Elizabeth Berkley: America’s Big Sister

Even if you did not grow up watching Saved by the Bell, Elizabeth Berkley’s face is one you likely recognize. She’s graced your TV screen more than a few times in the last few years, as a guest star on various series. She’s also appeared in numerous films, both independent and mainstream, and hosted her own reality series on Bravo. And now Berkley will show up on the shelves of your local bookstore: She has just published Ask Elizabeth, a compilation of stories and advice, by and for teen girls, addressing the spectrum of girl-related issues.

Berkley has been facilitating a series of teen workshops across the country since 2006. Out of that work – which became a full-fledged nonprofit, also called Ask Elizabeth – grew the book. Not only is it beautiful, I couldn’t put it down; it’s a meaningful work of art.

“I wanted it to feel like a book that was written by me but passed across the country – like a group diary,” Berkley told me in our recent interview, now posted at Jewish Woman magazine online. “It was amazing to me how girls rallied to be a part of it. This was not about their own glory; it was 100% to show the goodness in the world.”

“I can’t save anyone from the highs and lows of life. But having this as a guide, giving them tools and showing them they’re not alone, is my deepest wish.”

Beyond her infectious enthusiasm for her work with teen girls, we also discussed Berkley’s showbiz career, both during and since her Saved by the Bell days. She was charmingly candid about the fortitude that got her through trying times early on, and the gratitude that has always driven her to earn her own success. I think she has a lot of well-deserved accolades coming her way.

Read the full interview on JW magazine.

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