Leighton Meester

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Leighton Meester
Leightonchanel.jpg
Meester at Chanel's SoHo store re-opening, September 9, 2010
BornLeighton Marissa Meester
(1986-04-09) April 9, 1986 (age 28)
Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.
OccupationActress, singer, model
Years active1999–present
Spouse(s)Adam Brody (m. 2014)
Website
leightonmeestermusic.com
 
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Leighton Meester
Leightonchanel.jpg
Meester at Chanel's SoHo store re-opening, September 9, 2010
BornLeighton Marissa Meester
(1986-04-09) April 9, 1986 (age 28)
Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.
OccupationActress, singer, model
Years active1999–present
Spouse(s)Adam Brody (m. 2014)
Website
leightonmeestermusic.com

Leighton Marissa Meester (born April 9, 1986)[1] is an American actress and singer. Meester starred as Blair Waldorf in the CW's teen drama television series Gossip Girl (2007–2012). She has also appeared in the 2010 country drama film Country Strong, the 2011 thriller The Roommate, the 2011 romantic-comedy Monte Carlo, and the 2012 comedies That's My Boy and The Oranges.

In addition to her acting career, Meester has also ventured into music. She released two singles, recorded songs for various soundtracks and collaborated with several artists, being notably featured on Cobra Starship's "Good Girls Go Bad" (2009). Her musical style has since shifted from pop to folk. In 2012, she embarked on a mini tour with folk band Check in the Dark, with whom she had been working with since 2010.

Early life[edit]

Meester was born in Fort Worth, Texas, to Constance (née Haas) and Douglas Meester, and lived most of her life in New York City and Los Angeles.[2][3][4][5] Her ancestry includes German, Dutch, English, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh.[6] At the time of her birth, her mother was serving time in a federal prison for her involvement in a drug ring that smuggled marijuana from Jamaica to the USA. She was able to give birth to Leighton in a hospital and nurse her for three months in a halfway house, before returning to prison to complete her sentence,[2][3] after which Leighton's grandmother cared for her. She has a brother, Alexander, who is 8 years younger. Meester has maintained that her parents gave her a normal upbringing and, despite their criminal past, are good people with experience that has only made Meester more open-minded and non-judgmental, "It made me realize that you can't judge anyone — especially your parents — for what they've done in their past, because people change."[7] Meester has joked, "Look, I could've turned out a lot worse."[8] She has cited her mother as her style icon.[9] Her father works for an internet company and her mother is a writer.[10]

Meester grew up in Marco Island, Florida, where she participated in productions at a local playhouse.[11] When she was 11 years old, Meester and her mother moved to New York City.[11] Meester attended the Professional Children's School and also began working as a model with Wilhelmina, booking a Ralph Lauren campaign shot by Bruce Weber and working with then photographer (now film maker) Sofia Coppola[11][12] as well as many commercials including Tamagotchi toys and Clearasil. She has also posed for Limited Too campaigns alongside fellow future actress, Amanda Seyfried, in which Seyfried recalls, "Leighton was very confident."[13] Meester made her television acting debut as a murder victim's friend on an episode of Law & Order.[11][12] At 14, Meester moved to Los Angeles, California, wanting more stable work, and attended Hollywood High School and Beverly Hills High School.[12][14] She then transferred to a small private school and graduated a year early.[15]

Career[edit]

Acting[edit]

Meester at New York Fashion Week Spring and Summer 2009, September 7, 2008

After her television debut in 1999 playing Alyssa Turner in Law & Order, Meester appeared as a guest in two more series before landing her big role in the movie Hangman's Curse, based on the best-selling book by Frank Peretti. She appeared in Tarzan, which ran for only eight episodes. Meester then started to land guest roles in other series such as Crossing Jordan, 8 Simple Rules, 7th Heaven, Veronica Mars, 24, and Entourage.[11]

In 2005, Meester began a regular role in the series Surface as Savannah Bennet. Meester appeared in two more 2006 movies, Flourish and Inside. She also guest appeared in Numb3rs and in two episodes of House M.D. as Ali, a young girl who has a crush on House.[11] She had guest roles on CSI: Miami and Shark, and played the female lead in the horror film Drive-Thru.

In 2007, Meester was cast in the CW's teen drama series Gossip Girl as Blair Waldorf.[11] The show is based on the book series by Cecily von Ziegesar about the lives of New York's privileged Upper East Side young adults. Her performance was the most critically acclaimed of the show, with Blair being cited as the series' breakout character, and also garnering much media recognition due to her wardrobe.[16][17] She dated Gossip Girl co-star Sebastian Stan.[18]

Meester appeared on the television film The Haunting of Sorority Row, and played a part in the ensemble comedy/drama Remember the Daze. She also appeared in the horror/thriller film Killer Movie in 2008.

Meester starred in three films in 2010 with small roles in the comedies Date Night and Going The Distance[19] and a bigger role in Screen Gems' country drama Country Strong starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Garrett Hedlund. The Boston Globe found the best thing in the film was Meester because "she’s just doing Reese Witherspoon’s June Carter Cash in Walk the Line with dabs of Miley Cyrus and Kellie Pickler. But it’s not an impersonation; it’s a performance with its own comedy and sweetness."[20] USA Today was also positive towards her performance writing "Meester shows she can do more than play one of Gossip Girl's privileged Manhattan socialite."[21]

In 2011, she played the role of Rebecca, an obsessive bipolar girl in the thriller The Roommate.[22] Though the film mainly received negative reviews, Meester's portrayal was praised by critics. Entertainment Weekly found she was the only one to bring "the slightest trace of something fascinating to her role"[23] while Los Angeles Times wrote "her performance often has the feeling of a sports car in neutral. When she punches it for quick changes of tone from manic to wounded or around the bend, she shows how much more she is capable of."[24] Meester's second film of the year was the young femme comedy Monte Carlo, loosely based on Jules Bass's young-adult book Headhunters, in which she plays Selena Gomez's sister and Katie Cassidy's friend.[25] Movieline noted that "As in Country Strong, Meester's crack timing and irresistible poignancy illuminate a part that would leave other actresses simpering themselves off the screen."[26] Her last film project of 2011 was the indie dramatic comedy The Oranges opposite Hugh Laurie and Adam Brody, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. The San Francisco Chronicle felt that she embodied well her character[27] Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly thought she was "charming",[28] and Newsday called her "radiant".[29]

Meester starred in the comedy That's My Boy, alongside Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, and Milo Ventimiglia, which was released in June 2012.[30][31] The film received mainly negative reviews[32] and was nominated for eight Golden Raspberry Awards.[33] The film was also a box office failure as it only grossed over $57 million, failing to recoup its production budget of $70 million.[34] In August 2012, Meester appeared alongside Wilmer Valderrama and Vanessa Curry in the house music group Nomads' music video "Addicted to Love".[35] She recently finished filming the film God Only Knows alongside Ben Barnes[36] and is now working on Any Tom, Dick, or Harry.[37] She will reunite with Brody on Life Partners, for which filming started in April 2013.[38] Meester was originally in talks to reprise her role as Carrie Bishop in the film adaptation of Veronica Mars,[39] but due to scheduling issues, she was eventually replaced by Andrea Estella, lead singer of the band Twin Sister.[40] She will appear opposite Robert Downey, Jr. in the David Dobkin dramedy The Judge; filming started in June 2013.[41][42] Her next project is Like Sunday, Like Rain directed by Frank Whaley, where she will play the girlfriend of Green Day's singer Billie Joe Armstrong.[43][44] She is scheduled to make her Broadway stage debut in an adaptation of John Steinbeck's novel Of Mice and Men opposite James Franco.[45]

Music[edit]

Meester performing at The Troubadour in Hollywood, California in June 2011

In 2007, Meester recorded the song "Inside the Black" for the soundtrack of Drive-Thru.[46] In 2008, Meester sang with Tony Bennett in an episode Entourage.[47] In April 2009, she released the song "Birthday" featuring duo Awesome New Republic.[48] A version without her vocals was included on their Rational Geographic Vol. I album.[49][50] Later that month, Meester signed a recording contract with Universal Republic.[47] The album, produced by Polow Da Don, Harvey Mason, Jr., and Spencer Nezey, which Meester began working on in March 2009, was initially projected to be released in the fall[47][51] but was later delayed to early 2010.[52] It was again pushed back to late 2010[53] and it eventually never came out. Despite this, Meester was able to release two singles and two other songs were leaked.

In July 2009, "Body Control" surfaced on the internet.[54] Meester's first official single, "Somebody to Love", featuring R&B singer Robin Thicke, was released for airplay on October 13, 2009, and became available for digital download on October 14, 2009.[55][56] Her second single, "Your Love's a Drug", was digitally released on March 30, 2010.[57] Meester did a duet with DJ Clinton Sparks on "Front Cut", which appeared on the internet in February 2011.[58][59] Lil Wayne worked with her on an unreleased song titled "Make It Rain".[60] Jesse McCartney also wrote a song for the album.[61]

Meester provided vocals on Cobra Starship's song "Good Girls Go Bad", which reached the Top 10 on Billboard Hot 100 peaking at No. 7, and she is also featured on Stephen Jerzak's song "She Said".[62][63][64] She recorded a cover of the song "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" for the compilation album A Very Special Christmas 7.[65] For her 2010 country drama film Country Strong, she recorded a cover of the song "Words I Couldn't Say" by Rascal Flatts as well as "A Little Bit Stronger" by Sara Evans featured on the film's soundtrack; a promotional single titled "Summer Girl"; and a duet with Garrett Hedlund titled "Give In To Me".[66]

In October 2010, Meester said she had been working with a band called Check in the Dark and had been writing for the last six months after being inspired by Country Strong. "I've just been having fun and writing from my heart". She revealed her influences, "I love Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, that style of music, and as far as songwriting I think that's where my heart is."[67] On April 22, 2012, Meester announced via Twitter a five-city tour with Check in the Dark, which started on May 29 and ended on June 4.[68][69][70] Reflecting on her past pop collaborations, she said she "loved" them but that folk music was "a lot closer to [her] heart".[71] In June 2012, Meester said she and the band had recorded all the songs for an album that served as a demo.[72]

Endorsements[edit]

Meester has fronted many charity as well as advertising campaigns. In 2008, she was a spokesperson for Sunsilk's "Life Can't Wait" campaign[73] to motivate women to pursue their dreams and collaborated with Safe Horizon to raise awareness about and prevent domestic violence.[74] Early in 2009, Meester partnered with Reebok to model their new Top Down sneakers.[75] Outside of Gossip Girl, Meester has worked with co-star Ed Westwick in a Nikon Coolpix series camera advertisement and both were faces for a Korean clothing line called ASK Enquired.[76] In 2010, Meester signed on to be the spokesperson for Herbal Essences hair products.[77] In the same year, Meester took part in Bulgari's humanitarian efforts for the Save the Children organization with Isabella Rossellini and Maribel Verdútaken.[78] Vera Wang has also chosen Meester to be the face of her newest scent Lovestruck, breaking in summer of 2011, stating that the actress's "beauty, talent and spirit will inspire all the young women that I hope will enjoy this passionate, new young fragrance."[79] In 2011, Italian fashion house Missoni revealed they have tapped Meester to be part of their Spring/Summer 2011 campaign.[80] She fronts another South Korean brand, this time a beauty campaign, called eSpoir.[81] In May 2012, she became an endorser for Philippine clothing brand Penshoppe's campaign "All Stars".[82] She is the face of French brand Naf Naf's autumn/winter 2013/2014 collection.[83] In October 2013, Biotherm, a French luxury skincare company, announced Leighton as its new global ambassador.[84]

In the media[edit]

Meester was named one of People magazine's 100 Most Beautiful People along with the cast of Gossip Girl in 2008[85] and 25 Beauties (and Hotties) at 25 in 2011.[86] She was also listed several times in Maxim's Hot 100 list, starting #48 in 2008,[87] #12 in 2009,[88] #17 in 2010[89] and #16 in 2011.[90] BuddyTV ranked her #32 on its TV's 100 Sexiest Women of 2010 list.[91] She was ranked #75 by AskMen.com readers in the list "Top 99 Women of 2010" and #53 in 2011.[92] Men's Health ranked her #30 in its "Hottest Women in 2011" list.[93] Glamour ranked her #5 among the Most Glamorous Celebrities of 2011.[94]

Personal life[edit]

In July 2011, she and her mother filed lawsuits against each other regarding Meester's financial support of her younger brother, who has multiple health problems.[95] Meester's suit claims the money she sent was used by her mother for "cosmetic procedures"; her mother's suit makes a counterclaim alleging breach of contract and physical abuse.[95] In November 2011, Constance Meester dropped the $3 million claim for damages against her daughter. As a result, Leighton obtained a default judgment on December 7, 2011.[96] In June 2012, Meester subsequently won the lawsuit, with the judge rejecting her mother's claims from her previous counter-suit.[97]

Following Gossip Girl's ending in 2012, Meester moved from New York City to Los Angeles.[98] She purchased a house in the Encino neighborhood in September 2011.[99]

Meester was in a relationship with her Gossip Girl co-star Sebastian Stan for about three years, from 2008 to 2010.[100] In 2012, she briefly rekindled a romance with her Remember the Daze co-star Aaron Himelstein, after initially dating in 2007,[101] but then began dating former The O.C actor Adam Brody whom she met while on the set of The Oranges. In November 2013, the couple became engaged after a year of dating and married in February 2014 in a private ceremony.[102][103]

Filmography[edit]

Film
YearTitleRoleNotes
2003Jackalope, TheThe JackalopeLorraineShort film
2003Hangman's CurseElisha Springfield
2006FlourishLucy Covner
2006InsideJosie
2007Drive-ThruMackenzie Carpenter
2007Remember the DazeTori
2007Haunting of Sorority Row, TheThe Haunting of Sorority RowSamantha WillowsTelevision film
2008Killer MovieJaynie Hansen
2010Date NightKaty
2010Going the DistanceAmy
2010Country StrongChiles Stanton
2011Roommate, TheThe RoommateRebecca Evans
2011Monte CarloMary Margaret "Meg" Kelly
2011Oranges, TheThe OrangesNina Ostroff
2012That's My BoyJamie Martin
2014Life PartnersSasha
2014God Only KnowsAli MatazanoCompleted
2014UnityNarratorDocumentary
2014Judge, TheThe JudgeCarlaPost-production
2014Like Sunday, Like RainEleanorCompleted
2014Any Tom, Dick, or HarryBarbaraPost-production
Television
YearTitleRoleNotes
1999Law & OrderAlyssa TurnerEpisode: "Disciple"
2001Boston PublicSarah BreenEpisode: "Chapter Twenty-Eight"
2002Once and AgainAmandaEpisode: "Gardenia"
2002Family AffairIreneEpisode: "No Small Parts"
2003Big Wide World of Carl Laemke, TheThe Big Wide World of Carl LaemkeTanniUnsold Fox pilot
2003TarzanNicki PorterMain cast
2004Hollywood DivisionMichelle NicholsUnsold Fox pilot
2004Crossing JordanMarie StrandEpisode: "Missing Pieces"
20047th HeavenKendall2 episodes
2004North ShoreVeronica FarrellEpisode: "Pilot"
2004, 2008EntourageJustine Chapin3 episodes
200524Debbie Pendleton4 episodes
2005Veronica MarsCarrie Bishop2 episodes
20058 Simple RulesNikkiEpisode: "The After Party"
2005–2006SurfaceSavannah BarnettMain cast
2006Monster AllergyPoppyVoice; episode #1.1
2006Secrets of a Small TownKayla RhodesEpisode: "Pilot"
2006Numb3rsKaren CamdenEpisode: "Dark Matter"
2006HouseAli2 episodes
2007CSI: MiamiHeather CrowleyEpisode: "Broken Home"
2007SharkMegan3 episodes
2007–2012Gossip GirlBlair WaldorfMain role; 121 episodes
Broadway
YearTitleRoleNotes
2014Of Mice and MenCurley’s WifeLongacre Theatre

Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

As main artist[edit]

List of singles, with selected chart positions
TitleYearPeak chart positionsAlbum
US
[104]
US
Heat.

[105]
UKN
[106]
"Somebody to Love"
(featuring Robin Thicke)
20091111310non-album songs
"Your Love's a Drug"201111914
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.

As featuring artist[edit]

List of singles, with selected chart positions and certifications
TitleYearPeak chart positionsCertificationsAlbum
US
[107]
AUS
[108]
AUT
[109]
BEL
[110]
CAN
[111]
FIN
[112]
NL
[113]
NZL
[114]
UK
[115]
UKN
[106]
"Good Girls Go Bad"
(Cobra Starship featuring Leighton Meester)
200975374713192176Hot Mess
"She Said"
(Stephen Jerzak featuring Leighton Meester)
2010Miles and Miles
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.

Promotional singles[edit]

TitleYearAlbum
"Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)"[120]2009A Very Special Christmas 7

Other charted songs[edit]

List of singles, with selected chart positions
TitleYearPeak chart positionsCertificationsAlbum
US
[104]
US
Heat.

[105]
US
Country
Digital

[121]
CAN
[122]
"Give In to Me"
(with Garrett Hedlund)
201179794Country Strong
"Summer Girl"1517
"Words I Couldn't Say"2524
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.

Other appearances[edit]

TitleYearOther artist(s)Album
"Inside the Black"2007N/ADrive-Thru
"Birthday"2009Awesome New RepublicRational Geographic Vol. I
"A Little Bit Stronger"2010N/ACountry Strong

Awards and nominations[edit]

YearAwardCategoryNominated workResult
2008Teen Choice AwardsChoice TV Actress Drama[124]Gossip GirlNominated
2008Choice TV Breakout Star Female[124]Nominated
2009Choice TV Actress Drama[125]Won
2009MTV Video Music AwardsBest Pop Video"Good Girls Go Bad" (with Cobra Starship)Nominated
2010Teen Choice AwardsChoice TV Actress Drama[126]Gossip GirlWon
2010Hollywood AwardsSpotlight AwardCountry StrongWon
2011MTV Movie AwardsBest Villain [127]The RoommateNominated
2011Teen Choice AwardsChoice Movie Actress Drama[128]Country StrongNominated
2011Choice Movie Villain[128]The RoommateNominated
2012Choice TV Actress: Drama[129]Gossip GirlNominated
2012Choice Summer Movie Star Female[130]That's My BoyNominated
2013Golden Raspberry AwardsWorst Screen Couple[33]Nominated
2013Worst Screen Ensemble [33]Nominated
2014Broadway.com Audience Choice AwardFavorite Featured Actress in a Play [131]Of Mice and MenNominated

References[edit]

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External links[edit]