Despite playing the snobbish and capricious Blair Waldorf on the hit teen series Gossip Girl, Leighton Meester is anything but arrogant. In fact, the brunette star came from humble beginnings. Her mother, Constance, gave birth to her while serving federal prison time for drug trafficking. Her father, Doug, also served time for drug-related offences. Growing up she didn’t have the typical worries a normal teenage girl had. Instead, she constantly feared not having enough money for gas food. Despite her hard upbringing, Leighton never went down the wrong road unlike some other Hollywood celebrities.
She says, “You can take what is handed to you and use it as an excuse to mess up. But I’ve always handled what was given to me by life. I consider myself lucky. I was never lied to. And I was loved.”
Leighton makes an appearance on Marie Claire’s April issue with her fresh new look: bangs, a sunny yellow dress and defined cheekbones. Here are some excerpts from the interview which we found inspiring:
“I never played sports,” she explains, before releasing her ball with an indifferent thump. “I wasn’t any good at them.” She watches the ball drop into the gutter with limp finality. Unfazed, she throws again, hurling it down the lane, knocking over a handful of pins. A second gutter shot follows. “I guess I need a bigger target,” she says flatly.
“I’ve never had a boyfriend until I was 18. It’s nice, I guess–when you like them. But it isn’t the most important thing. I’m not sure I ever want to get married. The only time a relationship is good is when you really love them. I don’t want to hang out with some guy I just like.
When Leighton was 10, she attended a modeling convention in Atlanta during her Christmas break. An agent snapped her up on sight and took her to New York City. “I ended up staying. I never went back to Florida,” she explains. “That was that.”
She lived with her mother in dodgy rentals in the West Village, then in Inwood, at the northernmost tip of Manhattan. Meester booked commercials for Bloomingdale’s, Stern’s, the Limited Too. She flourished under pressure.
“I worked a lot, even though I was just a kid. It seemed normal to me,” she shrugs.
For the full feature, pick up the April issue of Marie Claire when it hits newsstands on March 20.