Exclusive Interview: Tika Sumpter Dishes on Raina Thorpe, All Things Gossip Girl

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Tika Sumpter plays Raina Thorpe on Gossip Girl. In an exclusive interview, she spoke with TV Fanatic this week about her character and working on the hit show.

Is Raina over Chuck? What dimensions to her personality have yet to be revealed? Will she ever get some girlfriends? Can she take Chace and Ed at Just Dance?

Our Q&A with her touches on all of the above and more ...

TVF: Were you a fan of the show prior to being cast?

Tika Sumpter: I watched it a couple of times, but no, honestly. It’s not that I wasn’t a fan, I just didn’t watch it as much as most people do. Obviously everyone knows about it, but you don’t realize how huge it is until you’re on it. It’s universal.

Makin' it Raina

He's not quite Justin Bieber, but have you gotten any death threats since hooking up with Chuck Bass?

[laughs] No. Oh my god, I would probably go crazy. No death threats. The cool thing about the fans is they know it’s a TV show. It’s good that it doesn’t go past that. Myself and Ed Westwick aren’t a couple or anything, it’s literally on the show and I’m glad it stays there. I’d be freaked out if I got death threats.

Raina's going to be around for the rest of the season, and we just learned some information about her mother. Are there other components of her character we haven't seen yet?

It’s going to start coming together starting next week where you’ll start learning more about her family and the puzzle will start coming together. There are pieces of her family life that’s missing, which effects the way people end up. You’ll start seeing the reasons of why her family is doing what they’re doing and the reasons why Raina is sometimes harsh and strong and has to be strong. There’s a reason for everything in everyone’s life so it’s going to start coming together more, especially with her mom.

I don’t think she was neglected. But with her mom walking out on her, that was a major blow. She was raised by her father and he’s a hardcore business guy, so she’s learned a lot of lessons from him, but she’s also missed out on a lot of lessons that a woman can teach you. I think she’s grown up in a mans world, so people say she’s a girl version of Chuck Bass, but I think the reason for that is that she grew up in that world, and that’s all she knows. You’ll see her more vulnerable side and what’s between the cracks. I’m excited for people to see that. She has herself together for the most part, but I think you’re going to see that Raina hasn’t dealt with the deeper issues in her life. You’re going to start seeing that unfold. She’s a type A girl and a workaholic, but her vulnerability will be revealed.

Will a male character be bringing out that vulnerable side?

A few of male characters bring that side out of her. It’s going to surprise her.

Will she ever get any girlfriends?

I know! [laughs] She’s on a lonely planet, planet Man. As of right now, I’m don’t know. Right now she’s in this world of guys. I would love a girlfriend.

Nate and Raina

Raina’s also the new It Girl and she doesn’t even know it.

[laughs] I know. The thing about Raina is that she’s from the Midwest, she hasn’t grown up in this media and society saturated place. She has no clue about the monstrosity of that world that Blair and Serena are in. If she found out she was the new It Girl she would be like “uh, ok cool. Now let’s get back to work.” [laughs]

Raina isn’t blind about the things that are going on around her; I think she’s blinder to the artificial stuff. She’s not into the catty drama at all. If she was, she would have had Blair follow her around on Valentines Day with her ex. That’s ridiculous. If someone is plotting around her, she’ll have an open ear. She wasn’t blind about Nate trying to get her back with Chuck.

Is Raina 100% over Chuck Bass?

I don’t think so. I don’t think you just get over somebody like Chuck Bass that fast. He’s definitely a strong character, and I think she respects him. She couldn’t get over how he treated his step-mother. She believes the way you treat family is the way you treat people in life. That’s the strong part of her character. That was hard for her to swallow but I think she, of course, still has an interest in him and we’ll see what happens.

And now with the new information about her mother, it must have made it that much worse.

Yeeaahhhh. That’s going to be very interesting, I can’t wait for you guys to see that. I don’t think anyone is prepared for that’s going to happen. With all of that new information, a lot of new stuff comes out. I’m excited for everyone to watch that!

Talk about working with Ed Westwick and Chace Crawford.

It’s been so fun. Ed Westwick is totally professional and he’s a sweet person. He’s got that British wit. Chace Crawford is a funny, crazy guy who makes me laugh a lot. We just joke around. We work hard, but we joke around. He’s so great to work with.

Got any fun anecdotes about the cast on set?

[laughs] What happens on the set of Gossip Girl, stays on the set of Gossip Girl.

You were born in Queens. When is that borough going to get some love from the producers?

I would hope so. I think Queens is a great place. There are so many different cultures and cool restaurants, especially in Astoria. I’d hope it’d get some love eventually, it’d be nice. I mean Brooklyn got some love, so I don’t know why Queens wouldn’t.

Who would win Just Dance between you, Ed and Chace?

I would definitely win! [laughs] How great was that scene, by the way?

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There's noitnhg like the relief of finding what you're looking for.

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Honestly in the last episode they mention a fire and how Raina's mom died from it. Does anyone else see this connection? Remember in like season 1 or 2, i forgot which one, Dan has to write a thing about Chuck and then he has to write about his father. He also met with some guy that explained something about a fire and a person dieing and then Dan confronted Bart. Bart said something like he had been trying to keep that secret for a while and did not want anyone to know and that he killed someone. Do u think he was talking about Raina's mom?

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wow i did'nt know thier were so many haters i think u guys are gonna have to deal with the fact that shes having strong relationships with some of the characters

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I'm surprised that there is so much negativity on here about Raina. I guess it's because she is so different as well as the attachment to characters that have always been on the show. I get that people love Blair and Chuck but personally I think that it's brave to mix things up a bit. Raina is an interesting addition, partly because she is so unlike the other girls. Also her pairing with Nate really works. They have a lot of natural chemistry. They brought the fun side out of each other without even trying. I loved that.

Xxmrskolmikaelsenxx

yes, Ed is no Robert Pattinson. He does not look like mother effin FOOT!

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You guys really need to separate the actress and the character.
I am starting to like Raina. She is not a bad character but she has minimal development. Her connection with Nate has some little chemistry but not as much as Nate's significant others.
Sure she is no Blair Waldorf, Jenny Humphrey or Juliet Sparks but she seemingly has a moral characterization than most vindictive manipulators. We cannot compare her to the other female characters since her character is completely different from the main protagonists.

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I really dislike her. So full of herself and always moping about her life. Chuck had a similar situation to her when his mum walked out, but it was so much worse. A shame she is staying until end of season. Does anyone know if GG has been signed on for season 5? XOXO

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Honestly I don't care about her character at all. She's a guest star not a main character. I don't care about her backstory or who she is sleeping with. Nothing at all. I want her to leave. Why post on get article if I don't like her? To express myself :) I don't see why she should get all this hype when she's Only been on temporarily. Can she please leave already.

Viviana b waldorf bass

who the F cares what raina has to say?!
go die raina...
and take your dad with ya.

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Sohini, I hope you are not right--that truly would be gross. I was thinking more like a connection to Vanessa's mom, who ran off to the artist colony or something--??? There's also Serena's sister, and Dan and Jenny's mom, wherever she is. Just running down the list of "random, unattached moms"!

Gossip Girl Quotes

And who am I? That's one secret I'll never tell ... You know you love me. XOXO, Gossip Girl

Gossip Girl

Blair: Fashion is the most powerful art there is. It's movement, design and architecture all in one. It shows the world who we are and who we'd like to be. Just like your scarf suggests that you'd like to sell used cars.
Dan: Vanessa gave me this scarf.

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