Let me tell you a secret: I used to be incredibly, deeply insecure. Except that’s not much of a secret at all, given that I wore my insecurity like a giant scarlet ‘A’ across my chest all throughout my adolescence. It bled into how I presented myself, from vehemently avoiding eye contact with others to hiding my acne scars with pounds of clumpy, cakey makeup. In fact, I’m pretty sure Olivia Rodrigo stole the lyric “I’m not cool and I’m not smart” straight out of my diary in 2018.
It really is brutal out here, and my confidence journey has had more twists and turns than a Six Flags rollercoaster. Truthfully, I’m still learning, but my self-esteem has never been better, nor have I ever loved myself more—and that’s largely thanks to Serena Fucking Kerrigan.
Known for talking to herself in the mirror, Kerrigan is the Queen of Confidence. Shortly before the pandemic began, Kerrigan left her Refinery29 job back in 2020 to begin building her empire—and nearly two years later, she’s helped and mentored countless people around the world, myself included. Kerrigan has reinvented the humble mirror as a portal through which you can hype up your very best friend—yourself. Sure, it might feel ridiculous at first, but after a few tries, you won’t be able to look at yourself without seeing a beautiful, radiant smile on your face.
Looking in the mirror was always something I avoided while growing up. I saw it as something that could only magnify my perceived flaws back at me—who would have thought I’d be using it to tell myself how worthy and loved I am all these years later? And as we begin a new and uncertain year, I’m turning to Kerrigan once more for her best advice on how to make the most of it.
After all, who better to ask about living your best life than the Queen of Confidence herself? And when Kerrigan sat down with STYLECASTER, she spilled all the tea and then some. Scroll on for Serena Kerrigan’s Guide to Confidence below, and don’t forget—it’s all for the plot.
On What Confidence Means To Her
“Confidence means treating yourself like you’re your best friend. Do you always like your best friend? No. Does she piss you off? Sometimes. Do you sometimes think that what she’s wearing might not be the cutest outfit? Of course. Are there things that you know, you wish that she did differently? Yeah.
But do you love her? And if someone is talking shit about her, would you go to bat for her? If she got ghosted by someone, would you say to her, ‘Fuck that guy’ and ‘You deserve to be with someone who’s so worthy of you’? Or would you say, ‘Yeah, you got ghosted again, not shocked’?
We are so self-critical, but we are so kind when it comes to our best friends. So I think that’s what confidence really is—it’s looking at yourself in the mirror and having these dialogues and treating yourself with that same kind of compassion and respect as you would your best friend.”
On Embracing Your Vulnerability
“I think that being confident is actually being like, ‘I’m going through this, and I still love myself, I’m still my best friend.’ Or, you’re admitting or taking accountability for something that you messed up. I’m someone who always takes accountability. I’ve made mistakes online, and I literally within a couple hours will be like, ‘I messed up. Thank you for pointing this out. I apologize.’ And I move on, and I don’t do it again.
That’s what confidence is. Because we’re human beings, we’re going to make mistakes. So me saying ‘I made a mistake’ doesn’t suddenly mean I’m a bad person. But what makes you a bad person is when you can’t own up to a mistake—that’s a problem.”
On Empowering Others
“I see confidence as being on top of a mountain. And once you get to that mountain, the world just looks completely different. You literally see the world so differently. And all you want is for everyone to come join you. So this whole discussion of cockiness versus confidence, it’s such bullshit and it’s so sexist, because rarely do we have these conversations about men.
It’s always women like, ‘Oh, you don’t want to seem too arrogant or too vain or too full of yourself.’ It’s like, ‘No, I’m hot, you’re hot. I’m a genius, so are fucking you.’ That’s what confidence is. It’s hyping up people around you. Cockiness is actually insecurity and insecure people tear others down to lift themselves up.
But when you’re on that mountain, everyone can join the mountain. You can make room for other people on the top. And that’s why my Instagram bio is: ‘I’m the queen of confidence. And I saved you a seat at my throne.’ Because I’m really confident and I want everyone to sit with me on that throne. There’s room for everyone.”
On Her Catch Phrase, “Do It For The Plot”
“It’s really just, live life fully and stop being so attached to the outcome. Do it for the story. Say ‘Yes’ to things. I find that so many of my followers ask me questions like ‘I want to move to New York, but I’m scared’ or ‘I want to go on a date but I’m scared.’ And I’m like, ‘You are letting fear dictate your life!’
So this way of saying ‘Do it for the plot,’ is like, what’s the worst thing that can happen? Truly, that’s how I approach every situation—what is the worst thing that could happen? And if the cons really outweigh the pros, then I won’t do it. Even with quitting my job, that was what my mom said to me, she said, ‘What’s the worst thing that can happen?’
Life is too short to not go after what you want, to try things. So that’s what ‘Do it for the plot’ is, to just do your thing. It’s like, take the risk. Because worst case, you have it in your story. Your life is a movie, it’s a screenplay. And you’re the writer, director, producer and star. And if you really navigate like that, that things are going to happen, things might not work out, but that’s a part of the plotline. And you’ll see later why it didn’t work out.”
On Social Media and Self Esteem
“I just want to say, you know, I can’t imagine. I almost get emotional thinking and talking about it, because I can’t imagine what it would have been like growing up with what social media is now. And that’s why I do what I do. Because again, life is too short to not love yourself.
I was very, very insecure. And we’re all born with confidence, all of us are. Think about when we were little at the playground, and someone pushed us or called us a name, we’d be like, ‘Whatever!’ and brush it off. We wouldn’t care! But then, as we started to become older, we started becoming aware of the world around us and the images and the ideas of who we’re supposed to be, and how we don’t fit into them—because rarely anyone ever does. Or when we only see white, thin women on TV. That’s when we start to be like, ‘Oh fuck, something’s wrong with us.’
So when I was 18, I was like, ‘I can’t do this anymore. I can’t let my self worth be dictated by the opinion of someone else’—not even an opinion, but my perceived opinion, right? I was projecting onto people thinking that they didn’t think I was hot or cool or, you know, likable. Like, no, we decide who we are.
So that’s why my entire purpose of being on this planet is to show people that if a guy doesn’t like you after a date, then that’s fine. That doesn’t suddenly mean you’re not likable. If you don’t get a job, it doesn’t mean you’re suddenly not smart or never going to be successful. Like, you decide those things. Any race, any ethnicity, any culture, any socio-economic class—you decide who you are.”
On Finding Love
“Something that I was so grateful for was growing up with a mother who valued her independence and happiness over the societal expectation of being married—or remarried, in her case. You have to be completely happy, and happiness comes from within and anything else is an additive. If you have this mentality, then when things aren’t serving you, you can walk away.
Don’t even bother going on a date until you love yourself, because you will settle for less than you deserve. And you won’t think that you are, but you will; you will start letting things slide and letting red flags fester because you’re looking for validation through the partnership, because being in a relationship for you means that you’re worthy, or that you’re lovable.
You don’t need a relationship to show you that. I’ve been single for over four years and nothing is wrong with me. It’s a choice. And it’s not like I’m not dating! But if you’re going to be my boyfriend, you have to make me happier than I am right now. And those are big shoes to fill.”
On New Year’s Resolutions
“I don’t do resolutions. I believe that life is too short. You have to live in the now. Someone told me literally yesterday, ‘I’m going to start talking to myself in 2022.’ And I’m like, ‘Bullshit, start talking to yourself right now.’
Guess what? Tomorrow me and you, we might not be here. Live your life now. There’s no reason why, on December 31, you’re suddenly going to let go of that identity. You decide, right now, today. You have power over the actions of your life. You have to believe in that power.”