own love for writing. I was so fascinated with the idea that you could embed real-life themes into fiction. From there, I pitched this idea for a children’s book series to my mom, and that turned into a 12-book series, The Cupcake Club. And we went on to write 2 more book series, Fashion Academy and Ask Emma. So, I was doing children’s books for a long time, but I really wanted to come into my own as a writer, as I became a teenager.
Meghan Forte: What is something you hope readers learn from My Real-Life Rom Com?
Carrie Berk: I hope readers feel like they can relate to just one thing in the book, and I will feel like I have done my job. Teenagers reading it, to feel like they’re not alone in their journey to find love. Sometimes heartbreak feels super lonely. But I just want readers to realize that you know, dating is hard. Love is hard. Heartbreak is tough. But as long as you practice patience with yourself, show yourself grace, and learn that it really starts with loving yourself first and foremost. And it will be worth it in the end. Hopefully people reading this book will take away one of those lessons.
Meghan Forte: Could you briefly discuss the importance of cyberbullying prevention and raising awareness about this crucial topic for today’s families?
Carrie Berk: Cyberbullying is very prevalent and has a direct impact on mental health as well, so many kids are cyberbullied. And that also leads to poor mental health, suicide… So educating is key. Incorporating more education about cyberbullying. I, personally, am cyberbullied a lot on social media, so I think educating today’s generation and just realizing that—it sounds kind of cliché at this point—but the bullying almost always has nothing to do with you. It has to do with the person, the bully themselves, and what’s going on in their life. So, to the best of your ability, even though it’s hard, just stand tall and realize that as long as you’re confident in your own skin and realize this has nothing to do with you, you can take on anything. Once I realized that, then I was bulletproof to whatever cruel words were thrown at me. It comes with the territory of putting yourself out there as a writer, but that’s a risk that I ultimately wanted to take because I knew that I’d be helping a lot of people by speaking out. Everyone always has an opinion, not everyone’s going to agree with you. But there are going to be people who are positively impacted and that’s what matters most.
Thank you Carrie for sharing your dating-life experiences with the world with your book, My Real-Life Rom Com. It may not always be easy to young, and in the public eye, but Carrie, keep using your platform to help others who do believe in your work, and can connect with your experiences. Readers, with this book, it will be like talking to a “ friend” from your generation. Ms. Carrie Berk will be a hit with young adults for finding their ‘voice’, especially in relationships.
Carrie Berk’s Website
My Real-Life Rom Com available on Audible
Carrie Berk Instagram Profile
Carrie Berk Link Tree Profile