‘Gossip Girl’: Blake Lively Says Being on the Show ‘Didn’t Really Feel Like Acting’

It’s always refreshing when a celebrity reveals that they chose to pursue acting because of their love for the craft as opposed to the fame that comes from it. This is certainly the case for Gossip Girl’s Blake Lively, who wanted to put an end to her Hollywood career at the age of 18 once she realized that acting is as much of a “business” as it is a “craft.” Here’s what the actor had to say about her experience on the CW series, explaining why her time on set “didn’t really feel like acting.”

Blake Lively and Penn Badgley
Blake Lively |Marcel Thomas/FilmMagic

Lively originally turned down her leading role as Serena

It’s hard to imagine anyone other than Blake Lively as the leading role of the series circling around Manhattan’s finest elite. Who other than Lively could perfectly capture the role of the sun-kissed party girl of Dan Humphrey’s wildest dreams? Despite the actor being perfect for the role, she originally turned it down for several reasons. One of the main reasons was that she was afraid of the amount of fame the role would grant her in real life.

In an interview with Vanity Fair she admitted, “I’m actually a very shy person and the idea of losing my anonymity was one that was scary to me. I remember saying when I read this script, ‘Whoever does this will not be able to walk out of their house ever again and be the same as before they started this.’ You could tell it was a cultural phenomenon. That was both exciting and thrilling, but also very scary.”

The ‘Gossip Girl’ star admits she felt like a ‘machine’ as opposed to an ‘actor’

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As mentioned, Blake Lively decided to pursue a career in acting because of her admiration for the craft. Yet it is safe to say she was met with disappointment when she realized how this role was less about being an “artist” and more about being a “marketing machine.”

“It didn’t really feel like acting much,” she said in her interview with Vanity Fair. “It felt like we were in the center of a marketing machine, a cultural pop phenomenon. We were creating three episodes at once sometimes, we were given our lines at the very last minute, we didn’t know where our characters were going; there was no planning or arc… it almost felt like a sketch show. We were basically reading off of cue cards… It felt like we were part of a cultural experiment… There was something neat about that.” 

Blake Lively wanted to go to school

Another reason the talented actor didn’t want to pursue the role was because she wanted to go to college. Lively said, “No, I want to go to college. Thank you, though.” Desperately wanting Blake for the role of Serena, the show runners refused to back down and gave her an offer. They said, “You can go to Columbia (University) one day a week. After the first year of the show, it’ll quiet down. Your life will go back to normal and you can start going to school.” 

Of course, nothing went back to normal because Gossip Girl became one of the most popular TV shows of all time. Even so, Lively agreed to their offer and thus her stardom was born. Yet despite her hesitation when it came to playing the iconic role of Serena, Blake Lively is grateful for her experience on Gossip Girl and believes she “owes so much to this show.”