Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Women Who Rock Wednesday: Liz Funk!

Before we get to WWRW, I want to remind everyone to please please vote for the winner of the Inspired By contest. You can check out the entries and vote here. These entries are just too cool not to be seen and voted on by tons of people!

Okay, welcome to Women Who Rock Wednesday! First things first, last weeks winner of Angel Potions products that our lovely guest Lynn Turkington was nice enough to give away is... DebDesk from blogger! Please email stephanie at stephaniekuehnert dot com with your address, Deb, so your prize can be mailed out!

As usual, you have a chance to win another amazing prize today. Author Liz Funk is visiting us today to talk about her book, Supergirls Speak Out: Inside the Secret Crisis of Overachieving Girls, which I think is an incredibly important book that my parents and I could have really used since I definitely pushed myself way too hard trying to be a supergirl. But I'll turn the floor over to Liz to tell you all about it!

Liz, I'm very excited to have you on here because I think your book, Supergirls Speak Out: Inside the Secret Crisis of Overachieving Girls, is going to be very very important to girls and probably their parents as well. Can you tell us a bit about it and what led you to write it?

Liz: Thank you! Supergirls Speak Out is a non-fiction look at the lives of “Supergirls”—young women who attempt to be a perfect 10 at everything they attempt, whether it’s school, work, leadership activities, musical instruments and other artistic pursuits, and sports. These girls are so busy all the time and they look really accomplished and well-rounded, but in their private lives, these girls are often struggling with self-esteem issues and are using their accomplishments to show why they matter.

Can you tell us how you got your start writing? Did you love writing from a young age? Who were some of your influences? (We especially like to hear about the women since it is Women Who Rock Wednesday!)

Liz: I always loved writing. I wrote my first story in the 2nd grade; I wrote a ten-page sequel in my composition notebook to the Lord of the Rings. Haha… I wrote novels and screenplays for fun when I got older, and realized that I wanted to make my debut in non-fiction. In high school, I liked all sorts of novelists: Angela Johnson, Meg Cabot, and J. D. Salinger, plus some feminist non-fiction, too, by Betty Friedan and Alexandra Robbins and Ariel Levy. In college, I loved (and still love!) fiction by Nick McDonell, Jonathan Franzen, F. Scott Fitzergerald, Arundati Roy, and Curtis Sittenfeld. I love to read a variety of kinds of books. As such, my favorite books of all time are the Eloise books; I think Eloise is such a mischievous, spirited protagonist.

This week, I'm discussing the topic of insomnia on the blog. It's something I've suffered with since I was in my early teens and part of it definitely had to do with me trying too hard to be a super girl. Did you learn anything about sleep issues and super girls in writing your book or have you had any personal struggles with insomnia?

Liz: This is such a great topic to be discussing—teen girls and sleep—and it has so many intersections with the lives of Supergirls! Teenaged girls are so busy that they frequently don’t get the sleep they need during the week; they do what they can to catch up on sleep during the weekends, but frequently, they’re going on autopilot. I was shocked when I was talking to some high school students who told me that most students don’t get enough sleep, but some kids will drink consecutive Red Bulls during the school day to stay awake. Eek! Also, because most girls never master regular sleep habits, it really affects them in college, where almost no one has a normal sleep schedule, and then I think it carries on into their twenties and so on. I personally don’t have a problem with insomnia. I’m someone who needs a lot of sleep to function (we’re talking ten hours a night). So actually, if I have trouble getting to sleep, it’s usually the canary in the coalmine of my brain telling me that I am super-stressed out and that I need to resolve whatever I’m worried about that is keeping me up.

I know SUPERGIRLS literally just came out yesterday, but what is next for Liz Funk?

Liz: I wish I knew! I’m going to graduate in May, and then we’ll see what happens! The only thing on the agenda right now is: “figure out what you’re writing next” and “move somewhere warmer.” I’ll be going on a lecture tour to promote Supergirls—speaking at schools like Duke, Rice, the University of New England, and NYU, among others—that I’m really looking forward to!

I'm betting a lot of my blog readers out there are "Supergirls," what is your best advice for them about how to get through life, especially high school and college, and actually enjoy it?

Liz: Be yourself! It sounds simple, but in the context of today’s high school and college experience, where it seems like every other girl wears Ugg boots and looks perfect and listens to Taylor Swift, it’s never been such a social statement to be who you really are! If you can work to have a sense of self and a sense of individuality, I guarantee you that you’ll be better off when you’re facing adversity and other challenges as you grow up. You’ll have healthy defenses, because you know who you are. Also, a life coach who I interviewed for my book, named Cathy Wasserman, gave me the best advice I’ve ever heard in my life: “Girls need to be open to exploring the mystery of their lives.”

I always ask two standard questions of my Women Who Rock. What was the first album you bought and the first concert you attended? Be honest, we don't judge.

Liz: The first album—well, cassette tape—I bought was the Spice Girls’ first self-titled album, Spice Girls. The first concert I attended was for Hanson. Needless to say, I’m extremely glad you don’t judge—I’ve always had eclectic taste in music. Now I like Michael Buble, Dave Matthews Band, and Chrisette Michele, plus big band music and classic French music. And Lily Allen! I was on the TODAY Show to talk about Supergirls three weeks ago, and I got my makeup done about five feet away from where she was having her makeup done. I love her song “The Fear”—I think it’s one of the best songs any young female songwriter has yet written in this generation.

Please dish about the moment where you felt most like a rock star. Maybe it was a moment of big success in your career, an "I'm Not Worthy!" Wayne's World type moment where you met someone cool, or a time where you just got the rock star treatment.

Liz: Actually, the day before I went on the TODAY Show last month was a pretty cool moment. I went into New York City in the morning and walked around the New York Public Library, sort of reminiscing about the fact that I wrote a bulk of “Supergirls Speak Out” at the 42nd Street NYPL (the one with the stone lions outside!) and that night my mom and I took an ironic tour of the NBC Studios. The next morning I woke up and was interviewed by Meredith Viera (and met Matt Lauer, who I’ve had a crush on forever). It was definitely a rockstar moment. I hadn’t felt that victorious since I aced my road test!

Thanks for coming, Liz!

I've gotta say Liz's rock star moment is really damn cool and I'm envious. Liz is also being kind enough to give out a signed copy of her book. As usual to enter all you have to do is leave a comment and next week when our guest is the super cool author Amanda Ashby, I'll choose a winner via randomnumber generator. So get to commenting. How about you? Are you a supergirl or superguy?


Lalaland said...

Wow. You were on the Today show? I watch that every morning!

Liviania said...

Sounds like a book I ought to read. But I'm pretty good about not taking too much on because I know I want to excel at everything I do.

Nora said...

That is definitely a rockstar moment!

Diana Dang said...

Oh boy, I know I am a perfectionist but not to an extreme. Though I do stress a lot so maybe I should check it out and learn a thing or two. =)

@Stephanie: Have you received my email regarding In Too Deep?

Erika Lynn said...

that is an awesome rock star moment, i also have a crush on Lauer! great interview!

Angel Potions said...

Sounds like an interesting book! I must be honest though, i was way too lazy to ever worry about being a supergirl!

jocelyn said...

Liz is so accomplished! The Today Show, wow, that's awesome. Great interview, Stephanie.