Despite her platinum blonde hair, slender figure and innocent face, 19-year-old Taylor Momsen is not quite everyone's little sister, as she's portrayed in the popular teen television drama Gossip Girl.
She was in town last week for the Causeway Bay store opening of Japanese accessories brand Samantha Thavasa, before flying off to Taipei for a mini-concert as front girl of The Pretty Reckless.
Momsen, who played Jenny Humphrey in the first five seasons of the show (co-starring Blake Lively, Leighton Meester and Penn Badgle), announced recently that she was done with acting.
"Music has always been what I wanted to do. I was humming songs before I could talk," she says. "Acting was more like a day job. It's really hard to make money in the music industry and I have to pay my rent. When I was able to not have day jobs, I chose to focus on music."
The Pretty Reckless debuted in 2010 with the album Light Me Up, featuring songs written by Momsen and guitarist Ben Phillips with their producer, Kato Khandwala. She has since toured with rock luminaries such as Marilyn Manson, Evanescence and Guns N' Roses.
"Manson's the real deal. I'm a big fan, so it's cool to watch his show every night," she says. "But touring with bands who have been doing it for so long, you really learn that you have to step up your f***ing game."
Having been in show business since she was two years old, Momsen struggled with the transition from child star to adult performer.
"I'm familiar with the business side of the industry, but it took me a while to get used to the tabloids. You need to ignore it, because it's not real," she says. "As long as I make the records that I love, the stuff that comes with it doesn't matter."
Momsen says the only thing now is for people to see her outside of her Gossip Girl character.
"The dark eyes and all, I've been like this for as long as I can remember. Now, instead of wearing costumes, I'm just wearing my own clothes - T-shirts, lots of leather and boots."