Your Style, Your Superpower

by Carrie Berk

In the summer of 2017, I had the opportunity to be a part of the Seventeen Fashion Experience, learning the ins and outs of the magazine industry straight from the publication’s editors at their New York headquarters. After the program ended, I felt like my passion for writing was rekindled; it had quieted down a bit during my first year of high school, but now I was ready to get back to doing what I love the most. I decided to launch a style empowerment website called Carrie’s Chronicles last December, with the motto “Your Style, Your Superpower” and a powerful message about embracing your individuality at its core. When I was younger, my peers would often criticize me for my fashion sense. I’d get comments such as, “What in the world are you wearing?” or someone would snicker at my pink glitter sneakers. But as time passed, I came to realize that my style is what makes me unique, and I should never let anyone dull my sparkle. I always try to put my personal spin on the trends I see rocking the runway and encourage people to do the same.
Own who you are–there’s nothing more beautiful than that.

Introduce yourself! Who are you?
My name is Carrie Berk, and I am a 15-year-old author, influencer, and creator of the style empowerment website, “Carrie’s Chronicles.” My site celebrates unapologetic individuality and empowers people to embrace what makes them unique through fashion, beauty, food, fitness, and more. When I was eight-years-old, I published my first book, Peace, Love, and Cupcakes, about four girls who start a cupcake club to combat bullying at school. I wrote 12 books in The Cupcake Club series and they went on to sell 400,000 copies worldwide. I’ve since written two more series, Fashion Academy, based on my passion for fashion, and Ask Emma (Bonnier Publishing), about a middle school advice blogger who is cyberbullied by her peers. This character in particular is very close to who I am–Emma’s thoughts and words stem from my personal experiences being cyberbullied. I am also a social media influencer: I work with top fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands, including FOREO, REVOLVE, Alice + Olivia, Madewell, and Daniel Wellington. My personal essays and fashion features have appeared in NY Metro Parents MagazineThe East Hampton Independent Newspaper and Girls’ Life, and I also proudly serve as a teen ambassador for No Bully. 

What is one thing no one really knows about you?
I’m obsessed with boxing! There’s something about punching a bag in the midst of my busy life that is so rewarding.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Just do you. If you lead with your heart, then success will come naturally.

What is your greatest fear?
I’m afraid of the power that negative thoughts can have if you allow them to weigh you down. Sometimes I’m way too hard on myself, and I’m working on being less of a perfectionist. I realized recently that failure is a crucial part of the journey to success.

Have you ever had anyone doubt you? How did that make you feel?
I feel like people will always doubt you, no matter how successful or hard-working you are. People often question my expertise as a writer and influencer because of my age. When that happens, I turn to those who love and support me to lift me up and quiet the haters.

What message do you think every woman should hear?
You are talented enough. You are beautiful enough. Once you start believing in yourself, there’s nothing that can stop you.

What is your favorite thing about where you live?
The city is my canvas; I love shooting my personal style against NYC’s incredible backdrops. Wearing a tutu in the middle of New York (a la Carrie Bradshaw) is one of the things that makes me feel most alive. There’s also always something going on in New York: a party, a pop-up, a food festival, an art exhibit, a new Broadway show. It truly is the city that never sleeps!

What do you love most about yourself?
My ambition. Once I set my sights on something, nothing will stop me from achieving that goal.

Do you remember a specific time you overcame adversity?
When I was 12-years-old, I was severely cyberbullied. People were attacking me over social media with belittling comments and hate-filled DMs and texts. It took a long time to gain the strength to rise above the bullies, but once I did, I never turned back. Now I recognize my worth and surround myself with people who love me for who I am.

What is the biggest thing you’ve learned along the way?
As a teen ambassador for No Bully, I have learned that it is so important to practice empathy and respect towards others. Our differences are what make us special, and we should celebrate individuality, not criticize it. You should build people up, not tear them down.

Why do you love to travel?
There are so many amazing cities out there to explore, and I’ve been lucky to visit so many: Rome, Venice, Madrid, Barcelona, Oahu, Montreal, Quebec, not to mention a ton of cities in the U.S. I really enjoy dressing to match the style of the specific city I’m visiting. Last summer, I went to Paris and brought tons of Parisian outfits to photograph at the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, and more. Then we took a train to London and I broke out my Burberry plaid to shoot in Covent Garden and Buckingham Palace. 

What motivates you most?
I am constantly pushing myself to take my career to the next level with my friends and family behind me every step of the way. But when I need a boost of reassurance, a dance class or boxing session always works like a charm.

How do you manage your work-life balance?
It’s not easy! Sometimes I have to write articles in the back of taxis or during a break at dance. I try to stay as organized as possible and always remember what my priorities are. 

What is your favorite meal?
Sushi! 

What do you do on a daily basis to grow and move forward?
I continue to make connections with people and attend events where I can tell others about my brand. I always have a stack of business cards in my purse (you never know when you’ll need one!).

What is one thing people would be surprised to hear about you?
I used to take ballet classes six times a week and starred as Clara in a production of The Nutcracker when I was 12.

If you weren’t doing the job you have now, what would you be doing?
Honestly, I can’t imagine doing anything else. I feel like I was born to write, and without the ability to express myself through the words I put on paper, I don’t know who I’d be.

What is something on your bucket list?
Skydiving! My mom is going to be so mad that I said that….

Have you ever had an extraordinary experience? Describe it!
My career has been filled with so many extraordinary experiences, and they continue to come! One of the most recent ones that I can recall was doing an Instagram takeover for Girls’ Life at the Teen Choice Awards. I stood with the press on the red carpet and was able to interview so many amazing stars, including Maddie Ziegler, Loren Gray, and Storm Reid. It was 90 degrees and I was in a fancy little black dress and heels, but I didn’t mind one bit! Then I got to hang out in the green room with Cole Sprouse, KJ Apa, and the rest of the Riverdale cast—they were so kind, and I really enjoyed chatting with them! 

Where do you find inspiration?
All around me! I try not to force myself to write, rather wait for inspiration to come organically.

What are your biggest passions?
Writing will always be my biggest passion, and it is something that I strive to pursue in the future. When I grow up, I hope to be working as the editor-in-chief of a top magazine, particularly Vogue. If Anna Wintour ever retires…

More About Carrie

Carrie Berk is a 15-year-old author, influencer, and creator of the style empowerment website, “Carrie’s Chronicles.” Her site celebrates unapologetic individuality and empowers people to embrace what makes them unique through fashion, beauty, food, fitness, and more.

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