Blake Lively is one of today’s hottest young ingénues. Her West Coast/East Coast universality makes her one of the most relatable stars for today’s youth. Lively, known for her bad-girl-gone-good character Serena Van der Woodsen on the CW hit Gossip Girl, will be showing her star talent on the big screen in the highly anticipated superhero movie Green Lantern opposite Ryan Reynolds.
She has also had leading roles in both The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movies, as well as The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, Accepted, and Ben Affleck’s The Town, to name a few. She is currently in production on the comedy Hick opposite Chloe Moretz and Eddie Redmayne. Lively’s first role was Trixie the Tooth Fairy in the 1998 movie Sandman, which was directed by her dad, Ernie Lively. Her next big break came when she went out for the role of Bridget in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Lively won the role on a prayer: She had no big references, and didn’t even have to audition; she simply dropped off a photo of herself, and the part was hers. Since then, Lively has made a name for herself mainly through her role on the small screen in Gossip Girl, which has been on air since 2007.
Recently, Lively was selected by CinemaCon as this year’s Breakthrough Performer of the Year for her role as Carol Ferris in the blockbuster Green Lantern. For this role, the 23-year-old had to trade her signature goldenblonde hair for darker brunette locks. She has stated, “I felt a little more serious as Carol with brown hair .... I felt like even the way I moved was different.”
Lively trained with a stunt coordinator in preparation for Green Lantern. She said of the experience, “Our director likes it real—he fights close and dirty.” For some scenes, she even used the 30-foot-tall rig created for The Matrix for added authenticity of aerial stunts: “I’m 40 feet in the air, spiraling around. That’s the best workout you can ever do because it’s all core.... It’s so exhilaratiing, so thrilling—and nauseating.” It was worlds away from her role of Krista Coughlin opposite Ben Affleck, Jon Hamm, and Rebecca Hall in The Town, which obvi- ously lacked the CGI.
“As a character, I get to be this wild, outgoing person that I’m so not.”
Lively says she was thrilled “to get to do a role like this that is so dark and so different and so broken and then to go be in a superhero movie opposite such amazing actors and an incredible director, and not just be the damsel in distress.” When asked what superhero she would want to dress up as for at the annual Comic-Con Convention, Blake said, “I was a Ninja Turtle fan. I know [they are] not superheroes, but I really wanted to be a Ninja Turtle.”
Lively has given credit to her family for her rise as an actress: “As a character, I get to be this wild, outgoing
person that I’m so not. I think it all comes from being the youngest of five. I was always observing my siblings and hearing stories about their lives that turned out to be helpful as an actress.” Coming from a showbiz family, she was predisposed to acting. Her parents taught an acting class, which got her started. Lively’s father moved the family from Georgia to Los Angeles when he was cast in the pilot of The Dukes of Hazzard. She was the first and only of five children to be born in California. Lively has said, “I have a tight-knit Southern family, so whenever I tell people I’m from L.A., they say, ‘Yeah, but you don’t count.’ I guess because of the Southern values I was raised with, and the way I eat—the more sugary and cheesy and fried, the better.” Blake remains very close with her family, especially her mother, talent manager Elaine.
“When I have bad days, I just eat lots of chocolate ice cream and dance to the Lion King soundtrack.”
According to Lively, her first memory was waking up at Disneyland when she was three in a pink silk bed and seeing Mickey, Donald, and Goofy looking down at her: “It was the most exciting place in the world. I kind of feel like I grew up at Disneyland.” Lively and her mother shared a special bond over the amusement park. When she was younger they would go together, sometimes twice a week, to bond or celebrate a good grade. When she was older, they would stay out until 1 a.m. They would get a hotel room and then go to Denny’s, drink coffee, and talk for hours. “I’ve always been a night owl. Even at home, we’d stay up all night talking. My mom tells the most amazing stories. In a way, she was kind of raising me to be a great actress without even realizing it.” After filming The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, she returned to high school for her senior year to have a regular life. She kept very busy as class president, cheerleader, and choir singer.
Now familiar to the New York scene, Lively, who spent most of her childhood in suburban Los Angeles, will always be the quintessentially unperturbed California girl. “I haven’t lived in California for so long, but my New York guise is gone. Ostrich flats don’t really work on the beach! I’m used to that sweet, syrupy Southern mentality. There is so much heart. I love, love, love New York, but it’s nice sometimes to have not so much to do—there’s time to walk through the park and to cook.”
As for relationships, Lively is currently single. Until recently, she had been dating her Gossip Girl costar Penn Badgley, whom she knew since she was 11. Before him, she’d dated actor Kelly Blatz. Following her and Badgley’s breakup, Internet chatter began conspiring about a possible romance between her and Ryan Gosling, whom she was casually dating.
“I’ve kissed just three people in my life, other than stuff I have done for TV or movies,” she says. “I know, I’m weird!”
Lively has also spoken about bad days and how she copes: “I’ve always believed you should put a lot of positive out there.... When I have bad days, I just eat lots of chocolate ice cream and dance to the Lion King soundtrack.”
As of late, the stunning Lively has taken the fashion world by storm. Recently, she landed the opportunity of a lifetime, becoming the face of Chanel. It has been a rapid rise from network TV teenage soap actress, whose wardrobe was primarily made up of tank tops and jeans, to Chanel girl. There is nothing haphazard about her success atop fashion’s hierarchy. Blake has stated, “I had other opportunities and I would say, ‘Thank you so much, but I am holding out for Chanel. That’s who I want to be the face of.’ And people would say, ‘Well, that’s unrealistic, they only hire Europeans,’ and I said, ‘Well, how great. I’ll be the first then.’” Blake is a physical departure from past Chanel waifs Kate Moss, Keira Knightley, and Vanessa Paradis.
“She has this East Coast-West Coast way of combining things that is very original,” says Vogue editor Alexandra Kotur. “She’s a Malibu girl who can wear Chanel, and that’s where it’s really that bicoastal chic that no one else has in America right now. She shows cleavage, she’ll show some leg. And it’s sexy.”
Last October, Blake’s second Allure cover was the magazine’s best-selling issue. Allure editor Linda Wells said, “She’s a living, breathing human being who smiles.... Who knew the non-rebel would suddenly feel rebellious? Then you add that to the fact that she’s not going to get arrested and she’s not going to shave her head or end up in rehab, but she goes out enough to be visible. It’s kind of a perfect situation for designers and editors.” Blake not only gets to be the face of Chanel’s new advertisement for the French fashion house’s Mademoiselle handbags, but Christian Louboutin even named a heel after her (The Blake, a strappy black stiletto) for the upcoming season.
Mother Elaine has always encouraged Blake’s inner fashionista. She has said that fashion was always part of her life because she was raised in a family of shopaholics. The actress was humbled by the opportunity to work with Chanel: “I have such a respect for fashion and such an appreciation for it that if there are people like Karl Lagerfeld out there designing, who am I? I want to bow down to them and be a representative for them if they’ll have me.”
Surprisingly, Lively does not use a stylist, and it seems that she chooses her own garments based on what shows off her bod the best. “If someone else dressed me, it’s them interpreting me, but the truth is, people don’t know me,” she says. With this mindset and quick ascension to the top, Blake is sure to be a huge success in the fashion industry for years to come.
“I feel like I should only live a few weeks if every day was like today because it’s just too much happiness— I might combust.”
The future looks bright for the lively Ms. Lively. Hollywood insiders are saying that the young actress’s next role may require her to step into Manolo Blahniks as a young Carrie Bradshaw. She is being considered to play a pre-Sex and the City version of the infamously fashionable character actress Sarah Jessica Parker made famous.
“It’s definitely a good way to live,” says Lively. “I feel like I should only live a few weeks if every day was like today because it’s just too much happiness—I might combust.”
Editor’s Note: As we were going to press, NY Post’s Page Six reported that it looks like Leonardo DiCaprio, who just split from Israeli born supermodel Bar Rafaell, was seen in the company of our cover-girl, Blake, strolling together in Cannes. According to the king of gossip columns, this wasn’t the first time the two had met. Say what you want, the boy has great taste!