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PEOPLE.COM/Jodi Guglielmi
Sep 21, 2018 @ 2:00 pm

Leighton Meester is ready to leave the Upper East Side for good.

The actress reflected on her days playing UES queen bee Blair Waldorf on Gossip Girl in a new interview with Net-A-Porter’s weekly digital magazine, PorterEdit.

“It was a very special time…that was filled with challenges that have nothing to do with [Gossip Girl] and also sometimes things that did have something to do with it,” she said. “But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s sort of a time capsule.”

And while Meester looks back at her time on the show fondly, she has no interest in returning to the role.

“A lot of the questions that come from it are: ‘Do you miss it?’ ‘Did you love what you wore?’ And I understand that, but — and I say this with nothing but love — it is like saying, ‘High school was an amazing time for you, do you wish you could go back?’ ” she said. “And the truth is, it was so special and such a unique, amazing experience, but no, I wouldn’t wanna go back to it, I was a kid!”

The hit CW teen drama aired from 2007-2012. Meester was just 21 years old when the show first premiered and became an instant hit.

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“I was young when I started Gossip Girl. A lot more people were suddenly around and I was being looked at,” she said. “If you don’t have the right perspective, you could definitely be confused by people being that nice to you or judging you for behavior that’s typical of a 20, 21-year-old… making mistakes but having to make them very publicly.”

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The Single Parents actress said it was difficult trying to navigate her early adulthood in the spotlight.

“Everyone has their own journey, especially in their early twenties when they’re just figuring out who they are. Because of the success of [Gossip Girl], I was put in a place where that journey was sped up,” she continued. “I had to figure it out quickly and with not a completely developed mind to discern between what’s real and what’s not, who I can trust and who I can’t. I got really lucky and was able to very early on find and stay friends with people who are true.”

But looking back, the actress said the set was not always “the healthiest environment.”

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“I’m not haunted by that time, but it’s been interesting and helpful for me to look at it and examine it as an adult,” she added.

Meester, 34, is now married to actor Adam Brody with whom she shares 3-year-old daughter Arlo. She said starting a family helped put her life into perspective.

“I wouldn’t change anything [in the past] because I’m happy where I am now,” she said. “And I think that that’s one of the many wonderful parts of not only having a child and meeting your soulmate, but also I feel really lucky career-wise, really in a place that I want to be.”