Based on the popular young adult books by Cecily von Ziegesar, Gossip Girl has become a launching pad for young designers as much as it has for young actors.

With the third season finale approaching on May 17, co-creator Stephanie Savage sat down with Metro to talk about the challenges of taking characters to college and dealing with the pesky paparazzi while filming in New York City.

Q. How has it been taking the Gossip Girl characters into their college years? That’s famously where a lot of teen series flounder.

A. I think the challenge of taking show the from high school to college was something that we tried to address from the very beginning of the show because Josh Schwartz and I had already gone through it on the O.C. and knew firsthand what a challenge that was. So from the beginning on Gossip Girl, we tried to make the franchise of the show much more New York City and much less high school. We actually pride ourselves on the fact they we never had a classroom set. So the challenge that we really had is more in terms of getting the characters to be able to stay in the same world and be connected with each other without that device of the high school that they all attend, and we’re still kind of working out the kinks.

Q. You’ve been getting a lot of paparazzi attention while filming.

A. It does actually make shooting on location really quite difficult. The paparazzi is very aggressive, and the way New York City works, you know, you have to leave the sidewalks free. People need to be able to walk where they want to walk. It’s delightful for the population, but it also means that the paparazzi can stand there if they want. Sometimes it’s really hard for the actors, who are trying to focus. It’s crazy when you’re doing a fairly intimate scene, and there’s a wall of paparazzi like they’re walking a red carpet. We’ve had to dub dialogue because literally you can hear the shutters in the background.

Q. Does the media attention affect how you write the show?

A. If we have, like, a certain two people kissing, we will absolutely think about making sure that that scene happens on set and not on a location because we don’t want it reported in the media. But that’s hard, too, because maybe you do want people kissing in Central Park with a beautiful backdrop and not in Blair’s bedroom, but you make that choice.

Q. You seem to have had no trouble getting big fashion designers to let you use their work.

A. We have a great relationship with designers, where they love to have their clothes on our show, which is such a blessing for us, and we love to have them. We have designers who are fans enough that they want to play themselves on the show. So it’s great when Eleanor Waldorf is having a fashion show and Michael Kors will show up.

Q. Do you have a problem with the actresses not wanting to give the costumes back?

A. Yes. But they do because they’re good girls, and they all have their own relationships with the designers.

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