ByLily Masco, writer at
"It's kind of fun to do the impossible." -Walt Disney
Lily Masco

Whether you're into women or not, you're about to be, because that's how enchanting Nina Dobrev is. This is already general knowledge, particularly to The Vampire Diaries fans, who have witnessed her beauty cause centuries of distress as simply everyone falls in love with at least one of her many personas.

So we know she puts the girl next door to shame, but what random facts has she been blinding us from?

1. Her name is not even Nina Dobrev

Is it to keep her identity secret from all the supernatural enemies she has? Not exactly. Named after her maternal grandmother Nikolina Constantine, Nina's full name Nikolina Constantinova Dobreva reflects the Bulgarian side of her heritage. Born in Sofia, Bulgaria, before moving to Toronto at age 2, she speaks the language natively and is proud of her roots. However, she changed her name for professional reasons (probably because she knew everyone would butcher her name).

P.S. She also speaks French.

2. She competed in Aesthetic Gymnastics

You may have been tipped off about her experience in dance and gymnastics from her multiple cheerleader appearances in TVD and Degrassi (or even from her impressive yoga skills on Conan).

What you probably don't know is that she competed internationally, representing Canada in Aesthetic Group Gymnastics. In 2005, she joined both the Senior World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark and the Junior World Championships in Plzen, Czech Republic. More importantly, she's admitted to having ballet feet so we've finally found a flaw, guys! Just kidding, Nina doesn't have flaws.

Below is a video of Dobrev in the Junior World Championships. See if you can spot her:

3. She's basically good at every other sport too

Not only did Nina – or should we say Nikolina – compete in gymnastics and do ballet and jazz, but she also played varsity volleyball, soccer, baseball, basketball and flag football at Wexford Collegiate School for the Arts in Ontario, Canada. She's also known to enjoy rock climbing, wake boarding, snowboarding, horse back riding and swimming (more on that last one later).

Nina's athleticism has allowed her to barely ever use a stunt double, which is something she is quite passionate about. She's quite used to getting roughed up — she would pose as her brother's punching bag when he would practice Thai kickboxing as kids. Her sporty side has also enabled her to support a campaign for breast cancer awareness and research called Puma's Project Pink by teaming up with top women’s soccer stars.

4. Speaking of swimming... Dobrev supposedly loves skinny dipping

The Vampire Diaries/The CW
The Vampire Diaries/The CW

In an interview with InStyle, Dobrev mentions she always carries around a bikini in her bag during the summer. Is it because she looks amazing in a bikini? Although that is the case, it's not her rationale:

"Because you never know when you're going to want to go skinny dipping, or for a midnight swim. I’m a classy skinny dipper. I dip with minimal skin showing [laughs]."

Not exactly sure we'd call that skinny dipping, but she's a celebrity and isn't entitled to our levels of privacy. So let's just give her this one.

5. She briefly dated her Degrassi co-star Daniel Clark

Nina Dobrev and Daniel Clark/Live Journal
Nina Dobrev and Daniel Clark/Live Journal

Anyone who's even mildly stalked Nina Dobrev knows that she was in a relationship with TVD co-star Ian Somerhalder (Damon Salvatore) for three years while on-set together. What most people don't know is that this wasn't the first time she's dated a co-star. Back in their Degrassi days in 2006, Nina dated Daniel Clark who played Sean Cameron. However, the specifics of their break-up were kept private.

6. She helped build a school in Kenya

ME to WE/
ME to WE/

At age 17, Nina Dobrev – along with some of her Degrassi co-stars – traveled to Kenya where they built a school through the non-profit organization, Free The Children. She is a big supporter of Free The Children and has participated in several of their campaigns throughout the years.

“Having been to Kenya myself, I’ve seen the effects of hunger first-hand. It’s a serious issue both domestically and internationally that I’m passionate about. No one should go hungry, and that’s why I’ve teamed up with ME to WE to design the Hunger Bites T-Shirt to give everyone the chance to help fight hunger and wear their support in style.”

7. Nina Dobrev suffers from a post-monkey attack injury

While traveling to Australia, Nina was bit by a monkey! A monkey! Because it aimed for her nerve, the damage was quite serious as she lost all feeling in her right thumb.

8. Nina Dobrev was not The CW's first choice

The CW
The CW

The CW originally offered Ashley Tisdale (Hellcats) the role of Elena Gilbert, but she turned them down without even auditioning. Then, they wanted Ashlee Simpson (Melrose Place) to play the part until they took a second look at Nina Dobrev's audition and went with her instead.

Other actresses such as Torrey DeVitto (Pretty Little Liars) and Alexandra Chando (The Lying Game) auditioned as well. Chando actually made it to four auditions, but could have honestly been cast as Elena's doppelganger and we'd be none the wiser.

9. Nina Dobrev was the first ever write-in winner at the People's Choice Awards

Remember when Nina Dobrev won Favorite TV Drama Actress for The Vampire Diaries at the People's Choice Awards in January 2012? Here's the catch: she was never even on the ballot! Her fans were so dedicated that they nominated her regardless and she won.

10. She knew from the very start Elena Gilbert would only last six seasons

"I always knew I wanted Elena's story to be a six season adventure, and within those six years I got the journey of a lifetime."

Yes, yes, we wan't Nina Dobrev to live her life and move on to bigger and better things. But can you blame us for being selfish and desperately wanting her return to The Vampire Diaries? It's nothing personal, Bonnie...

If that wasn't enough to satisfy your stalker-ish desires, feel free to check out this article on Nina Dobrev's career before and after The Vampire Diaries.

Do you know anything we don't know about Nina Dobrev?

Sources: ESPN, Movie Pilot, ME to WE, Instagram


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