Szohr at the 2015 Television Critics Association’s Press Tour
|Born||Jessica Karen Szohr
March 31, 1985
Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, U.S.
Jessica Karen Szohr (surname pronounced //; born March 31, 1985) is an American actress. She started her screen career appearing on television shows such as CSI: Miami and What About Brian. She gained recognition in 2007 with her breakthrough role as Vanessa Abrams on The CW's teen drama series Gossip Girl. She has also appeared in feature films including the 2010 horror film Piranha 3D, the 2011 comedy I Don't Know How She Does It, and the 2013 film The Internship.
Early life and education
Szohr was born in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, a place she has described as a "family-oriented small town". Her father is of European descent with her paternal grandfather being Hungarian, and Jessica is of quarter African-American descent through her mother. The oldest of five children, Szohr played soccer, served on the student council, and was part of the cheerleading squad while in school. She started a cleaning company with a friend, cleaning their teachers' houses.
Szohr started modeling at age six. Her first national campaign was for Quaker Oats at age ten, and she also appeared in print ads for Kohl's department store. Subsequent modelling gigs followed, including prints for Crate & Barrel, Mountain Dew, Sears, Jockey and JanSport. Szohr graduated from Menomonee Falls High School a semester early and moved to Los Angeles with her mother at the age of 17 to pursue an acting career. She told Seventeen magazine that she "almost moved home like five times."
Szohr made her debut as an actress in 2003 in an episode of the third season of My Wife and Kids, titled "Not So Hostile Takeover". Her first film was Uncle Nino (2003), playing a minor role as The MC. She appeared in numerous guest teen television series such as That's So Raven, Drake & Josh, What I Like About You, and Joan of Arcadia. She also appeared in three episodes of CSI: Miami as Samantha Barrish.
In 2007, she appeared in a major recurring role as Laura for six episodes in the ABC dramedy series What About Brian. Along with Stacy Keibler, she played a neighbor to the leading role, Brian O'Hara (Barry Watson). She also appeared in the music videos for "Best Days" by Matt White and "Over You" by Daughtry, in which she played Sarah. In the same year, Szohr earned her breakthrough role on the hit CW teen drama series Gossip Girl. Based on the novel series written by Cecily von Ziegesar, Gossip Girl 's premise follows the lives of privileged young adults on Manhattan's Upper East Side in New York City. She plays Vanessa Abrams, Dan Humphrey's (Penn Badgley) childhood friend and occasional love interest. Szohr described her character to Ocean Drive magazine, "Vanessa doesn't change for other people. She says what she thinks. [...] she's just a badass girl from Brooklyn". The portrayal of Vanessa in the TV series has drawn criticism from Ziegesar, who claimed Vanessa is "one character they ruined". Originally cast as a recurring role, she was promoted to series regular after the season one episode "The Blair Bitch Project" in April 2008. In May 2011, it was confirmed that Szohr would not be returning for the fifth season of Gossip Girl. She returned in the sixth season for a cameo appearance on the series finale, "New York, I Love You XOXO", on December 17, 2012.
She has appeared in small roles in films such as Somebody Help Me, The Reading Room and Fired Up. Szohr next signed on to Dimension Films' horror Piranha 3D directed by Alexandre Aja. The film was a remake of the 1978 comedy-horror Piranha. In the film, she played Kelly Driscoll, "a hot young townie caught up in the excitement of co-eds who have descended upon the area for spring break." The role required her to be underwater; Szohr later told the New York Daily News that filming was difficult because she was "not the best swimmer." Filming began in June 2009, and the film was pushed back from its original release date in March to August 2010. She also appeared in a Funny or Die video promoting the film alongside Kelly Brook and others.
She was awarded the Breakthrough Actress in Film award at the 2010 Breakthrough of the Year awards for her work in Piranha 3D. In April 2010, Szohr joined the cast of the romantic comedy Love, Wedding, Marriage, along with Mandy Moore and Kellan Lutz. The film began principal photography in April 2010 and was filmed in New Orleans. Szohr has a role in the 2012 independent post-apocalyptic sci-fi film Hirokin, which began production in July 2010. Her role as Orange has been described as a "cunning temptress".
Szohr stars in the indie drama Art Machine as an outlaw hipster and a pyrotechnic artist. Directed by Doug Karr, the film was shot in New York. In October 2011, she finished filming a horror comedy film in East Lothian, Scotland titled Love Bite with co-star Ed Speleers. In November 2011, Szohr filmed the drama Light Years in Los Angeles. In 2012, Szohr helped Hayden Panettiere to punk Glee actress Dianna Agron. She appeared in Taylor Swift's 2013 music video for the song "22". In March 2013, Szohr was cast as the female lead in the Fox drama pilot The List, playing FBI agent Natalie Voss. However, it was reported on May 8, 2013 that Fox had passed on the pilot. In November 2013, Szohr was cast as Gretchen in USA Network's medical drama pilot Complications.
Szohr defines her real-life fashion as "simple and casual". Speaking to Vogue, she said, "I wouldn't say I'm trendy or follow any particular trends." She has more than eleven tattoos, including her grandparents' anniversary on her left arm and a cherub on her foot.
She told Parade magazine that, in order to avoid real-life gossip, she does not read blogs. Szohr is a friend of singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, Jessica Stam and Dianna Agron. She dated her Gossip Girl co-star Ed Westwick.
|2003||Uncle Nino||MC, TheThe MC|
|2005||Reading Room, TheThe Reading Room||Dayva||Television film|
|2007||Somebody Help Me||Nicole||Direct-to-DVD|
|2010||Piranha 3D||Kelly Driscoll|
|2011||Love, Wedding, Marriage||Shelby|
|2011||I Don't Know How She Does It||Paula|
|2011||Tower Heist||Sasha Gibbs|
|2012||Art Machine||Cassandra Moon|
|2013||Internship, TheThe Internship||Marielena|
|2013||Brightest Star||Lita Markovic|
|2014||House at the End of the Drive||Krista|
|2014||Lucky in Love||Mira Simon||Television film|
|2014||10 Cent Pistol||Chelsea|
|2014||Two Night Stand||Faiza|
|2014||Life, TheThe Life||Post-production|
|2003||My Wife & Kids||Dee-Jay||Episode: "Not So Hostile Takeover"|
|2004||What I Like About You||Liz||Episode: "Lunar Eclipse of the Heart"|
|2004||Drake & Josh||N/A||Episode: "Two Idiots and a Baby"|
|2004||Joan of Arcadia||Nikki||Episode: "Double Dutch"|
|2005||That's So Raven||Jordache Hilltopper||Episode: "The Big Buzz"|
|2007||What About Brian||Laura||6 episodes|
|2007||CSI: Miami||Samantha Barrish||3 episodes|
|2007–12||Gossip Girl||Vanessa Abrams||Main cast (seasons 1–4); guest star (season 6); 61 episodes|
|2010||City, TheThe City||Herself||Episode: "The Belle of Elle"|
|2012||Punk'd||Herself||Episode: "Hayden Panettiere"|
|2013||Men at Work||Jenny||Episode: "Long Distance Tyler"|
|2007||"Best Days"||Matt White|
|2013||"22"||Taylor Swift||Swift's best friend|
|2014||"Already Home"||Great Big World, AA Great Big World|
Awards and nominations
|2010||Breakthrough of the Year Awards||Breakthrough Actress in Film||Piranha 3D||Won|
|2011||MTV Movie Award||Best Scared-As-S**t Performance||Piranha 3D||Nominated|
- Madeleine Marr (2009-03-16). "Jessica Szohr isn't a glamour girl". The Miami Herald. p. A8.
- "JESSICA SZOHR as VANESSA ABRAMS". The CW. Retrieved 2010-01-24.
- "Szohr's High School 'Very Different' From 'Gossip Girl' World". PopEater. AOL. March 5, 2009. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
- "World's Most Beautiful 2010! – Jessica Szohr". People. Time. April 28, 2010. Retrieved August 22, 2010.
- Prato, Alison (2009-05-26). "Gossip Girl's Jessica Szohr Dresses up and Dishes on Ed Westwick". Page Six Magazine (New York Post). Retrieved 2010-08-19.
- "Seventeen Interviews Jessica Szohr from Gossip Girl!". Seventeen. 2009-03-13. Retrieved 2010-01-25.
- "Jessica Szohr". US Magazine. Retrieved 2010-09-03.
- "Gossip Girl Transformations". InStyle. Retrieved 2010-01-24.
- "Stacy Keibler and Jessica Szohr Join What About Brian". Movie Web. 2006-12-13. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
- Ausiello, Michael (2007-09-16). "Exclusive Girl Gossip: Brian Babe Joins Cast!". TV Guide. Retrieved 2010-09-03.
- Byrne, Fiona (2007-11-20). "The Night We Met Vanessa From 'Gossip Girl' and Didn't Kill Her". New York Magazine. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
- Vena, Jocelyn (October 15, 2008). "'Gossip Girl' Author Is A 'Faithful Watcher' Of The TV Series — Although One Thing Was 'Ruined' …". MTV News. Viacom. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
- Dodd, Stacy (September 23, 2007). "Jessica Szohr". Variety. PMC. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
- "The Blair Bitch Project". Gossip Girl. Season 1. Episode 14. April 21, 2008. The CW.
- Ausiello, Michael (May 9, 2011). "Gossip Girl Exclusive: Taylor Momsen and Jessica Szohr Not Returning For Season 5". TVLine. PMC. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
- Gonzalez, Sandra (December 17, 2012). "'Gossip Girl' series finale: Talk about it here! (Updated)". Entertainment Weekly. Time. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
- Kroll, Justin (2009-05-26). "Jessica Szohr added to 'Piranha 3-D'". Variety. Retrieved 2010-08-19.
- "Jessica Szohr to Be Devoured by Piranhas". New York Magazine. 2009-06-05. Retrieved 2010-08-19.
- E. Osterhout, Jacob (2010-08-15). "'Gossip Girl' star Jessica Szohr battles her fear of deep lakes in 'Piranha 3D'". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
- Connelly, Brendon (2010-01-15). "Piranha 3D Pushed Back At Least Four Months, Might Not Even Be 3D". Slash Film. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
- "Piranha 3D: For Your Consideration". Funny or Die. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
- "Agron & Szohr Land Top Breakthrough Honors". W.E.N.N. 2010-08-16. Retrieved 2010-08-27.
- Scott, Mike (2010-04-27). "Dermot Mulroney to try directing with new Orleans-shot romantic comedy". Nola. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
- McNary, Dave (2009-05-26). "Thesps join 'Hirokin' list'". Variety. Retrieved 2010-08-19.
- Kit, Borys (2010-10-25). "EXCLUSIVE: Joseph Cross, Jessica Szohr Starring in Indie 'Art Machine'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
- "Dianna Agron gets Punk'd by Jessica Szohr and Hayden Panettier!". Facebook. Retrieved December 14, 2014.
- Andreeva, Nellie (March 5, 2013). "Jessica Szohr To Star In Fox's 'List', Camille Guaty & Elizabeth Pena Join ABC Comedies". Deadline.com. PMC. Retrieved March 7, 2013.
- Andreeva, Nellie (May 8, 2013). "Fox Picks Up Dramas 'Rake', 'Gang Related', 'Sleepy Hollow' And 'Almost Human'". Deadline.com. PMC. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
- Ausiello, Michael (November 22, 2013). "Pilot Scoop: Alums of Grey's, Leverage, Gossip Girl Join Jason O'Mara in USA's Complications". TVLine. PMC. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
- Frederick, Brendan (2008-10-22). "Jess is More". "Complex". Retrieved 2011-01-08.
- Mathews, Dana (2009-02-07). "It Girl: Jessica Szohr". Vogue. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
- Gold, Marissa (2010-02-15). "Jessica Szohr's Tattoos - Celebrity Tattoos". Stylelist (AOL). Retrieved 2010-08-20.
- "Taylor Swift Celebrated the Fourth of July With All of Her Celebrity Besties". Elle magazine. Retrieved December 14, 2014.
- "Dianna Agron and Jessica Szohr". Retrieved December 14, 2014.
- "Ed Westwick Jessica Szohr casually sync stock big deli lunch two". Daily mail. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
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