PEARL NEWS: Teenager, Maya Van Wagenen, Becomes “Popular” with Pearls and Girdles!

Some things never change and apparently that stands true for pearls and girdles.

An interesting article by the Associated Press caught our attention. The story highlighted a teenage girl who discovered through experience that when you take a visit back into history, you can gain knowledge that will make the present and the future an extraordinary.

Not a believer? Then read Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek by Maya Van Wagenen.


“Popular” originated as an experiment encouraged by teenager, Maya Van Wagenen’s parents. They challenged their then non-social, eighth-grade daughter to follow the advice from “Betty Cornell’s Teen-Age Popularity Guide” written by teenage model, Betty Cornell in 1951, and used the book’s advice in secret and journal the experience and responses.


“It didn’t seem like a good idea at all,” she commented in a recent interview. “I was terrified because flipping through the pages you read about all teens must wear a girdle and wear pearls to school and wear pantyhose and red lipstick and stuff that I definitely wasn’t comfortable doing.”

“I realized I did want friends and I did want to be liked and I did want to be accepted and while I didn’t have a clear-cut definition of popularity, I knew that it wasn’t what I was. More than anything, I didn’t have anything to lose, so I said, ‘You know what? I’ll try it for a month.’”

We are sure she is extremely glad she followed her parent’s advice because 15-year-old, Maya Van Wagenen is not only social, but she also has a great book and a possible movie in the works with DreamWorks.

In the beginning of Van Wagenen’s experiment, she was 11-years-old and “pretty much [on] the lowest level of people at school who aren’t paid to be here” and she realized as she began to follow the Teen-Age Popularity Guide’s steps by spending more than five minutes on her hair, dressing up, wearing curlers, girdles, and even a strand of pearls. She noticed she was becoming more outgoing but she also noticed she was getting “Popular”.

She found that the real-life results were hilarious, painful, and filled with unexpected surprises but she decided to tell the story with humor and grace, along with how she has a better understanding of what it means to be popular.

This is absolutely amazing and inspiring! Sounds like a book definitely worth reading. What about you? Will you be reading?

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