Elizabeth Berkley: From ‘Showgirls’ To Self-Esteem Counselor

Twelve years after taking a bit of a career hit with the universally-panned “Showgirls,” Elizabeth Berkley is concentrating on a different kind of “comeback” — a spiritual one.

In fact, not only is Elizabeth still acting, but the former “Saved By The Bell” star is traveling across the country helping teenage girls suffering from low self-esteem.

She sat down with Access Hollywood‘s Maria Menounos to talk about “Ask Elizabeth,” her workshops dealing with everything from body image to family illness.

“First of all, I don’t profess to be an expert,” said Elizabeth. “I’m not a therapist. What I do, and what the whole goal and mission of what the workshops are, is to really provide a safe space for girls to feel heard, and to be able to really ask the questions that are in their mind and in their heart that they’re wrestling with.”

Elizabeth’s husband, artist Greg Lauren (nephew of designer Ralph), jokingly suggested she write an advice column called “Ask Elizabeth” when he noticed how many young girls would approach her asking for advice.

Elizabeth took the suggestion to heart, launching the workshop series as well as her Web site, www.ask-elizabeth.com.

“This is where they can go to get the help that they need,” she told Maria, adding that her husband helped her with some design elements on the site.

Elizabeth knows a thing or two about adversity, having faced harsh criticism over her transition from starring on a Saturday morning teen show to the decidedly more adult “Showgirls.”

“When the film came out, it kind of felt like I was the kid on the playground where all the bullies were just relentless and wouldn’t stop,” she told Maria. “That’s the best analogy I can give to you, because it was really — it was not a nice time.”

But that was a different time, both for Elizabeth and the country in general. Would ‘Showgirls” have been so derided if it came out today?

“What’s so crazy to me is you see how our, you know, society has kind of changed,” she remarked. “That movie was so shocking to people. Now women are installing poles in their homes after taking pole dancing lessons! But it’s like, it’s mainstream.”

Even though “Showgirls” was considered a “flop,” Elizabeth feels it was (and is) a force to be reckoned with.

“From what I know, it is one of the biggest money makers for MGM in their history,” she said, adding with a laugh: “So I don’t know what to say to that, but people were secretly watching it.”

Elizabeth can next be seen later this year in the TV thriller “Black Widow,” as a woman who is suspected of murdering wealthy men.

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