Like, I love gossip
Michelle Trachtenberg is relishing her rich-bitch role in Gossip Girl, writes Zoe Skewes
Gossip Girl, M FOX 8, Tuesdays, 8.30pm Affluent NY teens Duration: 1 hour
GOSSIP Girl is, like, so hot right now. The US cult hit about a group of spoilt, rich teenagers living in Manhattan’s Upper East Side has taken over teen TV where The O.C. left off.
With a Birkin handbag here, a bit of underage binge drinking there and more than a healthy dose of OMGs, Gossip Girl rides the cusp of what’s cool among the trust-fund teenagers in New York’s most affluent neighbourhood.
The latest resident in the heady world is former Buffy star Michelle Trachtenberg as Georgina Sparks, nemesis of the show’s lead character Serena van der Woodsen, played by Blake Lively.
Gossip Girl storylines often revolve around the spread of gossip via mobile phones. It’s a subject about which Trachtenberg knows plenty.
‘‘It was funny,’’ she says with a laugh. ‘‘The second it was announced I joined the show I got more emails and texts than what I got for my birthday.
‘‘They were like, ‘Oh my god, that’s my favourite show’ and I’m like ‘oh my god, where were you when it was my birthday?’ ’’
Trachtenberg is 22, but given she’s been acting since she was a toddler and is best friends with socialite Lydia Hearst, she’s almost a veteran when it comes to surviving life in the public eye.
‘‘I keep my real friend circles very small and very intimate,’’ she explains. ‘‘So the people in my inner circle always know about info (concerning Gossip Girl) before it breaks to the outside world. But you definitely get the hangers-on, who are like, ‘Oh my god, you look so fabulous. Let’s go out every night’.
‘‘You’ve just got to take it with a grain of salt. Naivety is not a good personality trait to have in this business.’’
Gossip Girl is Trachtenberg’s most significant television role since Buffy ended in 2003 and she’s relishing the challenge of playing a ‘‘bad girl’’.
She says the antics of her character even rival those of the show’s current bad girl Blair Waldorf, played by Leighton Meester.
‘‘I’m definitely worse than Blair’s character,’’ she says. ‘‘Georgina is someone who just doesn’t apologise or answer to anyone. In her mind she has the authority to do that and it’s quite dangerous.
‘‘It’s super fun to step outside yourself like that. We all have bitchy days, but she has bitchy years. I love bringing out that inner nasty.’’
Trachtenberg admits she didn’t know much about Gossip Girl before she was cast, but she knew plenty about the show’s creator and executive producer, Josh Schwartz.
Schwartz created headlines in 2003 when at 26 he became the youngest person in US network history to create a successful series — The O.C. — and run its day-to-day production.
‘‘Josh is amazing,’’ Trachtenberg says.
‘‘I respect him so much for being so young in Hollywood and really garnering the respect of the big wigs.
‘‘It’s kinda like whatever Josh says goes because he’s really on the pulse of pop culture and he knows what people want to see.
‘‘When he first spoke to me about the role he essentially said, ‘OK, I can’t tell you anything about your character except you’re the bad girl. You’re coming into their life and you’re going to have lots of scenes with Serena. That’s about it. Oh yeah, and you’re going to look great, the clothes are awesome. Do you want to do it?’
‘‘Clearly I said yes.’’
Michelle Trachtenberg loves the glamour of Gossip Girl.