Zuzanna Szadkowski, better known as Blair Waldorf’s maid Dorota on Gossip Girl, had no idea when she signed on for the minor role that it would make such a major impact–on the show, the fans, and her life as an actress.
“I feel blessed,” she told us when we had the chance to chat with her about the part, and the positive reactions it has elicited among the show’s viewers. “I’m thrilled and surprised every time I meet a Dorota fan.”
Zuzanna might be surprised by Dorota’s popularity, but we’re certainly not. On a show that often crams a week’s worth of high-stakes drama into one hour, Dorota is more than just a maid: she’s our essential comic relief; the brief exhales between Gossip Girl’s frenzied sessions of passion, deceit, mortification, and the other outlandish growing pains undergone by its young, beautiful and affluent stars. It helps to have Dorota, to balance out all that turmoil. And it helps even more that she’s hilarious.
We had the chance to ask some of your fan questions for “Dorota,” plus a few of our own. Our full Q & A with the lovely Zuzanna Szadkowski, after the jump.
Has Dorota learned about the Upper East Side from Blair, or has Blair learned from Dorota?
Oh, man. I don’t know. I think that they certainly do teach each other a lot, but I think just being around Miss Blair and around her crew gives Dorota a real insight into a life that otherwise she might not know anything about. I think she always has her eye out, so anything that goes on doesn’t get past her.
Will Dorota be getting any steamy scenes with everyone’s favorite doorman, Vanya?
I don’t know. We’ll have to watch and see what happens with them, but I just think that Vanya is the cutest. I’m really psyched for Dorota when their relationship started to blossom in the Chasing Dorota webisodes. I was like, “Go, girl! He’s so cute!”
Where did the idea for the Chasing Dorota webisodes come from?
I’m not sure. I don’t know exactly where it was born. But when we began shooting them, for me it was like a dream come true. I was like pinching myself. I just thought they were so funny and so well-written. And they gave me a chance to explore a little bit more of Dorota’s backstory and her personal life, and her life outside of Miss Blair. So it was really exciting, and I think they turned out so well. And I’d like to mention that they are available now in the Bonus Features in the Season 2 DVD. It’s like a little treat on that DVD for viewers.
Did you know when you started this that you would be playing a character who would become so popular?
No. You know what, I was really excited to get the part because I just knew the show was going to be cool. Just the association with a show that was so hot was really thrilling for me. But I had no idea that Dorota would turn out to be so cool, and such a sort of dream-part for me. It was a really pleasant surprise, and I’m so happy that she’s well-received by fans. I’m thrilled and surprised every time I meet a Dorota fan.
Have you had any crazy Dorota fan experiences?
Not crazy ones. I have a lot of fun ones. I guess the only crazy thing is that sometimes Gossip Girl fans are not who you’d expect them to be. I’ve had some really interesting characters come up to me and be like, “Oh, I watch you on the show!” I always laugh about this time that I was walking down the street, and this guy in a three-piece suit, he was obviously some kind of banker or Wall Street guy, and he was like, “Dorota!” That, to me, was fun, because fans come in all shapes and sizes, so that’s exciting. I get a kick out of it when I meet fans, or even on Twitter, when I make fan connections on Twitter, I just really enjoy it, because I feel blessed that people are liking the character.
Dorota’s Polish, and you’re Polish. Are people surprised to hear that you don’t actually have an accent in real life when they meet you?
Yeah, actually, that’s the weirdest part. I don’t usually wear a bun or an apron when I go out, and I don’t have an accent, so it’s not so easy to spot me. I think it definitely takes people by surprise, which I’m very happy about, because I want the accent to come off in an authentic fashion. But, you know, it is my heritage. I was born Poland. My parents actually have very thick accents, so it is definitely pulled from personal experience. I have consulted my mom several times on a little turn of phrase, here and there. So I certainly have that resource right at my fingertips.
What’s your favorite Dorota line?
There was that really awesome Dorota scene, I thought, in an episode where Blair was having a dream, and was interrupted, and she woke up, and Dorota kind of caught her in the middle of this dream, and I think the line was, “God is always watching.” But I just thought that was hysterical, and the writers are so awesome. I always get such a kick out of it when I open the script and I see that Dorota has something funny and amazing like that to say. I always kind of jump around a little bit.
Which character or cast member do you wish Dorota had more interaction with?
I feel like over the course of the seasons, Dorota has had a chance to kind of bump into most everyone. I definitely like being in scenes with Mister Chuck and Miss Blair. I think those scenes are always exciting, so that’s kind of my favorite combination to work in.
Can you hint at anything about the drama coming up for Blair and Dorota?
I don’t know what’s coming, so I don’t have any secrets to spill. But I’ve been watching this season as a fan myself, and I just feel like all the surprises of this new college lifestyle are really exciting, and it’s a new twist and turn every week. So, we just have to keep watching and see.
What would be your dream Dorota storyline?
I am partial to scenes in which Dorota gets to leave the penthouse and walk around, so I love, for example, in the Lily and Rufus wedding, where Dorota got to wear a big hat and a flowered dress. Those departures are more fun for me, so I always look for that, to see Dorota out of her usual garb and on the streets of New York. Out and about is always exciting for me, no matter what’s going on. I also like to shoot on location, because I get a chance to see the connection between New York City and the show, and the New York energy that is so important to Gossip Girl. So I like being able to be a part of that during location shoots.
You’ve also helped out with the Gossip Girl fan tours around New York City. What was that like?
It was cool! I got to go on the tour bus, so I saw all of these real places where Gossip Girl happens, and the fans were really fun. They were international fans, from all over the place, so I got to experience the world of Gossip Girl like they did. It’s amazing, because I feel like we need a New York show always, and this is our new, gorgeous New York show. Going to these locations on the Upper East Side, and the steps of the Met, and all of these places are so beautiful in New York that it just makes me happy to be a New Yorker. To take the tour, I was just enamored all over again by this city.
So you’re an actual New Yorker?
I count myself as one. I was born in Poland, and I was raised in the Midwest, in Indiana. And I came here a long time ago to go to college. So I’ve been living here, and I live in Brooklyn. So I definitely consider myself to be a New York gal.
What has been your favorite storyline of this season so far?
I’m partial to the activities of Blair, so I’ve actually really liked watching the Blair-Chuck blossoming in this new phase of college transition, and watching Blair finding her place, finding her way at NYU. Her new trials and tribulations. But I really like her journey so far. I think that Leighton Meester is such an incredible actor, and so I am just drawn to her work, and I feel like it just gets better and better all the time.
-Meghan Carlson & Kim Wetter, BuddyTV Staff Writers
Image courtesy of the CW