PHOTOS BY MICHAEL SCHWARTZ WORDS BY MARISA MELTZER
Marisa Meltzer: Do you miss filming in Atlanta?
Nina Dobrev: When I was on the The Vampire Diaries I was in Atlanta for like 6 years. I still have a house there—I put a lot of time and energy and money into decorating it. The city is so cool and booming and growing in a way. Almost all of the Marvel movies shoot in Atlanta. You'll be out, and run into Captain America or Tony Stark.
MM: I’ve heard there are a lot of movies being shot in Hungary.
ND: In Bulgaria, where I’m from, there's a big movie studio. But I've never shot back home, which is sad for my family. My family is like, “why don't you shoot here?” My grandparents and cousin and dad all live there.
MM: I had a friend who lived in Hungary who said it had the best yogurt in the world.
ND: That's news to me, I'm not a big dairy fan in general, I'm dairy-free. I eat meat, though.
"My character is a strong woman who has an experience in the workplace and grapples with how to deal with it."
MM: Would you do a Marvel movie?
ND: I've auditioned for quite a few of them. I still have to fight for roles.
MM: What is your own superpower?
ND: My superpower? I'm very persuasive. When I put my mind to something, I figure out what steps to take to get to where I want to achieve and follow through.
MM: What’s in your fridge right now?
ND: I have Lavva coconut milk yogurt and some gluten-free bread from a spa I went to, and a lot of soup because I'm sick. I have all the ingredients for my protein shake. I have a ton of condiments and I have nothing to put them on.
"I still have to fight for roles."
MM: How did Fam happen?
ND: I wasn't looking to do a sitcom, and I realized how little I knew about sitcoms. I was a huge fan of Friends and Will and Grace and Seinfeld, but never watched them with a critical eye. I didn't know they were filmed in front of a live audience. My manager and agents said it's basically a play you put on in a week, and it’s a challenging medium to do. I've always loved a challenge—if it scares me, that's an indication I should do it.
MM: You have a role in Run This Town, about the late controversial Toronto mayor Rob Ford, and it recently premiered at SXSW.
ND: I hadn't seen the film until the premier at South By, and I was a little nervous to do press for a movie I hadn't watched yet and was pleasantly surprised. It's dynamic and fast paced and has comedic flair. My character is a strong woman who has an experience in the workplace and grapples with how to deal with it. These events happened over 7 years ago; at the time there wasn't an allegiance of woman banding together that could provide support.
"I've always loved a challenge—if it scares me, that's an indication I should do it. "
MM: I have heard you’re into sharks.
ND: As ambassador for Oceana, an environmental non profit, I was involved in two documentaries over the last couple of years on the topic of sharks in the ocean and conservation. A problem I've found is that we're unaware of the world underwater and can't interact with it as closely, so we don't really see how important the ocean is for us. The fish, the corals, the sharks: it's a big ecosystem that relies on every facet to work. We're on a path to eliminating all sharks, and media portrays them in such a negative light. I was afraid of them because of the movies I'd seen growing up. I decided to face my fear; when I got in the water I realized how docile and chill and peaceful and, more than anything, how disinterested in humans they are. The movie The Shallows infuriated me. Blake Lively is talented and beautiful and amazing. But the film portrayed sharks in a way they don't behave. The fear is unjustified. If we kill all sharks, they're at the top of the food chain -- it’s a very delicate ecosystem to respect and protect. Legislation needs to change to protect animals. If one nation like the U.S. or China were to change their policies, that would be a huge win, and it would set an example for other countries to follow suit.
MM: If not sharks, what are you afraid of?
ND: I'm afraid of this cold that I have. I have so much work to do, and this foggy brain situation is going to set me back. I'm taking oregano oil, which is disgusting, Wellness Formula, tea, more fluids, and getting a lot of sleep.
MM: What do you do when you’re in a rut?
ND: Dance. If I’m stuck it means that whatever I'm doing isn't working. I'm usually sitting still so I try to reset my body by singing along and dancing, trying to get into a playful, creative, energetic state. The ideas will flow from there. Or at least I'll be happier!
"Legislation needs to change to protect animals."
M I C H A E L S C H W A R T Z
APRIL 2019 COVER
ASSISTANTS PHOTO: PHIL SANCHEZ, ALEX GAY, MERLIN VIETHEN.