If you’re feeling like an underachiever, don’t Google 19-year-old Aija Mayrock. Already an accomplished actress, author, and writer, she wrote her first screenplay at 15 (which won the Santa Barbara International Film Festival 10-10-10 award), began writing a book on bullying when she was just 16, and self-published it as an e-book it last October.
She was also bullied mercilessly for much of her childhood and adolescence. While the years leading up to her early successes were characterized by painful bullying that left her feeling isolated and self-conscious, it was that experience that propelled Mayrock forward creatively. Her book, The Survival Guide to Bullying, available June 30, is a roadmap for kids on how to overcome bullying, complete with specific instructions (e.g. when to “go dark” on social media and a step-by-step guide on how to tell your parents you’re being bullied). We talked to Aija about finding solace in roems (that’s rap + poems), forgiving her bullies and writing the book she never had, but always needed.