Taylor Momsen said she was “relentlessly” bullied after landing the role of Cindy Lou Who in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”
“First of all, ‘The Grinch’ changed my life in a multitude of ways — one of them being I was made fun of relentlessly,” the actress said in Wednesday’s episode of SiriusXM’s “Podcrushed” podcast with Penn Badgley.
Momsen explained to her former “Gossip Girl” co-star that “making friends was always challenging” — and the quest became more daunting when the hit Christmas film was released in 2000.
“Every time I would start a new school or go somewhere else, I don’t even think the kids knew my name. I was just ‘Grinch girl,’” she recalled.
“Not even the character name, just ‘Grinch girl.’ I got used to it, but it was alienating.”
The Pretty Reckless frontwoman, 30, referred to herself as “shy” and “socially awkward” as she explained how she later made friends in middle school during her break from acting.
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“That was the first [full] year where I was in school, and I had the opportunity to try and actually make friends,” she shared.
“I put a band together. It was my first band, my middle-school band, a garage band. We never could settle on a name. But we would jam after school, and that was always fun. I was singing, playing guitar, writing.”
However, it wasn’t long until Momsen was plucked out of her routine when she was cast in 2007 for the role of Jenny Humphrey in “Gossip Girl” when she was 12.
“I got uprooted to New York. The band fell apart,” the “My Medicine” singer said, before joking, “We were gonna be huge. It was a real bummer.”
Two years later, Momsen found herself building her new rock group, The Pretty Reckless.
“I had to kind of restart it all again in New York, which didn’t take me that long,” she recalled. “It took a minute to find the right band members … I really wanted to make my own kind of makeshift family,”
While Momsen admitted she could’ve gone forward as a solo act, she didn’t want to be in the industry alone.
“I wanted to be in a band; I wanted to be part of something and not do it by myself. I wanted to be The Beatles, I didn’t want to be Elvis. Who wants to do this alone? I wanted to share it with people,” she continued.
As for her time on the set of the CW show alongside Badgley — who played her older brother, Dan Humphrey — Momsen only appeared in the series for four seasons until she later decided to focus on her music.
At the time, she made the decision to quit the show after spending a lot of her free time working on songs due to feeling isolated from her co-stars because of their massive age gap.
“That’s where music became such a solace for me. Thinking back on my life, it was this place where I could just be — writing songs, emoting how I felt. I was by myself a lot. I didn’t have my own clique,” she explained.
Momsen told the “You” star, 36, that she didn’t fit in with him or the older cast, including Blake Lively, 36, and Leighton Meester, 37.
“I was the new girl. I was ‘Grinch girl.’ I was always in this kind of weird, isolated world, partially of my own creating, probably,” the “Heaven Knows” singer said.
And while Momsen was pushed to star in the hit show, the actress recalled the freedom she felt when she decided to leave the business behind and make her own choices.
“Literally, as soon as I got to an age where I could make my own decisions, it was like a click … I woke up one morning and went, ‘Wait a second. I don’t have to do this?’” she recalled
“‘I don’t have to do this other job? I can just play in my band and tour and write songs? I can just do that?’ Granted, a little more complicated to get out of a television show than that, but the answer was yes.”
With the help of her “Gossip Girl” team, Momsen’s life was changed overnight after they agreed to write her out of the show so she could pursue her music endeavors.
“They really allowed me to follow my dream,” she continued, “and I’m forever grateful and thankful to them for that.”
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