Szohr at the 2015 Television Critics Association’s Press Tour
Jessica Karen Szohr
March 31, 1985
Jessica Karen Szohr (//; born March 31, 1985) is an American actress. She started her screen career appearing on television shows such as My Wife and Kids (2003), Joan of Arcadia (2004), What About Brian (2007) and CSI: Miami (2007). She gained recognition in 2007 with her breakthrough role as Vanessa Abrams on The CW's teen drama series Gossip Girl (2007–12). She has appeared in feature films including the horror film Piranha 3D (2010), the comedy film I Don't Know How She Does It (2011), the comedy film The Internship (2013) and the comedy film Ted 2 (2015). Her recent television credits include Complications (2015), Kingdom (2015), Twin Peaks (2017) and Shameless (2017–18). In 2018, she joined the cast during the second season of the science fiction series The Orville.
Szohr was born in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, a place she has described as a "family-oriented small town". She is of Hungarian and African-American ancestry. The oldest of five children (Megan, Danielle, Nick and Sadie), Szohr played soccer, served on the student council, and was part of the cheerleading squad while in school. She started a cleaning company with a friend, cleaning their teachers' houses.
Szohr started modeling at age six. Her first national campaign was for Quaker Oats at age ten, and she also appeared in print ads for Kohl's department store. Subsequent modeling gigs followed, including prints for Crate & Barrel, Mountain Dew, Sears, Jockey and JanSport. Szohr graduated from Menomonee Falls High School a semester early and moved to Los Angeles with her mother at the age of 17 to pursue an acting career. She told Seventeen magazine that she "almost moved home like five times." She initially aspired to become an interior designer and had enrolled in Columbia College Chicago, but her agent ultimately convinced her to try pilot season auditions.
Szohr made her debut as an actress in 2003 in an episode of the third season of My Wife and Kids, titled "Not So Hostile Takeover". Her first film was Uncle Nino (2003), playing a minor role as The MC. She appeared in numerous guest teen television series such as That's So Raven, Drake & Josh, What I Like About You, and Joan of Arcadia. She also appeared in three episodes of CSI: Miami as Samantha Barrish.
In 2007, she appeared in a major recurring role as Laura for six episodes in the ABC dramedy series What About Brian. Along with Stacy Keibler, she played a neighbor to the leading role, Brian O'Hara (Barry Watson). She also appeared in the music videos for "Best Days" by Matt White and "Over You" by Daughtry, in which she played Sarah.
In the same year, Szohr earned her breakthrough role on the hit CW teen drama series Gossip Girl. She plays Vanessa Abrams. Szohr described her character to Ocean Drive magazine, "Vanessa doesn't change for other people. She says what she thinks. [...] she's just a badass girl from Brooklyn". The portrayal of Vanessa has drawn criticism from Ziegesar. Originally cast as a recurring role, Szohr was promoted to series regular after the season one episode "The Blair Bitch Project" in April 2008. In May 2011, it was confirmed Szohr would not be returning for the fifth season. She returned in for a cameo appearance on the series finale, "New York, I Love You XOXO", on December 17, 2012.
Szohr has appeared in small roles in films such as Somebody Help Me, The Reading Room and Fired Up. She signed on to Dimension Films' horror Piranha 3D, in the role of Kelly. The role required her to be underwater; Szohr later told the New York Daily News filming was difficult because she was "not the best swimmer." Filming began in June 2009, and the film was pushed back from its original release date in March to August 2010. She also appeared in a Funny or Die video promoting the film alongside Kelly Brook and others.
Szohr was awarded the Breakthrough Actress in Film award at the 2010 Breakthrough of the Year awards for her work in Piranha 3D.
In April 2010, Szohr joined the cast of the romantic comedy Love, Wedding, Marriage, along with Mandy Moore and Kellan Lutz. The film began principal photography in April 2010 and was filmed in New Orleans. That same year, Szohr was included on People magazine's "100 Most Beautiful People in the World" list.
Szohr starred in the 2012 indie drama Art Machine as an outlaw hipster and a pyrotechnic artist. In October 2011, she finished filming a horror comedy film in East Lothian, Scotland titled Love Bite with co-star Ed Speleers. In November 2011, Szohr filmed the drama Light Years in Los Angeles.
Szohr appeared in Taylor Swift's 2013 music video for the song "22". In March 2013, she was cast as the female lead in the Fox drama pilot The List, playing FBI agent Natalie Voss. However, it was reported on May 8, 2013 that Fox had passed on the pilot. In November 2013, Szohr was cast as Gretchen in USA Network's medical drama pilot Complications.
In June 2015, Szohr was set as a recurring on the upcoming second season of DirecTV’s MMA drama Kingdom. Szohr will play Laura Melvin, an artist/photographer who has "read everything, been everywhere," and immediately intrigued by Jay (Jonathan Tucker) whom she wants to hire for a photo shoot.
Szohr describes her real-life fashion as "simple and casual". Speaking to Vogue, she said, "I wouldn't say I'm trendy or follow any particular trends." She has twenty-two tattoos, including her grandparents' anniversary on her left arm and a putto on her foot.
|2003||Uncle Nino||The MC|
|2010||Piranha 3D||Kelly Driscoll|
|2011||Love, Wedding, Marriage||Shelby|
|2011||I Don't Know How She Does It||Paula|
|2011||Tower Heist||Sasha Gibbs|
|2012||Art Machine||Cassandra Moon|
|2013||Brightest Star||Lita Markovic|
|2014||House at the End of the Drive||Krista|
|2014||10 Cent Pistol||Chelsea|
|2014||Two Night Stand||Faiza|
|2003||My Wife and Kids||Dee-Jay||Episode: "Not So Hostile Takeover"|
|2004||What I Like About You||Liz||Episode: "Lunar Eclipse of the Heart"|
|2004||Drake & Josh||N/A||Episode: "Two Idiots and a Baby"|
|2004||Joan of Arcadia||Nikki||Episode: "Double Dutch"|
|2005||That's So Raven||Jordache Hilltopper||Episode: "The Big Buzz"|
|2005||The Reading Room||Dayva||Television film|
|2007||What About Brian||Laura||6 episodes|
|2007||CSI: Miami||Samantha Barrish||3 episodes|
|2007–2012||Gossip Girl||Vanessa Abrams||Main role (seasons 1–4); special guest star (season 6)|
|2007||Somebody Help Me||Nicole||Television film|
|2010||The City||Herself||Episode: "The Belle of Elle"|
|2012||Punk'd||Herself||Episode: "Hayden Panettiere"|
|2013||Men at Work||Jenny||Episode: "Long Distance Tyler"|
|2014||Lucky in Love||Mira Simon||Television film|
|2015||Complications||Gretchen Polk||Main role|
|2015||Kingdom||Laura Melvin||5 episodes|
|2015||CSI: Cyber||Carmen Lopez / Blaze / Det. April Castilla||Episode: "Gone in 6 Seconds"|
|2017||Twin Peaks||Renee||3 episodes|
|2019–||The Orville||Talla Keyali||Series Regular|
|2007||"Best Days"||Matt White|
|2013||"22"||Taylor Swift||Swift's best friend|
|2014||"Already Home"||A Great Big World|
|2016||"Where Is the Love?" (2016 version)||The Black Eyed Peas||Cameo|
Awards and nominations
|2011||MTV Movie Award||Best Scared-As-S**t Performance||Piranha 3D||Nominated|
- Madeleine Marr (March 16, 2009). "Jessica Szohr isn't a glamour girl". The Miami Herald. p. A8.
- "Szohr's High School 'Very Different' From 'Gossip Girl' World". PopEater. AOL. March 5, 2009. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
- "World's Most Beautiful 2010! – Jessica Szohr". People. Time. April 28, 2010. Retrieved August 22, 2010.
- Bialek, Nan (March 7, 2011). "Girl, uninterrupted". gmtoday.com. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
- Prato, Alison (May 26, 2009). "Gossip Girl's Jessica Szohr Dresses up and Dishes on Ed Westwick". Page Six Magazine (New York Post). Archived from the original on September 19, 2012. Retrieved August 19, 2010.
- "Seventeen Interviews Jessica Szohr from Gossip Girl!". Seventeen. March 13, 2009. Archived from the original on March 5, 2010. Retrieved January 25, 2010.
- "Jessica Szohr". US Magazine. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
- "JESSICA SZOHR as VANESSA ABRAMS". The CW. Archived from the original on March 10, 2010. Retrieved January 24, 2010.
- "Gossip Girl Transformations". InStyle. Retrieved January 24, 2010.
- Eichinger, Elle (July 23, 2015). "Jessica Szohr: It's complicated". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on July 27, 2015. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
- "Stacy Keibler and Jessica Szohr Join What About Brian". Movie Web. December 13, 2006. Retrieved August 20, 2010.
- Ausiello, Michael (September 16, 2007). "Exclusive Girl Gossip: Brian Babe Joins Cast!". TV Guide. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
- Byrne, Fiona (November 20, 2007). "The Night We Met Vanessa From 'Gossip Girl' and Didn't Kill Her". New York Magazine. Retrieved October 25, 2010.
- Vena, Jocelyn (October 15, 2008). "'Gossip Girl' Author Is A 'Faithful Watcher' Of The TV Series — Although One Thing Was 'Ruined' …". MTV News. Viacom. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
- Dodd, Stacy (September 23, 2007). "Jessica Szohr". Variety. PMC. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
- "The Blair Bitch Project". Gossip Girl. Season 1. Episode 14. April 21, 2008. The CW.
- Ausiello, Michael (May 9, 2011). "Gossip Girl Exclusive: Taylor Momsen and Jessica Szohr Not Returning For Season 5". TVLine. PMC. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
- Gonzalez, Sandra (December 17, 2012). "'Gossip Girl' series finale: Talk about it here! (Updated)". Entertainment Weekly. Time. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
- Kroll, Justin (May 26, 2009). "Jessica Szohr added to 'Piranha 3-D'". Variety. Retrieved August 19, 2010.
- "Jessica Szohr to Be Devoured by Piranhas". New York Magazine. June 5, 2009. Retrieved August 19, 2010.
- E. Osterhout, Jacob (August 15, 2010). "'Gossip Girl' star Jessica Szohr battles her fear of deep lakes in 'Piranha 3D'". New York Daily News. Retrieved August 20, 2010.
- Connelly, Brendon (January 15, 2010). "Piranha 3D Pushed Back At Least Four Months, Might Not Even Be 3D". Slash Film. Retrieved August 20, 2010.
- "Piranha 3D: For Your Consideration". Funny or Die. Retrieved August 20, 2010.
- "Agron & Szohr Land Top Breakthrough Honors". W.E.N.N. August 16, 2010. Archived from the original on August 23, 2010. Retrieved August 27, 2010.
- Scott, Mike (April 27, 2010). "Dermot Mulroney to try directing with new Orleans-shot romantic comedy". Nola. Retrieved August 20, 2010.
- McNary, Dave (May 26, 2009). "Thesps join 'Hirokin' list'". Variety. Retrieved August 19, 2010.
- Kit, Borys (October 25, 2010). "EXCLUSIVE: Joseph Cross, Jessica Szohr Starring in Indie 'Art Machine'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 25, 2010.
- "Dianna Agron gets Punk'd by Jessica Szohr and Hayden Panettier!". Facebook. Retrieved December 14, 2014.
- Andreeva, Nellie (March 5, 2013). "Jessica Szohr To Star In Fox's 'List', Camille Guaty & Elizabeth Pena Join ABC Comedies". Deadline Hollywood. PMC. Retrieved March 7, 2013.
- Andreeva, Nellie (May 8, 2013). "Fox Picks Up Dramas 'Rake', 'Gang Related', 'Sleepy Hollow' And 'Almost Human'". Deadline Hollywood. PMC. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
- Ausiello, Michael (November 22, 2013). "Pilot Scoop: Alums of Grey's, Leverage, Gossip Girl Join Jason O'Mara in USA's Complications". TVLine. PMC. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
- Petski, Denise (June 4, 2015). "Natalie Martinez & Jessica Szohr Join DirecTV's 'Kingdom'". Deadline. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
- Andreeva, Nellie (February 12, 2018). "'The Orville': Jessica Szohr Cast As Series Regular For Season 2 Of Fox Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
- Frederick, Brendan (October 22, 2008). "Jess is More". "Complex". Archived from the original on July 10, 2010. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
- Mathews, Dana (February 7, 2009). "It Girl: Jessica Szohr". Vogue. Retrieved August 20, 2010.[permanent dead link]
- Gold, Marissa (February 15, 2010). "Jessica Szohr's Tattoos - Celebrity Tattoos". Stylelist (AOL). Retrieved August 20, 2010.
- "Taylor Swift Celebrated the Fourth of July With All of Her Celebrity Besties". Elle magazine. Retrieved December 14, 2014.
- "Dianna Agron and Jessica Szohr". Archived from the original on June 16, 2013. Retrieved December 14, 2014.
- "'Shameless' Enlists Jessica Szohr for Season 8 (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 22, 2017.
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