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Today, Taylor Momsen may be best known for being the lead singer of the rock band, The Pretty Reckless, but it’s hard to forget that she started her career in acting. Fans of the songwriter will recall that she starred opposite Jim Carrey in How the Grinch Stole Christmas back in 2000. Though Momsen sang “Where Are You Christmas” in the film, the music she creates today is worlds apart from the melancholy, holiday, tune. Following her stint as Cindy Lou Who, Momsen continued acting until she eventually landed the coveted role of Jenny Humphrey on the hit show, Gossip Girl.

Gossip Girl alum Taylor Momsen performs in a black leather jacket and black sunglasses with her band, The Pretty Reckless
Taylor Momsen | Jeff Hahne/Getty Images

There is no denying the success of Gossip Girl. Based on the hit book series by Cecily von Ziegesar, the drama followed wealthy teens living on the Upper East Side of New York and their wild and scandalous lives. Momsen’s character, however, was a middle-class girl from Brooklyn, who wanted desperately to fit in and was willing to jump through the appropriate hoops to do so. Momsen’s portrayal of Jenny quickly made her a household name. Her ability to display Jenny’s transformation from an innocent outsider to an often vicious member of the inner circle served the show quite well.

Taylor Momsen quit ‘Gossip Girl’ to focus on her band

Momsen was a series regular on Gossip Girl for the first three seasons. However, by the fourth season, fans began to notice that her appearances on the hit drama were few and far between. During this time, Momsen also began focusing more of her attention on her music and, in 2009, The Pretty Reckless was formed. As the “Only Love Can Save Me Now” singer got more invested in her band, her interest in acting began to dwindle and it was eventually announced that she would be taking an indefinite hiatus from Gossip Girl. Finally, in 2011, she announced that she was officially quitting acting so that she could focus exclusively on her music.

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Naturally, the media, fans of Momsen, and Gossip Girl enthusiasts had mixed reactions to Momsen retiring from acting. Many critics felt that her decision to give up a steady paycheck for a potential career in music was a misstep. Others merely felt that the singer was going through a wild phase and she would eventually come to her senses. But it seems that the songwriter made the best decision for herself and, today, The Pretty Reckless lead singer even understands why people doubted her when she initially chose to leave acting behind in favor of music.

The lead singer of The Pretty Reckless understands why people didn’t take her songs seriously at first

“I get it,” Momsen said in a recent interview with NYLON. “I wouldn’t have taken me seriously. I understand, especially coming from an acting background and being on a very popular television show at the time that was very tabloid-based, that it seemed ridiculous. Their thought was, ‘She’s young and she’s going through a phase.’ But in my core, I knew it wasn’t a phase.’” Continuing on, the Gossip Girl alum revealed that while she didn’t always go about things the right way, ultimately, she knows that she made the best decision for herself and her career.


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“There are little things where I’ll go, ‘That was a mistake,’” Momsen admits. “But leaving everything else behind and solely focusing on music was the best decision I ever made, so in the grand scheme of things, no regrets. I certainly look back and there’s some questionable outfit choices. Everyone’s got that; I just happened to be all over the internet all the time. But even then, I don’t regret them, because I look back on them now and I go, ‘That’s who I was.’ Now, I’m 27, and I’ve grown up.”