New Interview with Blake Lively in Marie Claire UK

There are no new pics to go along with the interview, as they used pics from other shoots, but I'm sure scans will show up on the fansites soon. However, I have to say that she seems smart and well informed about a lot of issues concerning her generation, and when she talks about dogs and Obama... Well, she is now my official girl crush.

Introducing Blake Lively.

Playing Gossip Girl’s queen of the Upper East Sid- in a wardrobe to die for - has propelled Blake Lively to It girl status. So how does the 21-year-old former class president cope with the instant celebrity? Words by Harvey Marcus.

Every once in a while, a Television show comes along whose wider cultural impact, or sheer talked-about factor, can be measured in column inches rather than viewing figures.
In the past, Sex and the City, The OC, Ugly Betty, have all enjoyed a celebrity which, at least initially, reached beyond the relatively small numbers who actually tuned in. Add to the list, Gossip Girl.

Based on the young adult book series by Cecily von Ziegesar, the show, now in its second series, revolves around the over-privileged lives of six privately educated high-school kids whose families belong to New York’s Upper East Side elite. While the stoyrlines are unlikely to trouble a Golden Globes judging panel any time soon, it’s the torrent-fast mix of wild, post-pubescent excess and often bewildering designer high-fashion consumption that has seen Gossip Girl become such a phenomenon and made tabloid regulars of its young, beautiful, and primed-for-a-public-fall-cast.

But it’s Blake Lively, who plays Serena can der Woodsen, who has stolen the headlines. Partly helped along by the is-she-isn’t-she rumours of an off-screen relationship with co-star Penn Badgley (otherwise known as Serena’s ex-boyfriend Dan Humphrey), but mostly due to a wardrobe that puts Carrie Bradshaw’s closet to shame, Lively has become America’s It girl of the moment. Born into a Los Angeles acting family, Lively’s previous claim to fame was her role as Bridget in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants teen movies, alongside America Ferrera. Still only 21, she recently became one of the youngest actresses to ever make the cover of American Vogue. Marie Claire caught up with her on the Gossip Girl set to talk puppy love, puppy dogs and how she almost turned down the role of Serena.

What has Serena van der Woodsen been up to today?
I find out I’m throwing a surprise sweet-sixteen for Jenny. Then I find out that someone else is having a party on the same night. These are really serious issues we have to deal with!

Are you surprised by the impact Gossip Girl has had?
Just the fact that it’s airing anywhere else is unbelievable. It feels like everybody’s playing a big hoax on us.

And for you personally, it’s been an incredible rise. You’re 21 and you’re on the cover of American Vogue.
Yes, it’s like something homemade my mom did. It looks much better than if my mom made it but that’s what it feels like.

I read somewhere you almost turned down the show. Apparently you said, ‘If there are pet monkeys in coordinating outfits, that’s not something I’m going to want to be a part of.’ Where the hell did that come from?
It’s in the book. One of the male characters, Chuck, gets a pet monkey and they wear matching outfits.

Oh, OK, I thought you had this irrational fear of monkeys?
Nooo! It’s just that a lot of the time, the soap-opera-style genre gets a little crazy and I was just saying that if this was going to take that turn, then….

So in the space of two years you’ve become a style icon and been thrust into limelight. You’re in a place where you can decide to be a Mischa Barton or a Natalie Portman.
There are people I look up to that, creatively, I would love to match. People like Annette Bening or Catherine Keener.

How about in your private life?
I was raised in a wonderful, close family. I was never a wild child so, luckily I don’t feel the desire to go out and go crazy.

You’re young. Why not?
[Laughs] I told you! Because I was raised in a really terrific, close family and I’ve never needed to escape anything or to really let myself go by dancing on tables.

Is it true your brother Eric whisked you away on a tour of Europe to convince you to become an actress?
I was 15, he was 21. It was an amazing trip; he took me to London, Cambridge - because’s that’s where Harry Potter is shot -, Rome, Brussels, Cologne, Florence and Paris, staying everywhere from five-star hotels to hostels. But every single day I would dread going to lunch with him, because every single day he’d be like, ‘What are you going to do for a living?’

How come he took such an interest?
You know, I am very close with all my family members and they all think they’re my parents. They all think they’ve raised me or need to raise me. I don’t know why. Eric said he wanted me to be more cultured and see the world, and he’d go, ‘Look, you need to have a job that can help you experience everything there is in the world.’

And you were 15?
That was the other thing. It was the winter holidays. He told my mom that he would be taking me out of school for two weeks and he ended up keeping me out for a month and a half. That was the plan all along but he knew they wouldn’t let me miss so much school. But he realised the trip was more important than me being in school. I got a much better education about world history in that month and a half than I did in the entirety of my high school life.

Did you have any holiday romances?
No, I was 15. I didn’t have my first boyfriend until I was 17.

Speaking of romance, You’re dating one of your co-stars, Penn Badgley. Is that out in the open now?
Yeah [Laughs]. I think it’s pretty out in the open. I don’t like to talk about it because we put so much of ourselves out there all the time: there are very few things that we get to keep private.

Is that quite hard on you?
It is. You know, you see these people who fall off the edge and it seems they have given the media all of themselves. It is hard that people don’t just let you do your job for them and entertain, and then carry on your own life.

Obviously you’ve chosen to date your co-star but you don’t choose who you fall in love with…
Yeah, you don’t.

You’ve said you’ve only kissed three boys in your life. How can that be?
How can that be? I don’t know. I didn’t get around too much. Like I said, I didn’t have a boyfriend until I was 17. I grew up in a Southern Baptist family. It was more my grandparents. My mother is a Christian but it was just like she…It wasn’t like they went to church all the time and were really strict but, you know, my mom was very much a good girl and I was raised in a way I didn’t….Not that it would be bad to have a boyfriend. I was really shy at school, too. With boys, I mean, I was really outgoing but there were boys that I would find out later had a crush on me but I was too shy to them. Whatever. I was just being shy.

They must be killing themselves now.
[Laughs] I think they’re still alive. They’re surviving.

Just one more Penn question. You’ve got a dog, a Maltipoo, called Penny. Does that get confusing at times, when you’re calling one of them?
[Laughs] No, because she’s the only one named Penny. But I do like to tease people when we’re walking down the street that she’s his.

Are you close to your dog?
She’s my constant companion. I’ve had big dogs my whole life, but it’s just nice to have another heartbeat to take care of.

That’s a sweet way of putting it. Do you confide in your dog?
No, I don’t talk to my dog. I’ll have a dog whisperer talk to my dog for me! You know dogs are really remarkable and they know when you need them.They’ll come to you when they think you’re sad, in need of love. I thought it was so incredible when Mickey Rourke thanked his dogs at the Golden Globes. Everybody started laughing and he said, ‘No, I’m serious.’ He said that when he was at the lowest point in his life, they were there when no-one else was. All the people who are patting him on the back now that he’s risen again weren’t there, but his dogs were, so he thanked them. I just thought it was wonderful.

That’s really wonderful on one level but worrying on another.
I don’t think it’s worrying. His dogs clearly weren’t listening but the people think their loved ones that have passed away do [listen]. Who knows what dogs understand. Who knows what people who have passed away understand. Dogs obviously have a strong intuition and they’re able to feel emotions, love and sadness. I don’t think that can be denied.

That’s sweet. I want a dog now.
You don’t have a dog? You need to get a dog, then you won’t think it’s weird any more. You just don’t understand.

OK, some quick questions. Did you have any imaginary friends when you were growing up?
No. Unfortunately, no.

What are the biggest problems facing American youth?
I think the biggest problem is that the educational system is really, really lacking.

You were class president?
Yes, I was.

What wsa your campaign slogan?
It was Got Blake. Like the Got Milk campaign.

Did you have a great manifesto for change?
I was gonna change my entire school but they pretty much tell you at the end that all you get to do is plan where the prom’s going to be held.

Let’s go a little shallow. Who was your favourite Spice Girl?
Oh, Baby Spice, of course. That’s not shallow! That’s the best question you’ve asked me.

Why Baby Spice?
I even had her shoes. Her six-inch platform tennis shoes.

Have you still got them?
Yeah, but they’re a size five and a half and I’m a ten so…

When was the last time you cried?
When Obama won, I got teary-eyed. And last night at a Keith Jarrett concert - he’s a jazz legend - and he played Somewhere Over the Rainbow. The Wizard of Oz is such a wonderful movie, so perfect, and I haven’t watched it in ages and just hearing the song…
Everybody in the audience, grown men, people all around were in tears. Everyone was really embarrassed crying, like you do at the movies, acting like you’re scratching your eyeball.

When and where are you happiest?
Oh my gosh. So many times and places. I love being at home and cooking and baking. That makes me really, really happy. I love just exploring the streets of New York and I love being in Europe, Paris, and Disneyland, too.

Martha Stewart, Nigella Lawson or Gordon Ramsay?
Martha Stewart. Actually, I’m happiest in Williams-Sonoma in New York. That’s a wonderful cooking store.

Source: Blake Lively Web
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