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Sisterhood's Alexis Bledel

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Alexis Bledel has been a busy Gilmore girl this year. She had a big screen turn as a prostitute in Sin City this spring, and stars as the soft-spoken artist Lena in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, the new movie based on the bestselling teen novel. Bledel, 23, recently spoke with PEOPLE about empowering the girls and confusing her cat.

Do you have a lucky pair of pants?
I’m not too superstitious. I’ve had a few friendship bracelets, but for me, now I try to let go of things I don’t need anymore. It’s all about streamlining now.

Have you read the Sisterhood series?
I’ve read the first two books. They’re pretty empowering for young women and have positive messages for girls because they reinforce that female friendships can be wonderful and supportive, and not backstabbing or evil.

You play a quiet, reserved artist in the movie. Are you anything like that in real life?
Not really. I was a little shy growing up, but she’s extremely shy. We made her really klutzy so there would be a physical manifestation of her awkwardness. That’s not really based on my experience.

What kinds of books do you read?
I loved all the classic books as a kid: The Secret Garden, The Little Princess. Now I love science fiction from the ’60s. Mostly I have to read scripts, though.

Any thoughts of completing your studies at NYU?
I left NYU after my first year, when I found out Gilmore Girls was picked up. I would love to go back when the show’s done, but I’m in such a different place now, who knows?

What about the dating front? How’s that?
I have a boyfriend, but my relationships – friends, family, boyfriends – I have so little time to spend with them that I really don’t talk about it with press. I’m happy, though. (My boyfriend) is an actor.

What’s the strangest experience you’ve had since becoming famous?
My family lives in Texas, and when they would watch Gilmore Girls at home, my cat would get horribly confused. He’d hear my voice and tear back and forth down the hallway looking for me and couldn’t figure out where I was.