There’s good evidence to suggest that actress Nina Dobrev’s new gig will prove her breakout role. After all, her upcoming teen soap “The Vampire Diaries,” premiering on Sept. 10, comes courtesy of the CW network, which launched the careers of the “Gossip Girl” cast two years ago. And with the popularity of recent projects like “Twilight” and “True Blood,” it seems viewers can’t get enough of fang-friendly fare.
“There’s just something about vampires that’s sexy,” says the 20-year-old Canadian. “It’s the same reason why women go for the bad boy — you want them but you shouldn’t have them.”
Based on the young adult series by L.J. Smith, “Diaries” tells the story of Elena (Dobrev), a popular, happy-go-lucky teen who finds herself caught in a dark love triangle with a pair of “undead” brothers, played by “Lost” alum Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley of “Everwood” fame.
Sound familiar? Some critics think so and have suggested “Diaries” is nothing more than a “Twilight” rip-off, but Dobrev disagrees. “[‘The Vampire Diaries’] was written 15 years before ‘Twilight’ even existed, so this isn’t a show taking advantage of the success of that,” she says.
Still, Dobrev admits comparisons are unavoidable. “Both are about vampires, so there are going to be similarities whether we like it or not,” she says. “[But] we’re darker than ‘Twilight.’ We’re a little steamier.”
The show also features much gorier special effects, something that’s been a challenge for Dobrev. “I literally pass out when I see blood,” she says. “It’s very inconvenient for what I’m doing.”
Offscreen, Dobrev spends her time hanging out with best friend — and fellow CW talent — “Beautiful Life” star Sara Paxton. “It’s so cool because we get to experience everything, like all the promotional events and photo shoots, together,” says Dobrev, who was born in Bulgaria before moving to the Toronto suburbs as a toddler. She seriously pursued rhythmic gymnastics in high school before eventually deciding she wanted to become an actress.
“I didn’t have a stage mom at all,” Dobrev recalls. “I was the one who planned out my auditions and drove myself an hour and a half into the city.” All the hard work paid off when she was cast as a teen mom on the cult Canadian soap “Degrassi: The Next Generation.”
But while for now she can still keep a low profile, Dobrev has gotten a taste of what’s to come if “Diaries” takes off thanks to “Entourage” star Emmanuelle Chriqui, her celebrity doppelgänger.
“People tell me that I look like her a few times a day,” says the actress, who doesn’t mind the comparison. “I think she’s gorgeous.”