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Kelly  Rutherford

Kelly Rutherford

Mom, Actress, Activist & Philanthropist


As Lily van der Woodsen on the CW Network's iconic Gossip Girl for six seasons, Kelly Rutherford played pampered, privileged and posh alongside her popular teenage daughter Serena (Blake Lively) and her glittering coterie of prep-school pals including Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester), Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick), Nate Archibald (Chace Crawford) and Dan Humphreys (Penn Badgely). For Rutherford, it was the role of her career thus far, which began with recurring roles in soap operas (Loving, Generations) and culminated in 96 episodes of the internationally syndicated Gossip Girl, now streaming on Netflix for a new generation of aspiring it girls, bad boys and cool kids navigating the tricky terrain of money and entitlement.  Read More >

The seductive world of Upper East Side parties, benefits and Hamptons weekend retreats that made Gossip Girl into must-see TV gave the New York City-based actress an entrée into real-life philanthropic circles, where she is active in women's and children's charities. These include the Step Up women's network, for which she is a board member, empowering girls from under-resourced communities to become college-bound and career-focused professional women, and Healthy Child Healthy World, helping parents to create healthier living environments for their children. She is also a board member of Free Arts NYC for Kids, a mentoring program for underserved children and families.

Rutherford recently launched her own non-profit group, the Children's Justice Campaign, designed to help families navigate the frequently complex family court system. In 2011, she launched her personal website, kellyrutherford.com, encouraging healthy living and wellness for women, children and young families.

Through her experiences with the Children's Justice Campaign, her forays into philanthropy and wellness, and her expertise in motherhood both off-screen and on, Rutherford emerges as a keen spokesperson on issues pertaining to young people — in particular teenagers and college kids. In unique interactive presentations designed for the campus audience, Rutherford revisits her Lily van der Woodsen TV character — a hip, progressive mom living life in the fast lane who speaks to kids as equals and not underlings — and draws from her own personal challenges to speak on subjects ranging from dating and sexual violence, bullying and self-image and substance abuse and family issues. 


RESUME Read Less ^

  • Appeared in 96 episodes of TV's Gossip Girl, playing Upper East Side socialite mom Lily van der Woodsen opposite Blake Lively
  • Recently appeared in Reckless (CBS), Being Mary Jane (BET), The Mysteries of Laura (NBC)
  • Also appeared in Scream 3, Melrose Place, Homefront, Threat Matrix
  • Founder and director, Children's Justice Campaign, a non-profit advocacy group helping people navigate the family court system
  • Active in women's and children's charities, including Step Up, Healthy Child Healthy World and Free Arts

Speech Topics

Life Choices: Real Talk, Not Gossip – An Interactive Discussion

As Lily van der Woodsen on TV's Gossip Girl, Kelly Rutherford played pampered, privileged and posh, alongside her it-girl teenage daughter Serena (Blake Lively) and her popular friends. But amid all the parties and pomp was a series that illuminated pressing issues relating to young people. As one of the major cast members on the show, Rutherford was privy to story arcs centered on real-life issues like dating and sexual violence, bullying, self-image, substance abuse and parent-child relationships. In this interactive program geared towards students and young adults — many of whom are now discovering Gossip Girl on Netflix, giving it new life after its long run — Rutherford uses clips from the show that highlight these themes as a way to engage her audience and spark conversation. Rutherford encourages audience members to participate in real time by submitting questions and comments via social media and participating in live Q & A.