Many celebrities wear Chanel, but few join the ranks of its ambassadors. Over the years, the French brand has sought out talents ranging from French cinema legends (Carole Bouquet), Hollywood A-listers (Kristen Stewart), and K-Pop idols (Jennie Kim of Blackpink). This year, a new name was added to the list of Chanel’s US Brand Ambassadors: 18-year-old Gossip Girl actress Whitney Peak.
The reboot of the beloved aughts series isn’t premiering until later this year, but fans will recognize Peak from her roles on Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and the Aaron Sorkin-directed Molly’s Game. For her part, Peak can’t believe the enviable position she finds herself in as a burgeoning star and designer muse. “Honestly, I never dreamed I’d get the attention of such a reputable house, let alone the pleasure of working with and representing them,” she says. “I’m looking forward to showing how versatile and timeless Chanel is.”
Even before she joined the Chanel roster, Peak’s 2021 was off to an eventful start. Born in Uganda but raised in Canada, she moved to New York City at the start of the year to film Gossip Girl. Like her NYC newbie character, Peak has been acclimating to the change. “She is new to NYC, so we were both kind of navigating that,” says Peak. “She’s real, imperfect, bruised, and broken but still prevails and continues to wish only happiness for those in her life. Learning from her mistakes and always choosing to stay true to herself in the end.” A far cry from Blair Waldorf and her machinations, indeed, but Peak is a devoted fan of the original series. “[I’ve watched] many times, not as it was airing but years after. I was just a freshman and dove headfirst into the glamorous world of Gossip Girl. [I was] truly an outsider looking in.”
Given the enduring popularity of the Gossip Girl franchise, which includes telenovelas, Thai dramas, online games, and the original Cecily von Ziegesar novel series, Peak is certain to be everywhere once the new series is released. But the fashion industry is already enamored with her, and it’s easy to see why. With her eclectic personal style and voluminous curls, Peak is undeniably striking. A peek at her expertly edited social media accounts also reveal all the hallmarks of a classic cool girl—imaginative outfit updates, politically engaged posts, and a slew of candid behind-the-scenes images. Peak’s list of style icons reads like a hip-hop who’s who: Lauryn Hill, Pharrell, Missy Elliott, and Outkast all make the cut. Much like her other fashion fave, Lisa Bonet, Peak considers herself open to everything when it comes to fashion. “I wear whatever best reflects my state that day. More often than not, the process of putting an outfit together will be an attitude reset and entice excitement for the day ahead,” says Peak. “Safe to say [my style] is all over the place and will probably continue to be as I explore parts of myself.”
Peak will have plenty to explore now that she’s working with Chanel. Eager to take in her first Paris Fashion Week, Peak is certain that Chanel’s presentation on Tuesday will be an impressive “visual experience” more than a show. “I don’t doubt the show will be anything less than spectacular,” she says. With her series set to debut in a matter of months, a spot in the virtual front row during PFW, and her star steadily rising, Peak is thankful for all the positive changes she’s been able to experience during a difficult time. “Externally, in terms of work and life, this year has been a dream come true. Internally, meaning mentally and spiritually, it has been a year of self-discovery, exhaustion, and pain,” she says. “I’m sure it has been [that way] for all of us considering the state of the world. But this year, more than anything, has been one of growth and appreciation.”