Like, I love gos­sip

Michelle Tracht­en­berg is rel­ish­ing her rich-bitch role in Gos­sip Girl, writes Zoe Skewes

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Guide -

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.’’

To­tally awe­some:

Michelle Tracht­en­berg loves the glam­our of Gos­sip Girl.

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