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Gossip Girl's Leighton Meester; our 2009 hot list leader

Gossip Girl's Leighton Meester; our 2009 hot list leader
Gossip Girl's Leighton Meester; our 2009 hot list leader
Robert Ascroft

Gossip Girl, Gossip Girl, blah, blah, blah! Has there ever been a TV series drowned in such disproportional, New York-centric hype . . . 

Oh, who are we kidding? We’re crazy for it too. And the reason we love the back-stabby soap most is Blair Waldorf, the poor little Upper East Side rich girl played by the lovely Leighton Meester.

Onscreen, Blair is an insecure junior socialite tormented by an underappreciative mum, a glamazon best friend (Blake Lively) and more boy drama than Marc Jacobs. In person, Meester is a knockout, a chestnut-haired 22-year-old who could be Jessica Alba’s devilish kid sister, and she overflows with the brassy confidence that young, beautiful girls have when they first move to the city. “I fucking love New York,” Meester says flatly.

“You’re never alone, but you’re always on your own.” A sharp line, but it’s not exactly true for Meester, who, despite her preference for casual attire (tank top, jeans) and low romantic profile (she dates actor Sebastian Stan), is, like her co-stars, increasingly a target for the parazzi.

“People don’t recognise me that much,” she protests. But Meester got a hazing earlier this year when celebrity mags revealed she’d been born in a prison while her mother served time for a drug conviction. “What got me through it is that most of what people write isn’t true,” she says. Still, Damon Runyon would have loved that a plucky girl from a humble start has become famous for playing a Gotham princess. It really is a hell of a town.

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