Allure magazine's January cover advertises something a little bit edgier than holiday hairstyles or a New Year's fashion spread: Emblazoned over a sultry image of everyone's favorite Gossip Girl are the words, "Leighton Meester Strips Down Past Her Headband."
And man, does she ever. A flip of the page reveals that her signature headband isn't the only article of clothing Leighton took off for her ultra-sexy photo shoot; actually, she's wearing a raincoat and underwear and not a whole lot else. But sitting at a bar in her skivvies is hardly the most bad-ass thing she's ever done—as she reveals in an interview about on-set rivalries, off-set stereotypes, and her party girl past.
First things first: Leighton wants you to know that the rumors of her rivalry with "Gossip Girl" co-star BlakeLively are complete and total bollocks—the sort of invented strife that seems to plague any girl-heavy production in Hollywood.
"It’s unfortunate when women are pitted against each other, like with 'Sex and the City,'" she said. "People say, 'They’re jealous of each other.' Come on! They’re all rich, successful, great actresses."
And the rumors? Leighton's not pointing any fingers, but she's also not afraid to point out that certain dudes will invent girl-on-girl catfights primarily to fuel their own fantasies: "When women fight, it’s usually with pillows and in bras and panties! Sometimes, they accidentally kiss!"
With that covered, the interview moves from professional questions to personal ones. It's no secret that Leighton was a little bit wild in previous years, something she readily admitted as she reminisced about her out-til-all-hours former life.
"We had craaaazy parties," she admitted. "We had DJs, bands, an ice luge, a fire twirler. One of my roommates burned off her bangs on the stove trying to light a cigarette."
But now, the actress takes a more measured approach to having fun—even when NYC nightlife brings out the crazy in other young Hollywood denizens: "I mean, drinking is one thing—overdrinking is another. And drugs are something that I do not tolerate at all. You’d be surprised how many people do it. If you go out and you’re living the nightlife scene, that’s what people do."
Leighton's over that, though; these days she likes to keep things drama-free, which surprisingly helps her relate even more to the character she plays on "Gossip Girl." The show's Blair-Chuck romance is pretty intense, but as Leighton explains, "I can really relate to it—not necessarily because it’s this dramatic, tumultuous relationship, but because the way they love each other is very real, and not for the sake of being dramatic. It’s actual love. There’s nobody for each other but them."
But when it comes to her own love life, Leighton's not feeling any pressure, and she's definitely not taking any cues from Blair.
"It’s wonderful to be in love," she said. "And it’s definitely wonderful to cuddle and have sex and get to experience life with somebody. But it’s OK if you don’t find him and you’re 24. You can find it someday."
Do you love Leighton's laid-back approach to life? Tell us in the comments and on Twitter.