Jordan Alexander Gossip Girl: Meet the Canadian Star of the Reboot

Toronto’s Jordan Alexander (and FASHION Magazine's May cover star) talks style, staying true to herself and being a new 'Gossip Girl.'

4/12/2021 5:15:00 PM

Toronto-raised talent jordcalexander has some big—and fashion-forward—shoes to fill as Julien Calloway in the gossipgirl reboot this year. Spoiler: she's up for the challenge. Get to know FASHIONCanada's May 2021 cover star!

Toronto’s Jordan Alexander (and FASHION Magazine's May cover star) talks style, staying true to herself and being a new 'Gossip Girl.'

Gossip Girlreboot coming to HBO Max this year. But she has done her best to turn any jitters into an advantage. “I always try to channel any intimidation I might feel into an energy that empowers me rather than makes me cower,” says the Vancouver-born, Toronto-raised talent over the phone as a siren wails faintly outside the window of her New York apartment. She moved to the Big Apple when shooting for the show began last year, although she says she hasn’t been able to fully explore it due to the pandemic.

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Photography by ARKAN ZAKHAROV. Jacket, $1,190, and top, $725, Acne Studios. Bottom hoops, $160, Mounser. Drop earring (on right), $85 for a pair, Jenny Bird. Earcuff (on left), $120, Jennifer Fisher.And she has first-hand knowledge of why it’s so critical that she stay close to home. Alexander’s sister Sydnie is a nurse who has been working on the front lines throughout the COVID-19 crisis; the actress, of course, extends a heartfelt thank you to health-care workers. And it’s Sydnie we should thank for urging Alexander to take up acting in the early 2010s. Since then, she’s had roles in several productions, including alongside Juliette Lewis in last year’s

Sacred Lies, in which she demonstrates her acting and singing chops. Music, not acting, was initially her thing. Her debut album,The Lonely Hearts Club, was released in 2016; she has toured Canada with Bif Naked, performed alongside Carly Rae Jepsen and opened for Kehlani at Pride Toronto; and her most recent single, “You,” came out last summer. Alexander took guitar lessons when she was a preteen, and her parents even gave her a drum set when she showed an interest. Her mother — whom Alexander describes as a “free spirit who loves the arts” — volunteers at a therapeutic riding stable for people with special needs, and her father is a musician. “We play guitar together when we can and love to sing together,” she says.

Photography by ARKAN ZAKHAROV. Dress, $3,330, pants, $1,455, boots, $1,990, and necklace, $685, Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello.Gossip Girlpromises to further showcase Alexander’s range and charisma; in it, she plays Julien Calloway, a character who “brings the drama with fashion.” In an image leaked during the first season of production, Alexander appears in a corseted, bustled gown by New York-based designer

, who won the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund award in 2019. It’s a couture-style contrast to Alexander’s punky haircut, signalling the contemporary spirit of the newGossip Girl’s aesthetic and narrative ambitions. “I do hope that it provides escapism; I feel confident that it will,” she says, noting that she re-watched all six seasons of the original last year. Alexander and her co-stars, including Evan Mock and Whitney Peak, embody a sense of relevance that’s imperative to making the aughts’ prime-time hit work for today. “There’s going to be an osmosis of sorts in terms of the diversity of the cast and challenging social norms and the status quo,” she explains. “So while you’re in this escapism vibe, you’re still absorbing important lessons that I think are instrumental in terms of progress and change at large. Good art does that.”

Photography by ARKAN ZAKHAROV. Jumpsuit, price upon request, JW Anderson. Bra, $85, Cuup. Shoes, $870, Alexandre Birman. Hat, $505, Esenshel.Publishing phenom Tavi Gevinson also has a role in the show: the reportedly “ambitious” Kate Keller. As a young fan of Gevinson’s

Rookie, Alexander says she was slow to admit to her colleague how much the magazine meant to her and that she ardently recommended it to any customers she crossed paths with while working at a Toronto location of Book City. “It was so well curated and full of art and interesting things,” she says, noting that, unsurprisingly, Gevinson is “very strong and brave and fearless in the way that artists are.”

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Photography by ARKAN ZAKHAROV. Dress, $17,000, and bra and briefs, prices upon request, Dior. Boots, $1,235, Alexander McQueen.Alexander, who is of German-Irish and mixed African-American heritage, emanates a similar sense of integrity and self-awareness. When discussing her shaved head, she says with a laugh that she “really didn’t care” about making the leap a decade ago. “My older sister didn’t think I would do it, and my younger sister said my mom cried,” she recalls. “I don’t think my dad cared at all [laughs]; I don’t think my grandpa cared either. My grandma thinks it’s cool but likes it ‘just a bit longer.’ Most of the time, I completely forget that it’s even there — or should I say ‘not there’? When I first did it, I don’t think I was necessarily as confident in my choices as I am now. But what I felt mattered so much more.

Photography by ARKAN ZAKHAROV. Top, $1,330, and pants, $1,150, Prada. Earrings, $110, Jenny Bird.“It was great,” Alexander goes on to say about the moment her then girlfriend helped her make the tonsorial transition, noting that she “wanted a hairstyle that required little to no maintenance” and that this is what motivated her to embrace a sheared look. “I got into the shower and I’ll never forget the feeling of touching my shaved head for the first time,” she says. She adds that there’s a gap in her acting resumé that coincides with the bold move. “I didn’t feel like I wanted that anymore,” she says. “I was really into making my music, and I pretty much let go of acting.”

Photography by ARKAN ZAKHAROV. Top, $1,330, and pants, $1,150, Prada. Earrings, $110, Jenny Bird. Read more: FASHION Magazine »

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who's planning to watch it TONIGHT? with me, 8pm et. GGLiveTweet gossipgirl jordcalexander Congrats!! to my beautiful niece, so proud of you, I've been shaveing my hair for many years Lol!! 🤣It suits you, much love, Uncle Thomas. 🎼🎤💞