Gossip Girl’s run from 2007 to 2012 brought many gifts to pop culture, including the dual rise of Blake Lively and her character, fashionable party girl Serena van der Woodsen. As the show’s creator Josh Schwartz told Vanity Fair, Lively felt like a natural choice to play Serena. “We didn’t see a lot of other girls,” he said, sharing that he scoured a few online forums before fan reviews on Lively sold him.
It’s not difficult to understand why. They’re both masters of poses – Lively kills every red carpet she steps on, while Serena has usurped the role of Waldorf Designs’ face from Beast Blair (Leighton Meester) – the designer’s own daughter! Lively is so familiar with Serena’s haute couture world that Christian Louboutin even named a shoe after her in 2011 — “The Blake,” according to the Daily Mail. And lest we forget, Lively and her character even dated the same guy. Serena and Dan Humphrey’s (Penn Badgley) romance “Uptown Girl with a Downtown Guy” collided with real life when Lively and Badgley dated off-set for three years. “The lines are blurring,” Lively admitted to Allure in 2015 (via Hollywood Life). “It doesn’t help if everyone is dating whoever is on the show, and you’re also like, ‘Hey, can I take this home?’ to the costume designer.”
But for all of the worldwide fame that Serena Lively has garnered, there’s one aspect about the character that the actor never loved.
Blake Lively wants to distance himself from Serena’s party image
In a 2015 interview with Allure, Blake Lively made it very clear that she and Serena van der Woodsen were two different people. “It’s a weird thing when people feel like they know you really well, and they don’t,” Lively told the outlet (via Hollywood Life). “I wouldn’t be proud to be the person who gave someone the cocaine that caused them to overdose and then shot someone and slept with someone else’s boyfriend,” she added, just referencing some of Serena’s shocking ones show bows. “People loved it, but it always felt a little personally compromising — you want to spread a better message,” Lively admitted.
In the same interview, Lively lamented the general lack of control actors have over their image. “I’m in a profession, acting, where it’s really for hire,” she explained. “I offer a service that people rent out. I love it, but it’s not something I can control.” That would explain why Lively got into the lifestyle blogging business, à la Gwyneth Paltrow and Reese Witherspoon. In the summer of 2014, Lively launched the website “Preserve,” which features crafting items similar to Goop and Draper James, per Vanity Fair. Unfortunately, Lively would find that establishing a public identity outside of Serena was more difficult than expected.
The actor’s flamboyant brand finally went under in September 2015, but her offscreen lifestyle continued to prove she and Serena had little in common.
Unlike Serena, Blake Lively is a real couch potato
Although Blake Lively and husband Ryan Reynolds often go glamorous at red carpet events like the Met Gala, their favorite “night out” is a night at the house. Both parents of three girls, James, Inez and Betty, are “zealous couch potatoes,” a source told Us Weekly. “Your typical date night is alone or with friends at a restaurant.” Married to Reynolds for over a decade, Lively has long emphasized her family values. Speaking to Forbes in May, the “Shallows” actor said, “Family is at the root of everything I do and it’s also at the root of everything I create.”
Lively is such the opposite of a party girl that she actually doesn’t drink it at all. “I don’t drink because I don’t like the effects of alcohol,” Lively told reporters in 2021 (via People). “But I like being a part of it,” she added, revealing that the teetotal lifestyle can be isolating at times. “I like being social. I like it when people get together. I found what was interesting at times was that not drinking was a little alienating because you don’t feel – and maybe it’s just in your own head – you just don’t really feel a part of it.” Her desire to still attending the party, albeit sober, led to the creation of her line of Betty Buzz Mocktails – five flavors of mixers that can be enjoyed with or without alcohol.