Interview with the vampiresBy Pam Pastor
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The bad news: There were two vampires in front of us.
The good news: They were not trying to kill us.
One of them was thirsty, but not for our blood. “Can I get some water? Does anyone have water?” Nina Dobrev asked.
Ian Somerhalder stood up to get her a bottle.
The actors, stars of the hit TV series “The Vampire Diaries,” were at EZ Studios in Manhattan’s Fashion District. It was day two of their three-day photo shoot for Penshoppe with photographer Darren Tieste.
Ian, who plays vampire Damon Salvatore, isn’t new to the Penshoppe family. The clothing brand first signed him as an endorser in 2012. Last year, he flew to Palawan for a photo shoot and spent time in Manila, charming hordes of fans and members of the press.
The relationship between Ian and Penshoppe was fruitful, one that went beyond photo shoots and billboards. Realizing that he was deeply passionate about the environment, Bernie and Alice Liu—CEO and VP for retail brands, respectively, of Golden ABC Inc., Penshoppe’s mother company—decided to support the Ian Somerhalder Foundation. “Penshoppe donates money directly to the Ian Somerhalder Foundation and that is huge,” Ian said.
This year, Ian remains on Penshoppe’s roster of global superstars after the brand renewed his contract. Jeff Bascon, Penshoppe’s brand director, said: “It was definitely bound to happen after the very warm reception that Filipinos gave Ian when he visited the Philippines. But it’s more than that. How Ian is and what he stands for perfectly represents Penshoppe. He is stylish and global, a visionary.”
Nina, who plays both Elena Gilbert and Katherine Pierce in “The Vampire Diaries,” and who audiences have previously seen in the films “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” “The Roommate” and “Chloe,” is the newest addition to Penshoppe’s lineup of endorsers, which includes Ian, One Direction, Hollywood actress Leighton Meester, Thai celebrities Mario Maurer and Baifern Pimchanok and, most recently, “Revenge” star Joshua Bowman.
“Nina is everyone’s favorite,” Jeff said. “Her dual role in ‘The Vampire Diaries’ has catapulted her to stardom. She has a very strong sense of style. It’s either she’s your dream girl, or you want to be her friend and be like her. Nina is definitely your ultimate Penshoppe girl. And what made her even more endearing was how warm and friendly she was during the shoot.”
Nina seemed thrilled about joining the brand, rocking a pretty, sheer black blouse and red jeans from Penshoppe even after the shoot. “I really love this shirt. I’m taking the clothes home, actually. They gifted them to me,” she said.
Jeff said, “There was great energy during the shoot. Both Ian and Nina were amazing. The chemistry between the two was on point. It was an awesome experience and I just can’t wait for everyone to see our campaign. This is going to be another first in the Philippines, having onscreen Hollywood partners in one campaign.”
Fans of Penshoppe and of Nina and Ian will get to see them on the brand’s billboards starting today.
Penshoppe still has a lot in store this year. Jeff said, “We recently opened stores in Shangri-La Plaza mall and SM Aura Premiere. Expect more stores to open in the next few months in the Philippines, Indonesia and the Middle East.”
Super sat down with the real-life couple at the shoot earlier this month, just days before rumors of their supposed split started to spread. If there was trouble then, it didn’t show. Nina and Ian were sweet and tender with each other, clasping hands as we talked about Penshoppe, the Philippines, and why they think Elena Gilbert should just run.
Nina, why did you say yes to Penshoppe?
Nina: Why not? At first, I saw all the clothes, they sent me the clothes. Ian had done it the year before and he had a positive experience… It’s great clothes, a great company and there’s nothing negative about it.
Did Ian tell you about his visit to the Philippines?
Nina: He did. He showed me a video of his visit, how many thousands of people everywhere, everyone so enthusiastic and excited about the show. The Philippines is beautiful. They stayed at this amazing resort with blue water, it made me very jealous. I wished I was in the Philippines visiting as well.
Will we get to see you in the Philippines soon?
Nina: Hopefully, if I’m lucky enough. I really wanna go visit because it looks beautiful. I’ve seen all the pictures.
Which are your favorite pieces from the shoot?
Nina (looks at the shirt she’s wearing): This is definitely one of my favorite pieces. And there are these black leggings with leather on them that are really cool. There’s a lot of cool stuff.
Ian, which clothes from the shoot did you like the most?
Ian: I don’t wear a lot of color. Nina always yells at me about it.
Nina: I tell him he should wear more color.
Ian: It makes me uneasy, stepping out of my comfort zone and wearing bright and crazy colors. But whenever I put them on, people give me looks and compliments. There are a number of pieces that are [so] great that I’ve allowed myself to come out of my shell a little bit and wear lots of colors and not really care.
What do you remember the most about your visit to the Philippines?
Ian: Well, here’s the thing. This family is so incredible. Bernie and Alice, they treat me like a son. And the team that they’ve assembled is incredible. So the Philippines was really a magical, eye-opening experience for me. Being in El Nido, Palawan—it’s one of the most beautiful places in the face of the planet.
Nina: So cool.
Ian: In the Philippines and Indonesia, they work very, very diligently to promote smart business practices, and they promote goodwill.
Nina: Which is really good because when you make a lot of money, you should help the world. It’s a great brand, it’s very successful and it gives back.
How’s your foundation doing?
Ian: Wonderful… growing like crazy, branching out in a number of different projects globally. One of them is building an animal sanctuary in Louisiana and it’s also a youth education camp.
Nina: It just keeps going up and up.
Ian: Yeah, it’s just building phenomenally. And I’m very grateful to Penshoppe for helping.
Is there anything you wanted to do in the Philippines that you didn’t get the chance to do the last time?
Ian: Yeah. Spend some more time. I really look forward to going to Palawan and I do want to go to Cebu. But I really want to spend some time in El Nido. Palawan is just… I really want to explore the waters and meet more of the people.
Why do you think people love “The Vampire Diaries” so much?
Nina: Because Ian’s on the show and he’s pretty. (Laughs)
Ian: Because Nina’s on the show, because Nina’s beautiful. (Laughs) I think it speaks to an audience. This whole vampire thing has been so huge. There’s something very interesting about these characters. It’s really about the relationships. I think they’re well-devised.
Nina: It’s good writing, it’s good acting and it’s good visually, it’s beautiful. It’s a good show overall and we’re very proud of it. We’re happy that people love it as much as we do.
How do you feel about “The Originals” spin-off?
Nina: I haven’t seen it yet.
Ian: I haven’t seen it yet. We love it because it got us a week off. (Laughs)
Nina: But we heard it did well and it got picked up so we’re happy for them. But we’re sad to see those characters leave our show. Luckily, they’re shooting in Atlanta as well, so all of our friends will still be in the same city.
You just wrapped season four. How are you celebrating?
Ian: I haven’t celebrated yet. (Turns to Nina) You went to Miami for a while, you had a little beach time.
Nina: Yeah, I got to hang out with my girl friends and go to the beach.
What can fans expect from season five?
Ian: We have no idea. We really don’t know. They don’t tell us coz they know we’re gonna talk to you.
If it were up to you, who would Elena end up with—Damon or Stefan?
Ian: She should just run.
Nina: She should go. She should go to Europe and meet a French boy. Or go to the Philippines.
Go to Palawan?
Ian: Go to Palawan.
Nina: Live on the beach. (Laughs)
You both get a chance to play complex characters on the show. Which is more fun for you—playing good or playing evil?
Nina: It’s fun that I get to do both. Because when I get bored with one, I can do the other.
How has fame changed your life?
Ian: Are we famous?
Nina: What? You know, it has and it hasn’t. In many ways, I still act like the same person.
Ian: Yeah, me as well.
Nina: Don’t listen to him, he’s lying. He’s completely changed. (Laughs) Just less privacy.
I was going to ask about that. You constantly have people following you around. Do you ever get used to that? And how do you deal with it?
Ian: What’s great about it is that people are very enthusiastic about our show. It’s an amazing experience… that people are giving you good energy. They’re just excited. They’ve connected to you… whatever character you’re playing, and that’s always a positive thing. It’s just interesting.
You guys are super-active on social media—you’re on Twitter, Instagram… Is that something you consciously do to connect to your fans?
Nina: Yeah, absolutely. It’s a new platform, a new way of life that didn’t exist seven years ago. It’s completely changed the world, our lives, our access, and our ability to speak to people and do good, so it’s been amazing.
You work really long hours. What do you do for fun?
Nina: Watch movies.
Ian: Watch movies, sleep.
Nina: Go to dinner.
What else are you passionate about?
Ian: Oh yeah, I wish I can do yoga right now.
Nina: Sleep. I’m passionate about sleep. Ian knows.
Do you get enough sleep?
Nina: That’s the problem. Because I don’t get enough, I’m very, very worried about that. Sometimes, instead of going to dinner, I’ll be like, sleep time, now.
Do you have dream roles?
Ian: Honestly, at this point, the dream role is being in a phenomenal film with phenomenal filmmakers. It’s all about the filmmakers.
Nina: I agree.
Ian: Just being able to say great words with great actors and great filmmakers is what it’s about. It doesn’t happen often, so that dream role would be encompassed in that scenario for me.
Nina: Same here.
What’s the craziest thing a fan has done to get your attention?
Ian: We were at Comic Con the first year and there was this six-foot woman dressed as Wonder Woman who pinned me up against the wall, by my neck, and was just so enthusiastic about telling me how much she loved the show… She eventually quit when she realized my security guys were going to throw her out. There was a moment there when I thought (pretends to choke), “This is it.”
Nina: I had a girl in hot yoga right after the class. You lay in Shavasana and I slowly tiptoed out of the class and she grabbed the mat, running across the room, and came up and grabbed me, “Are you Elena?” And I said, “Yes.” “Can I get a picture?” “No.” I’m sweaty, I was literally dripping. It was hot yoga. I was like, “I don’t want anyone to see this picture so I can’t take it… Find me another day when I’m not sweating and in my yoga clothes and I will absolutely take a picture.”