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.
After launching a music career and appearing in films, Meester is back on TV for the first time since “Gossip Girl,” in the time-traveling comedy on Fox, “Making History,” which premiered Sunday. The show, about an average guy who time travels back to American Revolution-era Boston, casts Meester as Deborah, “a woman living in colonial times [who] is brought to the present day — she’s strong, yet vulnerable, and she’s kind of a badass, and childlike in her wonderment about the modern garble,” Meester says.
Her return to television was all about finding that special project. “I really wanted to do the right thing,” she says. “I certainly have read a handful of scripts in the last couple of years, and I just had the warmest feelings about this. It really agrees with my sense of humor, and I think it’s kind of a perfect show — I mean, for me at least. It’s got a romance element, it’s got adventure, it’s got action, and there’s a sci-fi fantasy wish-fulfillment to it. And the comedy, of course, is the number-one aspect. The sense of humor itself really appeals to me.”
Comedy, though something she’s done through movies, hasn’t been her signature until now. But as Meester says, it’s all part of her career — and life — revamp.
“When I moved to L.A., away from New York, it was so many things changing all at once,” she says. “So it was a big adjustment. I moved homes, I switched jobs, I moved cities….and it was really good. It was like a complete overhaul. I had been in New York for six years straight, and before that, for three years, and I felt like I really wanted to live in L.A. and experience that.”
Blair Waldorf, an L.A. girl — who would’ve guessed?