‘Gossip Girl’ Reboot Creator Breaks Down Julien and Zoya’s Simmering Sisterly Feud

A truce has been called — for now

Gossip Girl

(Warning: This post contains spoilers for Episode 2 of HBO Max’s “Gossip Girl” reboot.)

Zoya Jane Lott (Whitney Peak) and Julien Elizabeth Calloway (Jordan Alexander) hit an even rougher patch on this week’s episode of “Gossip Girl” than they did on last week’s series premiere — which somehow ended up bringing the half-sisters closer together.

This sibling relationship is clearly only going to get more complicated, with Zoya choosing to stay at Constance, Julien stepping aside and allowing Zoya to date her ex, Obie (Eli Brown), and the secret about why Zoya left her old school known only to Julien and Gossip Girl (aka the teachers). So, TheWrap asked HBO Max’s “Gossip Girl” creator to break down what the root of this rivalry is all about, and how the girls’ deceased mother bridges a very large gap between them.

“I wanted to look at sisters and I was very interested in looking at sisters who came from different pockets of privilege, one without, one with,” Joshua Safran told TheWrap. “I was also very interested in the idea of a young woman who is half Black and half white, but who has lived with her white father and not with any people around her that represent the other side of her family. And there’s this half sister that comes in who has lived a totally different experience and suddenly her eyes are open to that experience.”

Safran said that actresses Peak and Alexander were both heavily involved in the creation of Zoya and Julien’s relationship, which will continue to see ups and downs as the season goes on.

“That was something the writers and I talked about a lot. We talked to Jordan about it, we talked to Whitney about it,” Safran said. “That was really interesting to look at privilege in a different way. White privilege, the privilege of passing, the privilege of when you are confronted with someone inside your own family who doesn’t have the same privilege that you have, and how they view you growing up, how you view them growing up. We came at it from character and what the world looks like right now.”

While the sisters called a truce at the end of this week’s episode, there’s no telling where it goes from here — or how long Julien will keep Zoya’s secret to herself.

A new episode of HBO Max’s “Gossip Girl” launches next Thursday.


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