Leighton Marissa Meester (born April 9, 1986) is an American actress, singer, songwriter, and fashion model best known for her role as Blair Waldorf in the television series Gossip Girl.
Meester was born to parents Connie and Doug while her mother was serving a federal prison sentence in Fort Worth, Texas. Although her mother, Constance, was serving time in prison for her involvement in a drug ring that smuggled marijuana from Jamaica to the United States, she was able to give birth to Leighton in a hospital and nurse her for three months in a halfway house before returning to prison to complete her sentence. At this time Leighton's grandmother cared for her.
Meester maintained that her parents gave her a normal upbringing and, despite their criminal past, are good people with experience that has only made Meester more open-minded and non-judgmental, "It made me realize that you can't judge anyone—especially your parents—for what they've done in their past, because people change." Meester jokes, "Look, I could've turned out a lot worse" and has even cited her mother as her style icon.
Meester grew up in Marco Island, Florida, where she participated in productions at a local