It might surprise you to learn that there are actually *two* versions of Leighton Meester. There’s the one that everyone sees on-screen and attending fancy events, who wears designer dresses and pioneers new trends. Then there’s the actual version: just your average woman who admits to loving yoga pants, questionable aughts trends, and struggles to clean out her closet just as much as the next person.
Luckily, we had a chance to get to know the real Leighton over at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills, where we talked about all of the above as well as her new show, Making History (more on that here). The star even revealed she has her own version of the KonMari method, and not only is it genius, the way she describes it is pretty hilarious, too.
Tightly-harnessed rage is something we saw Leighton Meester deliver up countless times as Blair Waldorf. But the 30-year-old woman perched on the edge of a velveteen lounge chair in the empty Jane Hotel ballroom isn’t exactly angry. She’s more frustrated: “The excitement for a lot of people is: Man and woman meet, get married, then have a baby. But in the meantime, there’s so much more to women. We have these flawed heroes so often leading shows. But a flawed heroine? She’s portrayed in a different way: so much more of a bitch, and if she’s older, certainly a dried up one.”
It’s a crisp afternoon in late February and Meester is here talking up her new Fox series, Making History, a time travel comedy that also stars The Mindy Project’s Adam Pally. The actress plays Deborah Revere, the gun-slinging, bear-skinning, ax-hurling, real-life daughter of Paul, who falls for a guy from 2017 and eventually agrees to climb into his giant duffel bag so they can return to the future together. Everything you imagine might go wrong does, which basically explains the thrust of the plot.
Clad in a cozy sweater and dark jeans, her hair piled half-up on her head, Meester tells me she modeled her Making History character on the kind of childlike wonderment that effectively skewers adults for their bullshit. “You know when a kid stares at you and you’re like, ‘Don’t look at me like that, don’t judge me’?” Meester asks. “Deborah is like that. Her innocence and naïveté make her cutting and childlike at the same time. It brings out the best in people around her.”
When WWD connects with Leighton Meester over the phone, it’s a few days after New York Fashion Week, and she’s just made the rounds at Prabal Gurung and Kate Spade, in her first fashion week appearance in a few years.
“It had been a while since I’d been to New York, and I was like ‘Man, I kind of miss it,’” the actress says. “And at the same time, it’s so cold usually during that time and you’re just trying to dress nice and go out [but] it’s cold.”
The 30-year-old Meester, best known for her star-making role as Blair Waldorf on the CW’s “Gossip Girl,” was a fixture of New York fashion while the series aired, if for no other reason than because of her character. After the show ended, Meester decamped to L.A. four years ago, where she is now a mother to a one-year-old daughter, Arlo, with husband Adam Brody.
“I was really happy living in New York, and to be totally honest, the reason why I ended up moving — and the reason changed over time, but, in the beginning — was because I had been saving up, and I wanted to buy a home,” she says.
It’s been a little over four years since Leighton Meester got a happy ending as Upper East Side queen Blair Waldorf on Gossip Girl, but now Meester is taking on a TV role that’s less preppy and more kooky. She stars in Fox’s new eclectic time-travel comedy Making History, where she portrays Paul Revere’s feminist daughter, Deborah, who leaves colonial Massachusetts behind to travel through time with her modern-day boyfriend, Dan (Adam Pally). Vulture recently rang up Meester to discuss the show, returning to TV after Gossip Girl, and why she thinks Deb is a “superhuman.”
I’ve never had such a big craving for ham then after I watched the Making History pilot.
Well, it was real ham. And although I’m a fan of ham, I can’t say that it’s pleasant to hold it for long periods of time in your bare hands.
[Laughs.] I was like, no, I’m not going to eat this. But at first, I was like, Hmm, maybe I can eat this when we’re done. Then came the breaking point. Get the ham out of my sight!
From the front steps of Milk Studios in Hollywood, you’d think the apocalypse was coming.
A cluster of helicopters swirls overhead; sirens blare past at 10-minute intervals. But Leighton Meester doesn’t mind. “It’s just so nice out,” she smiles. Cahuenga Boulevard is always this noisy, but Los Angeles hasn’t seen a day so warm and sunny in weeks (it’s been a rainy winter), so we decide to sit outside anyway. “I’m such a baby about being comfortable,” Meester says. “Comfortable temperature, comfortable clothes.” She takes a seat at a white table on the patio directly facing the sun. She’s not even wearing shades—just a pair of black leggings, a gray tank top, some sneakers, no makeup, and her honey-blond hair in a messy ponytail.
It’s been two minutes, and already I can tell Meester is not your typical high-maintenance Hollywood actress. Off screen, she has the laid-back demeanor of a truly regular person, not just a celebrity pretending to be relatable. In fact, when she first arrives at the studio for our interview, I don’t even recognize her: The juxtaposition between Meester’s natural self and the glitzy characters she’s played on screen, both in Gossip Girl and Country Strong, is extreme. “In my daily life, I don’t have a makeup routine,” she shrugs. But it’s not just her aesthetic. There’s an inherent quietness, a modesty, to Meester’s personality that catches me off guard.
Before we get to talking, Meester notices a coffee stand just inside the lobby. “I’m going to grab a cup if that’s okay,” she says. (Soon I’ll learn that coffee is Meester’s one true vice.) “Do you want anything?”
Five minutes later, the actress returns, her body newly caffeinated, her eyes sparkling. “Okay, now I’m ready,” she says.
Leighton Meester looks back on her Gossip Girl days fondly, but isn’t hoping to reprise her Blair Waldorf character any time soon.
The actress stuns on the cover of Rogue magazine’s most recent issue, one of her first major gigs since she and husband Adam Brody welcomed their first child in 2015. As Leighton, 30, prepares to star in Fox’s Making History, she caught up with Rogue about making the transition from the cult classic drama to a brand new series.
“I think I’m different,” she explained, adding, “I started Gossip Girl 10 years ago when I was 20, and I’m 30 now. I loved doing it, and now I’m doing something else that I love, and something new that’s a little bit more my taste as a 30 year old, something I’ve grown into.”
“I feel so lucky that I can have such amazing fans and they either grew up with [the show] or they’re growing up with it now. I’ve also heard people say, ‘Oh we watch that as a throwback,” Meester recalled.
As a testament to the growing importance of Asia — in particular, China — for Biotherm, the L’Oréal-owned brand unveiled a new product line as well as introduced its new global brand ambassador, actress Leighton Meester, to an audience of mainly Chinese media and VIPs on Thursday evening here.
Meester joined Patrick Kullenberg, general manager of Biotherm International, and other L’Oréal executives for an event in an art gallery on Shanghai’s historic Bund waterfront to unveil her new campaign with the beauty brand. It was the actress’ second trip to Shanghai. Last year, she attended an event hosted by luxury jeweler Harry Winston.
The central reason for the launch in China “is that the epicenter of the brand has shifted in the last 20 years,” Kullenberg said. “China, in the last two years, has become our number-one market, which was not the case just three or five years ago. It is our number-one country, so it felt right to do our international event here in Shanghai.”
Sales to Chinese consumers, both domestically and overseas, make up roughly 20 percent of Biotherm’s global business, the executive said. The brand is having about 15 percent year-on-year growth, which is in line with the overall growth of the cosmetics market, he said. “When we look at our like-for-like growth, excluding new openings and stores, we are outpacing the market,” Kullenberg said. “I think the Biotherm brand resonates with the Chinese consumer.”
Kullenberg said Biotherm selected Meester as its global brand ambassador because she “is very much in line with our values as a more natural brand.” Meester will first appear in the brand’s campaigns for face-care products, including Aquasource, starting early in 2014. (more…)
Leighton is on the cover of the July issue of Lucky magazine. You can read below the interview she did for the magazine, and also check out the video of her cover shoot and some images from the spread.
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.
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