With all the predispositions to be the next hot blonde in Hollywood, Blake Lively became just the right opposite. A celebrity homemaker, as she is called, she chooses the roles of gentle yet strong heroines in films, and tries to spend as much time as she can with her family, feeling the most alive when she is in her own kitchen. Rising to stardom on the hit series 'Gossip Girl', she has since become an established actress in her own right.
Blake Lively was born in Los Angeles, in the neighbourhood called Tarzana. Her father is Ernie Lively, an actor, and her mother is Elaine, a talent scout. Blake was named after her grandmother’s brother, and the name means both the shades of dark and light. She is of mostly English ancestry. Blake also has an older brother Eric, and two older half-sisters as well as an older half-brother. When it comes to her faith, she was raised as a Baptist.
Her childhood was peaceful and filled with love and play. ‘My mum liked to infuse my life with a lot of magic.’’, she says about it. ‘’When she read my fortune cookies, the predictions were full of princesses and castles and jewels and pirates. When I got old enough to read them, I was shocked to find out how boring they really were.’
When Blake was a little girl, her parents would give acting classes and take her along because they didn’t want to leave her with a babysitter or anyone else. This is where Blake got her acting foundations as well as her confidence to pursue her career, although she says she wasn’t very interested in sole acting at first. ‘I’m actually a very shy person, but being in those classes pushed me to break out of that a little bit.’, she says. ‘It’s like nature versus nurture: I’m naturally very shy, but I was brought up in a way where I had to get up and get out of that.’ At that time, she wanted to finish school, where she enjoyed being class president, a member of her cheerleading team as well as the choir. She also planned on continuing her education in college.
As her whole family was in the show business at some point, it was only a matter of time when Blake would try it out for measure, but it wasn’t her own initiative that helped her get her first serious acting job: her brother Eric asked his own agent to send her to a few auditions. That’s where she was cast for her first film, The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, in 2005. Prior to that, Blake only appeared in the film Sandman, in 1998, that was directed by her father. The role in The Sisterhood got her a nomination for a Teen Choice Award in 2006, and opened the door of Hollywood for her.
‘When I first started acting, I was more concerned with just being on a set and all of the woes of that, I didn’t really know it or understand it as a craft yet.’’, she says about her beginnings. ‘’When I was my first movie, I was fine, but I thought: Oh my heavens! It’s not about just standing there on my mark and saying these lines. I need to actually act. It was great to have my first opportunity be such a big role, but also not great because all of the mistakes I made. The entire learning process was on the big screen for everyone to see.’
Blake’s confident but also serious attitude towards her career and her openness and radiance in personal relations were her tickets to success alongside her beauty. She got her role in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by just giving the casting crew her photo and walking out the room. ‘I’m not in the business of trying to win the approval of my cast members, my director, or my audience. If I were, I’d be so beaten down by insecurity that I’d never be able to perform. The only person I’m trying to prove something to is myself.’, she says.
In 2006, following the success of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Blake shot the film Accepted, and then the horror film Simon Says and, in 2007, Elvis and Annabelle. All these roles opened the door for her to appear in one of the most-known teenage series of the beginning of the 21st Century; Gossip Girl. Blake played the main female character, Serena van der Woodsen, all through to the drama’s end in 2012. The show brought Blake international popularity as teenage girls began to look up to her because of her style and beauty on and off the series. She had been identified by the public as Serena for a long time, but interestingly, she says she was nothing like the character when she was a teenager. ‘I like to play someone who is unlike me and the character I play most often. Time and again, I keep playing drug addicts with sexual issues! I never knew I had a dark side, but this is where I get it out of my system.’
Parallel to working on the series, Blake shot the sequel The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 in 2008, then a romantic comedy New York, I Love You. ‘I’m on a very commercial show, so the last thing I want to do is a commercial movie.’, she said about her career choices. ‘I wanna take risks, I don’t wanna play it safe.’
In 2009, she played a noticeable role in the Private Lives of Pippa Lee. In 2010, it was the film The Town alongside Ben Affleck. In 2011, she appeared in the Green Lantern blockbuster. In 2012, Blake starred in the film Savages. Slowly but surely becoming praised for her gentle beauty, that same year brought Blake the new Gucci fragrance campaign, for which she was the face. She shot a short film for Gucci Premiere. A year later, Blake became the new face of L’Oreal.
In 2015, Blake played the leading role in The Age of Adaline and then The Shallows, as well as Woody Allen’s Café Society. Blake also starred in the music video ‘’I Just Had Sex’’ by The Lonely Island in 2010. All through her career, Blake was given mostly positive reviews by the critics, even if the film she made was not considered particularly good.
During her career, she has been featured on the list of The Most Beautiful Faces by The Annual Independent Critics List of the 100 Most Beautiful Famous Faces From Around The World as many as three times.
Currently, she is expecting the release of the film All I See Is You in 2017.
Even though the character she is mostly known for, Serena from Gossip Girl, is quite controversial, the public image and personal actions of Blake Lively are far from scandalous. She is sweet, kind and comfortably boring compared to the whole Hollywood scene. The fact that she is married to a colleague actor, Ryan Reynolds, and that the two of them are young and beautiful, make them a desirable target for paparazzi. However, besides the fact that Reynolds is known for being humorous in the way he expresses himself verbally, which is a style that rubs off of Blake naturally, there is nothing about the couple that would make people point fingers at them.
Besides being one of the most gentle and beautiful actresses of the younger generation, Blake is known to be a celebrity homemaker. She is a great foodie and she loves cooking in her spare time. In 2008, Blake baked a cake with Martha Stewart during an episode of The Martha Stewart Show. Blake also stated that Martha is one of her idols.
In 2010, Blake spent an evening working as a pastry chef in Per Se in New York. In 2011, she made a s’mores cupcake which was to be sold at Sprinkles bakeries. In 2012, her wedding reception was featured in Martha Stewart Weddings. Blake then appeared in Elle Décor, sharing her experiences when it comes to designing a custom La Cornue oven, which she did for her new home. In 2013, she shot a cooking segment for Vogue’s website. In 2014, she launched Preserve, a digital magazine with hand-made items available for purchase, all personally selected by her, but she soon closed it, wanting to create something bigger and better.
When it comes to politics, Blake supported Barack Obama in 2008 presidential election and even shot a commercial with Penn Badgley, as a part of the Youth Vote initiative. In 2013, Blake appeared in the Gucci’s Chime for Change campaign, aiming to raise awareness for female issues in all areas of life.
Although she is from California, Blake moved to New York because of the requirements of the Gossip Girl series and she continues to live there with her husband. During the shooting of the series, Blake Lively dated her co-star Penn Badgley, for as long as three years. The couple knew each other since they were kids and they were even homeschooled together at one point. Blake was also in relationships with Kelly Blatz and Leonardo DiCaprio.
In 2010, Blake met Ryan Reynolds on the set of The Green Lantern. They soon became a couple. In 2012, they bought a home together in New York and got married. In 2014, Blake gave birth to their first daughter. Their second child was born in 2016.
Interested in all things homely, Blake has stated that she would love to run an interior decorating company. She also says that wherever she travels, she takes a cooking class in order to meet the culture better. ‘’I want to have a brunch place, a bakery, and a Southern restaurant, and then I want a place that is all-over-the-world cuisine. I take a cooking class everywhere I travel. I find it’s the best way to get to know a culture. It’s what people bring to the family every day, what they break bread over, it’s a very intimate thing.’’, she says. ‘’I probably feel the most alive when I’m with my family and also when I’m cooking, and those normally coincide with each other. I love to cook for my family, that’s the best. I have all my nieces and nephews there, and you really use your hands and it’s such an experience for all the senses, for the touch, the smell, for the sight, so you feel really alive.’’
Because of the fact that she keeps her life with her husband and family quite private, and the fact that none of them are a typical self-obsessed celebrity, it is possible the two will prove to last long and live a happy life.
Written by: Tamara Djordjevic