The Vampire Diaries was a show full of unexpected turns but perhaps the most shocking twist of all was when Nina Dobrev decided to leave the show for good. For six seasons, the 28-year-old actress played lead character Elena Gilbert (and sometimes doppelganger villain Katherine Pierce.) She announced her departure from TVD after her contract ended in 2015 -- just a few weeks after co-star Ian Somerhalder announced his engagement to Nikki Reed. Many thought her decision to leave had to do with Somerhalder, whom she dated from 2011 to 2013. But Dobrev explains leaving the CW series was all part of her plan from the start.
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"That was the plan from the get-go," Dobrev told Harper's Bazaar.
"If anything, the fact that [leaving] terrified me drove me even more. I needed to feel that fear of, 'Oh my God, what if I never get a job again?' That just made me want to work five times as hard to make sure that didn't happen."
Since leaving The Vampire Diaries, Dobrev has starred in xXx: Return of Xander Cage and has been working on films such as Crash Pad and Departures. Her career hasn't exactly been rocketing but that's because she's being cautious about her roles.
"The things I want to do aren't necessarily the things that are expected of me," she explained. "I don't want to play a teenager anymore. I want to play adult roles and be challenged and work with great filmmakers and tell incredible stories and that has meant being really picky."
But life is still good for Dobrev, who is also taking a plunge behind the scenes. She's set to produce and co-write films and is also directing a short movie. At the same time, she's taking an Improv 101 class with the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York.
"It's scary. I might crash and burn, but that's how I'm going to get better at it," she said.
What kind of role do you see Dobrev playing in the future?
(Image courtesy of The CW)