15-Year-Old Lands $300k Book Deal, Movie Option
Maya Van Wagenen took a potentially bad situation — being the new kid in school — and turned it into a book and movie deal worth $300,000!
The now-15-year-old found a novel way to acclimate herself to her new 8th-grade class in Brownsville, Texas — by following the advice in an antiquated etiquette book. Maya followed the 1950s tome ‘Betty Cornell’s Teen-age Popularity Guide’ word for word, keeping a journal about her modern experiences with her classmates.
Among other historic tips, she “learned the proper steps in how to extract pimples, coordinate her colors and keep her weight down — eat grapefruit and wheat toast,” People writes.
The whole ordeal landed her a two-book deal with Penguin Group and a DreamWorks studio option for a movie. In April, she’ll see the release of her first book, ‘Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek.’
“I have always loved to read and dreamed about seeing my books on the shelves of a library and in the hands of other people,” the teen says.
And what does the original volume’s author think? Betty Cornell, who is now 86, loves the idea! “I thought I would never hear about the book again,” she tells the New York Post.