"I don't think I relate to any of my characters!" says Blake Lively.
If that statement takes any her fans by surprise, it shouldn't. As the 28-year-old actress explains to BuzzFeed, "I played a crack addict from Boston [in The Town], I've played an Upper East Side princess [in Gossip Girl], I've played a blind woman [in All I See Is You], I've played a woman that was an incredible surfer being eaten by a shark [in The Shallows], I've played a woman who's 108 years old who's never aged [in Age of Adaline], I've played a great soccer player who magically fits into pants [in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2]—what else have I done? I've played a woman who's married to a 74-year-old Alan Arkin [in The Private Lives of Pippa Lee], I've played someone who's a fighter pilot who's with a superhero [in The Green Lantern]...[I've played] someone who's had two boyfriends who were both drug dealers and was kidnapped by the Mexican Cartel [in Savages]. That doesn't relate."
Each choice was intentional. "The safety in that is that I never played characters that are like me," she says. "Because I think if I did I wouldn't be able to act because it's too much like me."
The role Lively is best known for is Serena van der Woodsen, the wealthy socialite who ruled New York City's Upper East Side with Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester) for six seasons on The CW's Gossip Girl. Separating herself from the character she played hasn't been easy. "The dangerous thing of being on a TV show for six years is that people have seen—we did like 127 episodes, and I lived in New York, I shared half my wardrobe with my character, I dated my co-star [Penn Badgley] who I dated on the show, who then suddenly was my brother on the show which was a very strange thing that they do," she says. "But I think that that's probably the biggest thing is that people probably think I'm a lot like that because that's what they've seen the most of me, so when people really get to know me or I make jokes they're surprised by my dry humor—I think I'm Jason Bateman with my dry humor but people think I'm Serena van der Woodsen, which is very confusing to them. But yeah, I haven't played anything like myself."
Lively, who is pregnant with her second child, lives in upstate New York with her husband, Ryan Reynolds, 39, and their daughter James, 2. One of the main reasons they moved away from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan was to ensure that they stay grounded. "All this stuff isn't real life. This is my job and this is what I do for a chunk of the year, but my personal life is not my professional life. So, you know, I think that's the way that it doesn't become you, or you don't become it. So I have a great family, and that goes into not just my husband and my daughter, but it goes into my siblings, my nieces and nephews, my parents," she tells BuzzFeed. "I live a very, very normal life. And then this stuff happens and it's weird, and sensational, and exciting, and all of that. But it's also...I have an understanding that it's very temporary and fleeting."