RUBY KARP: TRUE CONFESSIONS FROM A TEENAGE GIRL
I first meet Ruby Karp on Fire Island. Invited for a weekend of lagoons, beaches, pizza, luxurious houses, and deer, my husband and I quickly booked the ferry tickets for our best friends Betsy and Dan’s request to hang. We journeyed from NYC to partake in a weekend of bliss. Ruby’s mother Marcelle Karp, one of the founders of Bust Magazine, and feminist icon in her own right, invited all of us over on the first night there and we immediately stripped down and jumped into the lake of her waterfront house and began to float in the waters. It was incredible.
When we emerged towels around our shoulders and sitting inside Marcelle’s beautiful house, her beautiful pregnant friend was sprawled out on the sofa immersed in a book.
“What are you reading?” I asked interested in the pink YA binding.
“Oh, Marcelle’s daughter Ruby’s book, Earth Hates Me. True Confessions From A Teenage Girl.”
I gawk at Marcelle who was as chill as a surfer hanging out at a rocker bar and she’s like, “Oh yeah, Ruby wrote a book, she’s awesome.” The whole scenario is so nonchalant, meanwhile, I’m thinking “Holy shit this is like the coolest indie movie in real life ever!”
The beautiful friend hands me the book to flip through. I open it up up the upon the first pages and read,
At the beginning of my freshman year of high school, four sophomore boys came to my house tripping acid…
Oh, I love it already. Ruby emerges later young, beautiful and commanding. I immediately tell her I’m a fan. She shoots Marcelle a look like, “Mom are you pushing my book on people?!”
Later as we all sit around the rustic open living room, with the water’s salty breeze blowing in, we get to know Ruby absorbed by her youthful and insightful dialogue. With her laptop and phone within arms reach at all times, she tells us openly and poignantly about boys, social media, her friends, growing up in New York, summers on the island, disconnecting from the internet, and other escapades in a captivating albeit teenage inflected voice. Also, her eyeliner is on point.
Weeks later her book arrives in my mailbox courtesy of a mother who is on top of it. I read it with the nostalgic and voracious eyes of my teenage self.
Using the internet and growing up in New York’s elite comedy scene as her muse for navigating life, Ruby’s no holds barred debut is full of inquisitive anecdotes about being a young confused, mad feminist and just figuring it all out. This, in the midst of one of the most fucked up times humans can live through, #HORMONES. Earth Hates Me is great perception from someone who seems to be a level-headed teenaged girl that is not willing to bullshit.
The young Karp is a gorgeous, smart young woman, full of badassery, and fearlessness. I often tell her mother she gives me hope about the future of life and entertainment. Meet Ruby for yourself below and check out her book Earth Hates Me out now!
Sweatshirt/ Laurence & Chico. Jumpsuit (worn as pants) / Cheng Print. Boots/ Modern Vice. Pom Earrings and Choker (worn in hair)/ Farradas Knits Thin. Rings/ Blaine Bowen. Thick Rings / Haarstick Jewelry.
What inspired you to write Earth Hates Me?
I think it’s important for other kids my age to know that we’re all in the same boat. There’s this connotation that we’re supposed to hate high school and be super miserable all the time, but we don’t. And it’s about finding the good in the bad.
How did this project start? Were there notes documented in a diary or did you start the book as a book?
I’ve been writing on the Internet since I was 10, and I kind of got the book deal through that. The right person saw the right article and 6 years later, I had a book deal. The stories in the book are actually stories from my comedy sets. Some stories in the book I wrote while actually going through them. But overall, I picked the stories that I thought people could get the most out of.
UCB has been a big part of your life since you were a kid, how has this community shaped your perspective on the world, and what you want to do?
I grew up in the theater. The ideal Sunday night for me growing up was finishing my homework, then taking the 1 train down to ASSSCAT. UCB has given me a really unique outlook on the world. Humor is such a huge part of my life because of it, and so much of comedy is about empathy. It’s about feeling with your other teammates. It’s about truly creating an ensemble that supports each other. So, in life, I constantly find myself looking out for others, not just myself. I’m able to “yes and” any conversation and consider strong support systems to be one of the biggest necessities in life.
What were some of your most groundbreaking experiences from growing up in NY?
Growing up in NYC means growing up FAST. You’re taking the train alone when you’re in fifth grade, your idea of an adventurous Saturday night includes a walk along the Highline, and you are surrounded by constant culture. You’re always surrounded by human flaws and are experiencing so many different kinds of people all the time. I think realizing this and realizing how it forced me to grow up kind of fast.
Your mom was one of the founders of Bust, an iconic publication catered towards feminism. Were you aware of this growing up? Did you ever rebel against feminism or has it always been a big part of your makeup?
Oh yeah, I was my mom’s biggest champion. Whenever we’d go anywhere I’d say (semi-mocking her, semi-supporting her) “Hey did you guys know my mom co-founded Bust?” It definitely influenced the way I grew up because there was never a moment where I doubted equality. My motto growing up was “girls can do anything boys can do.” It made me super motivated to tell everyone about how awesome my mom was, but also how awesome feminism was.
What was her reaction when she first read your book?
She cried, actually. I talk about my feelings to her often but never in a 280 page book that goes in depth on how I’ve been feeling for the past 17 years. I think it was a weird experience for her.
What is feminism to you as a teenager and where are the biggest parts of your life that you utilize this?
Feminism is one of the most important things happening for teenagers right now. Our generation is so educated (some really not, though) and we’re in a time where a lot of kids are super aware of what feminism means. The other side of things though are the people who don’t know what feminism really means. The people who haven’t educated themselves or had anyone around them being aware of what’s happening in the world. It’s our job as a generation to start educating ourselves and using that education to help teach others. We need to start utilizing our resources and make it so that our future is female.
What were some of your biggest breakthroughs from writing that you learned about yourself?
I think writing this book made me realize I’m a lot stronger than I thought. Throughout so much of high school, I constantly looked (and still look, I’m not Ellen) for validation in other people. No matter how “cool” my life is or if I had a book deal or whatever, I still found it really hard to be happy and satisfied with everything that I was going through. In writing the book, I had a lot of moments to reflect on stories that really impacted different years of high school for me. It was then that I made a separate thank you in which I wrote, “Thank you to every person who gave me a story in this book. Whether you broke my heart or gave me a goat for Christmas. Whatever lesson you taught me, I would have never learned if it weren’t for you. I am a stronger person because I learned what it felt like to be weak around people like you. Thank you.“
Have you had any fallouts for being so candid about your experiences? Do you have any advice for people dealing with friendship fallouts?…
Friendships are the most important thing in both high school and life. Those are the people who will really see you at your highest highs and lowest lows. I’ve seen a lot of friendships come and go for a variety of reasons. The best advice I can give is that you don’t have to be friends with everyone. Not everyone is going to like you and you can’t control that. If you are friends with toxic people, stop being friends with them. There’s always someone if not in school, outside of school. You have the Internet and the world at your fingertips, make the effort to find a community in which you can be yourself and find your people. Find people who make you want to exist. And when you do, don’t give them up for the world. Those people will be your rocks. No crush or fight is worth losing them for.
What is the cultural climate of politics amongst your friends? How do you guys discuss it?
I live in New York City, the climate of politics is extremely liberal. We constantly discuss the latest Trump drama and how we can make a change for the future so that we aren’t so screwed for the rest of our lives. Discussing politics gets hard because obviously, people have conflicting views sometimes. Often, when we don’t know how to have debates with people, our immediate instinct is to attack them. The thing that people don’t realize is that if we actually want to make a change and help the world get better, we need to have discussions. Not screaming matches. Only then will we really listen to each other.
What is your dream life right now?
To get into college and survive senior year with as few mental breakdowns as possible. Or to be on SNL. Either would be cool.
How do you deal with social media pressure with being an artist? Do you ever feel like you post things because you HAVE to?
Social media pressure is relative. I post a photo if I like the photo. My book is all about doing things for YOU, yet I’m a total hypocrite because the book needs to be “on brand” and the press is a thing that also needs to happen. I think the most important thing to me is that I’m myself all the time, no matter who is reading. I never want to put a fake version of myself online.
If you could use three words, describe life as a “teenager” right now what would they be?
Overwhelming, exciting and changing.
What scares you?
I think what scares me is what scares everyone. Death, the fear of not finding happiness, fear of not knowing myself, FOMO, and of course the dark.
What makes you happy?
My education, film and improv classes, my friends, my family, and UCB.
Print Top/ Laurence & Chico. Bottom/ Alpha 60. Left earring/ Wendy Faye Jewelry. Right earring /Haarstick Jewelry. Necklace/ Blaine Bowen.Top Bracelets / Blaine Bowen. Large Bracelet / Abby Carnevale Jewelry.
Braid Top / HKM. Rose Dress: Rachel Antonoff. Heart Earring/ Wendy Faye Jewelry Shell. Choker/ ISLYNYC.Wire Chokers / Abby Carnevale Jewelry. Heart Necklaces/ Kalevala Jewelry.