The circumstances of Leighton Meester's birth could not have been more different from that of Blair Waldorf, the scheming bad girl she plays on Gossip Girl. Meester was born in Marco Island, Florida, while her mother was serving a federal prison term for marijuana smuggling. Meester makes no judgments about her mother's situation back then. "People change," she says. Experience in local theater in Florida gave Meester a yen for the real thing. When she was ten, she and her mother moved to New York, where she attended the Professional Children's School. Meester modeled before deciding to concentrate on acting, and like many other New York actors, she made her TV debut on Law & Order. At fourteen, Meester moved to Los Angeles, where she attended high school in the 90210 zip code. She did not graduate, however. The peripatetic Meester's high school diploma is from a private school in Hawaii. Her breakout role came in 2004 as the Britney Spears–like singer Justine Chapin on HBO's Entourage. From there, it was on to roles in shows like 8 Simple Rules, CSI Miami, Veronica Mars, and House. Like several of her co-stars, Meester has a side interest in music. She recorded a song for the soundtrack of her film Drive Thru and is releasing her first album in fall 2009. Meester's real-life love interest is actor Sebastian Stan, who plays Carter Baizan on Gossip Girl.
You think it's easy wearing the Queen B crown? Learn more about Leighton Meester, the beauty behind Blair Waldorf: