Leighton Meester Talks Gossip Girl, BB Creams, & Love At First Sight

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We know we still have the final season to look forward to, but we're already going into Gossip Girl withdrawal. Sure, the show's gone off the rails a bit in recent years (ever since poor, tortured Jenny Humphrey was shipped off to her mom's), but no matter how soapy and twisted things get, we'll never stop loving Leighton Meester. And, with the show's end approaching, we're worried we're not going to see quite as much of our favorite reformed mean girl as we'd like.
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Fortunately, Leighton's gig as the face of Vera Wang's Lovestruck fragrances is filling that soon-to-be void in our hearts. In the latest ads for the new Lovestruck Floral Rush, Leighton and a handsome beau cavort around NYC in a modern update to the classic Romeo & Juliet story. We had the chance to sit down with Leighton and talk about the shoot, love at first sight, and her admirable stance (and tips!) on going makeup-free with confidence. Read on and be prepared to fall even more in love with the stylish and ultra-sweet star.
Tell us a bit about the shoot. You got to swan around NYC in some pretty sick couture — what was that like?
"It was totally magical and a really beautiful experience that I had with Vera and the streets of NYC. Just knowing that I’m working with such an iconic, amazingly talented woman and I get to represent her brand is a dream come true. On top of it, I got to wear three incredible gowns that day.
"The commercial shoot was definitely a modern, NYC take on Romeo and Juliet, with Juliet on the balcony waiting for her love. They had a beautiful man to come and sweep me off my feet with flowers — what girl doesn't want that? I felt great, up on this fire escape by myself most of the day — I felt very peaceful up there. A lot of people gathered to watch and it just felt really romantic and cool."
This shoot revolves around the idea of love at first sight — do you believe in that?
"I think it’s not as much love at first sight, but that excitement, that rush you get when you are falling in love with someone [that I believe in]. All the possibilities, just that feeling that you get when you aren’t with the person and you are imagining what it’s like when you are about to see them."
Photo: Courtesy of Vera Wang
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You've always been a big proponent of going makeup-free when you are off-camera. How would you advise women to work up the confidence to try that themselves?
"It has a lot to do with my job, [which] entails wearing makeup every single day and that’s something you get really sick of. I remember before I was comfortable, I would look at my skin and think 'oh I need makeup' or 'I should pencil in my brows.' You get used to [looking at] yourself wearing makeup, but makeup isn’t really benefiting your skin. [I would advise women] to give it a trial period — your skin will glow in a way you haven’t seen before.
"I recently tried BB cream — the Maybelline one from the drugstore — and I really liked it a lot. It’s not a total makeup look, but it’s benefiting your skin, so if I want to look if I put some effort in, at least I know my skin is protected from the sun. I do like makeup, but putting on a face to go out — I’m not that good at it. So, having a very quick makeup routine is beneficial."
That must make skin care really important, for you. What's your routine like?
"Depends on the day. If I’m really busy, I carry around travel toner. If you’re sweating or you go to exercise or you want to wash your face but don’t want to go through a whole routine, it's good to have toner. I'm also a big advocate of eye cream. As much as the rest of my face can be kind of oily, I get dry around my eyes. I love Vasseur, Tata Harper, and Ren. Vasseur has a really good product called Day Glow — it's kind of like BB cream, so you don't need any foundation on your face and it has sunscreen."
What are your top three beauty must-haves?
"My top hair product is Moroccanoil because my hair goes through a lot and I need to protect it, nourish it, and treat it. Plus, it also smells really good. For skin care, I would say I love the entire product line from Vasseur but I especially love the Green Tea Skin Rejuvenating Serum. It’s a magical serum that does everything. I love an eyelash curler because a little bit of that goes a long way. I'm also a fan of red lipstick because if you’re going to put anything on to make a statement, a red lip [is the best]. I found one in the H&M Lanvin collaboration that I’m holding on to like treasure."
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We spoke with Blake a few weeks ago about the end of Gossip Girl and she likened the experience to college, in that now she is facing the "real world." Do you feel the same way?
"I think the best part is that now I can pretty much do whatever I want with my life. I can visit my family as much as I want and be open for other projects. That was one of the biggest barriers over the past six years. I think you sort of get into a comfort zone when you are on a show for so long and you stop being stimulated by the character. As much as I loved the people I work with, I'm ready to move on. I don't want to be a Blair-like character in a movie, ever.
"I want to be challenged and stimulated. Doing The Oranges [Leighton's newest movie], was the best experience of my life. It changes a lot for me. It inspired me to figure out a different way of doing things. Working with [director] Julian Farino and Hugh Laurie, Catherine Keener, Oliver Platt, Allison Janney — being around all these incredibly talented people was really exciting. I don't think I would consider doing a TV show for quite a while, but I would never say never."
We, for one, can't wait to see what's next for Leighton, as long as she promises she won't be a stranger once GG signs off for good this spring. Pinkie swear, Leighton?
Photo: Courtesy of Vera Wang
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