Before she was "Little J" as Jenny Humphrey, actress Taylor Momsen was little Cindy Lou Who.
The Gossip Girl alum opened up in a rare interview on Friday, Dec. 11, to reflect on the 20th anniversary of her breakout role in the 2000 film How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
It's been two decades since the 27-year-old rocker portrayed the tiniest citizen of Whoville, opposite Jim Carrey's iconic green grouch. Taylor was only 7 years old at the time.
Speaking with Today, she explained, "The thing that I remember the most that probably resonated with me to this day as an adult was the first time that I went into a recording studio and got to work with the amazing James Horner." The celebrated composer was a conductor for The Grinch and worked on the scores for Titanic, Avatar and Star Trek.
Taylor continued, "I'll never forget walking into this beautiful studio, with this immaculate console in front of me, and putting headphones on and singing into a microphone for the first time, singing 'Where Are You Christmas.'"
She said it was a special experience because it helped inspire her to get into the music industry.
"That was such an impactful moment in my life because it made me go, 'I wanna make music for the rest of my life. I love being in a recording studio,'" the singer-songwriter said.
In fact, she considers her candy-coated songs in The Grinch to be her first taste of creating music videos (and, crucially, her first time wearing fake eyelashes).
"I'm in my bedroom singing 'Where Are You Christmas' with the flashlight. I mean, essentially, that was my first music video. So I always get a kick out of that. And I remember thinking that was a really fun scene to film," the star said.
She went on to play Dan's lil sister, the fashion-inspired Jenny, in Gossip Girl from 2007 to 2012. However, it was the last TV series or feature film she did, as she's since pivoted to music.
In 2010, her band The Pretty Reckless released its debut album Light Me Up featuring the track "Make Me Wanna Die." The rock group more recently dropped the single "Death by Rock and Roll," co-written by Taylor and Ben Phillips, in May 2020. The album of the same name is expected on Feb. 11, 2021.
In 2014, Taylor told The Daily Beast about her transition from Upper East Sider to touring musician. "When I got to a place where I realized I was in control of my own life, and had found the right band, and everything was coming to fruition, it wasn't even a question: I was going to quit my day job," she said. "I came to set every day with a f--kin' guitar."
She feels it all worked out after she gradually left the CW show during season four. "But I'm very lucky that the producers were nice enough to write me out, allow me to tour and pursue my passion, because they very easily could have told me to go f--k myself and keep me on the show," the "Only You" artist added.
See what more kids from our favorite holiday classics look like now.