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Teen Dream: Alexis Bledel, 02.04.01 ...

Rory Gilmore is not your typical TV teenager. This comes as a great relief to Alexis Bledel, who plays the studious, poised and responsible 16-year-old on Gilmore Girls, a WB drama with humorous overtones.

"I'm so glad that I get to portray someone who's different," Bledel tells Gist. She calls TV's tendency to depict most teens as surly and maladjusted "a gross generalization."

"I've definitely met kids like her," she attests, "ones who are mature for their age and have a lot of interests outside of school and their immediate surroundings."

Bledel co-stars opposite Lauren Graham, who plays 32-year-old Lorelai, Rory's free-spirited and endearingly wry mom. The duo live in a quaint Connecticut town and are each other's best friend and closest ally. Rory attends a highly competitive private school, while Lorelai manages the local inn. Kelly Bishop and Edward Herrmann are Emily and Richard, Rory's staid, old-moneyed maternal grandparents.

Bishop and Herrmann may be quite dour on screen, but they have nothing but raves for Bledel, 19. "Alexis is so open to learning things, and is one of the most natural actresses I've ever worked with," explains Bishop. "She's instinctively on the money, which is a blessing. You can't really teach acting. And, of course, it doesn't hurt that she's a knockout." Adds Herrmann: "Alexis is so intelligent and malleable. She has such a wonderful insight into Rory."

One reason the veteran thespians are so taken with Bledel's acting prowess is because Gilmore marks her television debut.The Houston native started acting when she was 8, performing in local community-theater productions of Our Town, The Wizard of Oz and Aladdin. She took up modeling in high school after being "discovered" at a local mall by a talent scout. Subsequent jobs landed her in magazines such as Seventeen and took her to New York, Los Angeles, Milan and Tokyo. Shortly before completing a year of film study at New York University, her newly acquired manager steered her to last spring's pilot season in L.A., and up popped Gilmore.

"Acting was always in the back of my mind," she explains, "but I always thought I was too shy to ever actually pursue it. I just got lucky with Gilmore Girls. It felt like a good project for me. The writing's great and there's this great relationship between Lorelai and Rory. I like that Rory's independent, witty and speaks her mind. It's a very rich show."

That said, and given the fact that Gilmore is WB's most critically praised new series, Bledel probably won't be hitting the books back at NYU anytime soon. "Hopefully I'll go back sometime," she says, "but right now I'm concentrating on the show."
Credit: Gist TV

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