Jordan Alexander on Her ‘Gossip Girl’ Role: ‘It’s Important to See Black Characters Who Aren’t Just There to Be Your Justice Compass’

by Yah Yah
Voiced by Amazon Polly

I did enjoy the run of the “Gossip Girl” series in the 90s. I also tend to be of the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” mindset, so when HBO Max announced the reboot… I was hesitant.

However, after announcing two Black leads… my interest was more than piqued, and when the series began — I was instantly hooked.

The show debuted in July with just six episodes, with the remaining six episodes premiering in November. On the show, Jordan Alexander (who’s absolutely stunning) plays Julien — an influencer and rising model attending NYC’s most elite high school — Constance, who faces an identity crisis after inviting her half-sister, Zoya Lott, played by Whitney Peak, to join Constance.

We then see Julien and Zoya go back and forth over boys, friendships while trying to figure out the boundaries of their relationship with each other. And the series is smoking hot. If you thought the original series was a total sex-a-thon— this reboot will make even “that” friend blush…

Im serious. It’s insanely HOT.

During a recent visit to “The Karen Hunter Show,” Alexander spoke candidly about her portrayal of Julien. She knows Julien is no saint. But neither is Zoya.

Alexander also makes it clear that she’s nothing like Julien.

“This character, as far as how I see it, is a [completely] whole other person, except for these really super core things that I would try to inject into any character. Like you’re saying… she’s not “one-dimensional.” Of course, you kind of look at somebody who’s taking lots of photos and really about the aesthetic,” says Alexander. “And you assume you know everything about them. But people aren’t one thing. It doesn’t happen. So there’s always going to be that. But I think that Julien is potentially the farthest from me as Jordan, as a character I’ve ever played, and potentially as anyone. We are very, very opposites.”

In the episodes which premiered earlier this week, we say Julien and Zoya hit more than a bump or two after Julien’s father is rocked by a huge scandal.

“I mean, there is no Julien without Zoya, and vice versa,” Alexander muses. “I think that these two represent challenges of any relationship. And especially a sibling relationship can be challenging enough, let alone, if you don’t even know that person.”

Alexander knows all about sisterly conflict.

“I have two sisters, and we fight. And we’ve known each other our whole lives. I can’t even imagine what it would be like if we didn’t have that basis. But I think, luckily for Julien and Zoya, there is that really strong current of love between them. They have a shared trauma in losing their mom, and then this experience of being kept apart. So I think that, that will be enough to hold them together, or I’m hoping so.”

One of the central themes of “Gossip Girl” is the extreme level of wealth, and therefore power, the over-privileged high-schoolers yield. The original had no Black leads and Constance was not a diverse environment (at all) but in 2021… things have changed. While Julien’s father is loaded, Zoya’s father makes a humble living. At times, money does appear to be a barrier to their sisterly connection.

“It’s really representative of the experience of rich Black people, because you do get a certain sense of insulation due to having money, which I think is like a rift between Julien and Zoya. Because I think Julien tries, but just is not as aware of how these things are impacting people who don’t have money,” Alexander explains. “So there’s also race, but there’s also class involved,” she says. “It is important to see Black characters who aren’t just there to be your justice compass, because not everybody is like that. Just because you’re Black doesn’t mean you care. And especially I think, money tends to insulate people from the experiences.”

Watch the full interview above.

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