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Girl, Interupted, 11.09.01 ...

She may have little time for boyfriends, interviews, or exploring L.A, but all work and no play makes Alexis Bledel an actress to watch.

There was a great episode of Gilmore Girls last season, where 16-year old Rory (Alexis Bledel), having stayed up half the night to cram for a big exam on Shakespeare, oversleeps; she's sitting in a panic at an intersection near school when -thump- her mom's Jeep is hit by a deer. (That's right -hit by) Arriving at her tiny private school after the test has already started, she's told she's too late and will have to accept a failing grade. Up until this point on the show we've seen Rory to be quiet, a bit of a bookworm, and in contrast to her manic goof of a mother (played by Lauren Graham), composed and mature beyond her years. But don't mess with her GPA -furious over the injustice of not be able to take the test, she throws a ranting, lay-it-on fit.

In the end, she is allowed to make up her grade with extra credit. But far be it from me to tell Alexis Bledel that she can't redo our interview after she missed the first scheduled chat. Like Rory, she has a good excuse -her dad was in town from Texas; she drove him to the airport that morning, and upon finding his plane was delayed, decided to use the opportunity to spend some more time together. When we finally get a chance to talk, it's on a Gilmore Girls lunch break. Bledel, 20, has returned to her little house in L.A. where she's arranging new plants on her balcony. "I've never had plants before, and I'm a little worried about how I'm going to do," she says. "I really wanted a pet, but I'm not at home enough. It wouldn't be fair. So I'm going to love plants instead." Even though the season turned to fall a few days ago, it's as hot as the hottest day of a SoCal summer. Bledel, her long honeyed brown hair hanging loose, is comfy-casual in Birkenstocks, a T-shirt, and "slouchy pants", a welcome change from Rory's prep school uniform.

The majority of Bledel's own high school experience was spent not in a pleated skirt and crested blazer, but in a variety of cute outfits, as she modeled for "all kinds of teen products". Growing up in Houston, Texas she started acting in community theatre (Wizard of Oz, Our Town) after her parents encouraged it as a way to combat her shyness. So did it work? "Kind of..." she says. "People always want to change themselves, but you can only do so much. I just kind of grew out of it naturally, I guess. But I still feel stupid anxiety sometimes, in big crowds or speaking in public". It popped up again last year when she had her first boyfriend/girlfriend scenes on the show with Jared Padalecki, who plays Dean. "It's weird." she sighs. "I don't have to do anything too embarrassing, but it's still awkward. Like, 'Hi, I'm Alexis'; 'Hi, I'm Jared.' and then we have to kiss."

In real life, Bledel says she doesn't have time for a boyfriend. In fact, she hasn't even really had time to get to know L.A. since moving there two years ago. "It's hard to move here and start working a few days later, and just not stop", she says. "L.A. is weird. You just go from your house to your car to your work to your car, and back you don't' interact with people, like in New York City" (where she lived for a year while studying film at NYU). She just finished her first film, Tuck Everlasting, based on the popular children's book of the '70s. Written by Natalie Babbit, it's the story of a family who finds the fountain of youth, and the girl who gets wrapped up in their tangled web of immorality. Bledel plays Winnie, "a 15-year old girl [age 10 in the book, but leave it to Hollywood to take liberties] at the turn-of-the-century, who's much more adventurous than other girls back then. Kind of rebellious. My character falls in love with one of the Tucks, and the story deals with the complications that ari se from ... well being immortal. Is that really better than a normal life?"

For now, the idea of a normal life sounds pretty good to Bledel. She stays away from the politics of Hollywood. (Asked if she's worried about Gilmore Girls going up against Buffy, she admits to not watching much TV and says, "I don't' really pay attention to those things. Last year we were on against Friends and Survivor, so that was much more nerve-racking for the people in charge.") She enjoys her job, describing her real-life relationship with onscreen mother Graham as "much more like friends". And she loves her creature comforts. "I don't know how luxurious it is, but I did splurge to re-do my house. I was going to move, but actually making my home homier seemed like a better idea than uprooting myself".
Credit: Nylon Magazine, Visions of Alexis Bledel

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