The HBO Max reboot of Gossip Girl finally returned to small screens with season two’s premiere earlier this month and will be making Thursdays drama-filled for the foreseeable future. As character roles start to shift in the show that still feels fresh, we’re taking a deep look into the show’s teen cast and everything that led them to be breakout stars!
HBO Max’s Gossip Girl reboot returned to the streaming platform on Dec. 1 for its long-awaited season two premiere. Viewers got a 2-for-1 special of the first two episodes, “Deb Brawl in a Blue Dress” and “Guess Who’s Coming at Dinner,” with everyone from season one returning. Creator Joshua Safran has seemed to up the ante this season by recreating the visuals, over-the-top characters, and drama to emulate more of the original Gossip Girl tone — Rotten Tomatoes has a 38 percent Tomatometer and 62 percent audience score for season one; meanwhile, season two’s first couple episodes alone currently have 100 percent Tomatometer and an 82 percent audience score. Before we get deeper into the season, let’s explore the actors behind the glitz and glam characters we’ve grown to love (or love to hate)!
Born July 27, 1993, Jordan Alexander is a 29-year-old Canadian actress who landed her breakout role as the Gossip Girl reboot’s lead, Julien “JC” Calloway. Before getting cast in the new HBO Max hit, Alexander had some appearances on a few TV shows. Her first credit was the character Sheila Green in the 2007 Nolan Lebovitz movie Tortured, starring Laurence Fishburne, James Cromwell, and Kevin Pollak. Then in 2010, she was Chloe in “The Hip Hop Issue,” an episode of the family-comedy show The Latest Buzz. That same year, she also appeared as Mia in the 12th episode of Rookie Blue season one, titled “In Blue,” and she had a brief appearance in 2012’s Please Kill Mr. Know It All, simply as “Attractive Girl #2.” Alexander has a lead role in the five-episode series Unbury the Biscuit from 2016, where she plays Liz in a story about a hockey instructor who ends up running drugs or a rink-based crime ring. More recently, in 2020, right before playing JC, she starred in Facebook Watch’s series Sacred Lies: The Singing Bones’ second season. Acquired by Peacock, she was Elsie for ten episodes of the show, which is based on Stephanie Oakes’ novel The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly, alongside co-stars Juliette Lewis and Ryan Kwanten.
In addition to her acting experience, Alexander is also a singer who has toured Canada with Bif Naked, opened for Kehlani for Toronto Pride 2018, and headlined BudLight’s nationwide Pride campaign in 2019 with Carly Rae Jepson. In 2016, she released her debut album, The Lonely Hearts Club, featuring ten songs. In 2018, she was featured on two songs, “Feeling” and “I Don’t Think About You,” of 10Digits’ Rebirth album, and she released her single “You” in 2020.
— Cal (@loveujc) November 30, 2022
Savannah Lee Smith
Coincidentally having the same birthday as Jordan Alexander, 22-year-old actress, Savannah Smith has quickly skyrocketed from a more minor role as Julien’s sidekick to her own powerful icon and Constance Billard’s next queen bee. Playing the affluent Monet de Haan, Smith really shines and comes into her own in her breakout Gossip Girl role, and her character described the upcoming rivalry between herself and frenemy JC best by saying, “I can’t be Blair without a Serena.” Smith grew up in LA with a screenwriter father and a professional singer mother and was always surrounded by the arts, particularly music. Now, she currently resides in New York after attending NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, transferring from music to drama during her first year to focus more on theater. She auditioned for every female character in the reboot until landing the spot of Monet, which is her debut acting role. The only upcoming gig slated for her as of right now is the lead in director T.K. McKamy’s country musical film Something Here, where she plays Samantha “Sam” Abrams opposite Owen Patrick Joyner’s Dillon.
— jolt (@meltborne) December 1, 2022
Emily Alyn Lind
Born May 6, 2002, in Brooklyn, 20-year-old Emily Alyn Lind comes from a family of actresses: her mother, Barbara Alyn Woods, older sister Natalie, and younger sister Alyvia; also, her father is producer John Lind. Emily began her career in 2008 with The Secret Life of Bees when she played the younger version of Dakota Fanning’s character Lily Owens. Continuing in the same vein, the child star played Little Linda of actress Paz de la Huerta’s adult role in 2009’s Enter the Void. That same year, she played Grace in Days of Our Lives “Episode #1.11203,” as well as five episodes of Eastwick’s season one as Emily Gardener. She got a lead role as Julie Tyson in Blood Done Sign My Name (2010), featuring Michael Rooker and her sister Natalie and played Reigh “Snooks” Boss in the TV movie Who Is Clark Rockefeller? that same year. Lind got a recurring role as Emma Lavery in 16 episodes of All My Children, Ana Brooks in Criminal Minds’ episode “Into the Woods,” Young Jane in the TV movie Sundays at Tiffany’s, and Vanessa Marks in the TV movie November Christmas — which stars Sarah Paulson, John Corbett, and Sam Elliott — all within 2010.
In 2012, she played Malia Fitzpatrick, daughter of Maggie Gyllenhaal’s character in Won’t Back Down, which also stars Viola Davis, Oscar Isaac, Rosie Perez, and Lance Riddick. In 2013, she’d go on to play Heidi Wyrick in The Haunting of Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia and Jamie Kelly, the lead of the young coming-of-age TV movie Dear Dumb Diary, based on the book series of the same name. Featuring Katherine Heigl and Ben Barnes, she starred as Lia in the romance Jackie & Ryan (2014) and Abby in the horror movie Mockingbird (2014), which also has her sister Alyvia. She landed a prominent role as Amanda Clarke in season one of the mystery drama Revenge, with a couple of appearances later in seasons two, three, and four. Then in 2015, she was in the Duffer Brothers’ sci-fi horror movie Hidden with Alexander Skarsgard and Andrea Riseborough. She landed the role of Melanie in Netflix’s black comedy horror The Babysitter (2017) and its subsequent sequel Killer Queen (2020), featuring Samara Weaving, Robbie Amell, Bella Thorne, Judah Lewis, Andrew Bachelor, plus Jenna Ortega in the sequel. Lind had two more recurring TV roles, first as Ariel in Code Black, seasons one, two, and three from 2015-2018, then she starred alongside Gossip Girl castmate Jordan Alexander in Sacred Lies as Jolene Drygulski. Additionally, she played Sophie Foster in Keanu Reeves’ sci-fi drama Replicas (2018), Snakebite Andi in Stephen King’s The Shining sequel Doctor Sleep (2019), Bree in slasher horror (Future) Cult Classic — which also stars her mom — and Daphne in Every Breath You Take (2021). Today, she plays the female of hit on-screen throuple and JC’s best friend, Audrey Hope, in Gossip Girl.
The actress has already accomplished so much — winning 2011’s National Youth Arts Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress (Junior) in November Christmas and 2012’s Young Artist Awards for Best Recurring Young Actress in TV for Revenge — and still has a bright future ahead!
19-year-old Ugandan-Canadian actress Whitney Peak began acting in 2017, not too long before landing one of the lead roles as Zoya Lott in Gossip Girl. She got her start as Gillian in Hallmark’s TV movie Campfire Kiss, then as Stella in Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut Molly’s Game (2017), a biographical crime drama starring Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, and Jeremy Strong. Peak was featured in a 2018 episode, “Wet Hot American Bummer,” of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow as Lenise, as well as the “Five, Six, Seven, Ate!” episode of iZombie in 2019. She went on to play Judith Blackwood for ten episodes in parts three and four of Netflix’s popular supernatural show Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Then for ten episodes from 2020-2021, she played Alpha Jessica in AppleTV’s Home Before Dark, a story about a young city girl who uncovers clues for an unsolved cold case while visiting her father’s small town.
Besides the reboot’s new season, most recently, she got a lead role in Hocus Pocus 2 (2022) as Becca, one of the girls who accidentally brings back the Sanderson Sisters and has to put a stop to the havoc-wreaking witches. At just 16, Peak got her newfound role as Zoya with just one audition tape and moved to Brooklyn with her mom not long after at 17. The young actress has come a long way since finding her footing as a background actor, getting her current agent through Connor Lawrence, who played her on-screen dad for a role she got cast as the lead’s younger version.
— maren yearly🩸 (@TWPlTW) December 1, 2022
27-year-old Mexican-American actress Zión Moreno was born Feb. 23, 1995, in El Paso, Texas, grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and finally moved to New York City at age 19 to pursue a modeling career. She has worked with powerhouse modeling agencies Wilhelmina, Elite, and Slay. Moreno got her acting career started in 2019 when she was cast as Fleur in singer Melanie Martinez’s movie K-12, which is about a best-friend duo who embarks on a mission to take the oppressive school system down. In 2020, in season one of Netflix’s Mexican teen drama Control Z, she played Isabela de la Fuente, the most popular girl in school who faces bullying when a hacker reveals she’s transgender. Widely considered to be her breakout role, it’s true to Moreno’s reality, who is openly trans herself and used her personal experiences of transitioning while still in school to shape her character’s portrayal. Then from 2021-2022, she played the character Selena in four episodes of Claws season four, a comedic crime show that you can stream on Hulu. Now, she can be seen playing the wise and stylistic Luna La in Gossip Girl, making fans question if her loyalty lies with Julien or Monet, her two best friends.
On the side, Moreno is also a lover of writing poetry, something she started when she first moved to NYC after a heartbreak, finding it therapeutic as a storyteller. She told V Magazine that she would love to write a poetry book one day due to it being a constant inspiration for her.
— myyã🌸 (@cutiemyya) December 2, 2022
Grace Duah is still new to the acting scene, as her Gossip Girl character Shan Barnes was only a guest star in the first season. She’s since upgraded to what seems to be a regular main cast member for the second season, getting the screen time she deserves as Zoya’s new best friend. She keeps audiences laughing and rooting for her character, who seems pretty normal when compared to the rest of the crew.
In May 2020, Duah graduated from Pace University’s School of Performing Arts, and besides acting, has garnered experience in comedy/improv, voice acting, commercial work, and movement. Her only previous acting credit is a 2020 drama short called Want This, starring herself as the lead of the same name. The young actress also has a knack for production work, having had experience with Discovery Inc. and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. We can’t wait to see more of what’s in store for the NYC-based actress!
— alfie (@barcharvina) December 1, 2022
25-year-old Evan Mock was born April 8, 1997, in Oahu, Hawaii, and now finds himself living in the East Village of NYC. Like his co-star Zión Moreno, Evan Mock also started his career in modeling and finds himself a real-life city socialite as his 25th birthday party made The New York Times, and his outings are tracked by Deux Moi — essentially like his Gossip Girl character Aki Menzies, who is one-third of the fan crazed throuple.
He seems to be an up-and-coming fashion mogul, an it-boy who has already achieved a great deal in the fashion world through modeling with brands like Virgil Abloh, Calvin Klein, and Louis Vuitton while also attending front row at prestigious fashion shows and the Met Gala two years in a row. He’s buddies with hit singer Frank Ocean, a known skateboarder who got a Hurley sponsorship at 15 years old and recently started a fashion line with stylist Donté McGuine, called Wahine. He started skateboarding at age 11 and moved to California at 16 to pursue that passion after being home-schooled to prioritize surfing, which he had done since he was two. He had never acted before creator Safran reached out to him to play Aki, though he is featured in Tim Turner’s video of the September 2021 Met Gala, In America: A Lexicon of Fashion — which coincidentally features his co-star Jordan Alexander.
You can keep up to date with the extrovert on Instagram, @evanmock.
— Aki’s Lover (@shaunspeaks7) December 1, 2022
At age 23, actor Eli Brown finds himself in the newfound role of Otto “Obie” Bergmann IV in the series reboot. While he had a major part in season one, stuck between half-sisters JC and Zoya in a love triangle, he has so far fallen to the sidelines for season two’s premiere. He was born in Oregon on Aug. 13, 1999, but currently lives in Brooklyn to be closer to his current set. In 2019, he found success with his first audition and on-screen role in Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists, a spin-off of the hit original, long-running show, which featured famous returns from Sasha Pieterse’s Alison DiLaurentis and Janel Parrish’s Mona Vanderwaal. Brown played Dylan Walker in the new college town full of secrets before the show got canceled after just ten episodes. Then in 2020, he played Dave in two episodes of Netflix’s TV series Spinning Out, which stars Kaya Scodelario, January Jones, and Willow Shields. That same year, he was the lead Brett Blackmore in Netflix’s The F***-It List, which is about a high school senior’s list of things he wished he’d done differently after a prank gone wrong. He was also Tristan Voy in the crime thriller Run Hide Fight (2020) and Dougie Hargreaves in Wrath of Man (2021), an action featuring Jason Statham.
As more of an aside hobby, Brown is also a musician, playing the guitar and piano, which he shows on occasion on his Instagram. He has stated that he doesn’t like to be the center of attention, which makes sense why he doesn’t overindulge his social media following with his personal life.
You can find him on Instagram, @elibrown.
— S!M (@sergrayson) November 29, 2022
Last but certainly not least of our teen cast roundup is 27-year-old Thomas Doherty. He was born on April 21, 1995, in Edinburgh, Scotland, and studied musical theatre at The MGA Academy of Performing Arts after high school. After graduating in 2015, he was in a show at the Edinburgh Fringe while simultaneously auditioning for two new Disney roles. While he appeared as a random street boy in a 2013 episode of NBC’s Dracula, he got his real start when he secured the role of Sean Matthews in The Lodge, a two-season British musical mystery series. Soon after, he switched his good guy role for something a little different, starring as Captain Hook’s son Harry in Disney’s teen musical fantasy Descendants 2 (2017), later reprising his role for Descendants 3 (2019). He met his co-star Dove Cameron on set, leading to their three-year relationship from 2017-2020. In 2018, he was the lead Zander in the romance High Strung Free Dance, about a young choreographer’s casting for an anticipated Broadway show. His most recent feature film was Sept. 2022’s thriller The Invitation, as he plays the mysterious De Ville, opposite of Game of Thrones’ Nathalie Emmanuel, his love interest who must uncover his secret. Additionally, he has had a few minor recurring TV appearances. In 2019, he was Peter Zavadovsky in three episodes of the HBO limited series Catherine the Great, as well as Liam Shawcross in three episodes of Zoe Kravitz’s short-lived Hulu series High Fidelity in 2020. And for ten episodes of Legacies season two — the third installment in The Vampire Diaries universe — he portrayed the vampire love interest, Sebastian. This has all led up to landing his main Gossip Girl role as Max Wolfe, everyone’s favorite part of the throuple. Lastly, in Sept. 2022, Doherty voice acted in audio erotica app Quinn’s first romance story, The Inventor’s Apprentice, a three-part series written by Emily C.A. Snyder.
Doherty has also occasionally taken up singing, having performances in High Fidelity and High Strung Free Dance, in addition to modeling.