News

Elizabeth Berkley: ‘Saving’ one teen girl at a time

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 (currently 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

looks like a private diary, filled with handwritten letters from fans. Example: “I learned to love my eyes — which are two different colors!’’ and “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 now 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.’’Berkley’s childhood was a little different than most. She basically grew up on the

Saved by the Bell

set, where the atmosphere was surprisingly normal.“It was an innocent time,’’ says Berkley, who still keeps in touch with costars

Mario Lopez

(

Extra!

),

Tiffani Thiessen

(the

White Collar

star just had a baby) and

Mark-Paul Gosselaar

(

Raising the Bar

). “We all had our parents on the set; it was like a family. If we had a problem, we knew we could go to an adult at any given time.’’Berkley wouldn’t mind going back to those days, albeit on a different show.“I’m a song and dance girl,’’ says the actress, who starred in 1995’s infamous

Showgirls

. “Being on

Glee

is my dream!’’

Meet Berkley 7 p.m. Wednesday at Books & Books Bal Harbour Shops. For more info on her workshops, go to www.ask-elizabeth.com. Madeleine Marr
  Comments