Interview: Blake Lively

The first time I laid eyes on Blake Lively, she was in a skirt so tiny, it could have doubled as a napkin. The occasion: Chanel’s resort 2012 show in the south of France. Lively’s impossibly long legs did a great job running distraction, but the skirt flirted with disaster. Another star would have been eaten alive by the “What Was She Thinking?” paparazzi, but not Lively, whose oh-my-God good looks – those legs; that hair; that body! – give her free rein to strut what the rest of us only dare to imagine.

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At 25, she’s a bombshell who knows her power. Who else but she could play the shared girlfriend of two drug dealers (Aaron Johnson and Taylor Kitsch) in Oliver Stone’s new film, Savages? Lively’s gritty performance in Ben Affleck’s The Town was merely a prelude to this dark thriller, sure to crown her one of Hollywood’s top leading ladies. Always a headturner, Lively insists that she styles herself – no small thing in Tinseltown where stylists can exert as much influence as top-tier agents.

Sceptical, I press her on that issue, prompting Lively to open up about her deep love of fashion. She’s decidedly less forthcoming about her Green Lantern co-star-turned-boyfriend Ryan Reynolds – although Reynolds’s dog, Baxter, makes a cameo during our chat, suggesting perhaps his owner is waiting nearby. Here, a little bit of girl talk – and a real glimpse of the actress.

I’ll be honest, it’s hard to believe that you don’t have a stylist. Is there an adviser, friend, anybody who helps you?
My assistant will call fashion houses for me, but I always pick the outfit, shoes, jewellery and, a lot of times, I do my own hair and make-up for events. Sometimes I think: “God, why do I do this to myself?” It’s so much extra work!

Exactly! That’s why I’m a little suspicious that you don’t have professional help. Why not?
Because I love fashion. It’s such an expression of self. I often see people and they look great, but I can identify who styled them. Every stylist has a signature. Maybe it sounds [conceited], but I’m lucky
to be on such a fashion-centric show [Gossip Girl]. There’s no designer I don’t have access to.

Is there anyone’s style you’re currently obsessing over?
I love Florence Welch [of Florence + The Machine]. She’s pure magic. I always admire people who make really strong choices. When you do something bold, it’s usually because you feel really good in it.

You’ve got the body to pull off some revealing outfits. Do you think that shades the public’s perception of you?
People like to draw parallels between my life and the scandalous stories on Gossip Girl. I dress the same as my character, so they think, “She lives this life on and off set.” I recently talked about how many boyfriends I’ve had [four], and people were like, “That’s impossible!” But it’s true. I’ve been with very few people. If I’m not with somebody who really excites or inspires me, then I’d rather be by myself.

Does the way a guy dresses turn you on?
It’s definitely attractive when a man can dress well. What I love most is when someone, a guy or a girl, is effortless and has this old-timey sort of feel; you could take a snapshot of them and they could exist in any time period.

What have all of your boyfriends had in common?
They all like to eat! To be around me, you must love food or I’m the most obnoxious person you’ve ever met. I’m in a big cooking phase. That’s all I talk about.

Are you the type of girl who secretly has her wedding planned already?
Every girl has her dream. But what I planned before I got into the business has changed. It used to be that my mum or I would make my dress. Now I’m like: “Hmm, I wonder what shoesChristian Louboutin is going to make me. And which couture house should I go to?”

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Let’s be serious for a moment. The role you play in Savages is the opposite of glamour. What made you want to do it?
I like to play someone who is unlike me and the character I play most often [Serena van der Woodsen]. Time and again [in The Town and Savages], I keep playing drug addicts with sexual issues! I never knew I had such a dark side, but this is where I get it out of my system. What I liked about this character was that she’s somebody who turns you off because of her lifestyle. You judge her – she comes from this privileged California life, she’s dating two drug dealers. But then she turns your emotions. You start to empathise.

What was the hardest part of getting ready for this role?
I went to the gun range and learnt how to shoot a gun for the first time. It was awful. I asked myself: “Why were these things ever invented?” But it did feel good that my first three shots were straight to the heart. It’s good to know – don’t mess with me in a gun battle.

Savages is in cinemas on October 18.