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Shannen Doherty and her 'bad' attitude

Shannen Doherty at a signing for her first book, "Badass: A Hard-Earned Guide to Living Life with Style and (the Right) Attitude."
Shannen Doherty at a signing for her first book, "Badass: A Hard-Earned Guide to Living Life with Style and (the Right) Attitude."
  • Former "Beverly Hills 90210" star Shannen Doherty has written her first book
  • The actress "admits that her 'bad girl' reputation was deserved"
  • Doherty also reveals her favorite "90210" episodes

(CNN) -- Shannen Doherty is perhaps best known for portraying Brenda Walsh on "Beverly Hills, 90210" as well as her former reputation as a Hollywood bad girl. The actress, 39, has written her first book, "Badass: A Hard-Earned Guide to Living Life with Style and (the Right) Attitude."

"Badass" is a self-help tome of sorts with tips on style and a memoir weaved in, but certainly not the tell-all kind. Doherty owns up to her past mistakes and admits that her "bad girl" reputation was deserved, but she also insists she's evolved into a badass -- a woman of integrity who is strong, confident, self-aware and compassionate.

Doherty spoke to CNN about the book, the importance of maintaining one's own integrity and, of course, "90210."

CNN: In the book, you talk about how a lot of women act like victims. In what ways do women act like victims when they may not even realize it?

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Shannen Doherty: Constantly complaining about it being a man's world is a really good example. If you want to complain about it being a man's world, then don't rely on a man to take care of you.

If you're a full-time mom, then that is your job. And that's a big, big, big job. It's difficult, and kudos to those who do it because all I can say is 'Wow!' I have a lot of friends who are full-time moms, and they all work a hell of a lot harder than I do.

But it's the women who are supposedly working out there who complain that it is a man's world. They get married for a couple of years, then they get divorced, and all of a sudden they're suing their husbands for a ton of money. Its like, are you kidding? Support yourself.

Women talk about being victims for all sorts of reasons, and we're only victims of ourselves. Stop being overbearing. That was a lesson I had to learn. I thought that being a woman and being young, in order to be heard I had to be very strong and overbearing and loud and get my point across, and if somebody didn't agree with me, it just meant I had to get harder with it.

Now I do the opposite. I erase the fact that I'm a woman, and I'm not a victim anymore because I'm happy being a woman, and I think it's actually going to get me further. If I can turn on some Southern charm [Doherty is a Tennessee native] in corporate America -- where, granted, there are a lot of men -- that's fantastic! I'm going to stand out from the 50 other men that work in the office because I'm different.

CNN: In light of all the news stories about bullying out there, do you have any advice for maintaining our integrity in the face of bullies and so-called mean girls, be it in the schoolyard, workplace or social situations?

Shannen Doherty: Mean girls usually grow up being not so great. ...

What they're doing has nothing to do with you, and it has everything to do with them. They're insecure. Maybe they're insecure because you're breaking new ground, because you're taking risks in your life and you don't care what people say, or at least that's what comes across. It frightens that person, and sometimes, when people are frightened, they react in angry, hostile ways. In order to keep your integrity, you must stay true to yourself and not let bullies get you down.

CNN: You're a big proponent of deciding what you stand for and sticking with it. Is that harder than it sounds?

Doherty: Not at all. You should know what you believe in and what your convictions are. It's why I was in training for so long. I was never really wishy-washy, but I'm very firm in who I am now and firm with being able to be flexible, but my beliefs are my beliefs and there's definitely nothing wishy-washy about it.

CNN: You say that being an authentic badass means being a work in progress. How are you a work in progress?

Doherty: I'm still a work in progress because I'm still making mistakes. Badasses will always make mistakes. It's just not repeating those mistakes, and hopefully they're not as horrifying and shameful as some of the earlier mistakes of my youth. To be a true badass, you're going to make mistakes because you're constantly evolving, constantly growing and constantly learning new things.

CNN: Do you keep in touch with any of your "Beverly Hills, 90210" co-stars?

Doherty: I do! Jennie [Garth, who played Kelly Taylor,] and I worked together on the new "90210," and we really connected as women now that we're older. We've both grown up, and we realized that we like each other. We found a great new relationship within each other. And I just adore, adore, adore, adore and love Brian Austin Green, [who played David Silver].

CNN: What was your favorite "Beverly Hills, 90210" episode?

Doherty: Playing Laverne [season one, episode 15, "Fame is Where You Find it"] was so much fun with that heavy, heavy accent that I used -- and the singing! That was pretty exciting. The breast cancer scare [season one, episode 157, "It's Only a Test"] was really meaningful. I loved doing heavy drama, and I still do. It's my forte, and I love it.

CNN: Is there anything else you'd like to say about "Badass" that we haven't covered?

Doherty: I think it's important to get across that the book has a lot of poignant, honest moments. I tell stories about myself that nobody ever heard. But the book is also fun! For example, there's a whole section on stalking. [She means the drive-by kind, nothing unlawful.]