Any noughties teen worth their salt will remember Gossip Girl, the hit book-series-turned-TV-show that swept rapidly across the globe when it premiered almost 10 years ago.
The series was centred on a group of extremely affluent teens living in New York and, in a move that was way ahead of its time, it was narrated entirely by an anonymous blogger – the gossip girl – who had seemingly unlimited access to their innermost lives.
The show’s stars included Leighton Meester, who played bitchy, uptight Blair Waldorf, Penn Badgley, who played lost soul Dan Humphrey, and, of course, Blake Lively, who played ultimate cool-girl Serena van der Woodsen.
And while Lively’s life seemed to mirror that of her character – she was dating her on-screen boyfriend in real life, and wearing similar clothes – the actor has now spoken out about the overwhelming ways in which the show took over her life.
Speaking about her initial fear that the show’s producers would be furious about her off-screen relationship with Badgley, she told Vanity Fair, “Stepping back from it, I can see it. But I remember there was one point where we were just afraid of how our personal lives overlapping our work life could be perceived by our bosses.
“[But then] we were like, 'Oh no, that's exactly what they want.'”
Explaining further, the 30-year-old described how the team behind the show were keen for the actors’ real lives to follow in the footsteps of their characters – essentially in order to give the audience a phenomenon they could “buy into”.
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“They wanted us all to date. They wanted us all to wear the same clothes that we're wearing on the show,” Lively said.
“They wanted that, because then it fed their whole narrative. People could buy into this world.”
Lively admitted that the blurring of the lines between her character and her real life led people to project an idea of Serena onto her, as if she were actually Serena herself.
"I was wearing the same clothes and doing fashion shoots, and dating the same person that my character was dating,” she said.
“Because of that, what people were projecting onto me was that I was Serena ... We look the same, and we acted the same as far as they could tell, because I wasn't doing anything but that show.”
Lively said this went so far that even the paparazzi became unsure whether Lively’s appearances in public were part of her real life – or part of filming for the show.
“If [Badgley and I] were photographed walking down the street, they didn't know if it was a paparazzi shot or if it was a shot from the show ... At the time, what was heightened was, wow, it all looks similar from the outside, but it's so different on the inside.”
For Lively, this blurring of lines and the sudden fame that came from her role in the show were something that she understandably had to try and adjust to – especially as she describes herself as a shy person in real life.
“I’m actually a very shy person and the idea of losing my anonymity was one that was scary to me,” she added in the interview.
“I remember saying when I read this script, ‘Whoever does this will not be able to walk out of their house ever again and be the same as before they started this.’ You could tell it was a cultural phenomenon. That was both exciting and thrilling, but also very scary.”
And Lively – who has since gone on to star in box office hits such as Green Lantern and The Shallows – has also sparked hope in the hearts of Gossip Girls fans across the globe by saying she would be keen to take part in a reunion show for the series.
“I’m open to anything that’s good, that’s interesting, and that sort of feels necessary,” she said.
“I can’t speak for everyone else, but we all owe so much to this show, and I think that it would be silly not to acknowledge that.”
Fingers crossed Serena, Blair and the rest of the cast will make a return to our screens in the very near future…
Images: Rex Features