Jessica Karen Szohr (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). She has also appeared in feature films including the 2010 horror film Piranha 3D, 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.
Szohr was born in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, a place she has described as a "family-oriented small town". She is of Hungarian descent and one quarter African-American. 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...
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