PHOTO SHOOTS > Marie Claire
Leighton Meester, best known for her indelible portrayal of rich-girl snobbery and capriciousness as Blair Waldorf on Gossip Girl, is getting her bowl on at Frames, a low-key alley abutting the Port Authority, Manhattan’s main bus terminal and one of the last vestiges of Times Square’s gritty past. She enjoys bowling — this is her second outing in a week. Which is not to say Meester is skilled at bowling. Because she is not.
“I never played sports,” she explains, before releasing her ball with an indifferent thump. “I wasn’t any good at them.” She watches the ball drop into the gutter with limp finality. Unfazed, she throws again, hurling it down the lane, knocking over a handful of pins. A second gutter shot follows. “I guess I need a bigger target,” she says flatly.
Meester is no stranger to such things. One of those rare children born with both full-blown ambition and the determination to avoid even the slightest derailment, Meester has been aiming at big game since grade school. Part of this is a rejoinder to circumstance. Meester’s mother, Constance, gave birth to her while serving federal prison time for drug trafficking. Meester was not, she has oft clarified, born in jail. She was delivered in a hospital, then transferred to a halfway house for three months, after which she was sent to live with her grandmother until Constance’s release. Her father, Doug, also served time for drug-related offenses. He and Constance would later divorce. The difficult facts of her childhood provided Meester with matchless perspective. Also, an ineffaceable blueprint of what not to do.
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