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Leslie Bibb shows off her good side on GCB.

With her icy blue eyes, smooth blond coif and flawless features, Leslie Bibb is used to being typecast as the mean girl. After all, she’s been playing one forever.

“People still come up to me and talk about Popular,” she says of the WB show she starred on more than a decade ago. “Something about it stuck with them. [My character] Brooke McQueen was the most popular girl in school, but she was living this idea of what she should be. People can relate to that.”
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Bibb hopes audiences will feel the same way about her latest effort, the new ABC comedy GCB, which she calls “Popular, 18 years later.” Her character, former mean girl Amanda, moves in with her mother in her hometown of Dallas after the death of her husband leaves her broke.

“We’re catching a woman when everything she thought she knew about her life is gone,” says Bibb, 37. “That’s pretty leveling.”

And Bibb — who has been happily dating Iron Man 2 co-star Sam Rockwell for four years — understands that life can take unexpected turns.

“In our 20s, we have this idea of what we want life to be,” she says. “And in our 30s, we realize the rules of the game have changed. It’s a lost job, a divorce, starting from scratch.”

But Bibb, who was raised by a single mother in Nelson County, Va., got a firsthand lesson in how to bounce back from tragedy — something she carries with her on the show. “I lost my father when I was 6 years old,” she says. “But know this about Southern women: They get back up, they learn to laugh about it, they move on.”

And there’s plenty of laughter on the GCB set, especially when she and co-stars Annie Potts and Kristin Chenoweth gather over lunch to compare notes on costumes. “Given the economy, you always wonder who’s wearing these clothes from the Paris runways,” says Bibb, who admits that she’s been coveting items from the show’s wardrobe. “Well, Dallas is the fashion capital of America. Our clothes [on the show] are to die for!”