‘Gossip Girl’: Who Was Serena van der Woodsen Based On?

Gossip Girl’s reboot is inching closer to reality. HBO Max will be entertaining fans with a brand new group of the prep school elite when the new streaming service launches, but until then, fans can still catch up with the old gang on Netflix. The series, based on a book, is so gripping because its characters are based on real people who ran in elite New York social circles. Serena van der Woodsen, in particular, was inspired by one of New York’s famous socialites. Her name is Hadley Nagel.

Who inspired Serena Van Der Woodsen’s character on Gossip Girl?

Serena had a pretty wild reputation, but her real-life inspiration decidedly does not. The New York Times offered an in-depth write up on Nagel in 2010 that notes the young socialite was the inspiration for Serena’s character. Nagel, a German countess and the direct descendent of two men who signed the Declaration of Independence, looks an awful lot like Blake Lively. Lively took on the role of Serena during Gossip Girl’s original run.  

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At 5’7, she, like Serena’s character, is tall, gorgeous, and blonde. She, just like the character, is from an elite family and enjoyed the finer things in life. If there were any questions about who inspired Serena, Cecily von Ziegesar put an end to them. Reportedly, von Ziegesar inscribed a copy of Gossip Girl for Nagel that put any question to rest. Inside the cover of the book, von Ziegesar, who penned the book, apologized for using Nagel as the inspiration for the famed character, before complimenting her on all she’s accomplished.

Serena’s inspiration also went to the school that Constance Billard School for Girls is based on

The connection between Serena and her real-life inspiration even extends to their schooling. Serena, along with her posse, attended the Constance Billard School for Girls. According to Insider, the school is based on the elite prep school, the Nightingale-Bamford School. Nagel graduated from the prep school in 2009.

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Nightingale-Bamford, an all-girls prep school located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, is prestigious. Students who graduate from the school tend to go onto the world’s finest universities. Over the last four years, the school has garnered acceptances from most of the Ivy League, as well as a variety of top tier universities.  The backgrounds of its students tend to match the high-end nature of the school, too.  Gloria Vanderbilt, Sophie von Haselberg, who happens to be the daughter of Bette Midler, and von Ziegesar, all attended the school at some point.

What will the Gossip Girl reboot be about?

While the original gossip girl signed off for good in 2012, fans will soon get a chance to revisit the lives of New York’s elite. The upcoming reboot, which will launch on HBO Max, will follow a brand new generation of the prep school elite. During the series, the new cast will be surveilled by their very own gossip girl. The series, however, promise to address how social media has changed the landscape of online gossip.

According to Buzzfeed, several rising stars have signed on to join the cast. Whitney Peak, who is best known for her work on The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, has reportedly joined the cast. Emily Alyn Lind and Eli Brown are also rumored to be taking on roles. The series does not have an official release date just yet.