Dear Nina Dobrev,
I wish you could step into my high school classroom in Bulgaria, just one time, when we're talking about heroes. When we're talking about role models. When we're talking about famous celebrities. When we're talking about celebrities we'd like to have lunch with. When we're talking about Bulgarians who inspire us.
I apologize, I have not introduced myself. I'm Sarah, an American and an English teaching assistant in Dimitrovgrad, Bulgaria. I don't know if you've been to Dimitrovgrad, but it's a really nice city- very green, peaceful, and family-centered. My school isn't huge...I know nearly every student and, I must say, I don't think there is one I teach who would have anything negative to say against you or your career.
It's so funny...you'd think after nearly a year in Bulgaria, I'd be blogging about Hristo Botev, Vasil Levsky, or Penyo Penev, traditional Bulgarian heroes. Instead, though, I'm blogging about you...a Hollywood celebrity, a modern-day hero to my young people.
Ms. Dobrev, I'm not sure if you understand how much your success and accomplishment has meant to my high school students and, probably, to Bulgaria. In case you're somehow unaware, I want to take this time to tell you a little bit about how I've come to know your name.
So first things first, I hate blood. Hate it. I hate thinking about it, talking about it, seeing it. Naturally, I tend to steer clear of vampire shows and have to skip over the gory parts in vampire novels (I'm not counting my high school Twilight obsession...it was soft and I was deluded). So, in all likelihood, I would never have learned much about your career if not for Bulgaria.
When I first started teaching, one of the initial questions my students asked me was if I'd heard of Nina Dobrev. I told them I hadn't, and they were ANGRY. Frustrated! Nina is awesome, they told me, how had I not heard of her? My sincerest apologies, students and Nina!
Their fandom wasn't surprising to me...of course they were excited, a Bulgarian was in one of their favorite TV shows, occasionally speaking their language for all the world to hear! What was surprising, though, was the deep respect I'd soon learn that they hold for you.
Ms. Dobrev, you are more than just an actress to my students, you are a constant inspiration and perfect picture of what success means to many of my lady learners. You're sharing your culture in a small way to a worldwide audience, and you look classy as hell doing it. There are two things I've learned my students are passionate about: national pride and looking fabulous (for all their snapchats and selfies!). You tie both into one neat bundle for them with such grace.
Your show has even sparked one of my favorite outside-the-classroom discussions about vampire literature and the human fascination with monsters, giving me the chance to share Romantic literature with my students. Romanticism from The Vampire Diaries, who would have thought?!
In conclusion, I suppose I just wanted you to know how much pride you are bringing to your country by living your dream. You represent more to them than just a great Bulgarian success story, you stand for what hard work can accomplish. So, I ask just one thing of you: that you never forget that all of Bulgaria is watching and that you are on a pedestal for the youth of your home country, and for young women in general. As such, you have the great power to help shape how they view themselves and how they view what women are able to accomplish.
If you ever actually stumble across this letter by some crazy off-chance, please please please give a shout-out to Dimitrovgrad! My students would love you forever :)
****To my readers that are NOT Bulgarian and who, like me, have never seen The Vampire Diaries:
Nina Dobrev is one of the stars of the CW's The Vampire Diaries. She was born in Sofia, Bulgaria, and moved to Canada when she was very young. In the original book series, Nina's character is a vampire from Germany, I think. However, after directors overheard her speaking on the phone in Bulgarian, they rewrote the role to have Nina's character be a vampire from Bulgaria. In the show, flashbacks show really old Bulgarian life and often have her speaking the language. If you've never heard Bulgarian, check the show out and hear something truly awesome! She's bringing a little bit of this country to American viewers in a really unique, cool way. Yay Bulgaria in the limelight!