We admit it: we’ve officially been bitten by the vampire craze and The CW’s The Vampire Diaries (Thursdays at 8 p.m.) is our latest fang-filled obsession. With equal parts teen angst and blood-sucking goodness, we are hooked on the Elena, Stefan, Damon love triangle. Throw sexy vamp Katherine into the mix and we can’t wait to find out what happens in the new season, premiering this month. We caught up with series star Nina Dobrev, 21, at Westwood’s Hotel Palomar for a taste of what we can expect
SNMag: What initially drew you to the show and the character of Elena?
Nina Dobrev: Well, I remember reading it and just being drawn to the fact that she was this average girl who was damaged in many ways and then I did some research and found out that I would probably end up having to play Katherine too, who is the complete opposite. This is one of the rarest, coolest opportunities in television, to play two people on the same medium.
SNMag: What can you tell us about Katherine coming back at the end of the finale last season?
ND: The only thing I can really tell you is that she’s back, and if I told you any more I’d have to kill you or bite you or something. But, yeah, she is back and you can just imagine now that she’s back in action things are just going to get more and more intense. It’s fun to see what she is going to do because she is just so spontaneous and crazy, but I’m just as in the dark as you are because they don’t tell us anything until we get there.
SNMag: Who do you have more fun playing – Elena or Katherine?
ND: I think like anything in life, whatever you’re deprived from or you don’t get to do as often, you end up enjoying more than anything else because it’s like a guilty pleasure. So, whenever I play Katherine, because I do it seldom, I have the most fun playing her.
SNMag: Do you think Damon and Elena could ever have a good, healthy relationship?
ND: “Damon” and “healthy” in the same sentence? That’s funny! I don’t know, I mean, with the way the season ended, it doesn’t seem as though Damon and Elena are an item in any way because he didn’t really care for her. He chose Katherine. Little does he know he is totally falling in love with Elena but Elena truly doesn’t feel that way. She sees him as a buddy. She sees him as her boyfriend’s brother, and, at times, a pain in the butt. But their friendship and their chemistry are definitely growing.
SNMag: If it were up to you, which brother would you choose?
ND: Well, I would choose the other brother, definitely – or maybe a mixture of the two. I think both characters have different qualities that are very appealing so it just depends. If you combine them, they make the perfect man because Stefan is committed and sweet and protective and loving, and Damon is spontaneous and crazy and fun and exciting. Every woman has to find that guy who pushes all her buttons, and Damon and Stefan push different buttons for Elena.
SNMag: What’s it like shooting in Atlanta?
ND: I like it, I really like it. It took a second to get used to in the beginning because, like any city, you have to give it a shot and explore and find out the little quirks about the town. But once we did, I found so many great restaurants and such amazing food and really great, nice, fun people and it’s so different from New York and LA and the big cities. We get an opportunity to be real, average people and hang out and go to restaurants and watch movies and not take ourselves too seriously.
SNMag: Do you guys all hang out off set?
ND: You’d think we’d get sick of each other by now, but we don’t somehow! Everyone is so sweet and supportive and loving and caring for each other. We can’t wait to get back to Atlanta and start filming again.
SNMag: Do you ever get to go back to Canada to visit your family?
ND: Actually, I just went back home to Toronto and hung out with my mom and my brother. I don’t get to go as often as I’d like to because of my work schedule but when I do it makes the time with them so much cooler. I’m really close with my mom so I miss her a lot and she travels a lot. She comes to visit me in Atlanta so I get to see her often that way.
SNMag: Since the show has become more popular, have you had any interesting fan encounters?
ND: Yeah, I’ve had tons of interesting fan encounters! This one time, I was at yoga with my mom and this girl came up to me while I was basically half-naked in a dressing room and she was asking me about the show and asked for an autograph and a picture with me while I’m sitting there, like I said, half-naked!
SNMag: We’ve heard that you’re a very big coffee and chocolate connoisseur – any specific preferences?
ND: Well, if we’re going to talk about coffee we’re going to have to talk about Starbucks and Coffee Bean! I change it up a lot, I love chai lattes and caramel macchiatos and double chocolate chip frappucinos with whipped cream…the sweeter the better, basically! When I have chai, I have dirty chai lattes with chocolate espresso in it. It’s a good pick me up. When it comes to just chocolate, lava cake is my absolute favorite. Hot, molten lava cake!
SNMag: What’s your feeling on this whole vampire craze? Do you keep up with shows like True Blood or the Twilight series?
ND: We’re all aware and supportive of each other’s shows and I have a lot of friends in them. I just finished shooting a movie with Kellan [Lutz], actually, a couple days ago. Vampires are hot. They’re sexy and mysterious and dangerous.
SNMag: Can we expect any werewolves on the show next season? Could you give us any hints?
ND: I can’t tell you about that. Maybe, maybe not, but I’m not allowed to talk about it. Sorry!
SNMag: When you’re not filming, how do you spend your free time?
ND: To be honest, whenever I have free time I just sleep. I chill and keep everything low-key. I’m a very low-key person because the rest of my life is so fast-paced and exciting. I like to just relax.
SNMag: Are there any spots in Los Angeles that you especially enjoy when you’re here?
ND: I hang out in Santa Monica a lot. If I can, I love to be by the water. And I love 25 Degrees, they have the best burgers and so does 8 Oz.! I go shopping on Melrose. I go to the Melrose flea market on Sundays if I can.
SNMag: You mentioned the movie with Kellan Lutz, Death Games, what can you share about it?
ND: The reason it appealed to me was that I always wanted to do an action movie. Also, I wanted to play a character that was a little older. I play a young girl in her 20s who Kellan marries. I’m his wife! So that was pretty fun. I’m pregnant in it too, I get to have a baby belly.
SNMag: What’s your favorite thing to do on a Saturday night when you’re not working?
ND: Two things: Either go out for an amazing steak dinner and just indulge in yummy food and then just watch a movie and hang out, or I’ll go out with the girls and go to a cool, dive bar. I like intimate settings where you can really talk and hang out with your friends and cool people.
By Jillian Gordon