Jessica Szohr
Name Jessica Karen Szohr
Birthplace Menonomee Falls, Wisconsin
Date of Birth March 31, 1985 (age 32)
Role on Gossip Girl Vanessa Abrams

Jessica Karen Szohr (surname pronounced /ˈzɔːr/ or "soar"; born March 31, 1985) is an American actress. She started her screen career appearing on television shows such as CSI: Miami and What About Brian. She gained recognition in 2007 with her breakthrough role as Vanessa Abrams on The CW's teen drama series Gossip Girl (2007–12).[2] She has also appeared in feature films including the 2011 comedy I Don't Know How She Does It and the 2013 film The Internship. In 2014, Szohr was in the Hallmark movie, Lucky in Love.

Background Edit

Szohr was born in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, a place she has described as a "family-oriented small town". She is of Hungarian and black ancestry. The oldest of five children (Megan, Danielle, Nick and Sadie), Szohr played soccer, served on the student council, and was part of the cheerleading squad while in school. She started a cleaning company with a friend, cleaning their teachers' houses.

Szohr started modeling at age six. Her first national campaign was for Quaker Oats at age ten, and she also appeared in print ads for Kohl's department store. Subsequent modelling gigs followed, including prints for Crate & Barrel, Mountain Dew, Sears, Jockey and JanSport. Szohr graduated from Menomonee Falls High School a semester early and moved to Los Angeles with her mother at the age of 17 to pursue an acting career. She told Seventeen magazine that she "almost moved home like five times." She initially aspired to become an interior designer and had enrolled in Columbia College Chicago, but her agent ultimately convinced her to try pilot season auditions.

Career Edit

Szohr made her debut as an actress in 2003 in an episode of the third season of My Wife and Kids, titled "Not So Hostile Takeover". Her first film was Uncle Nino (2003), playing a minor role as The MC. She appeared in numerous guest teen television series such as That's So RavenDrake & JoshWhat I Like About You, and Joan of Arcadia. She also appeared in three episodes of CSI: Miami as lab tech Samantha Barrish. Special note, Kaylee DeFer, Leighton Meester and Matthew Settle would all guest on the show before landing their lead roles on this series.

In 2007, she appeared in a major recurring role as Laura for six episodes in the ABC dramedy series What About Brian. Along with Stacy Keibler, she played a neighbor to the leading role, Brian O'Hara (Barry Watson). She also appeared in the music videos for "Best Days" by Matt White and "Over You" by Daughtry, in which she played Sarah.

In the same year, Szohr earned her breakthrough role on the hit CW teen drama series Gossip Girl. She plays Vanessa Abrams. Szohr described her character to Ocean Drive magazine, "Vanessa doesn't change for other people. She says what she thinks. [...] she's just a badass girl from Brooklyn". The portrayal of Vanessa has drawn criticism from Gossip Girl author Cecily von Ziegesar. Originally cast as a recurring role, Szohr was promoted to series regular after the season one episode The Blair Bitch Project in April 2008. In May 2011, it was confirmed Szohr would not be returning for the fifth season. She returned in for a cameo appearance on the series finale, New York, I Love You XOXO, on December 17, 2012.

Szohr has appeared in small roles in films such as Somebody Help MeThe Reading Room and Fired Up. She signed on to Dimension Films' horror Piranha 3D, in the role of Kelly. The role required her to be underwater; Szohr later told the New York Daily News filming was difficult because she was "not the best swimmer." Filming began in June 2009, and the film was pushed back from its original release date in March to August 2010. She also appeared in a Funny or Die video promoting the film alongside Kelly Brook and others.

Szohr was awarded the Breakthrough Actress in Film award at the 2010 Breakthrough of the Year awards for her work in Piranha 3D.

In April 2010, Szohr joined the cast of the romantic comedy Love, Wedding, Marriage, along with Mandy Moore and Kellan Lutz. The film began principal photography in April 2010 and was filmed in New Orleans.

Szohr has a role in the 2012 independent post-apocalyptic sci-fi film Hirokin. Her role as Orange has been described as a "cunning temptress".

Szohr stars in the indie drama Art Machine as an outlaw hipster and a pyrotechnic artist. In October 2011, she finished filming a horror comedy film in East Lothian, Scotland titled Love Bite with co-star Ed Speleers. In November 2011, Szohr filmed the drama Light Years in Los Angeles.

In 2012, Szohr helped Hayden Panettiere punk Glee actress Dianna Agron.

Szohr appeared in Taylor Swift's 2013 music video for the song "22". In March 2013, she was cast as the female lead in the Fox drama pilot The List, playing FBIagent Natalie Voss. However, it was reported on May 8, 2013 that Fox had passed on the pilot. In November 2013, Szohr was cast as Gretchen in USA Network's medical drama pilot Complications.

In June 2015, Szohr was set as a recurring on the upcoming second season of DirecTV’s MMA drama Kingdom. Szohr will play Laura Melvin, an artist/photographer who has "read everything, been everywhere," and immediately intrigued by Jay (Jonathan Tucker) whom she wants to hire for a photo shoot.

Personal Life Edit

Szohr enjoys snowboarding, hiking, yoga, and football. She describes her hobbies as a result of her being "from Wisconsin". She also is a Green Bay Packers fan.

Szohr describes her real-life fashion as "simple and casual". Speaking to Vogue, she said, "I wouldn't say I'm trendy or follow any particular trends." She has twenty-two tattoos, including her grandparents' anniversary on her left arm and a putto on her foot.

She told Parade magazine that, in order to avoid real-life gossip, she does not read blogs. Szohr is a friend of singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, Jessica Stam, Nina Dobrev, and Dianna Agron.

She dated her Gossip Girl co-star Ed Westwick from 2008 until 2010.

In 2010, Szohr was included on People magazine's "100 Most Beautiful People in the World" list.

Filmography Edit

Movies Edit

Movie Role Year Notes
Uncle Nino The MC 2003
The Reading Room Dayva 2005 Television film
Somebody Help Me Nicole 2007 Direct-to-DVD
Fired Up! Kara 2009
Piranha 3D Kelly Driscoll 2010
Love, Wedding, Marriage Shelby 2011
I Don't Know How She Does It Paula 2011
Tower Heist Sasha Gibbs 2011
Hirokin Orange 2012
Art Machine Cassandra Moon 2012
Love Bite Juliana 2012
Pawn Bonnie 2013
The Internship Marielena 2013
Brightest Star Lita Markovic 2013
House at the End of the Drive Krista 2014
Lucky in Love Mira Simon 2014 Television film
10 Cent Pistol Chelsea 2014
Two Night Stand Faiza 2014
Club Life Tanya 2015
Ted 2 Allison 2015

Television Edit

Show Role Year(s) Notes
My Wife & Kids Dee-Jay 2003 Episode: "Not So Hostile Takeover"
What I Like About You Liz 2004 Episode: "Lunar Eclipse of the Heart"
Drake & Josh 2004 Episode: "Two Idiots and a Baby"
Joan of Arcadia Nikki 2004 Episode: "Double Dutch"
That's So Raven Jordache Hilltopper 2005 Episode: "The Big Buzz"
What About Brian Laura 2007 6 episodes
CSI: Miami Samantha Barrish 2007 3 episodes
Gossip Girl Vanessa Abrams 2007-2012 Main cast (Seasons 1-4); special guest star (Season 6); 61 episodes
The City Herself 2010 Episode: "The Belle of Elle"
Punk'd Herself 2012 Episode: "Hayden Panettiere"
Men at Work Jenny 2013 Episode: "Long Distance Tyler"
Complications Gretchen Polk 2015 Main cast; 10 episodes
Kingdom Laura Melvin 2015 5 episodes
CSI: Cyber Carmen Lopez / Blaze / Det. April Castilla 2015 Episode: "Gone in 6 Seconds"
Twin Peaks Renne 2017 3 episodes
Shameless Nessa 2017-18 Recurring role (Season 8)

Music Videos Edit

Artist Song Year Role
Matt White "Best Days" 2007
Daughtry "Over You" 2007 Sarah
Taylor Swift "22" 2013 Swift's Best Friend
A Great Big World "Already Home" 2014
The Black Eyed Peas "Where Is The Love? (2016 version" 2016 Cameo
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.