October 2010

C2 EXCLUSIVE: Candice Accola - Interview With A Vampire

Author: Courtney Hampson | Photographer: Kristian Lonyai

“No doesn’t mean never, it just means not yet.” Wise words uttered by Candice Accola’s father, and the inspiration she needed to continue auditioning, hoping for the perfect role. It worked.

In grade school, scary movies were an essential element of any slumber party for Accola. She grew up shrieking to the Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer thrillogies. So, it is only natural that once she determined that acting was her career path, she would land her breakout role on the hit television series The Vampire Diaries.

For Accola, her role is proof that dreams do come true. For the rest of us, it is the realization that, at some point over the last few years, the vampire genre has become a pop-culture phenomenon. It’s saucy, sexy, and fraught with innuendo. Oh, and there’s blood (corn syrup and Jell-O) and fangs if you’re into that kind of thing.

On The Vampire Diaries, Accola plays “Caroline Forbes,” who in the first season was of the non-vampire persuasion (we thought!), yet a selfish, bitchy, “frenemy” who was always out to win the popularity contest.

“As the season progressed, I think the writers gave the character the opportunity to be so much more than any stereotype. The audience got to see that all of her external characteristics were really just a front for her insecurities and her constant need to just feel loved,” said Accola.

The writers may have also seen the spark in Accola, who has made this role her own.

At the end of season one “Caroline” was in a car crash, and her fate was unknown. However, just days after the premiere of season two, fans were in a tizzy and the Internet was all abuzz with the revelation that Caroline survived the crash and, in a dramatic twist, is indeed a vampire. The plot thickens.

As a fan of the genre, it is clear that Accola isn’t spooked easily. She admits to an adventurous spirit, but very little scares her. “I’m pretty adventurous person but I’ve never ridden on a motorcycle,” she said. “The thought of not controlling the situation is what scares me more than being on a motorcycle. For instance, I love driving jet skis, but if I have to ride on the back of one, I’m a pain in the ass for whoever’s driving it!”

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Ah, so it is control she seeks.

She has it. At a mere 23 years of age, she is on her own in Atlanta, where the series films, and completely in control of her future. Raised in Orlando by her surgeon father and engineer mother, Accola remarks that it was “quite a curve ball” to her parents when she decided to pursue acting. Yet, her parents are her biggest fans, and together with her brother Kree, they tune in each week to watch The Vampire Diaries. Accola admits that it warms her heart when she sees Kree’s Facebook updates telling all of his friends to tune in and watch his big sister on TV.

While she is not one to get ahead of herself and appreciates all that she has today, Accola continues to dream big. Her dream role? “A biopic seems like it would present the kind of role that would scare me the most and create the most challenges. When things are uncomfortable and scary, that’s when you find out how capable and strong you really are,” she said.

And, she thinks a lot about the kind of career she wants to have. When asked if there is an actor’s career she wants to emulate, Accola hesitates and says, “I think about this question a lot. Then I feel overwhelmed by this pressure to live up to somebody else’s achievements according to their timeline. I respect so many actors’ paths and choices. But if I keep paying attention to what they’re doing, I lose focus on where I’m at in my own journey. I’m focused on where I want my own career to go. Anything is possible in this business.”

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When she isn’t dodging vampires on set in Atlanta, you’ll find Accola at the DeKalb Farmers Market, taking guitar lessons, riding her bike, seeing a movie or reading. (Specifically, she’s just convinced the other ladies on set to start a book club in their down time, and they’ll be tackling the Stieg Larsson Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series first.) Luckily, Accola also set aside some time to indulge CH2 in a little Inside the Actor’s Studio- like Q&A.

Here, we get a little more insight into her persona, a la Proust and James Lipton. I think you’ll agree that she has her head and her heart in the right place.

Q. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A. A hammock, on a beach, with the one I love, after a Sunday BBQ with family and friends.

Q. What is your greatest fear?
A. Fear itself. That quote’s an oldie but goodie.

Q. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
A. My inner monologue when it becomes plagued by fear.

Q. What is the trait you most deplore in others?
A. Closed mindedness.

Q. What is your greatest extravagance?
A. Dinners and dinner parties. And vintage jackets that are ridiculous to wear in L.A. or Georgia.

Q. What is your current state of mind?
A. Focused.

Q. What do you dislike most about your appearance?
A. Everyone has insecurities about their appearance. Rather than single those out I’d rather embrace mine in a positive way. They’re what make me, me.

Q. Which living person do you most despise?
A. It takes a lot of time and energy to despise someone. I focus my energy on the people I love.

Q. What is it that you most dislike?
A. Questions that ask you to pinpoint negative things in your life. (Touché! Love this girl.)

Q. What do you most value in your friends?
A. An unconditional love without judgment, a willingness to agree to disagree, an ability to go with the flow.

Q. What or who is the greatest love of your life?
A. Life itself.

Q. When and where were you happiest?
A. Whenever I’m laughing with friends, loves or family. A glass of wine in hand is the cherry on top!

Q. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
A. I’m in my 20s. I change constantly as it is.

Q. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
A. Thus far, my greatest achievements have been signing a record deal, being a part of the record breaking Miley Cyrus “Best of Both Worlds” tour and booking the job of Caroline on The Vampire Diaries.

Q. Where would you like to live?
A. Seattle.

Q. What is your favorite word?
A. “Oh-my-goodness.” When I say it, it’s one word.

Q. What is your most treasured possession?
A. A purple trunk of my childhood memories at my parents’ house.

Q. What is your most marked characteristic?
A. My ability to find true excitement in life’s mundane things.

Q. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
A. Benjamin Franklin.

Q. On what occasion do you lie?
A. When I’m asked which historical figure I most identify with.

Q. What is your motto?
A. It always works out.

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