Taylor Michel Momsen (born July 26, 1993) is an American actress, musician and model who portrays the character of Jenny Humphrey on the CW television series Gossip Girl and portrayed the role of Cindy Lou Who in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and fronts the rock band The Pretty Reckless.
Early life and career
Taylor Momsen was born on July 26, 1993 in St. Louis, Missouri. Her parents are Michael and Collette Momsen and she has a younger sister, Sloane Momsen, who is also an actress. She attended Our Lady of Lourdes School and was raised Roman Catholic. She began acting professionally at three years of age with a national commercial for Shake 'N' Bake. She was then cast in The Prophet's Game. In 2000, Momsen played the role of Cindy Lou Who in How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Two years later she was cast in the motion picture: Hansel and Gretel, in which she played Gretel.
Momsen's career came to a halt for over three years until she received the lead role in the never-aired WB series Misconceptions. Momsen appeared in the 2006 film Saving Shiloh and also the 2007 Walt Disney Pictures film Underdog, as Molly. She auditioned for the title role in Hannah Montana, and was in the top three, but the role was instead awarded to Miley Cyrus. In 2008 Taylor Momsen starred as Jennifer in the movie Paranoid Park, directed by Gus Van Sant. As of 2007 she plays the character of Jenny Humphrey in The CW television series Gossip Girl, which is based on the book series by Cecily von Ziegesar. Taylor attended the Professional Performing Arts School in New York City alongside Connor Paolo, Gregory Malek-Jones and Karina Pasian. Momsen, who appeared in only four episodes through the first half of season four, was then scheduled for an indefinite hiatus from the show.
On August 16, 2011, Momsen told Elle magazine that she quit acting to focus on her music career.
In June 2008, at the age of fourteen, Momsen signed to IMG Models.
Taylor was the face of British fashion chain New Look for its spring/summer 2010 collection. After weeks of speculation of who was the face of Madonna's 2010 fashion line "Material Girl", Momsen was announced on July 15, 2010. A week later, Momsen was announced as the model for John Galliano's new women's fragrance, scheduled to launch in autumn 2010.
Momsen has stated that "music is where I can be me", saying that "Acting is easy. I've been doing it for so long and I totally love it. But you're playing a character instead of yourself. Music is more personal because you're writing it and you're involved in every step of it." Aged five, Momsen recorded the song "Christmas, Why Can't I Find You?" for the soundtrack to How the Grinch Stole Christmas. In 2002, she recorded the songs "One Small Voice" and "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" for the compilation album School's Out! Christmas.
In March 2009 Momsen stated in an interview with OK! Magazine that her band The Pretty Reckless had then recently signed a deal with Interscope Records. She writes all the songs, sings and plays simple guitar on the album. She played her first tour with her band opening for The Veronicas on their Revenge is Sweeter Tour in spring 2009.
The band's debut album Light Me Up was released on August 30, 2010 in the UK, where it debuted at number 6, as well as at number 18 in Ireland. The first single "Make Me Wanna Die" was released on May 30, 2010, where it peaked at number 16, while the second single "Miss Nothing" which was released on August 23, 2010 peaked at number 39. The third single released has been "Just Tonight".
Heidi Montag recorded "Blackout", a song written by Momsen. According to Momsen, she wrote the song when she was 8 years old and recorded it as a demo with a producer. Montag released the song as a digital only single, with the music video being directed by her husband Spencer Pratt. Momsen commented about the recording: "I'm like, okay, dude, you're singing an 8-year-old's words, but that's cool. It's so funny because I didn't shop it or anything and I get this call going, 'Did you write a song for Heidi Montag'? And I'm like 'What?'". The track was later included on Montag's debut studio album Superficial.
On July 27, 2011, Taylor Momsen announced via Twitter that the band will be touring with Evanescence as the supporting act during the fall of 2011.