At the age of 17, Blake Lively stepped into a shared pair of big screen blue jeans and, along with her fellow co-stars America Ferrera, Alexis Bledel and Amber Tamblyn, became a rising star with the teen set after starring in her first major role, “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” (2005). Perhaps it was fate that the blonde California-bred actress, who was born in the morning and napping on a film set later that day, would one day end up in front of the camera. Following her breakout role in “Sisterhood” (2005), she put an academic path aside and finally succumbed to a family tradition, later achieving an even greater level of fame by landing the lead role on the hit CW drama, “Gossip Girl” (2007- ).
Born on Aug. 25, 1987, Lively was raised in Tarzana, CA in a close-knit show business family. Her father, Ernie, was a veteran Hollywood actor and director; her mother, Elaine, a talent agent. Lively was the youngest of five siblings, a group which included her actor brothers Jason and Eric and actress sisters Robyn and Lori. At five years of age, she lost out on a major role in the Robin Williams comedy “Mrs. Doubtfire” (1993), but was one of two finalists. Her parents attempted to alleviate any possible nervousness by telling the young Lively that she would be acting opposite Williams’ twin brother in her audition.
At age 10, Lively had made her acting debut in a film entitled, “Sandman” (1998), but the experience did not leave her wanting more work. Lively had little interest in acting and no plans to go into the family business, as there were plenty of siblings to carry on that mantle. Instead she focused on her studies. As a student at Burbank High School, she became a nationally recognized choir singer and a popular figure at school, as both her class president and a cheerleader. Despite her academic leanings, Lively’s siblings were convinced their sister had the family gift and would take to it if given the right opportunity
In 2003, older brother Eric took her on a two-month jaunt across Europe, hoping to help her determine her future. A year later, he then took the liberty of introducing her to his agent, insisting she should be sent out to read for parts. One day, their agent set her up on an audition for a feature adaptation of the coming-of-age novel “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” (2005). Lively loved the material, but did not have an acting resume.
Her audition consisted of the presentation of her headshot and an exit, but the producers and director Ken Kwapis saw what they were looking for in her nonetheless. Just before the end of her junior year of high school in 2004, Lively was off to Mexico to film her scenes for “Sisterhood…” playing one of four friends who split up during one summer of discovery and pass around a lucky pair of jeans. As Bridget, the group member who pursues soccer and love while spending her summer at a soccer camp, Lively spent two months beforehand prepping her soccer. In an uncomplicated bit of casting, her dad took the part of her onscreen father. The role earned Lively a Breakthrough Performance nomination at the 2005 Teen Choice Awards.
By the time Lively’s senior year rolled around, she had been bitten enough by the acting bug, that she deferred an admission to Stanford University for fall of 2005 in order to continue her career.
Over that summer, she took a part in her father’s producing effort, the thriller “Simon Says” (2007), in which she starred along with Lively’s sisters, Lori and Robyn, as the terrorized victims of demented killer Crispin Glover. “Sisterhood” was released in June to glowing critical reviews and became a modest box office hit. She then continued on with Universal Pictures’ college comedy “Accepted” (2006). Looking for more dramatic challenges, Lively also starred in the independent drama “Elvis and Anabelle” (2007), in which she played the part of a dead beauty queen resurrected by the kiss of Max Minghella’s morgue worker.
Upon the release in “Accepted” in the summer of 2006, Lively was already transitioning into two new challenges, particularly the world of television and series leading roles, as the anchoring actress on the pilot for “Gossip Girl” (2007), a teen drama series for The CW based on the series of Cecily Von Ziegesar novels of the same name. Lively took on the role of Serena, a savvy girl operating within New York’s privileged and debauched world of private schools. When the program premiered in the fall of 2007, it became a solid hit, but its ascent – as well as Lively’s – was interrupted by the writer’s three month strike that fall. But that didn’t stop Lively from being propelled to It girl status.
In 2009, Lively has become one of the youngest actresses to ever grace the cover of American Vogue. She has also been on the cover of other major magazines such as: Cosmopolitian, W, Rolling Stone and many more.. She’s also attended the Berlin Film Festival promoting the Rebecca Miller best-selling book The Private Lives of Pippa Lee. In which Lively portrays Young Pippa.
. In addition to being honored at the December 2006 Hollywood Life Breakthrough Awards, Lively won “Choice TV Actress” and “Choice TV Breakout Star” in 2008′s Teen Choice Awards.
Lively splits her time between New York City and her hometown of Los Angeles.