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! Umm, maybe Prince. Hopefully he wouldn’t try to marry me; I’m his type. [Laughs]
You act, you sing, you dance; you’re the quintessential triple-threat! If you had to pick one aspect of your career as an entertainer that you enjoy most, could you?
It’s such an unfair question because anyone who’s a fan of my acting work would feel a little slighted and anyone who’s a fan of my music would feel slighted as well and same with my dancing. I feel like it’s kind of like if you ask Dorothy Dandridge or Frank Sinatra or anyone back in that day what they liked better they would kind of look at you sideways because they do both; they are that kind of artist. Considering all I do in my life is dance and act and sing I think it’s a part of who I am, ya know? I only have three colors and those are the colors I paint with.
You’re here at Studio Paris for a night out, clutch in hand. What are a few things you always keep in your bag?
Well now I have my Samsung, this Galaxy S III which I’ve actually put down for the first time in a second. I have red lip stick. [Looking through clutch] Oh, a ring! I always have my phone, jewelry, I have my money. I usually have more crap; I have a way bigger bag but I didn’t want to scare everyone with all my crap. [Laughs]
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 and the humor and the sarcasm and the funniness; 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. [Laughs] So that we have in common.
And now you are in the process of creating your debut album! Where do you draw inspiration from for your music? Love? Heartache?
Definitely relationships, yeah. Both but mostly heartache. I was with a guy for like a year before the guy I’m with now and I’m still taking from that and putting it into my music.
You started as a dancer and have performed in music videos and on tour with some of the biggest names in the music industry. How would you describe those experiences?
Pretty awful! [Laughs] You’re always in the background, ya know what I mean? 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 these cattle-calls. It’s basically like 300-400 dancers showing up for maybe a 10 dancer spot; You’re there all day and then you maybe get cut and they have this thing called type-casting which they just kind of say yes or no and they don’t even watch you dance. So it’s a really awful experience. If you wind up going on tour that’s great and you have great experiences and you meet a lot of great people and you get to perform, which is what you love to do, but for me it was such a hustle and I never quote, unquote ’made it’ as a back-up dancer. I was always too young to really dance with the people I wanted to. I auditioned for Janet Jackson and I was under age so I got kicked out of the competition because they found out. There’s been so many moments like that so I think that I transitioned at the right time.
You’ve been in the business so long, since the age of six, and you’re only 22-years-old! You hear about so many young starlets…
Losing their minds?! [Laughs]
Yes! [Laughs] What do you think has been the key to staying ‘normal’ when growing up in the celebrity environment?
I think it’s the people I’m around. First of all, 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 or 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, these third world orphans and children. Once you keep that in your consciousness—as hard as it is—and 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 I think you’ll be fine. 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 are you a model, singer, actress and dancer, you also are fluent in like five different languages!?
I speak Hebrew; I just got a tattoo in Hebrew.
What does it say?
I can’t say [smiles] but it’s a message for my brother who is Israeli so it’s all down my back. And I speak Spanish and French and some Portuguese. And, well, English. [Laughs]
Are there any other talents we should be aware of? As if all those aren’t enough!
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. [Laughs]