All of the rumors you may have heard about Leighton Meester are true.
The co-star of TV’s primetime soap opera “Gossip Girl” is a serious-minded young woman determined to keep her Louboutin-loving, lighter-than-air TV character from defining her.
Exhibit A: Her turn in the sensitive, sometimes uncomfortably satirical comedy “The Oranges,” opening Friday.
“It’s a complete 180-degree turn from anything I’ve ever done,” says Meester, 26, of her new role. “This fulfills something within myself that I could never find in my series.”
In “The Oranges,” Meester portrays Nina, a self-involved Jersey girl who comes home to her parents (Oliver Platt, Allison Janney) for the holidays after five years away. While there, Nina drops a bomb by beginning an affair with her family’s fiftyish neighbor David (Hugh Laurie). He and his wife, Paige (Catherine Keener), are best friends with Nina’s folks.
“The love that Hugh and I portray is not some sort of physical infatuation,” Meester says. “It really comes across as a relationship that has respect and a real rapport.
“And that was easy with Hugh. He’s someone I’ve known and I genuinely could fall in love with.”
I have translated this interview from Italian to English. So I apologize in advance for mistakes.
Chuck Bass is a dandy, as a Philipp Plein testimonial your style is more rock, but in reality? How is Ed Westwick’s style?
«Let’s say something in between, I like to change a lot and every once in a while I try to exaggerate. I believe my style is influenced by the things that surround me, the music I listen to, I feel more rock in this period. I’ve also had other jobs in regards of fashion, but this is the first time a collaboration reflects my style completely. It gave my look an energetic spin.»
A fashion advice?
«Try new things, never be ordinary and be brave and if someday you go out with the wrong outfit, nevermind…»
What is never missing in your closet?
«A beautiful leather jacket, I think every man should have one.»
It’s your first time on the runway…
«Exactly, I really hope I won’t fall.»
Did you train?
«For months! I’m kidding, it all came really natural, working with a great designer and with great photographers, every piece of the puzzle went on its place, like during the shooting, it was a crazy experience working in New York with Terry Rihcardson, it was unique.»
I know you are a very dedicated fan…
«Of Chelsea, it’s true, and of England of course. I’m impatiently waiting for Sunday’s match.»
Rooney will play too, after the hair transplant he just did. What do you think, would you do that?
«Why not! You want hair, get the hair back. For now I have enough and I hope they will remain where they are. But if they would ever fall, who knows, why not, exactly.»
On Sunday England will be against Italy in the quarter finals of Euro 2012, will you watch the match in Milan?
«No,I will be already in London. My short trip to Milan, that I have adored, ends here. May the best team win!»
There’s something Philippine in Leighton Meester (as you will find out by and by), the newest A-lister addition to Penshoppe’s roster of All-Stars campaign, including recent visitor Ian Somerhalder (the “bad boy” of the hit US series The Vampire Diaries), Ed Westwick (of the likewise hit US series Gossip Girl), Zac Efron (whose last starrer was The Lucky One, based upon the Nicholas Sparks best-seller) and Thai pop star Mario Maurer (now shooting Suddenly It’s Magic for Star Cinema, with Erich Gonzales as leading lady).
“There are several more ‘A-list’ endorsers coming,” revealed Joyce Ramirez, head of PR Asia Worldwide, who conceptualized the campaign and finalized the contracts with the Penshoppe All-Stars endorsers. “Watch for them.”
Leighton flew in from last week of May (the 25th) in time for the Penshoppe’s Philippine Fashion Week event the next day and left barely 48 hours later as quietly as she came. Conversations did a free-wheeling one-on-one with her at the presidential suite of Manila Peninsula where she, like Ian the week before, was billeted.
Asked how she felt about her first visit to the Philippines, Leighton smiled, hardly showing any signs of jetlag even after a long haul from the US, “I’ve been looking forward to this visit. My best friend is a Filipino. She and her mom have been telling me interesting things about the Philippines. It’s hot here but I like the weather.”
She hardly had any make-up on, dressed only in a beige sleeveless Penshoppe shirt over a short Penshoppe skirt of the same color. But still, Leighton mesmerized even without her trying to, in the same easy manner that she does in playing Blair Waldorf in Gossip Girl that gives her a chance to showcase her fashion flair.
Born on April 9, 1986, in Fort Worth, Texas, Leighton spent part of her childhood in Marco Island, Florida, where she participated in a local playhouse. When Leighton (her surname, Meester is Dutch for “master” or “teacher”) was 11, she moved with her mother to New York where, as a grown-up, she started working as a model before venturing into singing and acting, making her debut as a murder victim’s friend in an episode of Law & Order in 1999. More TV and movie assignments followed. She will be seen next in the comedy That’s My Boy with Adam Sandler.
Since October 2010, Leighton has been a member of a band called Check in the Dark with which she announced in her Twitter that she would go on a five-city concert tour.
“I’m just having fun singing and writing songs from my heart,” said Leighton who named Neil Young and Joni Mitchell among her influences. “I like their style of music and the way they also sing from the heart.”