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‘Gossip Girl’ star Taylor Momsen recalls ‘alienating’ experiences as child actor

<i>Chiaki Nozu/WireImage/Getty Images</i><br/>Taylor Momsen performing with
Chiaki Nozu/WireImage/Getty Images
Taylor Momsen performing with "The Pretty Reckless" in London in November 2022.

By Jack Guy, CNN

(CNN) — “Gossip Girl” star Taylor Momsen has opened up about how “alienating” she found being a child actor.

At the start of her career, Momsen appeared as Cindy Lou Who in the 2000 movie “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” directed by Ron Howard and starring Jim Carrey.

Although a festive hit, Momsen told the hosts on Wednesday’s episode of the “Podcrushed” podcast that the movie affected her.

“The Grinch changed my life in a multitude of ways, one of them being I was made fun of relentlessly,” she said.

“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,” said Momsen, 30. “I got used to it but it was alienating.”

Momsen, lead singer for rock band “The Pretty Reckless,” recounts how she had always loved music, and it became an escape during childhood.

“I had a hard time making friends, I really wanted to make my own kind of makeshift family, I wanted to be in a band, I wanted to be a part of something,” she said.

“I was always kind of in this weird isolated world,” added Momsen. “Music kind of became this solace for me.”

Momsen went on to star as Jenny Humphrey in “Gossip Girl,” a teen-oriented drama that ran from 2007 to 2012, alongside Podcrushed host Penn Badgley. The two played brother and sister on the show. However, Momsen recalls how her acting career wasn’t her own decision.

“It was a childhood thing that I got put into at two years old, I wasn’t making my own choices then,” she said.

“Literally as soon as I got to an age where I could make my own decision, it was like a click, I don’t know exactly what happened but it was like 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 I can tour and write songs?’” said Momsen.

“The answer was yes, you can just do that, I have the ability to create my life how I want to create it and live my life how I want to live it,” she added. “It was like a light bulb went off and I uprooted and changed my whole life kind of overnight.”

Momsen says that this involved being written out of the “Gossip Girl” series in order to go on tour with her band, which she is grateful to the show’s producers for doing.

“They really allowed me to follow my dream and so I’m forever grateful and thankful to them for that,” she said.

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