Anyone who thinks fame is wasted on the young need only spend some time with Leighton Meester of “Gossip Girl.”

This story first appeared in the May 15, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Dressed in an emerald Monique Lhuillier one-shoulder dress with Jimmy Choo shoes, the diminutive, raven-haired actress looked nothing short of delighted to be a Modern Bride Trendsetter presenter Tuesday night at the Palace Hotel in Manhattan, despite the fact she had been there more times than she can count for shoots for the show.

“I was thinking when I was getting changed upstairs, we just shot a wedding scene over there and a rehearsal dinner scene there,” said Meester.

Oscar de la Renta, Bobbi Brown, Tamara Mellon for Jimmy Choo and Spanx founder Sara Blakely were among the other fashion types honored as 2008 Modern Bride Trendsetters.

Born in Marco Island, Fla., the 22-year-old Meester is clearly relishing every vignette in her rapidly changing life, and not just in Gotham. “I was just in Italy. I did some shopping at Dolce & Gabbana and La Perla — that was kind of personal — and Armani. I walked into Valentino and thought, ‘Wow! I’m really here.’ There were gorgeous dresses and gowns.

“I have absolutely become much more aware of fashion in the past year in terms of who [certain] designers are and the different styles I like,” she said.

Asked if she has talked with any designers about potential alliances or advertising campaigns, Meester said, “I’m definitely befriending different designers,” declining to be more specific.

But with an album of songs she has written in the works, more on-screen bitchiness and perhaps a trip abroad planned for her “Gossip Girl” character and a return to “Entourage” next season, Meester isn’t giving much thought about how her day-to-day appearance may be grooming any wannabees. “Being a trendsetter means not being aware of it and that’s really cool — just being yourself,” she said.

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