Attention, Upper East Siders: Maybe the set of Gossip Girl wasn’t all it was cracked up to be in the 2000s and 2010s. Watching the show, it was easy to imagine that life behind the cameras was just as glamorous as it seemed in front of them. But according to Leighton Meester, who played Blair Waldorf, Queen of Everything, that wasn’t necessarily the case. As a woman in her early 20s, finding her footing in Hollywood while trying to do the same in her own life was no easy task.
The popular CW show ran from 2007 to 2012, which is a decent chunk of time considering how quickly programs can fade from existence. When she first began the show, Leighton was 21. Meaning that, when it ended, she was 26. To the teens watching the show, those ages seem very adult and mature. But to someone trying to figure out their place in the world while playing a character doing the same thing, it can make life pretty confusing.
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Being a shyer person by nature, it was hard for Leighton to assimilate with the young people on the show. “[She] was very removed and very quiet, and, after her scenes were done, she would wander the stage. I had this image of her just in these gorgeous dresses with a book in her hand, sort of a little bit out of focus out in the corners.” Being that her natural personality is so different from the Blair persona, it was easy for Leighton to feel pulled in two opposing directions.
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More than anything, Leighton calls her years on Gossip Girl a “learning experience,” much in the way that high school is for teens coming into their own. Since the show became such a huge hit, Leighton’s life turned on its head overnight. All of a sudden, everyone knew her face and she was working more than she ever had before – 16 hours a day, 6 days a week. With all that time spent as Blair, there was barely any time left to be herself.
A lot of the time, it’s hard to get Leighton to talk in-depth about her time on the CW. Audiences have difficulty deciphering if she hated acting on the show, or rather, if she uses it as an example of what not to do in show business. It seems that while Leighton wouldn’t trade her experience on Gossip Girl, she also has no real desire to go back and do it again. She doesn’t have many fond nostalgic feelings for the Upper East Side.
Lately, there’s been buzzing about a remake happening that would air on HBO Max. It’s something the public would love to see, and Blake Lively, who starred as Serena Van Der Woodsen, has voiced her enthusiasm. But there’s not much of that coming from Leighton’s end. She hasn’t necessarily bowed out of the project, but she hasn’t said much in the way of positivity, either. It seems that if Leighton were to agree and sign on with the show, there would be some compartmentalizing to be done. As an adult, there’s a possibility that she could look at production with new eyes, feeling more agency for what she’s doing. If she doesn’t sign on, though, there’s no Gossip Girl without Blair Waldorf, that’s for sure.