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How a 15 Year Old Geek Went From Being an Outcast to Getting a 6 Figure Book Deal and a Movie

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A modern day transformation story of a teenager that actually applied an advice she read in an old magazine article from 1950s.

When Maya Van Wagenen, a 15 year old teenager from Brownsville, Texas read Glamour Guide for Teens published in the 1950’s, she did not expect her life to change. Being a teenager in a regular school in Texas, Maya was trying to fit in. She wanted to be accepted, to be loved and to have friends that liked her for who she is. She was tired of being around the fake people who pretended they were someone else and did not know what to do about it.

When Teaneck, NJ author Betty Cornell wrote the Glamour Guide for Teens in the 1950s, the author had no idea just how successful her advice could be, especially so many years after the original publication.

Today Betty Cornell is in her late 80’s, but she offered a comment through her daughter. The comment from Cornell that was passed along stated “Be yourself, don’t put on airs, treat everybody with the same kindness.” These are life lessons and core values that never go out of style, and they go a long way towards helping teens gain self esteem and fit in anywhere.

Thanks to the advice that Maya Van Wagenen found in the Glamour Guide for Teens, the teenager finally felt like she belonged for the first time ever. The tips about etiquette and social interaction that the book offered are just as true today as they were in the 1950s when the book was first published. Openness, honesty, and kindness are three big topics that are covered that are still highly relevant in modern society.

Common Lessons For All Teens Still Hold True Today as they did in the 1950’s.

When Maya Van Wagenen started using the tips offered in the dated glamour guide, she was not sure how well the experiment would work, so she started a journal detailing her efforts and the results.

What she found may surprise some. Maya noticed that each one of the social cliques at the Brownsville school that she attended distrusted the other social groups. All of the teens had the same insecurities and fears, and this allowed Maya to find common ground with each one.

Within a fairly short time Maya went from feeling like an outcast to being friends with everyone, fitting in without having to engage in negative behavior or go against any of her principles and firmly held beliefs.

Today Maya Van Wagenen has signed a 6 figure book deal with Penguin group for two books, and Dreamworks Studio has optioned a film titled “Popular: One Geek’s Quest For The Impossible” based on the journal entries and experiences of Maya Van Wagenen.

Maya is just 15 years old teen and found acceptance by being herself and following some timeless tips on how to treat others around her and behave in public. More importantly, the book taught Maya how to think in a way that got her all these results.

Bottom line? Seek advice – and apply it. Old does not mean not working. Talk to others. Many of us have common ground and want the same things. You never know who your friend will be until you approach someone.

  • Do you wish you were more popular with your peers? What are some ways that you could make more friends in different social groups?
  • Would you take advice from a book that is more than 60 years old? Why or why not?
  • Do you know people that put on airs? How do you feel about them? Why?

Please share what you think in a comment below. We really care.

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