TV fans know Zuzanna Szadkowski best as Dorota, the devoted maid of Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester) on the scandalous hit Gossip Girl. While Szadkowski may spend her Gossip days in a uniform, she's currently discussing more fashionable outfits during her second engagement in off-Broadway's Love Loss and What I Wore. Broadway.com recently caught up with Szadkowski to get some scoop on Gossip Girl's fifth season (premiering September 26 on the CW) as well as her best pal, The Book of Mormon star Andrew Rannells.
This is your second stint this year in Love, Loss and What I Wore. What made you want to come back?
The show is so much fun, and having the opportunity to work with these women blows my mind. When they told me I could do it all over again with a new set of Love, Loss sisters [Adrienne Lenox, Janel Moloney, Ashley Austin Morris and Joyce Van Patten], I jumped at the chance.
Do you have any personal clothing-related memories that would make for a good monologue?
I have a lot from growing up. I was born in Poland and came to the U.S. as a little kid. Having Polish parents in Fort Wayne, Indiana, made me stick out like a sore thumb. My mom would totally embarrass me because she had this fur coat she always wore that had curly white hair…I guess it was sheepskin? It looked like a big, fluffy, white poodle, and my friends all called it “the goat coat.” Your parents can seem so embarrassing and weird when you're growing up, but now I love that part of my family.
How would you describe your own style?
Having been on Gossip Girl for the last few years, I’ve started paying more attention to clothes after being in close proximity to all these incredible outfits. I like to think I have a pretty eclectic style. I tend to lean towards more casual and comfortable things, but, being exposed to the finer things on set, I’ve started to get a little bit of an appetite, especially for bags and shoes.
Do you ever get jealous of your co-stars’ chic outfits while you’re stuck in Dorota’s maid uniform?
At first I’m like, “Oh my God! Look at those incredible stiletto heels!” and then after four hours of shooting I’m very relieved that I’m wearing comfortable flats and a uniform.
Have you ever heard from any real-life maids to the upper crust of New York society?
I haven’t really heard from any via social media or anything, but I have been on location shoots on the Upper East Side and I imagine that while I’m walking to and from the trailer, I’m certainly passing someone’s Dorota.
Last season ended with a big cliffhanger surrounding Blair’s possible pregnancy. Can you spill any dirt?
I can’t! I always wait to find out what’s going to happen next as we’re shooting. I was very excited to find out how things roll out this year. Season five is going to be very exciting for the fans. The drama that is coming is huge!
Your hot young Gossip Girl co-stars still seem pretty down-to-earth after the success of the show.
They’re such professionals. I couldn’t be more lucky in terms of having such fun, loving, warm cast mates. They make me feel at home. For me it’s so exciting to watch them do all these movies and fabulous projects and just blow up. I don’t know any more deserving actors than this group.
Do you have a favorite co-star?
I spend most of my time on set with Leighton Meester and she’s wonderful. I’ve learned a lot from her about comedic timing and being in front of the camera. She has such an ease about her with the way she’s able to tackle complicated material.
You’re also a longtime friend of Tony-nominated The Book of Mormon star Andrew Rannells. Have any fun stories about your years trying to make it in New York?
We met when we were 18, moved to New York City on the same day and have been best friends ever since. Watching his career and this [Mormon] phenomenon is one of the most satisfying experiences, because his extraordinary talents fit so well with this perfect project. When we were like 19, we would try to be “New Yorkers” by getting dolled up and going to [now-closed piano bar] Rose’s Turn. We’d order Amarettos because we thought we were fancy, and he would sing at the mic. It took us years to get into the groove because we were such nerdy midwesterners. We were roommates in an apartment in Harlem and adopted an eight-year-old chihuahua together. We lived in a five-story walk-up and would be too lazy to walk the dog when we came home each night, so we’d just walk him on the roof. That was totally irresponsible, but he had a nice long life!