Leighton Meester's beauty philosophy is quite simple: "beauty is a lot from the inside out." We're chatting to the Gossip Girl star on the phone as she promotes Vera Wang's latest addition to her fragrance collection, Lovestruck Floral Rush. "Beauty in itself is obviously completely subjective, but I think [it's] a lot from the inside out," she tells us, sounding completely relaxed for her morning press appointment. "Not in the corny way of saying that you have to be a good, nice person to be beautiful, which I completely agree with. I just think it's important to be healthy and active and it really reflects in the way you look."
Like any beauty buff, her approach to looking good is all about skincare. "I take very good care of my skin, I take off all my make-up, I wear very minimal make-up, if any, especially on my days off," she says. "When I eat well and protect my skin from the sun, I always look a lot better."
Leighton, unlike many women in the spotlight, is often snapped out and about with no make-up on. "When I got older, I was going to auditions every day and I just started wearing make-up," she says. "The more and more you wear it the more you feel you need it. So I just started wearing more and more, and I started not to recognise my face without it. If I have to wear it every day it becomes very unglamorous, getting your make-up done, so I started to wear less and accept how I look without it."
Leighton tells us that her go-to celebrity for hair and beauty inspiration is the gorgeous Drew Barrymore, who also favours a natural look. "I love how she always changes her hair and she kind of looks perfect with any hairstyle," she says.
When it comes to the red carpet though, the natural beauty philosophy goes out the window. "I love to experiment when it comes to hair and make-up for red carpet," she tells us. "That's the time when I'm really excited to wear make-up and get my hair done and just capture a look and put a story together with my look." But we shouldn't feel bad that we can't recreate Leighton's gorgeous evening looks: she has an expert team behind her. "The thing is, every time I try to do my own hair and makeup, it never turns out the way I think it will," she tells us. "But when it's for red carpet, I have an artist doing my hair and make-up and that's always nice, to hand over the trust to them and experiment."
Leighton's fashion approach is similar to her beauty attitude; it's all about feeling good. "I love Chloe Sevigny's style and I like Diane Kruger too," she tells us when we ask her who her fashion icons are. And she couldn't be more different to her on-screen alter-ego Blair Waldorf. "Blair is such a style all in her own," she says. "I love to wear clothes like that when I'm playing Blair because it really adds to the character, but for my daily life that's a lot of effort. I wear what I like and what reflects my personality. I'm a pretty casual person; I like to be casual, especially when I have to go to work and dress differently. You know, jeans and T-shirts. I'm an easy-dress type of person."
Jeans and T-shirts? Blair wouldn't dare. From her relaxed attitude (she's open and honest throughout our interview, taking long pauses to consider her answers) to her low-maintenance fashion and beauty approach, it seems that Leighton couldn't be more different from the character she's most famous for playing. And once this season wraps, she'll be kissing Blair (and Gossip Girl) goodbye forever. So what's next? Aside from film projects (Leighton stars in The Oranges, out later this year), the American beauty will be focusing on her music career. "I've been working on my music for quite some time and now that my show's going to be over I'll have all the time in the world to release something and actually be able to promote it and tour with it," she says.
Whatever path her life takes post-Gossip Girl, Leighton remains top of our GLAMOUR.com girl crush list, thanks to her easy-breezy attitude, cool off-duty style and all-American natural beauty.
For the British: Vera Wang Lovestruck Floral Rush is out January 2013. Stay posted for more from Leighton on the fragrance, what being Lovestruck means to her, and working with Vera, closer to release.
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