"I don't even think the kids knew my name. I was just 'Grinch girl,' " the actress said
On Wednesday's episode of SiriusXM's Podcrushed podcast — co-hosted by her former Gossip Girl costar Penn Badgley — Momsen, now 30, recalled being a child actress in school after the release of the 2000 holiday film starring Jim Carrey based on Dr. Seuss' book.
"Making friends was always challenging for me," said the actress-turned-musician. "First of all, The Grinch changed my life in a multitude of ways — one of them being I was made fun of relentlessly."
"Every time I would start a new school or go somewhere else, I don't even think the kids knew my name. I was just 'Grinch girl,' " Momsen added. "Not even the character name [Cindy Lou Who], just Grinch girl. I got used to it, but it was alienating."
After one of his co-hosts said "jealousy" may have been the culprit, Badgley, 36, joked, "No, no, it was because those young children are very confident in who they are, and they're just seeing reality."
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Laughing at her one-time onscreen big brother's quip, Momsen — who largely retired from acting after starring as Jenny Humphrey in Gossip Girl, and has been the frontwoman for rock band The Pretty Reckless since 2009 — recalled how she found her footing socially in middle school.
"That was the first [full] year where I was in school, and I had the opportunity to try and actually make friends," she said. "I put a band together. It was my first band, my middle-school band, a garage band. We never could settle on a name. But we would jam after school, and that was always fun. I was singing, playing guitar, writing."
"So as soon as I started to find my little groove in school as a normal kid, Gossip Girl came about and I got uprooted to New York. The band fell apart," Momsen said, joking, "We were gonna be huge. It was a real bummer."
"And I had to kind of restart it all again in New York, which didn't take me that long," she added, referring to The Pretty Reckless.
"And it took a minute to find the right band members ... I really wanted to make my own kind of makeshift family," Momsen said. "I wanted to be in a band; I wanted to be part of something and not do it by myself. I wanted to be The Beatles; I didn't want to be Elvis — who wants to do this alone? I wanted to share it with people."
In a December 2020 interview with Today, Momsen reflected on her experience playing Cindy Lou Who in How the Grinch Stole Christmas and revealed some little-known facts about the film as it celebrated its 20th anniversary.
The singer, who was 7 years old when she starred in the movie, said she felt lucky to have been part of a film that has been able to resonate with people for so many years.
"I think that people love The Grinch just simply because the core of the story is so sweet and it's so heartwarming and it has such a good message," Momsen said. "That no matter what age touches your heart, I think that that’s an amazing thing to be a part of. "
"The fact that it comes back around every year — I think it's something to look forward to. And I think it just kinda brings happiness and joy to anyone who watches it," she added.
New episodes of Podcrushed air Wednesdays on podcast-streaming platforms.
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