There is one certain thing I have in common with the sweet-faced, elegant, 40-year old blonde actress that graces our guilty Monday-night viewing pleasure—she is also still breastfeeding her 2-year old baby. Some of you might be saying your OMG’s, since it is not common practice in the U.S. to prolong nursing—but it gets difficult to detach when you see your child is not ready to wean. Meeting Kelly in person shows you the kind of dedicated mother she is to her strikingly handsome son, Hermés Gustaf Daniel Giersch. Whenever he says to his nanny that, “I wanna go to Mama,” he confidently marches straight on to Kelly because he knows she will immediately tend to him. It was unfortunate that on the day of the shoot he was getting over a cold and was not up to changing clothes, and fell asleep for most of the morning—only to be awakened by the sound of the doorbell (our guy is a light sleeper so we tiptoed).
Although Kelly is undergoing divorce proceedings from her husband (and the father of both her children), businessman Daniel Giersch (this, added to going through the motions of her second pregnancy), Kelly arrives at the location looking fresh and classy as her fascinating matriarch character, Lily van der Woodsen would, in the mega-hit TV show, “Gossip Girl.” Showing up in a striped shirt, jeans, and a camel Hermes coat (no surprise there), you can’t tell she’s with child. She jokes though that once she starts to show, she‘ll be hiding behind fruit bowls and larger purses when they shoot her scenes.
The call time was 8 AM in Beverly Hills, yet Kelly has already made some purchases at Urth Café, including one fresh OJ (as she has taken to an organic lifestyle) for her little blue-eyed god. A surprise guest turned up in the “person” of her other boy, Oliver, the family’s beloved and huggable pooch, who is so well-behaved you won’t even know he’s in the room. On the last shot of the day—thanks to an all-time fave Handy Manny book reading—the aforementioned slumber disruption was forgotten. And in a little garden surrounded by trees, with stuffed animals poised on patio chairs listening in, Hermes shows us captivating grins as he is rained with hugs and kisses from his doting mom.
BC: Was motherhood something you always wanted?
BC: Did being the eldest in the family somewhat prepare you to be a mother?
K: Yes. I took over immediately when my brother was born, ha ha! I always loved the holidays with him, and shopping with my mom. I think my mom had been told by her doctor that the best thing was to let the older sibling help, and I took it very seriously. And she always let me help with my younger brother, and that’s why we’re so close today.
BC: How are you and your own mother alike?
K: We both like fashion and interior design. We both love kids and spending a lot of time together. [Note: At this point, Kelly was doing hair and make-up, and Hermes was trying to reach for the hair dryer]
BC: How do you get to juggle being a mother to Hermes and being an actress?
K: You know…I’m pretty much a full-time mom with a part-time job on a show called “Gossip Girl.” And that’s how I do it. I don’t work that much. They’ve been very generous with my schedule and with my desire to be a mother, so it’s worked out great because I get to spend about 90% of the time with my son, and 10% of the time on the set, working. And that’s a joy too, you know. To be able to go to work for that time is also a joy.
BC: Absolutely. How did you come up with his name?
K: We kind of came up with it last minute. We had a bunch of names. At my baby shower, we wanted to come up with a name that was very strong and had some sort of meaning. Hermes is the Greek messenger god—he’s equal to Mercury—and we figured the world could use a few more of those (Smiles). And also, my friend jokes that he’s gonna grow up wondering why his name is on all the boxes in my house, ha ha, because I love the store…
BC: Is your career taking a backseat now that you’re pregnant?
K: I’m still working on “Gossip Girl,” but the lovely thing is that I’ll have a little time off and give birth on hiatus. I didn’t plan it that way. It worked out just lovely and they’ve been lovely too, to work around it.
BC: Is it challenging to dress up a son?
K: No, he’s usually pretty good. You know, I find [that] if he’s distracted, watching cartoons and things like that, it’s easier. I don’t really force him into anything. I find the path of least resistance is the best for both of us. I wait until he’s occupied, and then I change his clothes and do whatever, and he seems happy with that (Laughs).
BC: Does he already have his own fashion sense? Does he feel like a grown-up sometimes, and reject your wardrobe choices for him, ha ha!
K: He loves clothes. He’ll go into a store with me and pick out things. He likes fashion, he likes things already. He knows the colors that he likes.
BC: What kind of clothes does Hermes look best in?
K: Lately he’s been wearing a lot of skinny jeans. We have cute Tretorn tennis shoes, and different kinds of sweaters. I love those V-Neck little gray cashmere sweaters with a nice polo shirt. We try not to have any of those pictures where he looks so goofy that he looks back at us and says, “I hate you for putting me in that outfit.” I want him to look back and say, “Oh my God, I looked great. I looked so cool at two years old!” Ha ha!
BC: As a mom, how similar or different are you from your character, Lily van der Woodsen?
K: I think Lily van der Woodsen has definitely been doing this a lot longer than I have. I mean, she has grown kids, so she has a certain wisdom in the way [her character’s] written that I really admire. I love that she’s not afraid to say, “I’m sorry” to her kids if she messes up. We’re both very dedicated mothers, but I think she’s very different. She lives in the Upper East Side, she has an unlimited budget, her kids are a little older…For me it’s very simple. I’m much more of a hands-on mother, on a day-to-day basis.
BC: Who do you see, or want, Hermes growing up like: Nate, Chuck or Dan?
K: Dan. Because I think he’s smart…he has good values. He obviously has good taste in women, as he’s dating my daughter!
BC: At what age will you allow your kids to watch DVD copies of you in the show?
K: You know, by the time they’re old enough to watch, they’re going to be like, “Mom, what’s ‘Gossip Girl?’” You know what I mean? (Laughs) I don’t know…It’s sort of like they’re going to say, “Who are the Beatles? Oh yeah, that was that band you liked when I was growing up.”
BC: We heard you’re a big star in Turkey, because of the show, “Generations.” Any plans of going back?
K: Yeah! I went there a while ago and I loved it! It’s such a beautiful country. I would love to go back when Hermes is at an age where he can really experience it.
BC: How do you relax, especially with being so busy doing a hit TV show?
K: We take long walks. For me, what’s relaxing is going to the play center with my son and watching him, or going to the park and being outside. It’s fun to see him play with other kids. That’s such a great joy to me. And sometimes, I have time to have someone over to get a massage, or try to get to a yoga class. It doesn’t always happen, but I try. Being with Hermes is very relaxing to me, and sometimes, even just being on the set. It used to be boring to be in my trailer, but now it’s okay to have a little time for myself, too.
BC: How is Hermes taking to a bicoastal lifestyle?
K: He does well. We just keep his schedule pretty much the same wherever we are. We spend a lot of time in New York. He goes to Kidville, he goes to the park. He has his regular things he loves to do in New York, and then when we’re in L.A., he has regular things he loves to do. So he has friends in New York that he likes to play with, and then here he has his friends, so I think it’s kind of fun for him. We don’t travel back and forth that much. Now that I’m pregnant, I’m not doing it all the time.
BC: How is he on set?
K: He’s great on set. There’s so much to see. He loves the makeup and hair trailer. He’s always blow-drying everyone’s hair. There’s the little forklift that they use to build the sets—he loves to check that out. And all the trucks and brooms—he loves to sweep. There’s so much that he loves to play with.
BC: How would you like your kids to always think of you?
K: I would just like them to always think of me (Laughs). Also, as someone they can always talk to. I remember talking to Hermes when he was just a baby, and I would hold him and I’d say, “I’m always here for you. You can always tell me everything, whatever you need.” I think it’s important for him to know that—that he’ll never be judged—that I’m here, and present. My mother has always been that way with me, growing up.
Text and Styling by Kariz Favis
Photos by Martin and Kariz Favis
Interview by Neil Garguilo
Make-up by Klexius Kolby and Akemi for karleeartist.com
Hair by Britney and Jen Kim for karleeartist.com
Photo Assistant Stephen Seidel
Styling Assistant Amy Highfill