It's hard to read the Observer's profile of Taylor Momsen without comparing the Gossip Girl star to Miley Cyrus. Both celebrities are 15, and both must strategically handle the news media's desire, however subtle, to examine them as sex objects. The game is especially tricky for Cyrus, whose audience is heavily pre-teen and whose show lives on the Disney Channel. She must disavow racy photo spreads in the traditional media even as her underwear cell-phone pictures leak online. Momsen has an advantage: Gossip Girl is about teen sex, and high school kids otherwise acting like adults. So the actress, who plays Jenny Humphrey on the show, doesn't have to feign outrage when the Observer talks about her "coltish beauty," or says "her legs are epic, long and stretching out from here to forever," or runs a picture selected, it would seem, to illustrate the latter. The adult positioning also draws to the child star a bankable, cultlike adult following, as illustrated in the profile:
The young woman who approached the table by the window at the Pinkberry on Eighth Avenue and 18th street was nervous, breathless. She was sorry to interrupt, sorry to be a bother, she said. It was just that she loved Taylor Momsen so much.
The just-barely-15-year-old Ms. Momsen, who plays aspiring queen bee Jenny Humphrey on the CW show Gossip Girl, gave the woman-who looked to be at least in her mid-20s, and was clutching a napkin and shaking like a whippet in winter-a warm, practiced smile and helped her locate a pen and piece of paper so she could sign the autograph on something suitable. Ms. Momsen scribbled her name with a girlish curlicue flourish, and offered a friendly wave goodbye as her fan skipped elatedly out the door.
It's a regular occurrence now for Ms. Momsen ("The older girls get nervous. The younger girls, cry," she said), who, over the summer, has become the obsession of a strange and ragged slice of New York.