Gossip Girl, adapted from Cecily von Ziegesar’s teen drama book series, was an American television hit from 2007 until it ended last year after six seasons. The story centred on the exclusive lives of young high school girls in the wealthy Upper East Side of Manhattan. Meester, 26, played Blair Waldorf, the daughter of a fashion designer and a popular girl at school who is referred to as “Queen B”. British actor Westwick played well-off young womaniser Chuck Bass who has been in an on-off relationship with Blair.
Before gracing the red carpet, Westwick, who brought his charming British accent along, and the beautiful Meester gave a brief interview to local media.
Many say television series are on the rise, and the popularity of cinema is on the decline. Do you agree?
Meester: I don’t know if the latter part of that is really true. I enjoy films. I love going to the movies. But I really do enjoy watching television. I love Breaking Bad, that’s my favourite show. I love Nurse Jackie. I really love cooking shows. I believe there is a lot of good material out there. So, that’s what I will say.
Westwick: I agree with Leighton. I don’t think films are really on the decline. I think there are still fantastic films being made. Television, especially in America, has got a fantastic ambition.
Do you think audiences can relate more to TV shows than movies?
Meester: I think it may be that on television shows you’ll see a character start off a certain way and you’ll see it unravel and become closer to the character over a certain amount of time, instead of a two-hour period. You get to know them over time. Some people grow up watching certain shows.
Besides influencing fashion since the show became a favourite of teenagers around the world, how else has Gossip Girl influenced the audience?
Meester: It’s really hard for me to say, because I am also inside of the bubble of working on the show, living my life and getting to know everybody personally. So, I don’t see them as the characters, I see them as themselves.
I think, for me, I can say the significance that it has on my life. I get to see the inner workings of an area (the Upper East Side), a very exclusive and small part of the world that I wasn’t aware of before. I get to know a character that was brought up in a way that I wasn’t brought up at all. It seems that it would be a dream life. It seems that it would be perfect, but she was actually just a normal girl.
What have you missed most since the show ended?
Westwick: Each other (laugh). Well, New York is No.1. It is a fantastic city that I have had the privilege to live in and work in for six years. Of course, people that I have met and worked with. And, the crazy stories, you know.
Meester: I found myself missing New York a little bit. I loved it there. And, it’s really more of a shock that it’s over. It’s good in a way because it will now be a good memory and something that I always hold to dearly. It’s been part of my life from the time I was 20 to 26.
Have you ever been to Thailand before?
Westwick: It’s my first time in Thailand. Everybody has told me about the food, which I’m looking forward to enjoying. But, Leighton, this is your second time?
Meester: Yes, I came here last year with my friends and my Dad. We were here for about nine days. We went all over Bangkok. We didn’t go to any nice beaches or anything, but I’m hoping to go to Koh Phi Phi and Koh Samui. And, my cousin lives in Krabi. Also, I’m really happy to be here again.
What’s the difference between Blair Waldorf and Leighton Meester?
Meester: One is a character and one is me, so that’s a big difference. She’s a little bit more selfish and manipulative and she puts a lot of emphasis on popularity. But she’s also sensitive, vulnerable, and she does care for other people. In those ways, I’d like to think that we’re similar. Also, she’s always put herself together, and I’ll say that’s not the case with me.
Do you have any style icons?
Meester: I do. Like Blair, I really like Audrey Hepburn. I think she’s beautiful. I love Katharine Hepburn. She had a really cool look in most of her films. I love old Hollywood stars. I love Grace Kelly, Bette Davis.
Ed, you were named the sexiest guy by Glamour magazine, which part of your body do you think is the sexiest?
Westwick: I like my left foot, because I play a lot of soccer and I scored a lot of goals with it, so that will be that.