But in fact, it's true. The Gossip Girl star says she is naturally shy, and it was acting that forced her out of her comfort zone, giving her the confidence – or at least, the illusion of confidence – that's so critical for someone living in the public eye.
"I'm actually a very shy person – that's a big secret, so don't tell," Lively, 23, reveals in a chat with Ben Affleck in September's Interview magazine. "But being in [acting] classes pushed me to break out of that a little bit. It's like nature versus nurture: I'm naturally very shy, but I was brought up in a way where I had to get up and get out of that."
Affleck directed and stars with Lively in the upcoming heist thriller The Town. In the Interview piece, he remarks on how comfortable she seemed on set, even while filming a sex scene with him on the very first day of shooting.
Lively credits both her upbringing and her training for the maturity that belies her age. "I have a big family, and no one ever treated me like a child," she says. "They always treated me like an adult, like an equal."
Her Acting FamilyBut a lot of it is just keeping up appearances. "With acting, I think half of it is just acting confident. We stand on these red carpets and pose in these dresses, but we're all only so confident. It doesn't mean we think we're great looking or anything. It's all a facade."
Lively comes from a family of actors, but says they were all down to earth – they didn't treat show business as anything special. In fact, Lively jokes she followed in their footsteps for the most mundane of reasons.
"I don't feel like I ever had any sort of Hollywood upbringing," she says. "I got to travel and visit my family on set. I got to eat craft service. I actually think that was the reason I got into acting: the free food. I literally remember on my first job being like, 'Yes! I get to have craft service every day!' "