Here's Your Guide to the Class of 'Gossip Girl' 2021
There's a new batch of students at Constance Billard. Here's a handy guide to the characters and the actors who play them.
Hey there, Upper East Siders: There's a new class on campus. Maybe you grew up wishing you could skip class to hang out on the steps of The Met or shop along Madison Ave with Serena van der Woodsen and Blair Waldorf, or blow a bunch of cash on bottle service with Chuck Bass and Nate Archibald—but now you're going to get to know a whole new group of students (and a mysterious notorious poster) at Constance Billard now that HBO Max's Gossip Girl revival premiered.
The new series, which comes from the showrunners of the original (Joshua Safran, Stephanie Savage, and Josh Schwartz), reimagines the wealthy, nefarious Manhattanite crew for Gen Z. The teens of 2021's Gossip Girl are more diverse, socially conscious, and representative of a wider spectrum of identities than their prep school alum, and they're just as fascinating. Since the classic CW show helped launch the career of many of its cast members, like Blake Lively, Penn Badgley, Leighton Meister, and Chase Crawford, and its characters defined a generation, you can expect the names behind the HBO Max original and their roles to be ones to watch. To help get to know who's reigning over the Constance Billard halls now, we're breaking down who's who in the new Gossip Girl.
Played by: Jordan Alexander
Julien (Jordan Alexander) is the Queen Bee of Constance Billard. In a very 2021 turn, she's an "it girl" online as much as she is IRL as a major social media influencer. Although, as Alexander told NYLON, "[She's] an influencer in a different kind of way, in the sense that she really already had 'it.' It wasn't like she got there by being an influencer. She became an influencer because everyone was looking at her already." Even though she's as popular as she is, behind her perfect looks and thousands of followers is a lot of insecurity. Regardless, with that kind of social prowess, she calls back to the magnetic persona of Serena.
The actor who plays her is even cooler. Alexander is originally from Toronto and has been working in the entertainment industry for years. She's appeared in roles like in the Facebook Watch series Sacred Lies, but she's primarily been working on the music side of things as a singer-songwriter, even opening for Carly Rae Jepsen and Kehlani on tour.
Played by: Whitney Peak
If any of these teens from the upper echelons of NYC could be called "relatable," it would be Zoya. Like Dan Humphrey, she's a newbie at the school who's there as a freshman on an arts scholarship. Because she's not as familiar with the wealthy world of her classmates, Whitney Peak, who plays the character, explained to Teen Vogue that she comes off as "likeable and, eventually, influential" because of how confidently and freely she carries herself.
Even though Zoya is new on campus, she's not a total stranger. She's actually the younger half-sister of Julien, as they share a mother but never grew up together since their mom left Julien's dad for Zoya's dad. Don't expect their relationship to mirror Blair and Serena's combative friendship, though: Peak says the two really want to make their sisterhood work, and Zoya feels as if she knows a different side of Julien than her classmates do. We'll have to see how their relationship plays out amidst family drama and threatened social statuses.
Zoya may seem like she's worlds away from the rest of her peers—living all the way across Central Park in the Upper West Side—but the actress behind her actually has quite the global background. Born in Uganda, she eventually moved to Canada where she grew up between there and Dubai, which is where she was coached for swimming by a former Olympian. Eventually, she pivoted to acting and landed her first recurring role in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
Otto 'Obie' Bergmann IV
Played by: Eli Brown
Here we go: A classic extremely WASP-y character name that feels familiar to the van der Woodsens and Archibalds of yesteryear. Obie, of the apparent Bergmann dynasty, is actually a sort of mash-up of Nate Archibald and Dan, being a do-gooder sweetheart who's dating Julien, although, keep in mind that (like most posts behind a filter) everything is not as picture-perfect as they seem. On his own time, he volunteers a great deal because he feels guilty for his privileged background .But it's that privileged background that makes him give back in ways that aren't really the most thoughtful or charitable. For example, actor Eli Brown said to W, "He tries to give back and goes to support the workers striking at big corporations by bringing them doughnuts and coffee, but he doesn't realize he went out to a fundraiser dinner the night before and spent $2,500 just to show up."
Eli Brown, who's taking on the big man on campus, is already known for starring in teen TV, appearing on Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists. Like some of his co-stars, though, he spends much of his time working on his music.
Played by: Thomas Doherty
No one could ever replace Chuck Bass, but if you were looking for a Bass-like boy of the modern age, that'd be Max. Not only does he have an indistinct accent, he's a pleasure-seeking, overindulgent playboy. Max is much more queer than the character he's inspired by, though, identifying as pansexual and dipping into polyamorous relationships. You can figure he'll seduce some of his friends in seemingly happy relationships.
The actor behind him hails from Scotland and will be making a leap to racier roles with Gossip Girl. Previously, he starred in the Disney series The Lodge (where he also showed off his musical chops) and is one of the leads in the House of Mouse movies The Descendants, where he plays Captain Hook's son.
Played by: Emily Alyn Lind
Are you looking for your Blair? Enter Audrey, our new Upper East Side princess. Like Blair's obsession with Audrey Hepburn before her, Audrey is described as loving all things exceptionally "classic." Emily Alyn Lind, who plays her, told Harper's Bazaar, "She's very into classic, old-fashion type things … she loves Betty Davis, she loves Lauren Bacall, she loves Audrey Hepburn, she's very into the finer things in life," and said that she prefers a book to social media.
As Blair had her Serena, Audrey has her Julien, who she's long been best friends with. She's also been in a long relationship with skater boy Aki, but it seems like we'll definitely see her wonder what else is out there this season.
It's possible you've seen star Lind on screen before. She grew up in the industry—her mom is Barbara Alyn Woods of One Tree Hill fame—and has appeared in movies like The Secret Life of Bees and Doctor Sleep.
Akeno "Aki" Menzies
Played by: Evan Mock
What would the Gossip Girl reboot be without some unconventional, cool kid casting? Evan Mock, who plays Aki, is one of the only previous non-actors in the series. That doesn't mean he's entirely new to being in front of the camera: Mock is a major menswear fashion model, famous skateboarder, and surfer from Hawaii. While the series is known for producing fashion icons on screen, Mock basically already is one—being tapped for many major campaigns and collaborating with brands like surfwear mainstay RVCA on special collections.
His character Aki seems at least a little bit similar to him since he's the group's resident skater, but he's also the show's resident "innocent" character, as stated by HBO Max. Despite dating Audrey for what feels like an eternity, he's one of the characters exploring his sexuality throughout the season—particularly with Max.
Played by: Zión Moreno
Queen Bees always need their loyal subjects. Luna is one of Julien's devotees—always with her iPhone at the ready to snap a pic—and seems like she'll do anything for her close friend. That means she's definitely willing to dip into "mean girl" territory, and isn't necessarily the most welcoming to newbies like Zoya, on account of how it could both hurt her friendships and social status.
The actress behind Luna, Zión Moreno, is a trans Mexican-American actress, who's been outspoken about trans rights and representation, and plays a trans character on the Mexican Netflix teen drama Control Z.
Monet de Haan
Played by: Savannah Lee Smith
Like Luna, Monet is another essential member of the group chat and extremely loyal to Julien. HBO Max teased her as power-obsessed, and, coming from a privileged background, she doesn't seem to think authority figures like teachers have much hold over her. Her character also brings even more queer representation to the show, identifying as lesbian.
Monet is Savannah Lee Smith's first big break. The actress is actually still studying acting at NYU. Like many of her co-stars, she's also interested in pursuing music, and has her sights set on Broadway.
Played by: Tavi Gevinson
Never mind that Tavi Gevinson is 25 in real life—around the same age as many of her co-stars, and actually younger than some of them—she's playing one of their teachers in the series. Gevinson is a bit of an indie icon IRL, having been a notable fashion blogger when she was just a tween, eventually running her own publication, Rookie. Since then, she's obviously moved into acting, primarily appearing in indie projects like Person to Person or on the stage, but now she's front-and-center on Gossip Girl.
Playing teacher Kate Heller, she comes from a completely different mindset than the students she's supposed to teach—let alone a different part of the city, commuting from Brooklyn. Expect her not to put up with any of the defiant, snobby teens' attitudes.