In a heartwarming reunion, Taylor Momsen and Penn Badgley, stars of the iconic teen drama series “Gossip Girl,” came together on Penn Badgley’s podcast, “Podcrushed,” to reminisce about their time on the show and discuss Momsen’s transition from acting to music.
Momsen, who portrayed Jenny Humphrey, Dan Humphrey’s little sister on the series, shared candid insights into her departure from the show that became a cultural phenomenon. At just 12 years old when she began filming the pilot, she had mixed emotions about leaving her middle school friends behind but was ultimately “convinced” to embrace the opportunity.
Reflecting on that pivotal period, Momsen revealed that it was during her time on “Gossip Girl” that she discovered her passion for music. As she navigated the world of teenage drama and Upper East Side elites on-screen, she found solace in creating and writing songs. This newfound creative outlet became a sanctuary for her.
Being the youngest member of the cast, Momsen often felt like the “odd one out” in terms of age. Her fellow actors, including Badgley, were in their early twenties, while she was still a pre-teen. This sense of isolation led her to explore her individuality and focus on her music.
Prior to “Gossip Girl,” Momsen was part of a band with her school friends. However, her move to New York City for the show was a transformative experience. In 2009, she founded “The Pretty Reckless,” a rock band that continues to thrive today. This marked a pivotal moment when she realized she had the power to shape her own destiny.
As her passion for music grew, Momsen felt a growing disconnect from acting. The realization that she had a choice became a turning point in her life. She recalled the moment she realized she could follow her heart and immerse herself in music instead of adhering to the path she had been on from a young age.
With the support of the “Gossip Girl” team, Momsen embarked on her musical journey. They found a way for her to balance her acting commitments with her burgeoning music career, allowing her to explore her passion fully.
While Momsen was a series regular for the first four seasons of “Gossip Girl,” she eventually decided to focus entirely on music. Her character, Jenny Humphrey, made a temporary exit during Season 4 before moving to London. The following season marked her permanent departure from the show. She returned for the series finale in 2012, where “The Pretty Reckless” contributed a song to the soundtrack.
Momsen’s band, “The Pretty Reckless,” recently concluded their “Death by Rock and Roll” tour, promoting an album born out of personal tragedies. The deaths of Chris Cornell and her close friend and collaborator, Kato Khandwala, pushed her into a dark period of depression and substance abuse. However, music once again became her lifeline, helping her honor her friend’s legacy.
Every night on tour, Momsen and her bandmates walked onto the stage to the sound of Khandwala’s footsteps, symbolizing their enduring bond. For Momsen, this journey from darkness to empowerment has been a testament to her resilience and unwavering dedication to her music.
Taylor Momsen’s story serves as a powerful reminder that following one’s true passion, even in the face of adversity, can lead to transformation and self-discovery.