"Pretty Reckless" Star Lil-J Taylor Momsen Shows How It's Done
Taylor Mikel Momsen was born July 26th, 1993 in St Louis, Missouri to parents Michael and Colette Momsen. Taylor is best known for her role of Jenny Humphrey in The CW television series "Gossip Girl," but Taylor has had a varied career which straddles several different fields. Most recently, she has made a name for herself as the lead singer for rock group "The Pretty Reckless."
A child actress from the age of three, Taylor was bubbly, outgoing and talented. Her first gig was a national commercial for "Shake-N-Bake." She later also appeared in commercials for "Snuggle" fabric softener.
After moving to New York City, Taylor eventually landed the role of "Honey Bee Swan" in "The Prophet's Game" (2000). Her big break was as "Cindy Lou Who" in Jim Carrey's "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (2000).
After that success, Taylor was on her way. She began getting many offers.
Taylor then landed the role of "Julie Moore" in "We Were Soldiers" (2002). This project was special for Taylor because it also starred her younger sister, Sloane Momsen.
Other movies followed, such as "Hansel & Gretel" (2002), "Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams" (2002), "Saving Shiloh" (2006), and "Spy School" (2008).
In 2007, Taylor got another big break that raised her profile tremendously: she landed the plum role of Jenny Humphrey on "Gossip Girl." It was a huge break... but things took an unexpected turn.
For a few seasons, Taylor played it straight and was the "good girl" on the show. Like another famous former child actress of those years with a cute fan nickname, though, Taylor began having issues on the set. There were stories about arguments behind the scenes of "Gossip Girl," unreliability and some other issues. Offstage, Taylor was becoming distracted by a music career with her group "Pretty Reckless." Some of her promotional work for her band involved nudity or at least provocative poses, which probably contributed to her tenuous status on the show.
Taylor began adopting a "rock chick" image which clashed with the relatively wholesome image of a mainstream television show. All of these issues led many of Taylor's fans to begin referring to her as "The Infamous Lil-J," a play on her character from the show.
Taylor's appearances on the show began dwindling, and she was dropped as a regular in 2011. After that, she only appeared now and then. To be fair, another regular on the show, Jessica Szohr, also was dropped at the same time. From that point forward, Taylor was only invited back on a guest starring basis. Tellingly, she has no acting credits since "Gossip Girl" ended in 2012.
Taylor starting touring with The Pretty Reckless when she appeared on Van's Warp Tour during the summer of 2010. Taylor is the lead singer and she writes all of her own lyrics. She has toured all over the UK and US and is a bona fide singing and fashion star!
Around 2010, Taylor also began accelerating her modelling career. She had signed with IMG in 2008, undoubtedly due to her success on "Gossip Girl." This was a reversal of the usual pattern, where models try to become actresses. Taylor became the face of British fashion chain New Look for its spring/summer 2010 collection and later the face of Samantha Thavasa's handbag line. Thus, as her acting career collapsed, Taylor switched neatly to a lucrative modelling career.
With "Gossip Girl" making its final new episode in 2012 - in which Taylor only briefly appeared - Taylor now concentrates on her modelling and singing careers. She was on the cover of Maxim in the November 2013 issue and made FHM's Hot 100 list in 2012.
Pretty Reckless, Taylor's band, continues to tour and record. It's most successful album to date was "Going to Hell," released on 12 March 2012, which hit No. 5 in the US and No. 8 in Great Britain. The group's singles have enjoyed great success on the US Mainstream Rock chart, with four number ones. The band also got a number one hit on the UK Rock chart. Taylor definitely has a lot going for her, and is making her mark as a musician.