As the star of TV's reigning guilty pleasure, "Gossip Girl," Blake Lively is firm about the show's supposed influence on its target audience.
"It's silly to think that we're trying to tell anyone how to live their life," she says of the racy, teen must-see TV. "We're just showing you fun, juicy storylines with amazing wardrobes."
The fashion-forward show has not only boosted the CW's fortunes but also advanced the 21-year-old actress into a hot property and a designer favorite.
During New York's Fashion Week, she was greeted warmly by Vogue's Anna Wintour and sought after by designers such as Michael Kors and Zac Posen (her Ralph Lauren custom-fitted couture gown worn to the Met's annual Costume Gala got rave reviews). Lively has even witnessed her character Serena van der Woodsen's impact on the streets of Gotham: "I've seen girls wearing Serena outfits; they're really very specific."
Lively's other roles include "Accepted," the "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" films (producer Debra Martin Chase lauds "her touch of innocence, intelligence -- a lovely young woman") and Rebecca Miller's upcoming "The Private Lives of Pippa Lee." Of the latter, Lively enthuses, "That kind of project is impossible to find, and the fact that I could work it in my four-week break was a miracle."
Because of the protracted production sked of "Gossip Girl," Lively won't have a break long enough for a new feature role until February (though she might guest host "Saturday Night Live" later this season). She is carefully considering other offers, with an emphasis on quality.
At the same time, Lively, who completed high school and graduated with her friends after production wrapped on the "Traveling Pants" sequel, continues to value life outside of acting and remaining grounded.
"I have a terrific family and a small group of friends who wouldn't let me get crazy even if I wanted to," she says.
Recent breakthrough: The 21-year-old actress has become an overnight covergirl, thanks to her lead role on the CW's hit "Gossip Girl."
Role model: "I love Martha Stewart, her cookbooks, everything that she does. I would love to open a restaurant and interior design company."
What's next: Rebecca Miller's "The Private Lives of Pippa Lee." Lively plays the teenage Lee; Robin Wright Penn is the elder.