Blake Lively: A Girl on the Rise

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures
July 18th, 2012

Blake Lively: A Girl on the Rise

-- Although audiences love Blake Lively for her beautiful looks, she is more than just a pretty girl with a million-dollar smile. She is a serious contender among today's young actresses. Offering a charming screen presence and a talent to match, Lively is a versatile actress who can squeeze into a variety of roles to the delight of critics.

Born into Entertainment

Lively is a California girl at heart. Born in Los Angeles on August 25, 1987, she is the youngest of five children born to actors Elaine and Ernie Lively. Unlike many celebrities, her unique and catchy name was given to her at birth.

Lively's parents nurtured her acting skills as well as those of her siblings. Rather than spending time with a caregiver, Lively and her siblings attended acting classes taught by their parents. The actress credits her parents with teaching her the craft of acting and building her confidence as a performer through these classes.

Career Beginnings and Acceleration

At age 11, Lively won a small role in the film "Sandman," which her father directed. Rather than diving into more acting roles, she chose to embrace her youth and experience life as a normal child. By the time she entered high school, Lively had blossomed into a beautiful young woman and was busy with extracurricular activities. From choir to cheerleading, she lived her high school years to the fullest. Unlike her actor parents and siblings, Lively didn't catch the entertainment bug during her childhood.

If it weren't for her brother Eric's pushiness, Lively might not be the star she is today. Eric is responsible for propelling her into the spotlight by requesting that his agent send her to auditions. One of these auditions landed her a lead role in "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" as Bridget in 2005. Her role in the comedic drama was well received, and she gained a bit of notice. The following year brought a role in "Accepted" alongside Justin Long and a small role in "Simon Says."

The year 2007 added an edgier role to Lively's resume with the independent film "Elvis and Anabelle." Lively played the role of Anabelle, a bulimic beauty queen struggling with inner issues who dies and is later resurrected. This role was a first for the actress because she was required to lose a lot of weight. It also required her to play a deeply twisted character.

Major success came in 2007 with the role of Serena van der Woodsen in the teen series "Gossip Girl." Lively's good looks fit perfectly with this character-a popular girl from the Upper East Side. She has starred in more than 112 episodes of the show since its premiere and has experienced great commercial success among a broad audience.

A slew of movie roles followed, including "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2" and "New York, I Love You." Her 2009 role in "The Private Lives of Pippa Lee" brought considerable praise to her and critical recognition of her acting abilities. She further delighted critics and audiences alike in 2010 by transforming into the gritty character of Krista Coughlin in "The Town." Not one to shy away from blockbusters, Lively also starred in the film "Green Lantern" with Ryan Reynolds.

Lively in "Savages"

Lively's latest project is "Savages," a thriller directed by Oliver Stone. She stars as the steamy Ophelia, also known as O, who is heavily involved in a polyamorous relationship with the lead characters, Chon and Ben. Her boyfriends are in the profitable marijuana-growing business. All is well until a new criminal cartel comes to town. Ben and Chon are approached by members of the cartel with a business proposition to go into partnership together. When the men refuse, O is kidnapped, and they must fight to rescue her in this action-packed thriller.

Lively portrays a hilarious version of a damsel in distress. Rather than obsessing over her possible demise, O is more concerned about her meal options and comfort. Lively plays the role effectively, likely as a result of her experience portraying a rich girl on past projects.

Opportunities on the Horizon

As her career has progressed, Lively has continued to move on to bigger blockbusters. She has successfully conquered both television and the box office with booming hits. In seven short years she has gone from being a typical teen in "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants," to the troubled Krista in "The Town," to the high-maintenance kidnap victim in "Savages." Blake Lively is likely to continue starring in feature films, transforming into edgier roles and captivating audiences with her sunny good looks.