After a year of off-the-radar bliss, Blake Lively is gearing up for a return to the spotlight—and flashing just enough of that blowy glamour and authentic, slightly goofy warmth to let us know in no uncertain terms: Yep, she’s still Hollywood’s golden-est girl. First on her itinerary? A potentially world-changing partnership with Gucci.
As the face of Gucci Premiére fragrance, she’s been involved in the brand’s massively successful Chime for Change charity initiative, which kicked off with a megaconcert in London last year (“It was very exciting to hear the audience cheer just as much for a woman who had broken out of a horrible life cycle in India as for Madonna”) and has since raised close to $5 million, funding more than 260 projects that benefit women in 81 countries. Starting in April, purchasers of Gucci perfumes (via Macy’s or Macys.com) will be able to donate a $5 portion of the price to a charity of their choice via the Chime for Change website. “Sure, you can buy the fragrance and then not go online, but then you’re the jerk,” Lively says. “This makes the consumer an active participant by giving them responsibility.”
Blake Lively on her yearlong break from acting: “Having a personal life has been really nice. I’d been on Gossip Girl 10 months a year for six years, shooting 15-hour days, so I hadn’t had time to just be since I graduated from high school. It’s been nice to kind of settle into my own skin and work on things I really love.”
How her own personal style is starting to evolve: “The older I get, I guess I wear less sparkles. And I know that someday my knees are going to look like elephant knees. But for now, my hemlines are still pretty high.”
This article appears in the April 2014 issue of ELLE on newsstands March 25. We have also added HQ photos by Cedric Buchet to the gallery in addition to the mag scans.