Gossip Girl: Inside Dorota’s Shotgun Wedding
"I'm the luckiest person in the world," Szadkowski tells PEOPLE on the set of Gossip Girl about her ever-expanding role, which originally had no lines when she started. "It's been a huge blessing and it's very exciting and fun to be part of the show."
Szadkowski, 31, a graduate from the Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard, relishes her gig on the soapy drama and says she's inspired her character. "She's very compassionate and very devoted," she says. "Sometimes I find myself a little bit disheartened or complaining in my own life and Dorota would really make most of the moment, so I try to be positive like her. I really look up to her."
Like her character, Szadkowski was born in Poland but grew up in Fort Wayne, Ind., and speaks perfect English. "I share the Polish soul with Dorota but I don't speak with an accent," she says. "The accent is not far from home though. I modeled the Dorota accent after my parents because they really do have that thick Polish accent. They love the accent and for them it's a big thrill and they get a kick out of it."
Besides showing off her dialect, the single actress plays a pregnant bride and gets to sport a baby bump. "I've grown to be comfortable with the padding but it's odd because I really do look pregnant. I sometimes catch myself in the mirror and it looks a little too real," she says. "My stomach has become a magnet for other 's hands. I kind of feel like a little Buddha because everyone is like rubbing me for good luck as they pass by."
As for the wedding, which has Dorota marrying doorman Vanya, fans can expect the typical Upper East Side drama in tonight's episode. "There's an interesting turn in Eric's (Connor Paolo) life," reveals Szadkowski. "He has a potential love interest that shows up to the wedding ... It's juicy!"
But for now Szadkowski is relishing her character's big episode: "I get to be a bride and a mom all in one," she says with a laugh. "It's all the things I can't really imagine for myself yet, all happening simultaneously … I'm loving it!" --Paul ChiGiovanni Rufino/The CW