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Blake Lively Dishes on Couture, Costumes and Cocktails

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It’s a long way from show choir to the Chanel Haute Couture show in Paris, but that’s just the kind of leap that 20-year old Blake Lively is experiencing now. “I had a normal, all-American high school experience — nothing like the kids on Gossip Girl,” Blake tells PEOPLE, tricked out in a black pleated Chanel bubble dress and long strands of pearly necklaces.”The amount of money the characters have is incredible. The kids on the show drink cocktails at the Palace Hotel; I was eating hamburgers at fundraisers at Fuddruckers.” But she’s totally enjoying the access the show is giving her a scant two years out of high school. “[It’s] opened so many doors for me, like coming to Paris to see a Chanel show.” But considering that the show is nearly as famous for its designer costumes as for its steamy sex scenes, a fashion show is a natural place for Serena van der Woodsen’s alter ego. And that’s just fine with Lively. “It doesn’t even seem like a job,” she says. “We’re getting paid to live in New York and wear amazing clothes.”