Did anybody ever watch Gossip Girl without wanting to be Serena van der Woodsen? No? Well, I don’t believe you. (Unless of course you’re more of a Blair, then maybe you get a pass.) Blake Lively played her character with an effortless likeability, and made us all want to be best friends with the reformed Upper East Side party girl who had a heart of gold… even if we totally couldn’t relate to her lifestyle.
Blake seems like such a natural in front of the camera, and well, that’s probably because she was born into show business! Hailing from a large California family with Georgia roots, her dad is an actor and director, and her mom is a talent manager. Oh and she’s the youngest of five children, all of whom are actors too! Instead of leaving Blake with a babysitter when she was little, her parents took her with them to the acting classes they taught. She learned the drills and confidence of actors, but wasn’t ever really interested in acting and actually dreamed of going to Stanford.
Shocker, I know, but Blake was pretty cool in high school. A cheerleader, class president, great grades in her AP classes, and a member of a championship show choir, you could say she was pretty well-rounded. (Again, we’d have wanted to be her friend!) She stayed pretty busy with school but her big brother kept pushing her to try going to a few auditions, sensing she’d be great at acting, until she finally relented. At age 17, she received her big break during her junior year when she was cast in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Luckily she was able to film it over summer break! She’s still close with her co-stars from that movie today.
Blake returned to finish her senior year of high school, but soon after graduating she landed a role in the movie Accepted, and a year later Gossip Girl which, as we know, went on to be a huge hit… and the rest is history! She displayed her range and a grittier side in Ben Affleck’s crime thriller The Town. And I personally loved the style and grace of her character that never grew older in The Age of Adaline. So I guess I can forgive some of her more questionable movie choices. Uhh, The Shallows? Come on, Blake, you can’t outswim a shark! Okay, it was actually pretty popular for some reason, so maybe I’m wrong on this one…
During the filming of Green Lantern she met actor Ryan Reynolds, and after a double date where they were each matched up with different people, they decided maybe they should get together. And wow, they could not be any cuter! In 2012 the couple married in Charleston, bought a house in upstate New York, and they now have two daughters, James and Ines. (Do yourself a favor and just check out Ryan’s tweets about parenting. Hilarious.)
Blake has made Time Magazine’s list of 100 Most Influential People and Maxim’s Hot 100 (no surprise there, the girl is gorgeous), but despite all her success she remains surprisingly down to earth. She’s honest about how awkward she feels filming racy scenes in a room full of people, and she claims that half of acting is just confidence. Blake claims she was always shy around guys in high school and didn’t have a boyfriend until she was 17. She’s not into going out to clubs, because she says she was raised in a home where after work, you just go to dinner and watch a movie! Ahhh, yes.
I especially love the passionate message she sent to young women in her People’s Choice Awards Speech about the power of telling your own story no matter the medium. Other fun facts? She’s a self-admitted foodie and says she doesn’t like wearing heels. She’s big on pursuing her own interests, taking cooking classes when she travels and recently dipping her toe into fashion design. And she’s not shy about voicing her political beliefs and sharing her thoughts on social media. Oh, and she’s funny too. Blake once captioned an Insta of her with her stylists and favorite beauty products with the line, “I did not wake up like this.” Gotta love the honesty.