Nikolina Kamenova Dobreva (born January 9, 1989), known professionally as Nina Dobrev (/ˈdoʊbrɛv/ DOH-brev), is a Canadian actress and model. Her first acting role was as Mia Jones in the drama series Degrassi: The Next Generation. She later became known for portraying Elena Gilbert and Katherine Pierce on The CW’s supernatural drama series The Vampire Diaries.
Dobrev has also appeared in several feature films, including the 2012 coming-of-age drama The Perks of Being a Wallflower, the 2014 action comedy Let’s Be Cops, the 2015 horror comedy The Final Girls, the 2017 action thriller XXX: Return of Xander Cage, and the 2017 science-fiction drama Flatliners.
She was born in Bulgaria but immigrated with her family to Canada at age two and grew up in Toronto. She studied sociology at Ryerson University, but left early to pursue her acting career.
Dobrev was born Nikolina Kamenova Dobreva in Sofia, Bulgaria, and moved to Canada at age two, where she was raised in Toronto, Ontario. She has an older brother, Aleksandar Dobrev. Her father, Kamen Dobrev, is a computer specialist and her mother, Michaela Dobreva (née Radeva), is an artist.
Dobrev attended Vradenburg Junior Public School and J. B. Tyrrell Sr. Public School, where she started ballet and jazz classes and competed in rhythmic gymnastics. She took acting classes at Armstrong Acting Studios in Toronto. Dobrev subsequently attended the arts program at Wexford Collegiate School for the Arts in Scarborough until her graduating year.
Dobrev entered post-secondary studies at Ryerson University in Toronto, majoring in Sociology, though her pursuit of an acting career prevented her from graduating.
Dobrev speaks English, French and Bulgarian. While filming The Vampire Diaries, Dobrev lived in Atlanta, but moved to Los Angeles after leaving the series in 2015.
Activism and charity
Dobrev is an enthusiastic volunteer and uses her reputation to support many charitable causes, including Puma’s 2011 non-profit “Project Pink” which supports numerous breast cancer charities and “Hunger Bites” organization that is dedicated to reducing hunger in 27 districts across Pennsylvania. Dobrev is also recognized for her long term involvement with WE movement, a Canadian-based charity which empowers youth to be agents of change. Dobrev took part in a Me to We volunteer trip to Kenya to help build a school. She has hosted We Day event in Toronto back in 2011 and made an appearance on stage at WE Day California 2019. Other social and charity issues Dobrev has been involved with include communities in Schools, school supplies, Elton John AIDS Foundation and “Rape Foundation” which gives comprehensive care to rape victims and sexually abused children.