The Wisconsin native, who begins modeling at age 5, graduates from Menomonee Falls High School. "I'm from a very Midwest, family-oriented small town," the future Gossip Girl star explains to Ocean Drive magazine in 2009, "and my friends were nothing like these kids that grew up on the Upper East Side." Szohr heads to California after graduation, where she lands TV spots on What About Brian and CSI: Miami.
Szohr makes her debut as Brooklynite Vanessa Abrams on The CW's new hit Gossip Girl. "When I saw the pilot, I thought there's no way anyone actually had lives like that in high school," she says. The racy series also stars Penn Badgley, Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, Chace Crawford, Ed Westwick and Taylor Momsen.
After being declared "the most awesomely awesome show ever" by New York magazine, the onscreen couples of Gossip Girl appear on Entertainment Weekly. With love interest Crawford (who plays prepster Nate Archibald), Szohr nabs her first national magazine cover.
During the holiday season, Szohr is photographed kissing Gossip Girl costar Westwick at the Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport. Though the pair initially keep their romance under wraps, they eventually go public with their relationship, taking PDA-filled vacations in Miami and L.A. "They really balance each other," costar Amanda Setton tells PEOPLE. "I'm just happy that they're happy."
Szohr takes a break from Gossip Girl and makes a big-screen plunge in Piranha 3-D – an update of the 1978 cult flick. "It's a fun, summer, scary, entertaining popcorn movie," Szohr tells Parade. "I feel like I put a lot of trust in the director and all of us as a team together, so I hope that people enjoy it as much as we enjoyed doing it."
BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): Michael Tran/FilmMagic; Eric Liebowitz/The CW; Courtesy EW; James Devaney/WireImage