Meet & Greet: Dawn Olivieri, Compelling ‘Vampire Diaries’ Actress

Ian & Nina in Paris
The pair hang with their moms.
Welcome back to Celebuzz’s Meet & Greet, where we sit down and chat with rising young stars of film, television and music before they hit the big time. Watch out for these future A-listers!

Fans of The Vampire Diaries may remember Dawn Olivieri as the beautiful – if slightly robot-like – Andy, the local reporter who was “compelled” by Ian Somerhalder’s character to do his bidding.  However, Dawn’s range isn’t just limited to babes who are under the influence of dreamy vampires – the wickedly intelligent actress is also gearing up for a lead role in House of Lies, a new comedy on Showtime that co-stars Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell. Talk about a dream job!

Celebuzz chatted with Dawn about her new role, what it’s like to play Andy and her distaste for Facebook.

You recently signed on for House of Lies, a new series from Showtime. How is that going so far?

Oh, we haven’t even started filming, we start July 7th because we are airing this coming January.

Do you know anything about your character yet?

All we know its what has been released. I’ve purposefully not been informed of the arc yet because I just got back from backpacking through India for three weeks and I didn’t want [my character] in my head while I was trying to decompress but that was just my way. Now that I’m back I’m here, I’m ready to work,  I’m meeting with the writers. 

We already know that [my character] Monica and Don Cheadle’s character, Marty, were married at one point but they have since split. They have a child together and Marty has custody of the boy because I have a small oxycodine addiction but I’m super high-functional and I pretty much kill it at work. I’m pretty much his competition in the consulting room. The show is pretty much a corporate Californication, that’s really the best way of describing it. It’s really very current humor, very current issues, it’s all very up-to-date and very relatable and very funny. It’s dark comedy an you’ve got some killer guest stars and I mean – it’s a funny show.

A pill-addicted career mom? That must be pretty fun to play.

Oh I can’t wait. We’ve only shot the pilot so the possibilities for Monica are so exciting because she is such a ball-breaker, especially at work.  There’s a line in the pilot about my character being the number one closer at the number one firm and Marty is scared of me.

You would think every woman has a maternal instinct to care for their baby but, for some reason, work is more important to her than her child so this will be a really powerful role for women to see her struggling. It’s going to be a great show.

Monica sounds a lot different from the other characters you’ve played, like Andy in The Vampire Diaries.

Finally I get to play a character that’s closer to my personality. There was just a simplicity to Andy that made her a robot and I tried to find ways for her to be fun towards the end but it was such a short-livedrole so I didn’t have the chance to do anything special. The writers probably didn’t have the chance to write anything eccentric [for Andy] because they had so many characters to go through, to break down. It’s kind of like you are setting the lead up to go through his emotional arc and it’s fun but it’s not always what I love to do…but this particular character I’m going to have a blast with I know it already.

Check out a clip of Dawn in Vampire Diaries below.

Kristen Bell is also in the show, right?

Yes, she was a last-minute addition – I heard pretty much the night before we started filming the pilot.  She is great, she plays Don’s character’s right-hand woman. She is very analytical, very book smart. The character is perfect for Kristen and I am the crazy wild card which is perfect for me.

You mentioned before that you just got back from backpacking in India – how was that?

I really enjoy backpacking, I feel like it is a different way to travel. I’ve traveled the five-star route and when you are backpacking you are really staying in the culture, you are really in the dirt and luxuries are far away. Backpacking is just a way to travel where you experience as much as you can.

You are still a tourist no matter what but you get so much closer to the people of that country, you eat the food of that country and breathe the air. You are immersed in this different culture – everything around you is essentially different. When you go stay at these hotels everything is very controlled and clean. I go and do these things and I come back and feel like more of a person, it does something to the soul to do that. In the end it was hot and dirty and exhausting and I got sick – which you always get sick because you are traveling to different areas to different bacterias and your body is not used to it.

You also blogged about the trip quite a bit on your new Tumblr.

The blog – I was just trying to make something for my family. It was a complete leak. I accidentally leaked it to Twitter somehow so now everyone has it but whatever! I look at it like it is supposed to happen, so it happened so, oh well.

Do you like using Tumblr and blogging?

Yeah, I’m figuring it out. It’s like a rough draft. I didn’t want to feel like other people are reading it, I just wanted to see what could come out because I want to get rid of Facebook. I feel like Facebook is very ego-feeding and it really frustrates me because I catch myself logging on at night when I could be doing something else more productive. I’m logging on to see whose messaging me and it is just feeding your ego. I feel bad when complete strangers friend me and I feel bad about declining because who am I to decline someone? But if I accept I feel like such a wh**e.  I’m accepting everyone and now I’m getting these Facebook friends that I only know through an avatar so I’ve just gone through so much mental confusion on how I feel about it.

Tumblr is a way to eradicate Facebook but you can still connect through Twitter, which is just a little more diluted. But Tumblr, I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it. Sometimes I write poetry…we’ll just see what it evolves into but I do like it and I can see me using it.

Follow Dawn on Twitter @DawnOlivieri.