Emily Alyn Lind – Meet the new Gossip Girl

Cordelia Speed

An actress of just 18 years of age, Emily Alyn Lind has an extraordinarily impressive body of work under her belt. Despite her busy schedule, Emily found the time to give me a call bright and early at 9:30am all the way from The Big Apple, where she is currently preparing to start production for HBO’s Reboot of Gossip Girl. As we catch up on everything from shooting her latest movie, The Babysitter: Killer Queen, to her debut single, “Spotless Mind”, what shines through her voice is a refreshing authenticity. Well-read on feminism and clued up on what it takes to be a badass female in the entertainment industry, Emily is exactly the sort of forward-thinking young woman destined to make positive change.

CS: First-off how are you doing? This really is a uniquely strange and unsettling period we are finding ourselves in and I wondered how you’re finding it all?
Yeah, it’s interesting. I’ve always been a bit of an introvert, so I mean it’s been quite easy for me compared to a lot of other people who kind of really feel like they need that social environment around them a lot of the time. I have a lot of things I do on the side other than acting, like I’m studying music and I’m reading, and I find my creative space thriving the most when I’m alone so I just fall into this sort of solo time really easily. But yeah, it’s really hard to see so many people going through what they’re going through, losing their jobs and I’m sort of just being there for my friends as well, I’m sort of like a therapist for them. I’m always there to talk to them if they need anything!
CS: I’m also a bit of an introvert and to be honest I have been really enjoying the extra Netflix time! I actually spent last night binging The Babysitter and The Babysitter: Killer Queen back-to-back and I have to say the apocalyptic energy of both films definitely suits 2020! I’ve always loved the first film and the second one has immediately become a must-rewatch for me! Did you enjoy filming it?
It was great! It’s really fun to do a sequel to a film that you did years and years ago with the same people and getting to come back and hang out with them again and share stories and see how much everyone has changed. Me and Judah have been close throughout the years so it was really fun to just jump back into it!
CS: The film strikes a unique balance of being really quite scary but funny enough to keep you from needing to hide behind the sofa! I bet there were some hilarious moments on set which made it hard to keep a straight face. Do you have any favourite moments working with the cast and crew?
There were a couple of moments, but I don’t want to spoil anything obviously! We were filming on Lake Piru in the wintertime and it was supposed to be summer, so it was absolutely freezing and we were wearing like no clothes because it was supposed to be summer. We had like 300 background artists one day when we first arrive at the lake and pull up in Melanie’s dad’s car and there are like 300 people dancing around in bikinis to make it seem like it’s summertime and this is like a really exciting lake with a bunch of teens jumping around in their bikinis. We arrive and that day it was so cold and so windy that if you watch it back you’ll see how windy it was but they made it look like it was the best weather ever and I remember every time they would call cut everyone would just flee to get blankets and to the warm. It was like a herd of people all just running to the warm!
CS: Haha, I never noticed that – I’ll have to watch it back! Well, the development of your character is certainly an exciting one! Was it fun being able to revisit an older and rather grown-up version of Melanie?
Yeah, it was! I think that me and Judah being friends throughout the years in real life made it really fun to take our characters to the next level. It almost felt like I’d grown up with Judah in real life so being able to do that on screen as well and bringing in new dynamics to the characters was really fun. It’s honestly one of those movies that’s just really fun to shoot! It looks like it’s fun when you’re watching it and it is – it’s like a big family and yeah, it was really fun to revisit the characters.
CS: Now, as a self-proclaimed Gossip Girl addict, I simply cannot resist asking you about the show’s Reboot. The glamourous outfits of the Upper East Siders in the original series became a personal obsession of mine. Can we expect to see some iconic looks in the new series?
Yeah, we have Eric Daman who was the costume designer on the original Gossip Girl and he’ll be re-joining us for the Reboot, so I think it’s certain that there will be a lot of iconic looks – hopefully even more!
CS: As daughters of actress Barbara Alyn Woods and producer John Lind it’s no surprise that you and your sisters went into acting! Sounds like you have an exceptionally creative family. What advice have your parents given you to help you navigate the industry?
My mum and my dad would always say this one quote and I remember it really well – “giggle and give in”. Honestly, in an industry like this starting really young you have to go through a lot of getting let down before you reach a point where you’re working at all and that’s always stuck with me. Just because sometimes life is taken really seriously and when you’re in an adult industry as a kid you can get really stuck about that inside and get hurt easily. If you really love something, keep on doing it and if it doesn’t work out then giggle and give in!
CS: I think that’s great advice! Your Instagram also features extracts from books with powerful phrases underlined. Seems like you’re quite the bookworm! What have you been reading lately?
I’ve been reading some Lydia Davis. I love Lydia Davis, she’s a short story writer – a book called Break it Down is one of my favourites. Some Billy Collins, who is an amazing poet. I’ve been reading some David Foster Wallace as well – I just started this little tiny one of thoughts which is called This is Water. I’m a big reader, I like to do it as often as I can, and it really grounds me. I spend a lot of time off of my phone just reading to ground myself in the real world.
CS: I was particularly struck by the inspiring words of poet and activist Andrea Gibson on your feed. Do you consider yourself a feminist?
Yeah, Andrea’s probably my favourite poet right now. When I found her, I was just instantly grabbed by her – I was obsessed with her! Her poetry on Spotify is absolutely stunning. It’s really funny everyone makes fun of me because I can recite back her poems. I play her poems on Spotify and she’ll be screaming and I’ll be reciting them back – I know all of them by heart! Yeah, I definitely think I’m a feminist – 100%.
CS: Do you believe there is gender equality in the film industry? What changes would you like to see, if any?
There’s research that two fifths of films in 2019 had female protagonists and I feel like that’s good and I think that we’re making progress towards equality in the film industry and the entertainment industry but I also think that there is a lot more that can be done and will be done. I mean… who runs the world? Girls, right!
CS: Too true! Well, it seems like you’re a forward-thinker and that’s exactly what we need!
Yeah, I think that’s very, very important. I think that a lot of voices are being rightfully heard finally and I still think that there’s a long way to go so I’m very excited to be a part of that as a woman in this industry and to be supporting women in this industry, as well as anyone in the art field, or any woman in the art world, and I will continue to do so until we reach equality.
CS: On top of your exciting acting career you are also exploring the world of music and have recently put out your debut single “Spotless Mind”. There is a certain sombre beauty about this track and its compelling honesty. Do you find writing music to be a positive way to process your thoughts and feelings?
I started writing poetry and short stories before I started writing songs and I think that I still look at my writing process as sort of like writing poetry. Words are very important to me and it’s definitely something I’ve been able to use as a coping mechanism over the last few years. Writing anything really – just being able to spill onto the page and get that bad stuff out and good stuff out. I think that people need an outlet, feelings are meant to be spilled out onto a page or to your therapist or to your friends or wherever. It’s about just making sure that it doesn’t stay inside for too long! Feelings are meant to be shared, whether that’s on a page or wherever. So yeah, it’s been really great for me and I’m really happy to have music in my life.
CS: With so many interesting projects on the go the future is certainly looking bright for you! What do the next few months look like for you?
EAL: I’m in New York, we’re about to start production on Gossip Girl at the end of October and so for the next few months we’re gonna be shooting Gossip Girl!