Spotted, Gossip Girl's Anna Van Patten and her model-actress mother Wendy in a new campaign from American fashion house Lafayette 148.
Highlighting the brand’s new Bohemia Bloom print, the two well-dressed women brought their closeness and keen eye for style to the shoot, and they recently brought some wisdom when they sat down with us for an intimate chat.
Anna sat down alongside her mother to discuss her role in HBO's Gossip Girl reboot and what it takes to stay grounded in today's industry.
Cast in the role of Grace Bryon, the daughter of a senator and compelling love interest in the show, Anna talked about her budding career and the lessons she's learned along the way. This mother-daughter duo got candid about family life, their experiences in the spotlight, and more!
What was your reaction to finding out that you landed the role in Gossip Girl?
Anna: I did not expect it. I feel like the auditions that you feel like you’re never going to get are the ones that you actually have a shot at. I’m so happy, because I grew up watching the show; it’s just such an iconic New York show, and it’s all very exciting.
Anna, what advice has your mom given you that has helped you to navigate the industry?
She’s always taught me to treat everyone with respect and to be kind, and to just be confident in your own skin. I think that’s really the best thing you can do for yourself in [the] acting and modeling [world].
Wendy, how has your time in the modeling industry shaped your view of the entertainment industry at large?
Wendy: Well, I get asked that question so much. I had such a positive experience, and I had the best support group—not just my family, but my agents, when I started at 14 years old, were just so supportive. They even traveled with me if my parents couldn’t.
Do you have any advice for young women who want to break into the industry?
Wendy: You never know if someone has it or not. So I have always just said “you’re never going to know unless you give it a shot.” So many people that I know did have a shot, but they didn’t have the patience to wait for something to happen. You have to get into a mindset that it’s really just a lot of waiting around and hoping for the best. I have encouraged people because I think it [can be] a very positive experience.
How has your life in New York City influenced your personal style?
Anna: My mom and I were actually just talking about this. I think New York has definitely defined our personal style. We both wear a lot of black and definitely dress for comfort, because you’re running around all over the place.
Do you two take style inspiration from one another?
Wendy: I [take inspiration] from Anna, but I don’t know if she does the same. She definitely will find some vintage pieces that we haven't seen in a while in my closet and then reinvents it in her own way. I love seeing that, and then I wonder if I can pull off what she pulls off. It’s very inspiring to see her do that.
How would you describe your mother-daughter dynamic?
Anna: My mom is my comfort, and having her on set [for shoots] is just so much fun because she will always be [my] home no matter where we are.
Wendy: I think that we’re transitioning [right now]. I’m not always telling her what to do, and it has been really nice as she’s having her first experiences [on her own]. She’s not shy to call home and ask what I think about something or how she should approach a situation. I’ve really enjoyed the last several years of us just getting to hang out, and she’s probably teaching me more than I’m teaching her nowadays.
Anna, what was your high school experience like and how did it influence the career you’re pursuing today?
Anna: I went to a performing arts high school where you could major in a subject. I majored in drama, and then I went to the New School for college where I studied film.
How did studying the ins and outs of the film industry shape your view of acting?
Anna: I think learning all aspects of film can only teach me more about the art as a whole. I think that having Gossip Girl as my first job is teaching me a lot, because there’s really nothing like learning from being on set. I’m so thankful for that, but I really want to learn to be more hands-on behind the camera. I think this is all teaching me a lot for potential future projects.
What are some of the ways you have managed to find a balance between having feet in the industry but at the same time, maintaining a family unit?
Wendy: The girls have grown up since they were babies with all types of entertainers around them at the dinner table, and then seeing them on TV or on the movie screen. I think they have seen people think they’re a little bit more special than someone else and treat others differently [because of their fame]. I think my kids have recognized that, and I’ve never seen a sign of them ever acting like that. I think there’s just the appreciation of being a real human, first and foremost, and then what you do for your work comes next.
Anna: I also think quality time is something that we all really try for as a family, because my sister is in Atlanta and my dad is in Paris. When we are together, we really make the most of it.
Photography by: Menelik Puryear; Courtesy of Lafayette 148 New York