On the soapy drama "Gossip Girl," Leighton Meester regularly wears $85 headbands, $1,250 cocktail dresses, and $625 Christian Louboutins as she portrays the fashionable and, of course, rich Manhattanite Blair Waldorf. But in real life, the 26-year-old actress says that before The CW show began in 2007, she was really into much, much more affordable threads ... like 25 cent sweaters. "My friend says that before the show I dressed like a homeless person," Meester reveals in the latest issue of Lucky magazine. "I used to buy everything at garage sales. It was hard to give up! I'd be like, 'But this crazy sweater is amazing, and it only cost 25 cents!' But after five seasons as B, Meester admits that some of her character's high-fashion tastes have rubbed off on her. "I've learned from Blair, though. Now I like to pepper in something designer with my usual stuff."
Soon, Meester will have to say goodbye to Waldorf, because the show is set to air its final episodes this fall. It shouldn't be too tough for Meester, though, because she already has big plans: she wants to release her first album before the end of the year. (The songstress released the song "Somebody to Love" with Robin Thicke and was featured on Cobra Starship's hit "Good Girls Go Bad" in 2009.) However, when it comes to her singing career, Waldorf doesn't seem to have made an impression at all. Meester explains that her inspirations aren't the kind of women you'd find on the Upper East Side, but rather singer-songwriter types like Joni Mitchell and Alison Kraus. Even Meester's onstage wardrobe is more about comfort than style. "A little-known fact is that when I'm performing, I like to wear a bodysuit beneath whatever I'm wearing," Meester says. "I hate bras, at least when I'm singing."
Meester's also begun working on a film career. The starlet combined her acting and singing talents when she played a country singer in the 2010 movie "Country Strong." She also starred in 2011's thriller "The Roommate" and 2011's cutesy "Monte Carlo" featuring Selena Gomez, and had smaller roles in 2010's funny "Date Night" and the 2010 Drew Barrymore rom-com "Going the Distance." On June 15, she co-stars with Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg in the comedy "That's My Boy." Meester plays the woman set to wed former "Saturday Night Live" star Samberg. "It's different than anything I've ever done before," she notes. "100 percent comedy, very funny, super-raunchy."
Though Meester is single at the moment, she says she could see herself getting married one day. "Yes! Especially now that I know you don't have to be married to have children; when I was a kid I thought marriage was sex, but if I ever am in a situation where I want to be married, I don't think I'll have a big wedding," she reveals. "Hopefully it would be about something way more secure than that." For now, the actress says she enjoys living with her long-haired dachshund Trudy in an apartment in New York and a house in L.A. If the TV is on, Meester says that it's usually on the Cooking Channel, or Food Network for its show "Chopped." "I used to have roommates all the time. Living alone — it's so great to get to know yourself, and how weird you are, which can be pretty weird," Meester admits. "You can be like, 'I spent all day watching that?!'"
Read Meester's full interview in the July issue of Lucky, on newsstands now.
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