For the second year in a row, SoBe Lifewater grabbed a beautiful woman, flew her to a tropical locale and painted her in lizard-like scales to promote some new flavors. This year’s human canvas: Jessica Szohr, whom you of course know from your favorite CW series, Gossip Girl. With new episodes beginning next week, we checked in with the actress to talk dating, movies, encounters with psychotic fans and, oh yeah, what it’s like to be photographed in nothing but paint. (Try to act like you don’t already know.)
MADE MAN: So, is body paint comfortable?
JESSICA SZOHR: Well, it was like an eleven-hour process to put on. I definitely took some naps. But everyone was so professional, and it was very tastefully done. And I remember when I finally got to look in the mirror, I couldn’t believe it. It looked incredible.
MM: You shot in two different skinsuits. So two eleven-hour days of lying around naked, being coated in body paint?
JS: Two separate days, yep. But it was all worth it because it turned out to be such a beautiful piece of art.
MM: Did you have any ill effects from the Costa Rican jungle? Looked like you were around a lot of leaves…
JS: In the trees, on rocks, in the water. Um, no! It was fine.
MM: Do you envision a future where everyone is just wearing SoBe skinsuits?
JS: I think I had dreams while I was being painted of everyone in these skinsuits.
MM: Do you have a favorite SoBe flavor?
JS: I like the Macintosh Apple Cherry very much. And I really liked the red skinsuit that they did for it.
MM: So did we. Very much. Let’s take a moment to watch a video of you at the shoot…
MM: That was worth it. Gossip Girl returns on January 24. What should we expect?
JS: Oh my gosh. I mean, of course drama. Probably a few breakups and new relationships. I don’t know how much I can say, but I think my character, Vanessa, comes back after the scandal with Serena, and she’s not going to just be this best friend and take care of everyone all the time. So I’m excited for that change.
MM: Is it weird if a guy is a huge fan of the show, or is it flattering?
JS: Um, no! It’s really nice to have fans that appreciate the work that we do and the time that we put in.
MM: Have you ever had a strange encounter with someone who’s been a little too into the show?
JS: One day we were getting off set, and this girl handed me this Hello Kitty keychain. And I was like, “Oh my gosh, thank you so much!” And our security guard grabbed it from me and ripped the head off. I’m like, “What are you doing?” And inside was a little microphone. So now I’m skeptical of taking gifts from people.
MM: Guess we won’t give you our Hello Kitty jazzercise DVD then. You also have a couple of movies coming out this year. Give us a sneak peek.
JS: I just finished this indie called Art Machine, which I shot in Brooklyn for a couple months. I play this artist, and I worked with Joseph Cross, which was amazing. And then Love, Wedding, Marriage was really fun because it was a romantic comedy and I had never done a comedy before. I got to work with Kellan Lutz and Mandy Moore and Jane Seymour, and it was awesome. And we worked in New Orleans.
MM: You probably don’t want to talk about your dating life, but is there anything a guy can do to impress you?
JS: Um, I like to laugh a lot. I like to laugh, and I like pasta.
MM: Do you have any turnoffs we should steer clear of?
JS: I think it’s really rude for people to constantly be checking their cell phones. I always think it’s good to be present and in the moment.
MM: Sorry. We’ll stop texting now.
(Shawn Donnelly is a writer living in New York. Follow him here.)