During a recent episode of Penn Badgley’s Podcrushed podcast, the actor caught up with his former Gossip Girl co-star Taylor Momsen to talk about everything from their days on the CW hit show, being called "Grinch Girl", and finding her true passion with music and her band The Pretty Reckless.
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"First of all, The Grinch changed my life in a multitude of ways — one of them being I was made fun of relentlessly," Momsen explained about her role as Cindy Lou Who in the 2000 holiday film How the Grinch Stole Christmas. "Every time I would start a new school or go somewhere else, I don't even think the kids knew my name. I was just Grinch Girl.”
"Not even the character name (Cindy Lou Who), just Grinch Girl," The Pretty Reckless singer added. "I got used to it, but it was alienating.”
As Momsen went onto explain to Penn, it wasn't until middle school that she stopped constantly moving schools and began to develop her own friend group. "That was the first year where I was in school, and I had the opportunity to try and actually make friends," she said. "I put a band together. It was my first band, my middle-school band, a garage band. We never could settle on a name. But we would jam after school, and that was always fun. I was singing, playing guitar, writing.”
Momsen, who portrayed Jenny Humphrey as a Gossip Girl series regular on the first four seasons, also opened up about her exit from the show, after she came to a realization that music is what made her happiest.
“Acting was a childhood thing that I got put into at two years old. I wasn’t making my own choices then,” Momsen said. “Literally, as soon as I got to an age where I could make my own decisions, it was like a click… I woke up one morning and went, ‘wait a second. I don’t have to do this? I don’t have to do this other job? I can just play in my band and tour and write songs? I can just do that?’ Granted, a little more complicated to get out of a television show than that, but the answer was yes.”
Knowing it was important for her to give her all to pursuing a career in music, Momsen made the moves to make that happen. “They went, ‘well, we can’t let you out of your deal, but we can write you out of the show, so you can go on tour,’” she continued. “They really allowed me to follow my dream, and I’m forever grateful and thankful to them for that.”
Taylor also shared what it was like being the youngest actor on set, her impressions of working with Penn, and spoke about her creative muses, as well as how she's drawn inspiration from the darkest moments of her life, and how she's learned to pick herself up after facing heartbreaking losses.
Listen to the whole conversation in the episode above.