If you could have a drink with anyone, who would it be?
Gosh, I wish I would have known about this question! I could have thought about it on the drive over here. I’d like to have a drink with Prince and hopefully he wouldn’t try to marry me. I’m his type.
Is there one aspect of your career as an entertainer that you enjoy most?
It’s such an unfair question because anyone who’s a fan of my acting work would feel a little slighted if I chose something other than acting and anyone who’s a fan of my music would feel slighted as well and the same with my dancing. I feel like that’s asking Dorothy Dandridge or Frank Sinatra what they liked better and they would look at you sideways because they do both. They are that kind of artist. Considering all I do in my life is dance, act and sing I think it’s a part of who I am, you know? I only have three colors and those are the colors I paint with.
What are a few things you always keep in your bag?
Well, right now I have my Samsung Galaxy S III which I’ve actually put down for the first time in a second. I have red lip stick. Oh, a ring! I always have my phone, jewelry and my money. I usually have way more crap. I have a way bigger bag but I didn’t want to scare everyone with all of my crap.
What initially connected you to Bonnie, your character on “The Vampire Diaries”?
She’s fiercely loyal. The relationship that Nina [Dobrev] and I have in real life is so similar to Bonnie and Elena’s relationship. The support, the humor, the sarcasm. It’s so real. I don’t know if Bonnie would be the same without Elena, she’s a huge part of what I do. I also think that she’s a tough b-tch so we have that in common.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your music?
Definitely relationships but mostly heartache. I was with a guy for a year before the guy I am with now and I’m still taking from that and putting it into my music.
You’ve danced for some of the biggest names in the music industry. How would you describe those experiences?
Pretty awful! You’re always in the background and you get treated like crap. That’s why I spoil my dancers so much because I spent so many hours and years going to cattle calls. It’s basically like 400 dancers showing up for a 10 dancer spot. You’re there all day and then you maybe get cut. They have this thing called typecasting where they don’t even watch you dance, it’s a really awful experience. If you wind up going on tour that’s great. You have great experiences, meet a lot of great people and you get to perform. For me it was such a hustle and I never made it as a backup dancer. I was always too young to really dance with the people I wanted to. I auditioned for Janet Jackson but I was underage so I got kicked out of the competition when they found out. There had been so many moments like that so I think that I transitioned at the right time.
What has been the key to staying grounded while growing up in Hollywood?
I think it’s the people I’m around. I also think that it’s important to get some perspective. When you always have a camera in your face and you always have to perform, have to be on or have to look a certain way you forget that there are people in the world that don’t have access to clean water. You forget that there are people in the world that are dying from preventable causes. Once you keep that in your consciousness, as hard as it is, you keep yourself aware that you have bigger things to do in the world and that if you’re put in this position it’s to raise awareness for certain things. It’s only when you think it’s all about you that you really start to lose perspective because the reality is it should never really be about you if you’re about nothing.
Not only do you sing, act and dance, you are fluent in five different languages.
I speak Spanish, French, Portuguese, Hebrew and English. I just got a tattoo in Hebrew.
What does it say?
I can’t say but it’s a message for my brother who is Israeli. It’s all down my back.
Are there any other talents we should be aware of?
I can cook! I’m really good. I can make a mean breakfast. Although, I’m pretty vegan now so I can’t cook much.
Photography by Neal Agustin
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