Eager to watch the 2021 Gossip Girl reboot? So was Whitney Peak. One of the HBO series’ stars, Peak helps bring Upper East Side prep school drama to a new generation as scholarship student Zoya Lott. On the day of the premiere, Peak was anxious to see just how the world would react to the new take on Cecily von Ziegesar’s YA novel series. To sit in Spring Studios as the crowd took it all in for the first time was surreal. “It felt like [being in] a blurry motion picture but also this strangely parental pride of sending your baby off into the world,” Peak says following the event. “It was riveting and so different from watching it at home on my computer.”

Decked out in Chanel’s pre-fall 2021 sequin gown and transparent cape, with Rapunzel-length hair by Naeemah LaFond and makeup by Tyron Machhausen, Peak looked like a modern-day princess. “Wearing such a beautiful dress, paired with a badass ponytail and fierce lip, made [things] easier and more exciting,” says Peak. “I was obsessed with that braid! It did get heavy throughout the night, though!” The look allowed the star to feel at ease during a night that could have been nerve-racking. “I felt comfortable—even when I was diving face-first into my burger,” says Peak. “It worked with and without the cape, and the jewelry was exquisite.”

Having your first big premiere be one of the most anticipated series of the year would be daunting for any performer, but Peak had a little help from friends and family. “Thank goodness I had my team and best friends there getting ready with me to silence the noise,” she says. “I received some great advice beforehand to take a deep breath before stepping onto the carpet, to experience it, so I did just that.” Still, watching yourself on a giant screen takes some getting used to. “I was cringing hearing and watching the audience react to scenes of myself,” Peak says. “I was incredibly nervous to see how it would be received, but everyone I spoke to had very kind things to say, which was a relief.”

Post-premiere, Peak, Evan Mock, Karena Evans and the rest of the cast headed over to the Lower East Side bar The Flower Shop to celebrate. “The work was done, and we got to enjoy ourselves together,” says Peak, who considers the audience reaction the night's highlight.  "[We heard] the genuine excitement for the show and congratulations from those who watched. The episode left a different scene engraved in every audience members’ mind, which made it interesting to learn what different people’s favorites were.” Peak hopes that those tuning in to Thursday’s HBO Max premiere walk away from episode one with a couple of life lessons. “Everyone gets insecure, and everyone makes mistakes,” she says. “Even New York’s Elite!”

My glam team Naeemah and Tyron are working their magic on my hair and makeup. Their energy is so calming and their vibe...
Tyron was gripping my head and curling those lashes
Its in the detailsEDGES Black. Girl. Magic.