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Gossip Girl Countdown: 9 Days to Go! Taylor Momsen Gets Back to Work

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At 14, Taylor Momsen is the baby of the bunch on the set of Gossip Girl, but her character, Jenny Humphrey, is growing up fast as she learns to play the gossip game and how to rule the school. When the show returns April 21, she’s poised to take on queen bee Blair Waldorf (played by Leighton Meester), who’s not likely to go down without a fight. Should be interesting! On the set of the CW show in New York City, Momsen recently talked to PEOPLE about being a famous high school freshman, handling the paparazzi and getting proposed to by a fan. –Liza Hamm

What did you do during the strike?I went to school, stayed in New York, learned the city a little bit better. I know the subways now. Now I can do the A, C, E , N and R subway lines. I figured out express trains too. A friend helped me with that. That was cool.

What did you miss while you weren’t working?The rice pudding! No, I missed the scripts, reading about what was going to happen. I missed all the , the costumes, everything about it.

You mentioned the rice pudding. Is the food on set better than your cafeteria at school?We don’t have a cafeteria at my school. We go out to lunch. This is more like school than my real school.

Do your friends ask you about the show? To be honest, they don’t really ask questions about the show. Not really. They might ask what’s gong to happen next. A lot of times I don’t even know. I don’t get the scripts until later.

Do you have a favorite subject in school?I like humanities — I like creative writing a lot.

Is it hard being the youngest in the cast?I’m always the youngest. I’m the baby in my class. All my friends are older.

Are the guys protective?Penn Badgley is a little bit. He’s adapted to the brother role. He’ll say, “Those shoes are really too tall for you.”

What’s the highlight of your day when you’re at work?I like putting on the costumes — but it’s always nice to get out of them too. At the end of the day, I’m so ready for my jeans.

Can you tell us what’s in store for your character?Jenny gets a new crowd and adapts to her environment. But I don’t want to give too much away.

Speaking of crowds, is it hard filming in the city where gather to watch?You sort of ignore it when you’re filming and then when you come out of character you realize there’s a lot of standing around watching us do nothing. It’s sort of weird.

Are you used to all the paparazzi?I’m pretty good at tuning stuff out when we’re actually filming. But during rehearsals they’re calling our names. This is nuts. “We’re rehearsing guys, you have to be quiet!” There are rules … There’s a ton more paparazzi now. And I’ve figured out it’s not like you smile and give them a shot, you’ll smile and they’ll continue to chase you down the street. They’re right there. I have to walk around the cameras. I can’t even get through. It’s crazy!

Do you like interacting with the fans?It’s cool. They say they love the show and then they freak out a bit. I’m like, “What are you freaking out about?” But it’s awesome that everyone is watching the show. … Some , if you look directly at them and wave, they’ll start crying. Then I feel bad. Don’t cry. I got proposed to … that was strange. He said, “I’m in love with you. Would you please be my wife?” I said “Sorry, I’m already engaged.”

Wait, you’re engaged?No!

Read more of the Gossip Girl Countdown!Mauceri/Daniel/INF