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Vanessa Abrams

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Vanessa Abrams is a character in the television series Gossip Girl and the book series of the same name. She is portrayed by actress Jessica Szohr on the television show.

Vanessa appeared in 69 episodes. 

Novel Series

A melancholic and darkly humorous filmmaker, Vanessa Abrams is only attending Constance Billard School for Girls through scholarship. She attended the elite all-girls school, and although Vanessa loathes having to go there, she feels it's her best bet at getting into a good college and making something of herself. She lives in Williamsburg, Brooklyn with her unconvential sister, Ruby, and her only friend is Dan Humphrey, whom she happens to be in love with.

Despite her crush on Dan, Vanessa didn't dare confess her feelings for him, since his infatuation with Serena van der Woodsen had been all too apparent. When Serena broke his heart, however, Vanessa swooped in to pick up the pieces, and the two quickly embraced their love for each other. Since both of them are tormented souls and aspiring artists, Vanessa feels they're meant to be together. However, Dan eventually cheats on her with a poet named Mystery Craze and Vanessa in turn falls for sometimes-friend Blair Waldorf's stepbrother, Aaron Rose.

Vanessa eventually cheats on Aaron with Dan, and the budding artists reconcile their relationship. When she's not sleeping with on-again-off-again boyfriend in the novels, Vanessa's taking morbid black-and-white photos and videos, shaving her head, assisting arrogant filmmaker Ken Mogul with his movies, or babysitting spoiled twins.

Vanessa is horrified when Dan announces he is gay but remains a great friend to him, it is her who realises he isn't when they have sex again.

By the end of the series, Vanessa and Lucy are still together. They partake in a long-distance relationship as she remains in the city (attending NYU) and he moves to study literature at Evergreen.

Television Series

Vanessa Abrams is the daughter of Arlo and Gabriella Abrams. She and Dan grew up together in the city, and their feelings for each other multiplied as the years went on. Despite this fact, neither of them acted on those feelings until the night Vanessa moved away with her parents to Vermont. Before her departure, Dan confessed that he was in love with Vanessa, and although she felt the same way, she left nonetheless. Vanessa is often credited as worst dressed on Gossip Girl, having wigs and wearing skinny jeans.

Season 1

Vanessa is officially introduced in the sixth episode of the season, entitled "The Handmaiden's Tale." While talking on the phone with Dan, she appears on his fire escape and the two gladly reunite. She announces that she's decided to move back to the city and live with her sister, Ruby. She also mentions that she missed Dan while she was away and has repeatedly thought about the last words he said to her before she moved to Vermont.

Vanessa helps Dan's younger sister, Jenny Humphrey, sneak into a masquerade ball, and she decides to sneak in herself, where she spots Dan and attempts to reconcile their relationship. It is then revealed that Dan's last words to Vanessa were "I love you," but despite this fact, Dan says that he's moved on and is dating Serena. Vanessa gets teary-eyed and abandons the party, however the two friends make up later in Dan's bedroom. They share a snack while Dan fills her in on everything that's changed in his life.

In Victor/Victrola, Vanessa acts as a mentor for Jenny, giving the young blond some advice about parental issues. She seems to express some jealousy when she stumbles in on Dan and Serena about to have sex. However, in the next episode, she and Serena bond over Guitar Hero after Dan explains that Vanessa is his best friend and that the two will always share a special bond from their childhood. Later, Serena and Vanessa engage in conversation and get to know each other better.

In Roman Holiday, Vanessa reveals to Dan that she nominated his short story in The New Yorker magazine, and it's going to be published. She offers to help Serena make a winter wonderland room for Dan as she is stuck on what to gift him for christmas. Blair confronts Vanessa and accuses her of liking Dan as more than just a friend.

In "School Lies," Vanessa accompanies Dan to a pool party on school property. Someone nearly dies at the party, however, and when Vanessa catches a confidential conversation between Chuck and Blair on camera, it becomes the most sought-after item on the Upper East Side. Chuck tries to bribe Vanessa into giving her the tape, but she tricks him and takes his money anyway. When Blair asks for the tape, Vanessa concedes without any conditions attached. Despite this, Blair pays Vanessa's rent for a year to thank her for giving up the tape, which would have ruined Blair's reputation.

When the SATs roll around, Vanessa helps Dan with his studying. This leads to her official introduction to Nate Archibald. The two bicker and banter light-heartedly, but when Vanessa finds a practice essay Nate wrote for the SATs, she sees a more vulnerable side to him. The two spend the day together and Vanessa listens to his problems. Despite their coming from different worlds, they realize they have a lot in common and end the night with a kiss. The next day, Nate takes Vanessa on a 'surprise date' where he tells her she should take the SATs just to ensure that she has options. He pays and registers for her, and after finally giving in, the two enter into a relationship.

When she finds out that Georgina Sparks is not who she says she is, Vanessa confronts her and says she knows her real name, as well as her intentions. Despite this fact, Georgina escapes with Dan, who continues to believe the lies she tells him.

In the season finale, "Much 'I Do About Nothing" Vanessa prepares for Lily and Bart Bass's wedding. Once she's all dressed up in one of Jenny's designs, Dan tells her that she 'cleans up nice,' before the two proceed to the wedding together. After the ceremony, Nate, burdened by the myriad of problems with his father, tells Vanessa he's not ready to be in a relationship, and the two break up. Later, Vanessa and Dan's friendship grows as they bond over their break-ups.

Season 2

Vanessa spends the summer redecorating Rufus's art gallery and turning the extra space into a cafe. Nate confides in her the financial circumstances of his father's debts and although the two seem interested in each other, Nate is continuously too busy to hang out with her. Vanessa pushes him away because of this, but he confesses that he does want a relationship with her. During a city-wide blackout, however, the older woman Nate slept with throughout summer, Catherine, threatens to turn Nate's father into the police if Nate ever leaves her. Vanessa sacrifices her relationship with Nate for the Captain's safety and tells Nate she doesn't want to be with him.

Later, Vanessa snaps a photo of Catherine when she sees the older woman making out with her stepson, hoping to use it as blackmail. She learns the consequences of her meddling, however, when she realizes that telling Catherine's husband of her affairs left Nate as penniless as ever, whereas Blair was going to gain back the Archibald's riches. Nate becomes upset with Vanessa, not because she made him lose the money, but because she never confided in him.

Vanessa helps Jenny convince Rufus to let her do home-schooling. She further displays her charitable side by helping save the Brooklyn Inn from auction and petitioning for landmark status. When Blair refuses to cooperate with the charity, Vanessa blackmails her by using the photo of Catherine and Lord Marcus kissing, which, if exploited, would humiliate Blair. The Queen of Constance is therefore forced to comply, but conspires with Chuck to destroy Vanessa. The two intend to seduce and humiliate her. At Lily's housewarming party, Vanessa witnesses the more vulnerable side of Chuck and the two bond briefly. She's embarassed, however, when she learns it was all Blair's ploy, and turns her back on them both.

Vanessa tries not to interfere with Serena and Dan's relationship, and instead celebrates her 2-month anniversary with Nate at the opera, where the two happily kiss and mock the other theater-goers.

When she catches Jenny kissing Nate at Lily and Barts celebration, she is incredibly hurt. This leads to a series of events in which Nate leaves the UES and mails Jenny a heartful letter. After everything is returned to normal, on Thanksgiving Vanessa spots the letter Nate wrote to Jenny and keeps it from her.

When the seniors of Constance Billard and St. Jude's are forced to put on a play, Nate worries that Vanessa is attracted to the play's director, seeing as the two have so much in common. This leads to a heated argument between Vanessa and him, in which the two fight about their differences and insecurities. Later, Vanessa goes to Nate's house and they make up, deciding to watch The Age of Innocence together.

A week later, Vanessa and Chuck see Blair and Nate hugging. The two then conspire to tear their friendship apart. Vanessa attempts to make Nate jealous by kissing Chuck at Jenny's party, but when Nate and Blair appear unfazed, Vanessa and Chuck really do sleep together. In "Southern Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," Vanessa and Dan play the drinking game I Never, in which she admits to sleeping with Chuck twice and regretting it both times.

In the season finale, "The Goodbye Gossip Girl," Vanessa and Nate catch up and become friends at the Constance-St. Jude's Graduation. A week later, Nate tells her that the mayor hit on him, so he quit his internship. He and Vanessa reinstate their summer plans to go backpacking through Europe. The three unknowingly get to know Scott Rosson, the lovechild of Lily and Rufus. Afterwards, Dan receives a suspicious phone call from Goergina who tells both Vanessa and Dan that she'll be seeing them at NYU next year.

Season 3

It's revealed that Vanessa did indeed spend her summer backpacking through Europe with Nate and the two had a fling one night, but remain good friends and nothing more. When she returns to New York, she gets to know Scott Ronsson, and develops a crush on him. When she discovers that Dan's been living the high life thanks to the van der Woodsens and has been hiding it from her, she fights with him and eventually tells him that despite his wealth, he needs to be himself in order for her to be friends with him. Scott and Vanessa begin dating and Scott encourages Vanessa to stay friends with Dan.

When Vanessa moves into her dorm at NYU, she realizes that she shares the hall with Blair Waldorf and Georgina Sparks. Vanessa and Georgina become friends after Vanessa forgives her for her past behavior, whereas Vanessa and Blair's rivalry deepens. She grows suspicious of Scott and eventually discovers he is not a student at NYU. When she confronts him, he confesses that he's Lily and Rufus' son and she encourages him to tell them. Scott eventually tells Lily and Rufus the truth at their wedding and moves back to Boston, promising to come down and visit the now broken-hearted Vanessa.

Famous actress Olivia Burke becomes Vanessa's new roommate, and the two become immediate friends. Olivia and Dan embark on a relationship, but when they have a threesome with Vanessa, the trio become awkward around each other, resulting in Vanessa and Olivia fighting over Dan. Once Olivia realizes that Dan's true feelings lie with Vanessa, she breaks up with him and moves out of NYU to continue pursuing her acting career. In "The Debarted", Dan finally confesses his love for Vanessa, who becomes confused and tries to brush off the subject.

In "The Lady Vanished", however, she admits that she loves him as well and that although she doesn't want to ruin her friendship with him, she wants to explore these feelings, starting with being "friends with benefits". The two finally begin their relationship.

Their relationship becomes problematic when Vanessa secretly applies to NYU's program for writers, Tisch, which Dan has also applied for. Despite their competition, Vanessa is chosen by the program and although this causes further issues between the two, Dan eventually expresses pride in Vanessa.

Later, however, their relationship hits another obstacle when Dan discovers that Vanessa has received an offer difficult to reject: to work in Haiti, assisting the disaster aid as well as filming for CNN. When Dan tells Vanessa he knows she's been offered this position, she insists on not going and staying in the city with Dan to work on their relationship. Dan eventually convinces Vanessa to accept the offer, however, when he informs her that it's a once in a lifetime opportunity. Thus, Vanessa says a tearful goodbye to Dan and leaves, the couple planning on engaging in a long-distance relationship.

In "Last Tango, Then Paris", while Vanessa is still in Haiti, Nate sends her a Gossip Girl blast that includes a picture of Dan and Serena in bed together, implying that Dan has cheated on her.

Season 4

Vanessa returns from Haiti angered with Dan for his lack of apology about the picture that was sent to her. She sympathizes with him, however, when she sees that Dan has been taking care of baby Milo, whom Georgina says is the offspring of herself and Dan. Vanessa questions Georgina's story, as well as her motive, but decides to support Dan in his decision to take care of Milo.

After Nate and Juliet Sharp tell Vanessa that Dan still has feelings for her, Vanessa takes a chance and seduces Dan, sleeping with him on the living room couch. She later discovers that Nate and Juliet were lying, however, and becomes enraged when she realizes that both of the boys were simply using her, in a sense, to win over Serena. Dan apologizes later and admits that his feelings for Serena truly are gone. He chooses Vanessa, and the two reconcile their relationship.

Once Vanessa, Juliet and Jenny take down Serena and Dan finds out Vanessa was involved she moves back in with her parents.

Vanessa returns to Manhattan in "While You Weren't Sleeping" and attempts to make amends with Dan (it is stated that she'd been trying to contact him via e-mail and phone previously). When she is refused (through Ben, who is staying at the loft), Vanessa arrives at Erik's birthday party to try again. Dan rejects her angrily, telling her that he won't be chasing after her. Vanessa leaves, seemingly defeated, but overhears Ben threaten Damien with physical harm while she's hailing a cab.  

Later in the season, Vanessa finds Dan's novel Inside when she went to his apartment to look for Charlie, which is loosely based on the lives of his Upper East Side friends.  Although Dan sternly tells her to put it back and leave it alone, feeling violated that she went through his private things, Vanessa gives the book to a published under an Anonymous author saying he'll step forward when it comes out.  She also has the checks for the books made out to her, in her new location in Barcelona, she however forwards them on to Dan and doesn't keep them for herself.

Season 6

Vanessa is seen on the set of the Sex and the City prequel directing an episode and recieves an SMS that reveals the identity of Gossip Girl.

Appearance and Style

Vanessa usually wears casual clothes like jeans and leather jackets but sometimes wears dresses when the ocasion calls. She has long black hair and wears wigs in some episodes. For a complete list about her style see here.


Vanessa is regarded by everyone (and, notably, herself) as a moral person, and therefore holds morality in very high regard. Though she has been known to scheme on occasion, and sometimes even to the detriment of those she loves most, she generally abstains from this behavior and has a great disdain for others (particularly Blair) who partake in it. It should also be noted that generally Vanessa seems to feel great guilt and regret for her involvement in schemes - especially if they've hurt others. She also does not bother to try change herself just for others and says what she truly thinks. However, as the series progressed, she also became increasingly vindictive and scheming because of her bitterness towards wealthy people.

She is a filmmaker, and is passionate about this endeavor, but also places great importance on academic achievement (much to the displeasure of her non-conformist parents). Despite the pressure to assimilate to her family's dislike for a formalized college education, Vanessa secretly yearned to attend, and at Nate's encouragement, took the SATs and later enrolled as a student at NYU.

Vanessa is also a political and social activist, and believes in helping people through whatever means possible. This has often shown to be a trait admired by other characters, especially those less similarly inclined (notably Chuck). She has a disdain for wealth and conformity, and as such, most of the characters that she regularly interacts with (and, for a brief time following the marriage of his father to the wealthy Lily van der Woodsen, Dan). She especially dislikes Blair, but there are moments when the two formed a truce.

In regards to her love life, Vanessa generally seems to be faithful and committed to her boyfriends (it is unclear if she identifies herself as lesbian, though she engaged physical intimacy on one occasion with Olivia Burke during a mutual tryst with Dan). Also, she dated Lucy, in the seventh season of the show and is rumoured to be married in the eighth season. Her two most important relationships on the show, with Nate and Dan, both ended at the behest of her partners. She is not entirely above scheming to protect her romantic interests, but is always honest with her boyfriends about her feelings, and doesn't seem to be very guarded emotionally.

Relationships (Novel)


  • Ruby - Sister
  • Arlo - Father
  • Gabriela - Mother
  • Lucy - Girlfriend


Relationships (TV Series)





This character has a Photo Gallery.

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