Jessica Szohr is an American former child model, who eventually stepped into Hollywood as an actor. She has been tagged by the magazine ‘Teen Vogue’ as “truly refreshingly real” and has won numerous hearts with her unassuming charm in movies such as ‘Don’t Know How She Does It’ and ‘Piranha 3D.’ She has also appeared in TV series such as ‘What About Brian.’ She started her career as a child model in print campaigns for ‘Quaker Oats’ and ‘Kohl’s’ departmental stores. She became a teen TV sensation as ‘Vanessa Abrams’ in ‘Gossip Girl’ before entering the world of mainstream TV and movies with projects such as ‘The Internship,’ ‘Kingdom,’ ‘Twin Peaks,’ and ‘Shameless.’ She has appeared in a number of music videos for singers and bands such as Taylor Swift and ‘The Black Eyed Peas.’
Childhood & Early Life
Jessica Karen Szohr was born on March 31, 1985, in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, to a Hungarian mother and an African–American father. She has four younger siblings, namely, Megan, Danielle, Nick, and Sadie.
She started modeling at age 6 and bagged her first national ad campaign with ‘Quaker Oats’ at 10. Even though she had a steady flow of modeling jobs in print, her parents made sure she was raised in the same manner as her peers. Encouraged by them, Szohr started a home-cleaning business and made many of her high-school teachers her clients.
Her days at ‘Menomonee Falls High School’ were packed with activities. She served on the student council, played soccer for the school team, and participated in the cheerleading squad. By the time she was in her senior year, Szohr had appeared in print ads for ‘Kohl’s’ departmental stores, ‘Crate and Barrel,’ ‘Mountain Dew,’ ‘Jockey,’ and ‘Jan Sport.’ She finished high school a semester sooner than her classmates and moved to Los Angeles with her mother.
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Szohr forayed into the world of acting at age 17. After a brief introductory phase in Los Angeles, she began her TV career with an episode of the popular sitcom ‘My Wife and Kids’ in 2003. Subsequently, she played a passing role in Robert Shallcross’s independent film ‘Uncle Nino’ the same year.
For the next few years, the actor spent most of her time on the small screen, trying to make her mark in the teen TV segment, with guest appearances in ‘What I like About You’ (2004), ‘Drake & Josh’ (2004), ‘Joan of Arcadia’ (2004), ‘That’s So Raven’ (2005), and the TV film ‘The Reading Room.’
In 2007, she landed two comparatively steady stints. The ‘ABC’ comedy series ‘What About Brian’ introduced her as ‘Laura’ in the 20th episode of the first season. She remained in the role for the next five episodes. She then played ‘Samantha Barrish’ in three episodes of the popular crime series ‘CSI: Miami.’
Her wait for a breakthrough role came to an end in the second half of 2007, when she landed a series-regular role in the vastly popular teen series ‘Gossip Girl.’ Her character, ‘Vanessa Abrams,’ was initially sketched as a recurring role in the series, but her growing popularity gave her a permanent spot in the series after the 14th episode. ‘Vanessa’ remained part of the storyline for the first four seasons and returned as a guest in an episode of the sixth season.
In 2010, she got her big break on the silver screen with the release of the horror comedy ‘Piranha 3D.’ The film was loosely based on the 1978 classic ‘Piranha.’ The movie amassed huge revenues at the international box office. Szohr’s popularity with the young generation rose exponentially after the movie. She received the ‘Breakthrough of the Year Award’ in 2010.
In the past few years, Szohr has been part of big productions such as ‘Love, Wedding, Marriage’ (2011), which saw her working alongside Mandy Moore and Kellan Lutz. She played the lead in movies such as ‘Love Bite’ (2012), ‘Light Years’ (2011), ‘Art Machine’ (2012), and the post-apocalyptic film ‘Hirokin’ (2012).
In 2017, she was seen in the TV series ‘Shameless,’ an adaptation of the British series of the same name. She was cast as ‘Nessa,’ a character that remained on the show for 11 episodes. In 2019, she was added to the cast of ‘Fox’s science-fiction/comedy ‘The Orville’ as the series-regular ‘Lt. Talla.’ In an interview, Szohr talked excitedly about how fantastically strong her character was and the amazing stunts she got to perform.
Family & Personal Life
Jessica Szohr kept her relationship with professional ice-hockey player Brad Richardson under the covers for months before revealing it on ‘Instagram’ in March 2019. It is rumored that the couple started dating sometime in 2018.
Some of her hobbies are snowboarding, hiking, doing yoga, and playing soccer.
She shares a close bond with her mother who had traveled with her to Los Angeles to make her dreams come true years ago.
In 2010, Szohr was listed among ‘People’s ‘100 Most Beautiful People in the World.’
She went “swaddled in sweaters” to a West Village gastro-pub for an interview with ‘Teen Vogue,’ which is quite unlike the young celebrity culture of Hollywood.
She is a huge fan of ‘Cheetos.’