‘The Vampire Diaries’ Star Nina Dobrev Could’ve Been a Gymnast Instead of an Actor

Nina Dobrev is known for her role as Elena Gilbert in the hit teen series, The Vampire Diaries. Despite producers forgetting about Dobrev because her audition was so bad, she landed a spot on the show.

Before becoming one of the program’s main characters and winning awards for her performance, she had a big decision to make. As a teen, Dobrev had to decide between two of her loves; acting and gymnastics.

Nina Dobrev smiles at the premiere of 'Run This Town' in Toronto, Canada
Nina Dobrev attends the premiere of Run This Town in Toronto, Canada | George Pimentel/Getty Images

Nina Dobrev has a background in rhythmic gymnastics

During a 2015 conversation with actor Michael Peña for Interview, Dobrev opened up about her gymnastics experience. Starting out as a rhythmic gymnast, or what she refers to as “gymnastic dancing,” Dobrev transitioned to aesthetic gymnastics. 

“It’s not the kind of gymnastics where you do flips on a beam or across the floor,” Dobrev said about rhythmic gymnastics. “You do more dance and then you have apparatus like ribbons and hoops and clubs.”

Growing up in Canada, she spent three to four hours a day, six days a week, honing her skills. Ultimately, she had to decide which she wanted to pursue more: acting or gymnastics. 

She chose acting for the possibility of a ‘fruitful long career past 20’

Dobrev, who now lives in Los Angeles, explained to Peña why she picked acting over gymnastics when she was 16 years old. For her, it came down to longevity.

“It got to the point where I had to decide what I wanted to do: continue training for this and maybe go to the Olympics one day and make that my life until I’m 20 and then retire, or try to figure out acting, which is also very scary and unreliable and a lot of people don’t find success in it,” Dobrev said.

Dobrev went on to say she loves acting and thinks she made the right decision.

“Hopefully I’ll have a fruitful long career past 20 until I’m old and on a crutch,” she said.

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Nina Dobrev booked 3 acting jobs in 1 week

Within her first week of going on auditions, she booked her first three gigs. 

“I was very lucky and fortunate, but I also did the hard work,” she said. “Half of it’s hard work and half of it’s luck.”

“A tiny little cameo” marked her first acting role. It ended up getting cut from an unnamed movie because as Dobrev described, she “bombed it” due to her lack of experience.

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#TBT to #TVD

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Her luck turned around because the same week she booked a role on Degrassi: The Next Generation. Before Dobrev started filming the teen show, she appeared in Sarah Polley’s Away from Her, where she learned the technical aspects of being on set. 

Fast-forward to 2009 when Dobrev’s six-season run on TVD began. In 2015, she chose not to renew her contract and left the series. The show continued, running for two more seasons before going off the air in 2017.

What’s Nina Dobrev doing now? 

Dobrev is continuing her acting career, but she’s steering clear of vampire roles. After leaving TVD, she appeared in various TV shows and movies, according to IMDb, before signing on for the now-canceled sitcom, Fam, in 2019. Next up, Dobrev will star in two films, Redeeming Love and Sick Girl

When she’s not working, Dobrev is sharing her latest adventures with her 20 million Instagram followers, as well as hanging out with her dog, Maverick, and her boyfriend, Olympic snowboarder Shaun White. 

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