Michelle Christine Trachtenberg (born October 11, 1985) is an American actress. She is best known for her roles as Nona F. Mecklenberg in The Adventures of Pete & Pete, Dawn Summers in the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2000–2003) and Georgina Sparks in Gossip Girl (2008–2012). She also appeared in the films Harriet the Spy (1996), EuroTrip (2004), Ice Princess (2005), the Black Christmas (2006) remake, and 17 Again (2009).
Trachtenberg was born in New York City, the younger of two daughters of Lana, a bank manager, and Michael Trachtenberg, a fiber-optics engineer. Her father is from Germany and her mother was born in Russia; Trachtenberg can speak Russian fluently. Trachtenberg is of Jewish heritage, and celebrates both Christmas and Hanukkah, her grandparents live in Israel. Trachtenberg was raised, along with older sister Irene, in Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn, where she attended P.S. 99 Elementary School and The Bay Academy for the Arts and Sciences.
Trachtenberg made her first television appearance at the age of three, in a commercial for Wisk Detergent. She went on to feature in over 100 more commercials. She appeared in her first credited role as Nona F. Mecklenberg on the Nickelodeon series The Adventures of Pete & Pete from 1994 until 1996. During the same period she played Lily Montgomery on the soap opera All My Children, in which she first worked with future Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Sarah Michelle Gellar.
Trachtenberg's film career began in 1996 with the titular role in Harriet the Spy. During this time, she also began a recurring role in season two of the television series The Adventures of Pete & Pete, of which she later became a regular. She then starred in the short-lived television series Meego, which garnered her a Young Artist Award. She returned to film in 1999 for Inspector Gadget, as the inspector's niece, Penny. She also starred in the film Can't Be Heaven. In the summer of 2000, Trachtenberg took on the role of Dawn Summers in Buffy the Vampire Slayer; she remained in the role until the show ended in 2003. Trachtenberg also hosted the Discovery Kids series Truth or Scare, from 2001 to 2003. After Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Truth or Scare, she appeared in the comedy film EuroTrip, directed by Jeff Schaffer and co-starring Scott Mechlowicz, Jacob Pitts, and Travis Wester. She also had a recurring role in the HBO series Six Feet Under as Celeste, a spoiled pop star for whom Keith Charles served as a bodyguard. Other guest on the show are Tom Lenk (Cyrus/Andrew Wells), Eric Balfour (Jesse McNally), Robin Riker (Catherine Madison), Edith Fields (Unidentified School Nurse), Lenora May (Mrs. Jackson), Brian Poth (Unidentified Boy (I Only Have Eyes for You)), Mary-Pat Green (Joan), Michael Cudlitz (Big Bob), Scott Torrence (Dickie), Andy Umberger (D'Hoffryn/Ronald Meltzer), Dagney Kerr (Kathy Newman), Tracy Middendorf (Christina Clark), Michael Mantell (Oliver Simon), Jenni Blong (Young Woman (In the Dark)), Brent Sexton (Unidentified police officer), Beth Grant (Maude Pearson), Ken Abraham (Spivey), John Cappodice (Tony Papazian), Lauri Johnson (Martha Straley), Margaret Easley (Gerhardt), Maury Sterling (Barney), Joe Basil (Lenny Edwards), David Wells (Cheese Man), Justina Machado (Jo), Bob Morrisey (unidentified lunatic/Gregson), Melissa Marsala (young Judy Kovacs), Eve Sigall (old Judy Kovacs), J.P. Manoux (Frank Gilnitz), Paul Hayes (Unidentified Older Night Watchman), Stewart Skelton (Harold Jeakins), Cheryl White (Claire Jeakins), Kevin Rankin (Donald Maclay), Dwayne Barnes (Lester), W.Earl Brown (M. James Menlo), Evan Arnold (Unidentified vampire (The Trial)), Jamie McShane (Unidentified demon/ Pylean Rebel), Thomas Kopache (old Denver), Pat Healy (Doug Sanders), Michael Dempsey (Irv Kraigle), Wade Andrew William (Gregor), Brian Tahash (Narwek), Franc Ross (Razor), Ken Takemoto (Unidentified Chinese demon man), Jennifer Griffin (Trish Burkle), Dave Power (Zack), Raymond O'Connor (Bro'os), Jim Ortlieb (Harvey), Andrew Reville (Timothy Blane), Eric Bruskotter (Brian), Mark Harelik (Kurskov), Ryan Raddatz (Todd), Lee Carlington (Jessica Harris), Joel David Moore (Karl), Caroline Lagerfelt (Anne Pratt), Jim Abele (Laurence Reilly), Jordan Garrett (Matthew Fries), John Billingsley (Evan Royce), Justin Connor (Jerry (human)), Lindsey Ginter (Commander Petrie), Jenny Vaughn Campbell (Tommy's Mom), Dennis Christopher (Cyvus Vail), Jeff Yagher (Ed) and Irina Maleeva (Goran Maid).
In March 2005, Trachtenberg played the title character in Walt Disney Pictures' family comedy-drama Ice Princess, with Kim Cattrall, Joan Cusack, and Hayden Panettiere. In the film, Trachtenberg played a science whiz named Casey Carlyle who is torn between a future in academia and her newfound dream of being a professional figure skater.
In April 2006 Trachtenberg guest-starred in the episode of House, M.D., "Safe". She revealed on the December 22, 2006, episode of Late Night With Conan O'Brien that House is her favorite show, she is friends with one of the producers and she asked to be a guest star.
In November 2006, Trachtenberg guest-starred in the sixth season of the Emmy-nominated crime drama Law & Order: Criminal Intent. In the episode "Weeping Willow", she played the role of Willow, a kidnapped video blogger based on lonelygirl15. Trachtenberg also made a cameo in the Fall Out Boy music video for "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race" (with fellow Buffy cast member Seth Green), Joaquin Phoenix-directed video "Tired of Being Sorry" for Balthazar Getty's band Ringside, and Trapt's video Echo. In December 2006, Trachtenberg starred in Black Christmas, the remake of the 1974 slasher of the same name. In 2007, she was cast as the female lead in an ABC comedy pilot called The Hill, set in Washington, D.C. Trachtenberg provided the voice of Tika Waylan for Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight, a direct-to-video animated movie based on the novel of the same name.
Trachtenberg appeared on The CW hit show Gossip Girl as Georgina Sparks, who recently left rehab and brings back the dark past Serena van der Woodsen desperately wants to leave behind. She returned to the show for a multi-episode story arc towards the end of the second season. Trachtenberg appeared in the season 3 finale and the season 4 premiere. In 2009, Trachtenberg was a cast member on the NBC drama Mercy, the series however was not renewed for a second season.
On June 9, 2011, Trachtenberg guest-starred on Love Bites as Jodie, who, after being unceremoniously dumped, decides - with a vengeance - to accept her ex's offer to 'be friends'. She reprised the role on June 16, 2011, where Jodie augments her friend Annie's bust with so-called chicken cutlets - which later embarrassingly slip out. She finally reprised the role on July 21, 2011, in the series finale, where Jodie and her on-again boyfriend are tormented - to the point of homelessness - by bedbugs.
On June 28, 2011, it was announced Trachtenberg would guest star on Weeds during its seventh season. Her character Emma is a rival pot dealer who causes problems for Silas Botwin. The show includes many guest like Indigo (Rona), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Sam Ryan), Ken Lerner (Robert Flutie), Chad Lindberg (David Kirby), Julie Michaels (Julia), Saverrio Guerra (Willy), James G.MacDonald (Paul Stein), Rick Zieff (Mr. Whitmore), Jeremy Roberts (Kakistos), Andy Umberger (D'Hoffryn/Ronald Meltzer), Molly Bryant (Ms. Murray), Michael Mantell (Oliver Simon), Brent Sexton (Unidentified police officer), Thomas Burr (Lee Mercer), Jack Stehlin (Francis Angleman), Ashley Edner (Stephanie Anderson), Colby French (Tay), Sarah Van Horn (Faith's nurse), Rebecca Klinger (Madame Dorion), Michael Harney (Anthony Harris), Todd Stashwick (Vocah/M'Fashnik demon), Scott L. Schwartz (Deevak), Randy Thompson (Aaron Kriegel), Paul Hayes (Unidentified Older Night Watchman), Ezra Buzzington (Unidentified Bartender (Willy's Bar)), Dwayne Barnes (Lester), Tom Kiesche (Broomfield), Eric Lange (a Lubber Demon), Michael Dempsey (Irv Kraigle), Stephanie Nash (Mrs. Kramer), Lily Knight (Gronx), Tom McCleister (Mother of the Vile Excrement), Franc Ross (Razor), Clint Culp (Demon Bartender (Life Serial)), Steve Tom (Stephen Mills), Brett Wagner (Nahdrah Prince/Bohg'dar Demon), Bernard K. Addison (Root monster), Steven Hack (Lionel), Kay Panabaker (Mesektet), Mel Fair (Tentacle Demon), Jessica Kiper (Nick), Clayton Rohner (Lee DeMarco), Roberto Santos (Grimes), Caroline Lagerfelt (Anne Pratt), Patrick Fischler (Ted), Avery Kidd Waddell (Randall Golden), Rodney Rowland (Corbin Fries), Stacy Reed (Charlotte), Scott Klace (Mr. Fury) and Roy Werner (Heinreich).
Trachtenberg returned to film with the 2009 picture 17 Again alongside Zac Efron, Sterling Knight and Matthew Perry. She also had a small role in the comedy film Cop Out.
In March 2011, she was the featured cover girl in Maxim.
- She worked with Sarah Michelle Gellar on the long running "All My Children" (1970) in unknown episodes in the mid-1990s before "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (1997) and they were good friends. Sarah was the one who recommended Michelle for the part of "Dawn".
- She grew up in New York but moved to LA three years ago with her mom. Her dad still lives in New York. Her sister Irene recently graduated from college.
- Appeared at the Xcel Center at a Sci-fi expo alongside Kristine Sutherland (May 2002)
- Said the last line ever in the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (1997) series.
- She loves to play tennis.
- She helped President Bill Clinton launch The Coalition for a Drug Free America campaign.
- Attended Notre Dame High School. She graduated with awards in Social Studies and Religion and was also named under the California Scholarship Federation.
- Attended Bay Academy Junior High School in Brooklyn, New York.
- Speaks Russian.
- Her birthday is also the wedding anniversary of her "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (1997) cast mate Alyson Hannigan (Willow) and "Angel" (1999)'s Alexis Denisof (Wesley).
- Was able to sneak a souvenir from the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (1997) set when the show ended, a wooden stake.
- Studied ballet as a child, which helped her perfect her skating abilities for Ice Princess (2005).
- Is of Russian Jewish and German descent.
- Participated in the golf tournament in Jamaica hosted by Carmen Electra.
- Hobbies include swimming, ice skating, and writing poems.
- Attended Isaac Asimov Public School 99 for elementary school.
- Has an older sister named Irene, b. 1978.
- Spent the summer of 2005 as a non-paid apprentice at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts.
- Has separately played the daughter of both actors who played the young married couple Laura Ingalls Wilder and Almanzo Wilder in "Little House on the Prairie" (1974). She played Melissa Gilbert's daughter in A Holiday for Love (1996) (TV) and played Dean Butler's daughter in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (1997).
- Was submitted for Emmy consideration for her guest-starring role on "House" (2004).
- Her grandparents live in Israel.
- Ranked #86 on the Maxim magazine Hot 100 of 2007 list.
- Also attended PS 188 throughout Kindergarten. Was in the Gifted and Talented program with teacher Mrs. Gomez.
- Voted No. 27 on the 2011 Maxim list "Hot 100" women.
- Good friends with fellow Buffy star Seth Green, although the two never had episodes together.
- Grew up in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.
- Was a huge fan of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" long before being cast as Dawn.
I love gardening. I think it's very therapeutic when you're having a bad day.
[on being involved in a Buffy spin-off] "I didn't see myself continuing as Dawn because I like to have diversity in my roles. A lot of people are like: "Oh my God! Little Dawn grew up!" And as much as I love you guys, suck it up."
[on why she chose not to continue her role as Dawn Summers] "I felt like every year, my character got younger as I got older. The scripts even had me speaking grammatically incorrectly. So I had to do something else. Besides, the show is over. If you miss it, get the DVDs."
[on the future of Buffy] I'm sure that in some way, shape or form "Buffy" will be continued or the story, through the fans, because we do have such devoted fans and that's always been very sweet.
One day I'd like to win an Oscar. But, I tell my mom if I ever get to be rude and demanding to let me know and I'll stop it. I don't want to be an actor like that.
My confidence comes from me, Michelle, as a person. I don't necessarily believe that I will act and be a lead forever, but I want to continue to act for a long time. I love to do what I do.
"A fashion editor at Vogue, that would be awesome." (On her dream job)
Anything you throw at me, I'll try to tackle.
I adore London and Paris, and I hope to live in London for a period of time when I'm older.
I love tennis. I tried gymnastics at one point, but my tush got a whole lot of black and blue so that wasn't fun.
Show off my decolletage. -- on what she does to "instantly feel sexy"
I love Rag & Bone. They're pretty fantastic. Marc Jacobs has been a friend of mine for years, and I adore him. I like Chloe. I like a lot of younger designers. -- on her favorite designers.
... I think I did a head-to-toe leopard ensemble once, when I was 10. I think animal print should be taken in moderation. A shoe or a scarf is fine. -- on any past red carpet regrets.
I think it's much harder in New York. There are paparazzi on bicycles, which is a new thing. You can't really speed away in your car. Especially with Gossip Girl being such a New York-based show, it's harder. I tried my hand at going to Bed, Bath & Beyond the other day, which I love, and that was a little bit of a catastrophe. I caused a little bit of a scene. That would be the only time that I'm a little shy. -- on if it's easier to be unrecognized in New York.
I'm a downtown girl. I would love to give you restaurants, but then you'd know about them and we couldn't go there anymore. Leighton Meester and I like to go to hole-in-the-walls that no one would ever expect us to go to, and no one cares that we're in there. We do that often. -- on favorite places in New York.
I think life is like high school. I don't necessarily know that it pertains to Gossip Girl because that is obviously an extreme fabrication of the most glorious life. But, I do think that life, in general, is definitely like high school and you never get out of it. You just have to stay strong. -- on if life is like "Gossip Girl"
Probably just that laughter is the best thing. It's not about seeking revenge on that person. It's not letting them get away with it and not letting them get their high off of seeing you miserable. Laugh with them. -- on how to deal with embarrassment.
I'm the last person to ask about dealing with stress. I'm always the biggest stress ball. But, I don't stop moving and I never let my Blackberry leave my hand, so I'm getting a lot of thumb exercise. It's great. -- on how she deals with stress.
I've been drinking from the fountain of youth, so my face remains the same. Actually, one of our very first days of shooting, Gail Berman, who I have known for almost 10 years now, from Buffy, said that if we put a split screen of my face from the first episode of Buffy up next to the Mercy pilot, it's the same. I might have just gotten paler. I don't go out in the sun. I think there's a huge difference between the two characters, in the sense that Chloe is an adult. She's not a child, by any means. She went through nursing school. She has her master's degree. She has all of the credentials. She is a nurse and an adult, in every sense of those words. For me, I'm not shy or quiet. It's interesting for me to play someone who is such the opposite from myself because it's more challenging to keep that realistic. I also think that so many young women in the world are scared of the circumstances that they're in and are very insecure about different experiences that they may have, and I love being that character for women to say, "Yes, Chloe is scared. She's worried that she is literally going to kill someone, but there's optimism there. She can do it. So, I don't think of her as a child, or as annoying or whiney. I think she's just open to the world and looking to her colleagues to steer her. She has such great respect and admiration because they know what they're doing. So, between the three of us and the different personalities that we have, we're going to cater to every single woman watching the show, or that's what we hope. -- the differences between the character Dawn on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and the character Chloe on "Mercy" and on playing young and/or naive characters.
Every girl likes a bad boy but the bad boy has to have a sensitive side - that makes a fantastic man. But I like an older man...
It's super fun to play the bad girl. I love bringing out the inner nasty. ... Every woman secretly has an inner bitch deep down inside - including myself. But with the scenarios that Georgina is in and the lines from the script, the evil naturally comes out and flows really well for me. I don't take the nastiness off set, but sometimes when the paparazzi get in my face, Georgina comes out. -- on her character Georgina Sparks in "Gossip Girl"
Trachtenberg appeared from Season 5 to Season 7 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 5 (Guest Starring in Buffy vs. Dracula)
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 6
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 7