Photography via the CW

Spotted: 9 Secrets from the Set of Gossip Girl

Hey, Upper East Siders.

It’s been exactly 11 years (!!) since Gossip Girl premiered on CW and made New York private school girls the envy of pre-teens, teens, and everyone-else-under-35. Which makes me think A) My mother was right, I was far too young to be watching Serena and Nate have sex on a hotel bar. And B) How is it possible that Blake Lively has not aged over the past decade?

Alas, here we are. It’s been almost six years since we found out (SPOILER) that Dan Humphry was the anonymous online drama queen, and still the memory of Manhattan’s elite remains in our hearts and favourited on our Netflix accounts. The eleventh anniversary of the hit TV show calls for commemoration—and what better way than to re-stir some GG-style rumours from the show’s set? For last year’s tenth anniversary of the series, Vanity Fair writer Josh Duboff interviewed Gossip Girl‘s creators, cast and crew to uncover some buzz-worthy behind-the-scenes secrets. And for every GG-anniversary from now until eternity, we’ll continue to revisit the spilt tea. You know you love it.

1. Blake Lively wanted to quit acting and go to college

Gossip Girl creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage pinned Lively, who had starred in Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, as their show’s free-spirited star. Except the young actress wasn’t into it. Here’s how the conversation went, according to Lively: “I said, ‘No, I want to go to college. Thank you, though.’ Then they said, ‘O.K., 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, ‘O.K. You know what? I’ll do this.’”

2. Leighton Meester dyed her hair brown at her audition

Initially, Meester auditioned to play Serena. Except that role was already nabbed by the golden-haired Lively. Here’s how the casting went down according to Schwartz: “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.’”

3. Chase Crawford and Ed Westwick were roomies

Ok, we already knew this. But I will never get over the fact that Chuck and Nate also shared a two-bedroom Chelsea apartment IRL.

4. Chuck Bass’s style was inspired by Jersey Shore

In the wise words of GG costume designer Eric Daman: “[Chuck Bass] had a very big influence on menswear and how men dress today, and on what getting dressed up means. Menswear, at that point, was still very Jersey Shore. . . . I’m very proud we got to break through to the men and be like, ‘No, it’s O.K. to dress up. You’re not gonna look like some big pansy because you’re in a fucking suit, dude. Suck it up, put on the bow tie.’”

5. IRL, Serena and Blair weren’t BFFs 

The drama wasn’t as juicy as the mag headlines claimed, but the co-stars weren’t exactly sharing Babycakes after work. Joshua Safran, a writer on the series, said this about the leading ladies: “Blake and Leighton were not friends. They were friendly, but they were not friends like Serena and Blair. Yet the second they’d be on set together, it’s as if they were.”

6. Penn Badgley was Dan Humphry 

Safran also shared this bit of gossip with Vanity Fair: “Penn didn’t like being on Gossip Girl, but . . . he was Dan. He may not have liked it, but [his character] was the closest to who he was.”

7. Blake’s off-screen relationship with Leonardo DiCaprio influenced the show

Do you know who would have made an A+ Gossip Girl? This Safran guy. After spilling tea on Serena, Dan and Blair, he brought in Leo D: “When I think about shooting the L.A. episodes, Blake was dating [DiCaprio] at the time, and she had this thing where she had a doll that she took photos of that she sent to Leo. Blake was way ahead of the curve. It was pre-Instagram. She was documenting her life in photographs in a way that people were not yet doing.” So like, Lively practically invented Instagram.

8. Ed Westwick still doesn’t know who Gossip Girl is

When asked via e-mail about his fav Gossip Girl memories, Westwick replied with this snarky (very Chuck Bass) quip: “I still am not sure who GG was lol.”

9. All those interviewed confirmed: there might be a reunion

XOXO, Mic drop.