"In this world, everyone wants to know everything about you, and I think that's funny," she says, propping one elbow on the table and waving off the rumors with a raised hand. People speculate a lot about me, saying there's something else that's really the truth...."She trails off, looks kind of sad, and bows her head.
We barely hear her mutter "Maybe I'm just too boring." Uh-oh. Have we managed to make her cry three minutes into the interview? A couple of seconds later, she looks up with a huge grin and starts laughing so hard, she shakes.
Her mother had her while serving a prison sentence in Texas for drug trafficking.
It's hard not to get antsy when you're waiting for Leighton Meester to show up.
After all, on Gossip Girl, she plays Manhattan-socialite-in-training Blair Waldorf, who's so convincingly evil, scheming, and selfish, you'd have to think that she pours a lot of herself into the character.
I get to do things nobody would ever say or do in real life."Leighton, 23, says the nonstop scrutiny doesn't bother her.
By the time she walks into La Bottega Caffe, near New York City's Meatpacking District, and settles in to the booth, we're braced for a throw-down. For starters, there's not a headband or haughty set of pearls in sight.
Leighton shows up makeup-free in retro Nike sneakers, skinny jeans, a black tank top, and...horn-rimmed glasses (are you picturing this? Clearly, she's not going out of her way to project an intimidating image on us or the customers doing double-takes as they walk by.
"I never wear makeup when I'm not at work," she explains.
"It can make you forget what you look like, and I've grown to really love the way I look without it."Sound surprisingly unsnotty? In fact, the night before, she ordered in burgers and watched Home Alone 2 with a friend.
The fact that Leighton isn't concerned with saying or doing anything phony to make sure we like her only makes us like her all the more.
"If you're just yourself, you'll never lose," she says, shrugging and warming her hands around a mug of chamomile tea. That's when you feel the most comfortable, that's when you have the most success, and that's when you're the most happy." THE IN CROWDLeighton's childhood didn't start off comfortable or happy.