August 14, 2015 at 06:48 PM EDT

For years, Jessica Szohr acted alongside Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, and Penn Badgley in The CW’s popular teen drama, Gossip Girl. But how did she land the part of Vanessa Abrams? It took being at the right BBQ at the right time – and trying out a few different hairstyles – to snag the role.

For EW’s Greatest Story Ever Told video series, the actress recounts how a fun Memorial Day weekend get-together with her friend, Adam Brody, helped launch her into the glamorous (and complicated) world of the Upper East Side elite. 

Check out the full narrative above. 

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Spotted: Serena, Dan, Blair, Chuck, Vanessa, and Nate — hooking up, breaking up, and freaking out. You know you love it! Xoxo!
type
TV Show
seasons
6
Genre
run date
09/19/07-12/17/12
Status
Off Air
creator
Available For Streaming On
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