Blake Lively is to now what Sarah Jessica Parker was to ten years ago: the fashion icon of the day. The five-foot-ten California blonde and her Gossip Girl co-stars are seen on screen in so many fabulous outfits, they have made fashion a huge part of the show’s appeal. (Lively told Vanity Fair that right after Gossip Girl went on the air in the fall of 2007, she noticed a change in styles worn by young women: “We copied it from their lives, and now these girls are copying us. It’s so crazy that it’s translating.”) Lively grew up in Burbank in a showbiz family; her mother is a talent agent, her father an actor. She was hoping for a film career—and had gotten off to a great start in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants—when Gossip Girl's producers approached her about playing Serena van der Woodsen, an unusually down-to-earth rich girl from the Upper East Side. Lively was hesitant to take it because of the time commitment required by a TV series. With their passion for the project, and appreciation for her talent, the producers talked her into the role. Lively’s personal passion is reserved for Penn Badgley, one of her Gossip Girl co-stars. Though her character on Gossip Girl is a serial dater, Lively told Cosmopolitan magazine that in real life, she is anything but: “I’ve kissed just three people in my life, other than stuff that I’ve done for TV or movies,” she said. “I know—I’m weird!”

Serena, is it hard to be that beautiful? The effortlessly gorgeous, normal, and low-key Blake Lively, known on the tube as Serena van der Woodsen, dishes on life since the Gossip Girl tsunami blew in:

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