Archive for the ‘Interview’ Category

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Posted on Jul 24, 2012 Written by Graces

Having grown up under difficult circumstances in Florida with a family that had a “crazy history,” Leighton Meester began living a very different kind of life as Blair Waldorf on Gossip Girl. It wasn’t just getting to live in New York, it was also being able to have financial stability – something she had never experience during her entire life. “I haven’t had the easiest life but I grew up feeling loved and even though we struggled for money it makes you want to work harder to realise your dreams,” Meester explains. “I’m a happy person. I could be happy working as a florist. But I’m also lucky that as an actress I’m doing something that I love and lets me lead a good life.”

Now that Gossip Girl is shooting it’s sixth and final season, the 26-year-old Meester is hopeful that her film career will be equally successful. Over the last few years, she’s begun to shed her posh TV persona with roles in “Country Strong,” “The Roommate,” and “Monte Carlo.” Her new film, THAT’S MY BOY, takes Meester in an entirely new direction as part of a typically manic Adam Sandler comedy. Shot in and around Boston and Cape Cod, the movie centres around a deadbeat dad (Sandler) and his opportunistic decision to re-enter his wealthy son’s (Andy Samberg) life on the eve of his wedding to his dream girl (Meester).

It’s the first time that Leighton has had the chance to test her acting mettle in a wacky comedy, but she more than holds her own against Sandler and Samberg and admits to having had “such an incredibly fun time on the set.” Meester was born into a family where both her mother and father had brushes with the law. She remains close to her father but has cut off all contact with her mother after being forced to go to court last year when her estranged mother demanded money from her .

Leighton grew up in Florida and moved to New York after a talent scout saw her at a models convention in Atlanta and signed her to a contract when she was 10. She remained in New York with her mother until she was 14 and she moved to L.A. to work in TV and film before moving back to New York when she won the role of Blair Waldorf on Gossip Girl.

Meester recently returned from vacations in Brazil with a group of friends and a family trip with her father and various cousins in Thailand. In person, Leighton is even more beautiful than her glamorous GG alter ego, wearing little make-up and a floral print summer dress. As her role in Country Strong revealed, Meester is also a talented singer and she recently concluded a 5-city U.S. tour with her band, Check in the Dark.

Q: Leighton, an Adam Sandler comedy is a big change-of-pace from your Gossip Girl world. How comfortable were you doing this kind of a comedy?

MEESTER: I loved doing this. I play a girl who you think is very sweet and wonderful at the beginning and then she gets crazier as the story evolves. Adam has a terrific way of creating the kind of atmosphere where everyone is very comfortable on the set and you’re able to improvise your lines and jokes if the situation warrants it. It was a great experience for me and a lot of fun.

Q: What interested you in this kind of a film?

MEESTER: The biggest selling point for me was working with Adam and his crew and this really raunchy, over-the-top screenplay. It was so funny. There were lots of funny, weird, dirty jokes, cussing, and all of that. I’ve seen almost all of Adam’s movies and I wasn’t sure of how far I could go with the jokes and he would keep telling me to go for it. That was the kind of wonderful encouragement he would give you to take your character to its limit.

Q: How do you keep a straight face during the shooting?

MEESTER: You don’t. We were always cracking up during the shoot and even though my character keeps more of a straight face it was so hard sometimes and Adam and Andy (Samberg) would deliberately try to make me crack up with an odd gesture or expression.

Q: Adam Sandler’s comedies are known for being over-the-top. Is he that way in person?

MEESTER: No. Adam is incredibly polite and soft-spoken. His comic side is this wilder extension of his playful nature but he works very hard and is such a gentleman when you get to know him. Adam has totally changed my perspective about him…I grew up watching his movies like Happy Gilmour and Punch-Drunk Love. His performance in (Punch Drunk) is so inspiring and I admire that versatility. He has a rare ability to connect with his audience. He’s also so nice on the set and he’s always calling you and asking you how things are going. He is such a genuinely good man. • Read full story »

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Posted on Jun 5, 2012 Written by Graces

With a new movie out, an album in the works and another season of Gossip Girl to wrap, Leighton Meester drops the Blair Waldorf persona we know and love to reveal someone even better: a wisecracking, food-loving sweetheart with a wee best friend and a glamorous solution for bedhead.

Leighton Meester has been to the top of the Empire state Building twice—once to the walled-in tourists-only Observation Deck, and once to the very, very top, where, she reports, there are these really low ledges, and you just stand there and take in the view while holding on to hooks.

“You mean: You, the sky and give or take 1,250 feet between your head and the pavement?” I ask.

“It’s unbelievable!” she insists.

Happily for me, today we’re only headed to the Observation Deck. It’s a clear, sunny afternoon, and we’re tooling around Manhattan visiting the sites of several famous only-in-New York movie scenes. Our itinerary might be a little gimmicky—Iconic New York Actress Pays Homage to Previous Iconic New York Actresses—but Meester doesn’t seem to mind and has come dressed for the job in a loose gray Isabel Marant sweatshirt, J Brand skinny jeans (“More like jeggings,” she jokes), dark hair tucked inside an Autumn Cashmere floppy knit hat (“My hair is a rat’s nest when I wake up—but I slip this thing on and people think it’s a fashion statement!”), black flats (“In case we end up walking a lot”). Picture her Gossip Girl alter ego Blair Waldorf kidnapped from the Upper East Side, deported to the East Village and forced to shop at Urban Outfitters.

Which, as it happens, is a step up from Meester’s pre-Waldorf self. “My friend says that before the show I dressed like a homeless person,” she says. “I used to buy everything at garage sales. It was hard to give up! I’d be like, ‘But this crazy sweater is amazing, and it only cost 25 cents!’ ” Waldorf’s influence hasn’t turned her into a fashionista by any stretch—off-hours, Meester is the low-key, comfort-first type who does most of her shopping online or when traveling, and she only uses a stylist for red-carpet events. “I’ve learned from Blair, though. Now I like to pepper in something designer”—she tugs at her Isabel Marant sweatshirt—“with my usual stuff.”

When we step off the elevator, the high-speed winds tear my carefully done chignon into a whirling catastrophe. I attempt to say something witty and end up with a mouthful of hair (my own). As we push through the crowds for a gawking spot, the serenely be-hatted and hair-not-flying-anywhere Meester affects a posh, old-timey accent and quotes from the 1957 classic An Affair to Remember—“The Empire State Building is the closest thing to heaven in this city!” (In the movie, a besotted Cary Grant waits dejectedly on the Observation Deck for his presumptive bride-to-be, Deborah Kerr, oblivious that she’s a no-show because—sorry to ruin it for you—she’s been hit by a car.) As we take in the city arrayed below, searching out our favorite buildings (Meester’s is the Flatiron), her tone quickly morphs from self-consciously campy to wistful—the first of many such mood shifts I’ll witness. “That heart-racing feeling!” she says of Grant’s plight. “You want him to know what she’s going through.” As I’m absorbing this, she grabs my shoulders and cries, “Make it shine like the top of the Chrysler Building!” I look at her uncomprehendingly. “That one’s fromAnnie,” she explains, and it dawns on me I’m traveling with both a glamorous movie star and a straight-up film geek. • Read full story »

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Posted on May 24, 2012 Written by Graces

Leighton Meester lounges by a pool in this exclusive new fashion photo shoot for JustJared.com held on Saturday (May 19) at a private residence in Encino, Calif.

The 26-year-old Gossip Girl actress and singer will be heading out on a five-city concert tour next week with the band Check in the Dark!

Leighton will be making stops in Seattle, Vancouver, Portland, San Francisco, and Anaheim. Make sure to pick up your tickets before they are gone. Click on each city to purchase tickets!

Just Jared talked with Leighton and some of the bandmates from Check in the DarkMike Frieman (vocals/ rhythm guitar), George Laird (lead guitar), and Eli Hludzik (drums). Unfortunately Etienne Franc (bass) wasn’t able to make the shoot!

Click inside Leighton and Check in the Dark‘s full interview…

LEIGHTON MEESTER – EXCLUSIVE JUSTJARED.COM INTERVIEW

JJ: How did all of you start working together?

LM: Well, they landed out of an alien spaceship into my yard… (laughs) Basically it started because my friend, their manager, lived with Mike and George. They had Check in the Dark, their band. I was always a big fan of theirs and had gone to see them perform and got up on stage and sang. Then I started writing music that was more in their style and started sending them my little voice memos about everything and then after that the rest is history. They started putting their magic onto all my songs, which were mostly just simple progressions, my lyrics, and melodies. Then George added lead guitar and Mike added beautiful harmonies and his lead guitar. Then Eli is like the glue that keeps everyone together. He keeps the beat and he also does the keyboard at times and he can play pretty much every instrument I can think of.

Etienne couldn’t be here today, he doesn’t live here, but he will be on tour with us. He’s really great. He brings so much soul vibe to the music. It’s a really well-rounded sound and it’s exactly what I wanted. They really complement my style of music.

JJ: What’s the chemistry like when you’re all in the studio recording?

Mike Freeman: We haven’t done too much recording – mostly demos. The first demos we did… we were all in there together and this last set of demos has been kind of separated. George and I laid down guitar and vocals and then Leighton put vocals on and then a couple weeks later Eli would come on. But when we’ve been there all together, it’s been super painless, you know? And I’ve had some painful times in the studio. I guess it’s organic.

JJ: Have you guys finished the album?

LM: We finished recording everything that’s going to make it onto the album, but we want to go back in probably within the next few months and record everything again. I feel like you just find different things when you record a demo and then go back to it. We have like 18 songs to work with so we’ll probably only record like 10 or 11 of them for the actual album.

JJ: Are there any producers you guys want to work with?

LM: Not at the moment, but we’ve been going from studio to studio. We’ll probably just end up doing it at my house.

MF: We’re always talking about the album Raising Sand. That was like one of the first talks. Something like that. Some of our favorite albums over the past 10 years are people like are not doing much lately, that we’d like to maybe call and get them back into the mix of things. So if you’re reading this, please just call us. (laughs) That’d be great!

JJ: What would you say is the concept of the album?

LM: I don’t think I’m going to say the name of the album yet. (laughs) You’ll hear first, I promise. It’s really just from the last two years of my life, like love and a lot of heartache, emotions, and having it all brim over. Some of it is just straight love songs, but it’s a mixture of totally personal. We should call the album Regurgitation of Feelings (laughs). It started about two years ago, I was here and I performed with them and I had written this one song, “Jenny”, which will most likely be on the set. It just felt right to perform together and do my sound with their sound. It works good together. That was such an emotional experience, The Who performance, and then after that, George and Mike sent me an instructional video on how to play it on the guitar. From then on, I just started playing and after that everything that I wrote was on the guitar and sent over to them. That’s just how it all got started.

I took a trip to Europe and I wrote a huge bulk of the songs that we’re doing on the tour. Since then we’ve come up with a lot more stuff. But a huge portion of it is sort of driven from personal experiences both good and bad.

JJ: Is there a song that will definitely be on the album?

LM: There are a few. There’s one called “Entitled”. That’s a perfect representation of what the whole album is about. It’s about the heartache and sadness and you know all of those feelings that come along with being in love helplessly, then moving on and knowing that you’re better and entitled to something more. That was sort of the before and after of just me as a person to be honest.

JJ: Are you ready to tour? It’s coming up soon!

MF: I’m just excited that our first is in Seattle because it was such a huge impact on me getting into music at all. So it’s cool that we’re going to be hitting Seattle.

LM: I’ve never been to Seattle, I’m very excited!

GL: We’re definitely going to change the set up a little bit. Every show is going to be a little bit different. We’re not going to play the same show every time. Every city will have their own taste.

LM: Including cover songs that fit the cities well!

JJ: How are rehearsals going? You’ve done six or seven days?

LM: Yeah, seven days. So we’ve been rehearsing for a week straight. It’s also like at my house and we’ve been having BBQs and stuff. It’s been really great! It works perfectly; we usually rehearse in a little place in Burbank. Moving everything to my house has just made me feel so much more relaxed. It’s been good for me to be in my own environment. It’s a bigger space…

JJ: Do you guys have any music rituals?

LM: We’ve gone and had good vibe moments in my tepee. I have one in my backyard. So we’ve gone in there and put good vibes and energy into the tour. I think it really does work. We just talk everything through and get really excited when we talk about the music. We bounce off of each other really well and nobody’s opinion isn’t overheard.

MF: It’s fun to just arrange our music and bring us something new. It’s been cool to just get something bare bones and be like, “What do we do with this to make it different than the other one?” So we’ll take it and George and I’ll kind of dissect it and that’s always fun.

LM: Yeah, I recently got to see it because they videotaped one of their sessions without me. I sent them a song and they turned it into something so beautiful. It was really interesting because I hadn’t seen that before.

JJ: What’s going to motivate someone to buy your album or buy a ticket to see you on tour?

MF: Once we do this tour, there’s going to be more buzz. I think people are going to be surprised with how good it’s going to be. Not to toot our own horn, but I think when people hear us at these shows they’ll be like, “Oh, s–t…This is legit.”

Shahine Ezell (producer): If people really want to get to know Leighton, she puts all of herself into every lyric, every performance and it’s different every time she sings every single song. So if you really want to know a person a little better and you want to get a better outlook on her and the band, just listen to the music on the album or see her live and you’ll get a better view on that.

LM: Before, I was doing pop music and as much as I love that and am totally proud of it and think it’s great, I’ve just moved on from it. I think at that time, to be honest, I was writing it not totally for myself. It was the idea that other people will be listening and ‘will this be a hit’ type of thing? And with this music, there’s no judgment whatsoever. I don’t judge a single lyric, I don’t judge anything. It’s just how I feel coming out from the beginning to the end. I’m not ever worried and also not trying to move around anyone else’s music. It’s not like doing a beat on a computer. It’s just completely complementary toward my voice and how I feel. It just works.

GL: It’s just real. A lot of music, when you see it live, there’s program tracks and something else going on. This is all organic. We’re all playing real instruments, there’s no track, no backing, anything. It’s real what you’re seeing. It’s just us playing. Leighton is playing the guitar and there’s no safety net. That’s why every show’s going to be different. You’re not going to hear any backing beats or vocals.

LM: I also feel so grateful for these guys because it’s such a good vibe. I’m sure even men can relate, but my songs are a lot about being a woman in every aspect…in love or not in love or whatever. I’m glad they can relate to it and vibe with it.

MF: That’s a cool dynamic, because while she’s grateful we’re doing this for her, we’re also extremely grateful. She’s always thanking us and maybe we don’t thank her enough – for having faith in us enough to let us try to do this with you and it’s been so successful. But you first had to take the leap and be like, “I’m going to have these guys …you know you picked us.”

LM: We picked each other.

LM: Right. It’s worked out well.

—————–

JJ: What’s the vibe on the set of Gossip Girl like now that it’s coming to an end? The last season!

LM: Well, we found out while we were on break, so I’m sure everyone has mixed feelings like I do. It’s bittersweet. It’s the end of a hugely important time in my life, but also it’s good because I get to move on and grow and change. You wanna be able to move on. It’s of course sad, but I think the hardest thing is going to be leaving the crew and the cast and everybody that has become like a family to me.

JJ: Has your trailer become your second home?

LM: Oh, yeah. Well, that’s like in any job. Wherever you are you kind of gotta make home. I spend a lot of time in there. They let me redecorate my dressing room a couple years ago. We have a trailer that’s away and sometimes we are at Silvercup Stages in Long Island City, Queens. We have like little rooms and they let us decorate them. Mine looks like a little garden – there are flowers everywhere and green walls. It’s going to be sort of weird to leave it and know that I’ll never come back to that, but I’m sure that I’ll shoot something in Silvercup way sooner than I even think.

JJ: Do you have a favorite Gossip Girl moment?

LM: There’s been a lot of good moments. I love when I get to do some funny stuff. I like it when Blair’s over-the-top and ordering people around. I love working with those girls…that’s the best part.

I love working with [Zuzanna Szadkowski] who plays Dorota. She’s amazing! She’s just incredible. I saw her in Love, Loss and What I Wore. It was so good. She can just do everything. She’s really intelligent and nothing like Dorota really. She’s like super young and it just completely transforms her for that role.

It’s interesting. I like some of the dramatic moments, but I think that just the shock of reading something when something crazy is happening like when you’re like, “This person is now going to date….” And you don’t really have a say in it, you just kind of have to go with it, which is kinda fun.

JJ: Do you know how Gossip Girl will end?

LM: I can tell you how I hope it’ll all end, but I don’t really have any say. I won’t know until…I think I won’t know until after I shoot. I think Blair and Chuck, that whole relationship, is probably going to keep going round and round. I like her with Dan, too. They have an interesting relationship. My real problem is that I love working with both of them and I have a connection to both of them. I have love and chemistry with both of them in completely different ways. Dan is more of an intellectual stimulating partner, where Chuck is more I guess a sexually stimulating partner. She plays her little mind games and they do weird sexy time games and it’s kind of funny. So I don’t know [who she’ll end up with].

JJ: Are there going to be any guest stars in the last season?

LM: I really hope that Liz Hurley comes back because I love and I love her son [Damian] who comes on set too. He’s just a little genius awesome kid.

The fact that Chuck’s dad is alive is really weird. But I do love having him on set. It was like, “Oh, now you’re back!” It’s really cool to have him back. Maybe we’ll just bring everybody back!

JJ: What’s your favorite line that Blair has delivered?

LM: I do really distinctively remember her giving this whole speech. She’s like, “Yale’s the only place I can go. I love the bulldogs, and remember when I wanted a bulldog?” and then it turns out she’s talking to Darota and the whole time you thought she was talking to her mom, which is kind of sad, but funny.

But yeah, there’s a lot of crazy stuff she says. Actually, they let me improv a little bit. It’s rare, but sometimes they do. We did a scene at some club and we were shooting and I had to walk through the crown and people were in my ways so I had to be bitchy Blair to everybody as I was walking through the crowd and they were like, ‘Oh, you can keep doing that.” I felt bad because it was nothing personal.

JJ: So how do you personally feel about Gossip Girl ending?

LM: Good, very good. It’s just crazy, you know? It’s a huge portion of your life.

JJ: Does it feel like graduation?

LM: It feels a little bit more… yeah to some extent, yeah, sure. It’s just really going to be weird. It’s going to be weird in every way, especially that I don’t have that to occupy my time.

JJ: Thanks so much for taking the time to do this photo shoot and interview!

LM: Thank YOU!

PHOTO SHOOT CREDITS (PICTURES BELOW) —–

Picture #1 & #7: Viktor & Rolf dress, Van Cleef & Arpels collar necklace and floral ring, Soffer Ari band ring.

Picture #2: Carolina Herrera dress, Solange Azagury Partridge earrings.

Picture #3 & #6: Blumarine dress, Baccarat necklace.

Picture #4: Calvin Klein dress, Kimberly McDonald Ring

Picture #5: Monique Lhuillier Dress, Dannijo earrings, Kara Ross ring, Eric Rutberg shoes.

Producer: Jared Eng (@JaredEng)
Model: Leighton Meester (@itsmeleighton)
Creative Director/Photographer: Justin Campbell (@JustJustinNYC)
Stylist: Sophia Banks-Coloma (@sophiabanksc)
Assistant Stylist: Ali Mandelkorn (@amandelkorn)
Makeup: Grace Phillips (@grace_phillips)
Hair: Tony Vin (@tonyvin)

Source: Just Jared

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Posted on Apr 1, 2012 Written by Graces

Loved it or hated it, you were probably reeling the last time Gossip Girl was on the air, aka the moment where Blair chose Dan over Chuck. In Monday’s new episode, Queen B and the boy from Brooklyn are going to try their darndest to consummate their unlikely couple status by… well, you know. (The show, of course, will throw obstacles in their way, like parents inconveniently hanging around.)

But whether or not they succeed, there will be plenty working against Ms. Have and Mr. Have Not. Will they come out of Season 5 intact? When exactly did the writers decide Dan and Blair should be together anyway? Where does that leave Chuck? And what about Serena, whose heart was also broken? Is Gossip Girl’s laptop going to spell war between B and S? We grilled series executive producer Josh Safran about the origins of Blair’s choice and what it has wrought. Plus: He tells us exactly how much flak he and the writers have taken for making Dair happen instead of Chair.

Blair chose Dan over Chuck and then the show went away for more than a month. During that time, what kind of reaction have you gotten? Some people are pretty mad…
Josh Safran: 
The Blair-Dan camp has been as vocal throughout the whole season as they are now. It was not like, “Oh my gosh, she made that choice!” I believe the audience understood that choice was coming, you know? Also, we cannot change where the stories are going now because the finale wraps in three days. It’s that strange thing where you hear from the fans, and some people are very happy and some people are unhappy, and there is really not much you can do about it.

The one thing I can say, though, is that we are very grateful and feel very lucky that people, five seasons in, feel so passionate about these characters and about these relationships. We know that is very rare and we do not treat it lightly. You cannot plan for that. There is no way to engineer that. It’s magic.

You just said it isn’t as though you can change the direction of the story. But would you do anything differently if you could?
Safran:
 I don’t think so, because we are telling the story that we believe in. Obviously, people have different points of view and that is the whole point of… existence. [Laughs.] So we respect and we understand different points of view, but this is the story that we want to tell and that is the story that we are telling.

What’s the split of Dair to Chair fans? 50-50?
Safran:
 I would like to think that. It’s not like we arrived at Dan and Blair because we thought, “Let’s just put them together.” We arrived at Dan and Blair because we felt that is where we were going. I would like to think that there is a larger portion of the audience who understands that. There are people who do not like it and, you know, all I can say to them is I’m sorry.

Now that Blair has made her choice, what will her new challenges be?
Safran: 
There are some really fun vintage Blair story lines coming up in her desire to return to her former self, or become an even better version of her former self. One of my favorites coming up is a great Blair and Dan story where they try to find their place in the world as a couple and find it easier said than done.

Does “vintage Blair” means the minions will be back for good? I loved Blair’s bridesmaid auditions.
Safran:
 It is definitely along those lines. And the minions do make an appearance in the next episode after Monday’s, but what I mean by “vintage Blair,” at least in this one case, is that she’s going to come up against an antagonist that she sets about trying to change. But that antagonist is actually not a person. It is a thing. I’m excited about it so I don’t want to spoil anything. I want people to be surprised. • Read full story »

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Posted on Mar 30, 2012 Written by Graces

The countdown to the Gossip Girl finale begins Monday when the CW soap returns with the first of seven all-new episodes. Below, showrunner Josh Safran gives TVLine a sneak peek at what’s going down on the Upper East Side as the season draws to a close (hint: a ton).

TVLINE | Dan and Blair go public with their romance in “Salon of the Dead” on April 16. What obstacles do they face beyond that?
The obstacles are always going to be that Dan knows just how big of a presence Chuck has been in Blair’s life. And that’s something Blair works very hard to put Dan at ease about, but I think the harder she works at putting Dan at ease about that the more uneasy he feels. And, obviously, their relationship is hard for everybody around them because Serena was and maybe still is in love with Dan. And Chuck has his issues that he’s dealing with. And whenever Chuck is dealing with issues, Blair often wants to help.

TVLINE | Is Louis no longer a factor?
He is no longer a factor.

TVLINE | So Georgina takes care of that situation?
The situation will be taken care of. I’m not sure it’s ultimately Georgina who takes care of it.

TVLINE | If Ivy loved having a family so much, why is she alienating the Van der Woodsens? What’s her endgame?
She definitely still wants to be a part of the family. But she’s upset because no matter what she has tried to do they don’t accept her. So, at this point, she feels like she has nothing left to prove because they’re not going to accept her anyway, so she’s just going to look out for herself. • Read full story »

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Posted on Mar 13, 2012 Written by Angelic

Leighton Meester, best known for her indelible portrayal of rich-girl snobbery and capriciousness as Blair Waldorf on Gossip Girl, is getting her bowl on at Frames, a low-key alley abutting the Port Authority, Manhattan’s main bus terminal and one of the last vestiges of Times Square’s gritty past. She enjoys bowling — this is her second outing in a week. Which is not to say Meester is skilled at bowling. Because she is not.

“I never played sports,” she explains, before releasing her ball with an indifferent thump. “I wasn’t any good at them.” She watches the ball drop into the gutter with limp finality. Unfazed, she throws again, hurling it down the lane, knocking over a handful of pins. A second gutter shot follows. “I guess I need a bigger target,” she says flatly.

On growing up:
“My family has a crazy history. Probably the craziest I’ve heard of. I look back now and I see it in a nice light. It wasn’t uncomplicated. But I played outside. I went to the beach. There were happy, fun times.”

On having little use for self-pity:
“You can take what is handed to you and use it as an excuse to mess up. But I’ve always handled what was given to me by life. I consider myself lucky. I was never lied to. And I was loved.”

On not having or wanting a true childhood:
“I worked a lot, even though I was just a kid. It seemed normal to me. I couldn’t relate to kid stuff. ‘Jimmy doesn’t like me!’ Who cares? I was worried we didn’t have gas money or food. Those were my concerns.”

On getting stronger through suffering:
“When you see how you react when you suffer, that’s when you know what you are made of.”

On her indifference towards relationships:
“I never had a boyfriend until I was 18. It’s nice, I guess – when you like them. But it isn’t the most important thing. I’m not sure I ever want to get married. The only time a relationship is good is when you really love them. I don’t want to hang out with some guy I just like.”

Meester is no stranger to such things.

One of those rare children born with both full-blown ambition and the determination to avoid even the slightest derailment, Meester has been aiming at big game since grade school. Part of this is a rejoinder to circumstance. Meester’s mother, Constance, gave birth to her while serving federal prison time for drug trafficking.

Meester was not, she has oft clarified, born in jail. She was delivered in a hospital, then transferred to a halfway house for three months, after which she was sent to live with her grandmother until Constance’s release. Her father, Doug, also served time for drug-related offenses.

He and Constance would later divorce. The difficult facts of her childhood provided Meester with matchless perspective. Also, an ineffaceable blueprint of what not to do.

Source: Marie Clarie

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Posted on Nov 21, 2011 Written by Graces

Penn Badgley says Chuck is Blair’s soulmate, Ed Westwick likes kissing Leighton Meester, Chace says something about his character and Blake talks about the royal wedding.

Nobody gives good love triangle like Gossip Girl. It’s one of the biggest reasons the show has made it to a whopping 100 episodes, which the cast celebrated this weekend in (where else?) NYC. And E! News was on hand to dish with Chace Crawford, Penn Badgley, Leighton Meester, Blake Lively and the rest of the cast.
So do the show’s über-popular duo Chuck and Blair still stand a chance? What about Dan and Blair? And which guy is Blair’s “soul mate”? Penn’s answer may surprise you…

“I think they will always have feelings for each other in a certain capacity,”Penn says of Dan and Blair.”I can’t really say where it is going to go, nor do I know…They have had plans for them since the beginning, only in the sense that they are a certain intellectual match for one another. I think Dan is unfortunate in that he loves Blair and I think Blair is his soul mate—but he is not Blair’s soul mate, because Blair and Chuck belong with each other, obviously. I think that the fans all love Chuck and Blair together, but you know, maybe you’re wrong.” • Read full story »

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Posted on Aug 17, 2011 Written by Graces

She just keeps expanding her horizons, and Leighton Meester’s latest gig is as the face of Vera Wang’s new fragrance Lovestruck.

The “Gossip Girl” hottie recently filmed a new commercial for the scent, looking fabulous in a maroon gown made by Ms. Wang especially for the occasion.

Leighton told press, “The concept is really cool, it’s like a modern day Romeo and Juliet and it’s very much about that rush you feel when you’re lovestruck, so that definitely speaks to me.”

“It’s really an honor to be picked by this campaign. I admire Vera so much … she really has a great eye for what women want and her style is so iconic and classic yet modern, so I think it speaks to women of all ages, myself included, so I’m really excited about it.”

Source: Celebrity Gossip

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Posted on Apr 18, 2011 Written by Graces

In the last original episode of the addictive CW drama “Gossip Girl” that aired in February, straight-arrow Dan (Penn Badgley) and queen bee Blair (Leighton Meester), two very different characters who have been slowly building an unstoppable attraction for each other all season, finally shared a kiss that not only wow’d the characters but also those viewers who have been patiently waiting for a coupling to commence.

Now, as the remaining episodes of the stellar fourth season begin to air tonight, the question is will we see “Dair” blossom into a new super couple on the show and how will the others react? Who are the new characters being added to an already crowded cast tonight? How does a show with such a strong base of younger viewers get away with pushing-the-envelope-sayings like “What the wuck?” Our Jim Halterman went right to the sources and rang up Executive Producers Stephanie Savage and Joshua Safran to get all the answers about “Gossip Girl” and also to see how Savage’s newest project, the ABC pilot “Georgetown,” is shaping up.

Jim Halterman: Let’s jump in with the Dan and Blair pairing. How much thought went into it before you thought ‘OK, let’s go there!’

Stephanie Savage: We feel that that dynamic went back to season one. That very first episode that Josh wrote had a critical Dan and Blair bonding scene and I think when we saw the actors together we realized that even though we had created these characters to be polar opposites they actually had a lot in common. It takes a certain level of maturity and it seems like something that happens to you in college instead of high school when you can actually feel comfortable being with someone who is so different from who you thought you were supposed to be with.

JH: I feel like Blair has really come into her own this season and isn’t defined by her relationships like maybe she was in the past. Was that a goal this past year?

Joshua Safran: In episode nine this year, Blair says ‘I need to become powerful on my own before I’m attached to somebody who is powerful.’ I think that was very much a decision we had made. You have to stand alone and find the strength within yourself to be not only powerful for the world but powerful for a relationship.

SS: Blair was really put through the ringer at the end of season three so we wanted to give her her space to get grounded and find herself a little bit.

JH: You have so many characters to service but yet you introduce new characters in this first episode back. Can you talk about bringing Carol (Sheila Kelley) and Charlie (Kaylee DeFer) into the mix?

SS: Carol and Charlie are a part of this family so adding them was very organic. Aunt Carol in Miami is mentioned in the pilot so we feel like she’s always been with us and we had a great time involving her character in our flashback episode with Krysten Ritter so we knew we would always meet adult/grown-up Aunt Carol. Lily’s pending incarceration felt like the right moment for that. • Read full story »

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Posted on Apr 11, 2011 Written by Graces

It’s being called “the kiss four seasons in the making” and it has started a civil war amongst “Gossip Girl” fans.
On Monday, Apr. 18, viewers will finally learn the outcome of Dan (Penn Badgley) and Blair’s (Leighton Meester) first kiss… and how it impacts all the show’s characters, especially Chuck (Ed Westwick) and Serena (Blake Lively).

Zap2it had spoken with “GG” executive producers Stephanie Savage and Josh Safran before about the decision to explore the odd couple’s chemistry. In the same interview, we asked if they have pre-determined end games in mind for certain characters.

“There’s definitely some stories that we have an end game in mind for. Some stories definitely have end points, end games,” Savage revealed at the time. “Others, it seems like those characters’ journeys are much more about finding their way so it gives us a little more space to explore different possibilities.”

In a recent interview with TVLine, Safran echoed the sentiment, saying, “One thing we are very conscious of — and I know some fans get upset about this — is we really try to treat the characters as living, breathing, well-rounded individuals. And we’re often surprised by where their journeys take them; they open new doors for us all the time. It’s not like we’re saying, ‘No, there’s only this one couple and that’s it.’”

Instead of focusing on end games that have yet to be determined or asking about spoilers that are all over the web, we decided to focus on the feedback they’ve been receiving from fans when we chatted with Savage and Safran about the show’s final five episodes of the season. (Death threats via e-mail included. Seriously.) They’ve seen all your complaints, praises and hashtags. Yes, fans, they even know about the #bringbackchuckandblair and #redeemchuckbass Twitter campaigns.

What can fans expect from the last five episodes of Season 4?
Safran:They can expect all the stories that have been moving seemingly side by side coming together in a major way like we like to do at the end of a season, where they sort of link up and everybody’s all together. You can expect a lot more romance. Well, there’s already been romance, but even more romance. Some adventure, I would say. I just think that the core dynamics that we always try to place with are still there: Serena and Blair having their issues over what just happened as you’ve witnessed, Chuck and Blair having their issue about what just happened. Across the board, all the balls we have in the air are going to land.

Obviously fans have been very vocal about the Dan and Blair storyline, something we’ve really been loving this season. What reaction have you been seeing the most from fans?
Safran:The funny thing is that, and I think it’s true of sort of any factions of fans, the people who love Dan and Blair we don’t hear from right now because they are loving the story and the people who don’t love the story are the ones you hear from and then vice versa. If that were to change or whenever there’s a change, you sort of hear from the angriest group the most. They have been very angry and I have been hearing from them a lot. I just keep wanting to say Season 4 is wrapped, just wait and see because I think there’s something for everybody. That’s my thing about the end of the season is I feel like you’d be hard-pressed as a fan to not be happy in some way about some part of what’s going on. • Read full story »

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