XOXO, Whitney Peak
The “Gossip Girl” star and Chanel ambassador keeps her friends close.
By Callie Holtermann
Over Zoom, Whitney Peak stared at a photo of two nearly identical pale gray cats, trying to determine which one was Benny and which one was Björn. Unsure, she placed a FaceTime call to their owner, the singer and actress Sabrina Carpenter.
It took Ms. Carpenter about two seconds to pick up and two more to clarify: “Björn is the annoying one,” she said. “Love you, bye.”
Ms. Peak, 19, a star of HBO’s “Gossip Girl” reboot, which ends Jan. 26, tries to prevent her real-life friendships from resembling some of the less savory ones the cast portrays onscreen. (It was announced last week that the show will not return for a third season.)
“‘Gossip Girl’ opened a lot of doors for me,” Ms. Peak wrote in an email after the show was canceled. “We had such great moments making the show and have so much to be grateful for. I’m going to miss it.”
Over the last few months, Ms. Peak has been far from the Upper East Side. She has filmed a project for Chanel — she is an ambassador for the brand — toured Paris with her mother and visited friends including Ms. Carpenter in Los Angeles.
“I’m very choosy with the people I keep around me,” she said.
Ms. Peak had recently returned to her sunny apartment on the Lower East Side. In a video interview, she was wearing a caramel Baserange polo and sitting between two cherub-shaped lamps that she had picked up in Rhode Island while filming “Hocus Pocus 2.”
With her phone in hand, she offered a look back at her travels through seven photos from her camera roll. Here’s Ms. Peak in her own words.
This interview has been edited.
My mom got the steak, and that’s an eggplant situation and a potato that they came and mashed right in front of us. That tuna steak was the best thing I’ve ever had in my life. Most of the time, if we’re eating, we just talk about how good the food is. I hadn’t seen my mom in a really long time, and this was the first time we got to sit one-on-one and catch up on how my sister and family are doing back home.
Coming back to a New York winter — I just didn’t want to do that. I was like, “OK, I’ll go to L.A., I’ll visit my friends before the holidays and then come back to New York.” My friend, Lilia Buckingham from “Hocus Pocus” — I was staying at her mom’s guesthouse. I had just left the house for the first time and it was actually sunny. I sat there for, like, four hours.
My friend Sabrina Carpenter and I went to this bar where they had a bunch ofPac-Man machines and a photo booth. The bar was completely empty except for maybe two or three people, so we just snuck right in and went to the back and started playing a bunch of games. There’s this one game where you shoot a bunch of animals and monsters that are coming toward you, and me and Sabrina were having a field day with that one. Then, we took over the photo booth. There was no flash so we didn’t know when the picture was being taken, so we had to hold it for a really long time. The last photo is of us being like, “Is it actually taking pictures or are we just looking like idiots right now?”
Sabrina’s allergic to cats, so she can’t really pet them, but she lives with them. That’s Benny and Björn in the photo. I want pets so bad, I think I’ve tried to have everybody in my life convince me to get a dog at least once. But everybody always says the same thing: you’re never home.
“The Kelly Clarkson Show” was my first daytime television interview. She picks out a record for every guest that she has on the show, and she chose a Whitney Houston record for me. She’s really energetic and that took me out of my head a lot. I remember being really nervous immediately before because I saw Andie MacDowell. I love her. I watched “Jane By Design” when I was younger. I didn’t get to tell her that because I got too nervous. I don’t even remember what I said, I feel like I just mumbled a bunch of stuff and everybody just nodded along.
My friend Gabe LaBelle, who just did “The Fabelmans” — his aunt teaches at an elementary school in L.A. He was going to go read a Hanukkah story for story time, so I was like, sure, I’ll come. I decorated cookies with a bunch of first graders. It was really cute, they were coloring Grinches and they were playing Minecraft with me. I’m pretty sure they also gave me the flu.
I was having a great time, and then I got the flu. I genuinely stayed in the same fetal position for like two days. I would wake up and take two Advils and a Sudafed, and then drink this big lemon and ginger tea while sitting on the couch and watching a show. I started watching “Insecure,” and I finished “Emily in Paris,” which is such a funny show. Every single time a season comes out, I’m like, “Oh I’m just going to throw this on,” and I end up watching the entire thing.