15 year old uses vintage etiquette guide and wins $300,000 book deal

Posted: Oct 31 2013

SOURCE: The Daily Telegraph


An eighth-grader took cues from a 1950s etiquette book touting white gloves and girdles in a quirky bid to be popular at school a couple years ago - and now, she's laughing all the way to the bank.

Teenager Maya Van Wagenen cleverly chronicled how she used tips from the decades-old "Betty Cornell's Teen-age Popularity Guide'' to gain an edge as a student new to Brownsville, Texas.

She followed some of Cornell's sage advice, which included the gloves, white pearls and girdles, as well as how to properly squeeze pimples, shave one's legs for summer and deal with "figure problems'' by choosing grapefruit and wheat toast "with [a] small amount of butter'' for breakfast.

Oh, and most importantly: "Be yourself, don't put on airs, treat everybody with the same kindness,'' Cornell, 86, added through her daughter, Betsy Huston Fadem, 59, when asked about the renewed interest in her decades-old book this week.

Van Wagenen kept a journal about her "social experiment," and her book based on her experiences is due out in April.


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