Let’s just get this comparison out of the way: Nina Dobrev is the anti-Bella. Coming to greet me on the Atlanta set of The Vampire Diaries—the CW’s take on pop culture’s trendiest figures of folklore—she’s unguarded and unself-conscious, all smiles and hugs. Her trailer vibes of a teenager’s bedroom: Fashion magazines, stuffed animals, and shoeboxes fill floor space and various corners. There’s a half-drunk bottle of kombucha on the desk, a corkboard of photos of cast-mates and friends, and notes to herself scrawled on a chalkboard-painted wall (“pay bills,” reads one).
Then, suddenly: “Oh my god, I’m so embarrassed.” Our eyes land on a cheesy male pinup calendar hanging near the door. She runs to it immediately, nervously tearing it from the wall. “For my twenty-first birthday! It was a joke gift! Please don’t judge!”
As in her day job playing dueling roles as responsible high-schooler Elena and centuries-old vampire Katherine, Nina, 22, hovers somewhere between distracted teenager and fully realized adult. First purchases for her new condo, for example, included a fondue set and a popcorn maker, while her mattress is still on the floor. In very vampiric fashion, she doesn’t get much sleep. “By the time I get home, memorize the next day’s work, brush my teeth, remove all the makeup, and shower to get the blood off . . .” she says, counting on her fingers. “And then I have to be back at work in seven hours. I can only do so much.”
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