What's the scoop on "Gossip Girl" Leighton Meester's enviable hair and great style? Does she love her character, Blair? And how does she really feel about all those headbands? In Style asked the laid-back 23-year-old how she carries off both style personalities so flawlessly.
How did you feel about becoming a brunette for "Gossip Girl"?
"I'm naturally blond, but since my hair was bleached at the time, the dye soaked it up quickly and turned green! I didn't cry, but I thought, 'I'd better get this part.' Fortunately, my roommate back then was a hairdresser, so he helped me fix it."
Have you picked up any secret hair tips from [Meester's go-to hairstylist] Charles Baker Strahan?
"Yes! He tells me not to wash my hair every day... And ever since I bought a Mason Pearson brush, my hair is much healthier. The brush is especially good in the winter, when little dreadlocks start to form in the back of my head."
Are there any wild hairstyles lurking in your past?
"I've dyed my hair a million colors -- purple was pretty crazy. When I was doing the movie 'Drive Thru,' my character was punked out, so I put black and bright red streaks in it. At this point I don't want to go too crazy with color because I know how long it takes to get my hair back to health."
You're not wearing makeup and you look amazing. How is that possible?
"Being a brunette complements my skin tone more so I can wear less makeup, which is totally my thing. I also started a skin regimen: Before bed, I apply La Roche-Posay's Cleansing Milk to my face with a cotton pad and use Evian Mineral Water Spray instead of hot water."
Would it be too soon if you never saw another headband again?
"I like headbands, but I'm definitely not as obsessed with them as Blair is. Actually, I just got a couple, but they're not very Blair-like. They have little jewels on them. I do wear hats a lot, though. In the summer I'll wear a nice straw hat that blocks the sun, or I'll wear a cap or fedora to cover up bad hair days."
Who are your style icons?
"My mom, for one. She gave me a bunch of cool '70s and '80s clothes. The only time I ever get complimented on what I'm wearing in my daily life is when it's one of her pieces, so I'm thankful she kept it all. Playing Blair has gotten me into Bette Davis, Grace Kelly, and Audrey Hepburn. Nowadays, I really love Cate Blanchett. She's experimental, but in the right way. She always looks comfortable."
You went to Beverly Hills High School. Was it a fashion competition?
"It was bad. I was picked on because I was a four-eyes and a dork. We didn't have a ton of money, so I couldn't say, 'Mom, I need to have these crazy expensive jeans.' I've always been able to pull a style together, but school was the last place I wanted to do that for. I had long, tangled hair and wore hemp necklaces, baggy t-shirts and not-so-cute jeans. I mean, for crying out loud, we were just going to go throw on gym clothes and run around the track! I've grown up as far as the fashion world goes, but I still identify with that high school me."