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22 surprising things you probably didn't know about 'Gossip Girl'

·12 min read
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Gossip Girl
There are some things you might not know about "Gossip Girl." The CW

January 26 was named "Gossip Girl Day" in New York City in 2012.

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Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the holiday. CW

In 2012, former-New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg declared January 26 as "Gossip Girl Day."

The announcement came in celebration of the airing of the show's 100th episode.

Jennifer Lawrence wanted to play Serena van der Woodsen.

jennifer lawrence
Jennifer Lawrence was reportedly "bummed" that she didn't get the part. Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Before Blake Lively was given the role of Serena van der Woodsen, Jennifer Lawrence put her hat in the ring.

According to executive producer Josh Schwartz, Lawrence "definitely auditioned and was bummed to not get it."

"Gossip Girl" was shot on location in New York City.

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The scenes may look familiar to New York locals. The CW

"Gossip Girl" was shot in New York City, and used several famous landmarks as backdrops, including the Metropolitan Museum Of Art, Bethesda Fountain in Central Park, and The Empire Hotel — which now serves "Gossip Girl"-inspired cocktails.

The show has even inspired a sightseeing tour for avid fans, which features stops at Dylan's Candy Bar and Grand Central Terminal.

Each episode title is a play on a famous movie.

Gossip Girl
Some fans picked up on the trend. CW

If fans take a closer look at the "Gossip Girl" episode titles, they'll notice each one is a spoof on a famous movie.

The show's 121 episodes include titles like "Blair Waldorf Must Pie!" ("John Tucker Must Die"), "It's a Wonderful Lie" ("It's a Wonderful Life"), and "You've Got Yale!" ("You've Got Mail").

Lively and Penn Badgley dated and then secretly broke up while they were filming the show.

blake lively penn badgley
Even the producers didn't know they broke up. Evan Agostini/AP

Just like their on-screen personas, Lively and Penn Badgley dated for a few years while filming "Gossip Girl."

The two reportedly went public with their relationship in 2008 and called it off in 2010. But no one on the set was aware when the two broke up.

"The shocking thing was, I found out on the set of the season two finale that Blake and Penn had broken up months before … They kept the breakup hidden from the crew, which you could never do now," executive producer Joshua Safran told Vanity Fair in 2017.

He continued, "I don't even know how they did it. They kept it from everybody which is a testament to how good they are as actors. Because they did not want their personal drama to relate to the show."

Lively and Meester weren't as close as Serena and Blair.

blake lively leighton meester
They were "friendly" on set. AP Photo/Peter Kramer

Serena and Blair were the ultimate BFF duo. Off-screen, however, producers have said Lively and Meester were not as compatible.

Safran told Vanity Fair in 2017, "They were friendly, but they were not friends like Serena and Blair."

Serena and Blair's wardrobes were inspired by fashion icons.

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Kate Moss and Audrey Hepburn were inspirations behind the characters' styles. The CW

In a 2012 interview with HuffPost, "Gossip Girl" costume designer Eric Daman shared the inspirations behind both Serena and Blair's wardrobes.

Serena's look was modeled after Kate Moss. This included a lot of "nonchalant fashion," which he described as "having that 'I've traveled to Europe' vibe."

Daman also shared that Audrey Hepburn and Anna Wintour inspired Blair's style. He said her wardrobe is "well thought-out, but also looks seamless and effortless."

Daman made sure that none of the guys wore belts on the show.

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Blake Lively and Penn Badgley on "Gossip Girl." The CW

In 2020, Sebastian Stan told Variety that he never got to wear a belt when he played Carter Baizen on "Gossip Girl."

"I remember going into the fittings and being told, 'You're never wearing a belt again from a fashion standpoint,'" he said. "I was like, 'OK.' So I never wore a belt again."

He added, "Just watch. There's not a belt on that show."

A few months later, Daman told Variety that men's belts were one of his fashion "pet peeves."

"... This was also the era of metrosexuals, 'Jersey Shore' and hideous jeans with really ugly belts. No, this is not happening on my watch ..." he said.

The costume designer also added that all the clothes were tailored very specifically so that they looked right on camera.

"Belts add an extra girth around the waist, and no one wants that for a classy look," Daman said.

Badgley didn't know Dan was Gossip Girl.

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Producers didn't want it to affect his performance. Charles Sykes/AP

The "Gossip Girl" showrunners didn't want the actors focusing too heavily on who would end up being the mysterious Gossip Girl, so it was not revealed until the final scripts were handed out.

In a 2012 interview with TV Line, executive producer Stephanie Savage said, "It was nothing that we talked to the actors about. It was nothing that we wanted to be part of Penn Badgley's performance as Dan."

Meester proved she was meant to play Blair Waldorf.

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Leighton Meester impressed the producers. The CW

Although Meester seems like the natural fit for Blair Waldorf now, her connection to the character was not always so apparent.

Executive producer Schwartz told Vanity Fair in 2017, "She came in and she was really funny, and really smart and played vulnerable. But there was one problem: She was blonde. And Blake was blonde, obviously; Serena had to be blonde. So, [Leighton] went to the sink and dyed her hair. She wanted it.'"

In the same Vanity Fair interview, Chace Crawford, who played Nate, recalled thinking, "I just don't see her as Blair Waldorf. I can't see it," the first time he met Meester at auditions.

But Crawford's mind was quickly changed when Meester turned around "slyly in her chair," sporting Blair's iconic headband.

After that, he said "I just remember thinking, 'That girl can act. She's the perfect girl for this.'"

Lively shot her "Gossip Girl" wedding just a month after her own.

serena and dan wedding gossip girl
She wore a stunning gold dress on the show. The CW

Just a month after Lively's intimate wedding to actor Ryan Reynolds in September 2012, she was spotted on the set of "Gossip Girl" wearing a gold wedding dress.

Fans were left to speculate at the time but later saw the gown on the show's series finale.

There are a few international "Gossip Girl" spin-offs and remakes.

Gossip Girl Acuapulco
The Mexican drama "Gossip Girl: Acapulco" only ran for one season. Warner Bros. Television Distribution

"Gossip Girl" was a hit with American audiences, but it also was reproduced in a few countries around the world.

Spin-offs and remakes were produced in Mexico, China, Turkey, and Thailand.

Promotional photos for Mexico's "Gossip Girl: Acapulco" appeared to have the same preppy flair as the original, but the show was not renewed by Univision for a second season.

Fan-favorite Dorota got a spin-off too.

Dorota gossip girl
Dorota briefly had her own show. CW

One of the most beloved characters from "Gossip Girl" was Blair's maid, Dorota, played by Zuzanna Szadkowski.

In 2009, the character got the spin-off treatment with her own show, "Chasing Dorota."

The show was canceled after six episodes, but Szadkowski remained a series regular on "Gossip Girl" until its finale in 2012.

Real Upper East Side teens had a few issues with how the students were portrayed on the show.

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Some schools reportedly banned their students from watching the show. Warner Bros. Television Distribution

"Gossip Girl" was known for its over-the-top portrayal of New York City's elite, so it's not exactly surprising that it received backlash from its real-life counterparts.

According to The Sun, some New York City students said that their schools even imposed bans on watching the show.

Mina Beveney, a 2007 alumna of the Spence School on the Upper East Side, told the publication that although there are "parallels," much of what the show depicts isn't realistic.

"I don't understand how they're glamorously not doing five hours of homework a night," she said.

"Gossip Girl" was based on a book series by Cecily von Ziegesar, and the author had one major issue with the TV adaptation.

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Cecily von Ziegesar wasn't a fan of Vanessa's character. The CW

"Gossip Girl" is based on a book series by Cecily von Ziegesar.

Though she said she enjoyed watching "Gossip Girl," von Ziegesar told MTV in 2008 that she did have a major problem with the show.

"I think Vanessa is one character they ruined. In the book, she's kick-ass and has a shaved head and wears lots of black ..." the author said. "I think a lot of the readers who don't usually read teen fiction identify with Vanessa."

She continued, "Even though I don't like Vanessa's character, it's nothing against [actress] Jessica [Szohr]. I just wish Vanessa was like she is in the books a bit more."

Lively originally turned down the role of Serena van der Woodsen.

gossip girl serena pilot
Blake Lively didn't want the role to get in her way of going to college. The CW

When "Gossip Girl" was picked up, Lively had just started attracting attention from "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" (2005) and was a natural fit for the role of Serena.

According to the 2017 Vanity Fair interview, when approached with the opportunity, Lively told producers, "No, I want to go to college. Thank you, though."

Lively continued, "Then they said, 'OK, you can go to Columbia [University] one day a week. After the first year [of the show], it'll quiet down. Your life will go back to normal and you can start going to school. We can't put it in writing, but we promise you can go.' So that's why I said, 'OK You know what? I'll do this.'"

The show was targeted by hackers who leaked the scripts.

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Scripts were being leaked on the internet. The CW

While "Gossip Girl" was airing, the show experienced a database breach that led to major script leaks.

According to Vanity Fair, during the fourth season, the producers hired a private investigator after scripts continued to appear online. The investigator later found that they were being sold on eBay by a teenager, who could not be prosecuted due to their age.

Following the hacks, producers printed scripts on red paper or 'X'-ed out each page to prevent plotlines from being spoiled online.

"It was like there was a 'Gossip Girl' in our system," one producer said.

The costumes had a major influence on retail trends in the 2010s.

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Designers wanted Serena and Blair to wear their clothing. The CW

Just as "Sex and the City" did in the late 1990s, "Gossip Girl" had a major influence on the fashion trends of the 2010s.

The show became so popular that designers were known to line up for a chance to put their clothing on Lively or Meester.

In a 2017 interview with Fashionista, costume designer Daman said, "Once we got one bigger designer to say yes, it's like letting the floodgates open, and early on, Chanel said yes. All of a sudden, everybody wanted to be a part of it."

Tory Burch was one designer featured on "Gossip Girl," and she told The New York Times in 2008 that having an item displayed on the show immediately "translates to sales."

"We have girls coming in with magazine tear sheets of Blake Lively or Leighton Meester, from location shootings or from everyday life," Burch said.

Ed Westwick reportedly practiced his American accent by watching "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air."

carlton fresh prince of bel-air alfonso ribeiro
Alfonso Ribeiro played Carlton on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." NBC

According to Parade, when London-born Ed Westwick was cast as Chuck Bass he turned to NBC's "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" to nail down his American accent.

The actor has said he modeled his pretentious, high-class accent on Carlton Banks.

Eleanor Waldorf wasn't played by Margaret Colin on the pilot episode.

eleanor waldorf
Two different actresses played the role. The CW

On the pilot episode of "Gossip Girl," Florencia Lozano played Blair's fashion-designer mother, Eleanor Waldorf. But for the rest of the series, the role was played by Margaret Colin.

The "Gossip Girl" books were originally supposed to be adapted into a movie starring Lindsay Lohan.

lindsay lohan
Lindsay Lohan was supposed to play Blair Waldorf. KGC-03/STAR MAX/IPx

According to Backstage, before The CW started developing the show, Warner Bros. had plans to adapt the books into a movie written by "Gilmore Girls" showrunner Amy Sherman-Palladino and starring Lindsay Lohan as Blair Waldorf.

"The books are a soap opera, and TV makes a lot of sense," producer Leslie Morgenstein told the publication in 2006.

HBO Max rebooted the show for the streaming era.

gossio girl reboot bts photos
Emily Alyn Lind and Jordan Alexander are set to star on the series. Jose Perez/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Nearly 10 years after "Gossip Girl" ended, HBO Max rebooted the teen drama for the next generation.

The new series takes place eight years after the original Gossip Girl website went dark, and follows a new group of teens on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Kristen Bell returned as the narrator of the reboot, and other castmembers include Emily Alyn Lind, Eli Brown, Whitney Peak, and Jordan Alexander.

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