Gossip Girl's Leighton Meester Revealed Her Struggle With Food Insecurity

When Leighton Meester starred as Blair in "Gossip Girl," her character might have boasted, "If you really want something, you don't stop for anyone or anything till you get it" (per Life & Style). While that persistent attitude might will away potential obstacles, strong will and determination is not a way to pay for food on the table. In a recent interview with Taste of Home, Meester discussed how food insecurity personally impacted her and why that experience has led her to advocate for Feeding America.

According to Feeding America, "In the United States, 38,300,000 people are facing hunger – and of them, 11,700,000 are children." While those numbers seem tremendous, it leads people to question what does hunger or food insecurity look like? Even though news programs can show long lines at food banks, the people clutching that bag might be more than nameless faces. From the family down the street to a co-worker, food insecurity impacts people across the cultural divide.

As Meester shared with Taste of Home, the difficulty of putting food on the table "may be affecting someone closer than you think." From the outside, her family might have seemed fine, but she revealed that "our family still struggled." Meester mentioned that she felt guilt about asking for meals or treats. Her plight is a struggle that many people and families share. But, since hunger is a silent problem, some people may never appreciate the dire circumstances.

Leighton Meester encourages others to speak about food insecurity

While her character Blair on "Gossip Girl" may have always been willing to speak her mind, some people may not be quite as vocal. During a recent interview with Taste of Home, Leighton Meester spoke about why her partnership with Feeding America was rooted in her own life experiences. Having experienced food insecurity growing up, her willingness to reveal that personal connection implores others to share their truth. She believes by being open about her experiences that she can "demystify and destigmatize the face of hunger or food insecurity." Whether it is the power of celebrity or putting a face to the nameless, awareness can be the first step to meaningful change.

As a long time supporter of Feeding America, Meester told Shape in 2018 that "when you're passionate about a cause, it's even more fulfilling." Given that her statements come from personal experience, the hope is that she can inspire others. While Feeding America says that "hunger has no boundaries," the impact across social-economic lines proves that it is an issue that cannot be left in the shadows. If a celebrity's personal experience can lead to one person acting, it has shown the power of influence on a social issue.