A Conversation with

Jennifer Johnson and Lizzie Reilly

Gossip Girl hairstylists Lizzie Reilly and Jennifer Johnson are responsible for some of the most talked about and emulated looks of the last five years. We chatted with the two talented stylists to get the inside scoop on the signature styles they抳e created for the show, their favorite Oribe products and other projects they抮e working on

How did you get involved with Gossip Girl?
Lizzie: About five years ago, a friend of mine told me they needed someone to assist on the hair for a pilot named Gossip Girl. I went to the testing day and met the hairdresser on set, Mandy Lyons, and she gave me the job. Ever since then I have been working non-stop trying to figure out new styles that work on screen.

Jennifer: I got connected to Gossip Girl through Lizzie, whom I met while we were both working at Saturday Night Live. I also worked with one of the producers on the show Kidnapped, which didn抰 even last one season

Favorite part of working on set?
Lizzie: One of my favorite things about working on this show is the crew I work with. I have been in this business 13 years now and, finally, on this show, I literally get to work beside best friends. The makeup and hair teams work closely creating and styling.

Jennifer: My favorite part of working on the show is getting to be creative. A lot of shows have very specific looks, but at Gossip Girl we are fortunate that the creators and producers let us have such artistic freedom!

Must-have Oribe product?
Lizzie: Dry Texturizing Spray has completely changed the way we do hair. We used to be rushed off the set because we were always doing last-minute touch-ups and teasing, but now we can just spray and go.

Jennifer: I agree. Dry is seriously magic. I抦 also loving Apr鑣 Beach Wave & Shine Spray for more tousled looks.

Give us the behind-the-scenes scoop on the signature styles?
Lizzie: Right now, I抦 working on Blair (Leighton Meester) and Diana (Elizabeth Hurley). Blair is always more polished than the other kids. She puts real effort into her appearance. This season, however, Blair is entering into womanhood and loosening up a bit, and that抯 reflected in the more natural curls we抮e giving her. Leighton doesn抰 really like a lot of product in her hair, so I simply use a double-barrel curling iron to create the curls, then give her roots a lift with some Oribe Dry. Dry is especially great because Leighton hates teasing, and this product provides the necessary volume without having to put her through that.

I also use Dry on Elizabeth. Her character is a done-up businesswoman, so we抳e given her loose waves that are professional but sexy. After giving her a straight blow-out, I then curl sections of hair back with a -inch iron. I use Dry to add volume on the sides and wherever else necessary. Elizabeth has worked with Oribe in the past and just loves him, so she was thrilled to be using the products.

Jennifer: Blake抯 Serena is perfect without even trying. She抯 simple yet glamorous. To create her beachy texture, I prep her hair with Oribe Apr鑣 Beach and rough-dry it with my hands or with a diffuser. I also spray some Dry on her roots before pulling her hair into a bun and sending her off to makeup. When she gets back to me about an hour later, I let out the bun and use a curling iron to add extra wave where needed. This style is really simple for anyone with long hair. Women with shorter hair can achieve the same effect using several small buns to create wave.


What are you up to outside of Gossip Girl?
Lizzie: Right now I am just laying low. From time to time I do [ex-Gossip Girl star] Taylor Momsen and work with her band The Pretty Reckless.

Jennifer: Over hiatus I worked on the movie Fun Size, which is due to come out next October. Gossip Girl creators Stephanie Savage and Josh Schwartz produced it. I also do Blake抯 hair for events.

--LORI MORRIS

Love it? Share it!