The Vampire Diaries Actress talks to us about leaving the show and upcoming projects
When Nina Dobrev was a young girl growing up in Toronto, she had a habit of talking to strangers. But don’t worry, she usually got the better of them. “When my mom would eventually meet the person, she’d find that I’d given them a fake name, a fake background, a fake everything,” recalls the 27-year old actress who was born in Sofia, Bulgaria and moved with her family to Toronto when she was two. “I was creating characters from when I was tiny.” Dobrev, makeup-free and dressed in a flowing floral pantsuit, leans back in her chair and smiles at the memory. “I thought it was fun to see how far I could go in convincing someone of something that wasn’t real. I found pleasure in it.”
She still finds pleasure in it and now she gets paid, too. Dobrev, who is best known for the dual role of Elena/Katherine on the TV series The Vampire Diaries, has three wildly different films set for release in 2017. First up is XXX: Return of Xander Cage, opposite Vin Diesel and yes, she did sneak in a few rubs of that famous dome. “It’s pretty smooth,” reports the actress, who playsa bespectacled tech expert who provides Diesel’s Xander with his super-gadgets. “Vin’s like a giant teddy bear—so sweet and funny—and he’s really big into Facetime, which I wouldn’t have thought. Vin loves his Facetime.”
She follows that up with the R-rated comedy Crash Pad opposite Christina Applegate, then the just-wrapped sequel to the 1990 Julia Roberts thriller Flatliners, in which she plays one of a team of death-tempting med students. “My character’s an overachieving know-it-all,” she explains, “so in addition to the three weeks of medical training, I had cello training, horseback riding lessons, and a swim trainer because she used to be a competitive swimmer.” So she didn’t just get to lie there and pretend to flatline? “That’s what I thought going in,” she laughs, “but no. The joke was on me.”
As Dobrev continues to rack up movie roles, it seems that her gamble to leave The Vampire Diaries two seasons before the end of its run is paying off. “The show was such a huge part of my life,” says Dobrev, who was linked for a time to her Diaries co-star Ian Somerhalder but declines to discuss her current romantic status. “It almost feels like I was in high school and this is the first time that I’m starting to feel like an adult. Twenty-seven is the year that a lot of people warned me about. Until you’re twenty-seven, people would say, ‘You’re so smart and accomplished for your age,’ and then all the sudden you become twenty-seven and you’re just like everybody else.”
Well, not quite like everyone else. Not everyone has fans so devoted that they tattooed her likeness on their bodies. “I’m incredibly flattered when I see like, my face on someone’s arm but I’m also worried,” says Dobrev who has 10 million followers on Instagram and nearly 7 million on Twitter. “What if I do something really questionable and they decide they don’t like me and they’re stuck with it? That’s why I don’t have a single tattoo.”
If she were to get one, however, it might say ‘Work hard, play hard.’ “I think it’s important to have your work but also have something that separates you from it,” says the former teen gymnast who, at the moment, is sporting a gnarly bruise on her arm from a recent run-in with an obstacle course. “For every year that I was on Vampire Diaries, I took one month off and traveled the world on my own. I backpacked in Bali, all through Europe, Tokyo, Shanghai, wherever my little heart desired.” Was she constantly accosted by Vampire Diaries fans? “Not really,” she says. “People don’t expect someone like to me to be traveling by herself so they just assume I’m not me.”
Of course, there was that time when she recognized herself. “I went into a drug store in Asia and my face was on the side of all these boxes for this Asian hair campaign that I did,” she recalls. “I just kind of stumbled across them and was like, ‘Looking good, girl’ but I couldn’t understand what the box said. I’m hoping it said good things.”
We’re pretty sure it did.
Written by Dennis Hensley
Photographer: Olivia Malone for Brydges Mackinney.
Stylist: Leah Henken.
Hair: Dennis Gots for The Wall Group.
Makeup: Adam Breuchaud for Tomlinson Management Group using Chanel Ultrawear Foundation.
Manicure: Pilar Noire for Nailing Hollywood using Chanel Le Vernis in Vamp.
Location: Mack Sennett Studios.
Nina Dobrev was featured in 2016 in Flaunt: A Few Favorites from a Fabulous Year