Many stars have changed up their hair for the sake of their role in a movie or TV show, but in Leighton Meester's case, it was a long-lasting change that would help shape who she is in Hollywood.
Josh Schwartz, co-creator of Gossip Girl, told The Hollywood Reporter Feb. 3 how Meester, a natural blonde, came to be the bold brunette that fans know her as today.
"Leighton was a blonde when she came in to read, but Blake [Lively] was the blonde, so we asked her to color her hair," Schwartz said about her audition for the CW young adult drama. "A risky move on her part in the middle of pilot season, but she did a sink-rinse dye job to audition as a brunette."
Going brunette proved to be successful for Meester, who has been coined as fellow dark-haired actress Minka Kelly's twin. The two stars played opposite in the 2011 suspense flick The Roommate.
But the 25-year-old singer/actress wasn't the only Gossip Girl cast mate who altered her looks to land a lead role in the show, which is in its fifth season and recently celebrated its 100th episode.
"After we convinced [Blake] to do television, the network was concerned that she was 'too California,'" Schwartz said. "So we dressed her up in boarding school attire -- clothes out of Stephanie's (Savage, co-creator) closet -- and straightened her hair to prove that she could look New York."
Another surprising fact from the auditions: smooth-talking Ed Westwick (Chuck Bass) originally auditioned for Nate Archibald (which is now played by a sunny-haired Chace Crawford.)