HBO Max‘s version of Gossip Girl is set to bring a well-deserved dose of reality to the Upper East Side.
In a new cover story for Dazed magazine, members of the cast including Whitney Peak, Emily Alyn Lind, Evan Mock, and Jordan Alexander revealed how the next generation of Upper East Siders will tackle diversity and inclusion in 2021. The original CW series, which ran for six seasons from 2007 to 2012, was beloved by many for its over-the-top drama, avant-garde fashion, and sexy storylines, but diverse it was not. HBO Max’s rendition of the series, however, according to the cast, aims to reflect the reality of the world we live in—race, gender, sexuality, and all.
“I think that what we can say is this—we’re making a series in 2020 and 2021,” said Alyn Lind in the interview. “It’s really important for us to not just talk about these things but also express them as normal things that kids deal with. It shouldn’t be this new, exciting thing to talk about, it just exists. It’s about normalizing things that used to be different or taboo.”
Peak echoed her costar’s sentiments, expressing that it’s refreshing to see the hit series finally showcase a cast that represents a more authentic New York City.
“There’s a lot of representation, which I can’t say we saw a lot of in the first one,” said Peak. “It’s dope being able to see people who look like you and who are interested in the same things, and who happen to be in entertainment, because it’s so influential and obviously reflective of the times.”
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One element from the original series that will still remain in the reimagined show will be a stellar curation of confident, headstrong women, according to Alyn Lind.
“Gender roles will be talked about and dissected. A lot of the women in our show are very powerful, but I think they were in the original as well. We’ll be exploring what it means to be a woman in this generation, and in general, exploring ideas that we didn’t before,” said the actress. “We realized we could take these roles and make them our own—they have their own qualities that are special and differentiate [them] from the original. I think people will relate to them on different levels.”
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.