DANIELLE ROSE RUSSELL

WORDS BY PHIL LIMPRASERTWONG

The legacy of The Vampire Diaries lives on through Danielle Rose Russell who plays the lead of the franchise’s latest spin-off, Legacies following the conclusion of The Originals.

The show is a fresh take from what we’ve seen before from its predecessors. It’s a cross between Harry Potter & X-Men as the students that attend the Salvatore boarding school learn to control their abilities on top of dealing with all sorts of danger, adventure and romance.

Although Danielle plays an all powerful being fighting the supernatural on TV, she’s also a pretty normal girl off-screen who enjoys the simple things in life. Her story as an actress is quite inspiring having been a fan of the original Vampire Diaries in high school to now leading the very show that she grew up watching.

Get to know more about the girl behind the magic in our exclusive interview as she talks Legacies, acting and plans for the future.

PHOTOGRAPHY:  MIKE RUIZ  (Velvet dress:  Raquel Diniz )

PHOTOGRAPHY: MIKE RUIZ (Velvet dress: Raquel Diniz)

Tell us a little about your story. Who is Danielle Rose Russell?

That’s a challenging question to answer and do proper justice to! I don’t exactly know if I can answer it in just a couple of sentences, but I’ll give you some of the most obvious things. I’m a young woman living in this world who loves to love, travel, make art, experience, and eat good food. I’m a creative artist and also a full-time college student, passionate about women’s empowerment, body positivity, and self-love.

STYLING:  CAT POPE , MAKEUP:  CHELSEA GEHR , HAIR:  MURIEL VANCAUWEN

STYLING: CAT POPE, MAKEUP: CHELSEA GEHR, HAIR: MURIEL VANCAUWEN

What’s it like it to play an all-powerful being like Hope Mikaelson?

Playing an all-powerful being like Hope Mikaelson can be tricky at times, because though it is incredibly important and rewarding that we have a strong, female lead to our show that represents so much diversity already, finding the balance of her embracing her vulnerability and not being ashamed of it is something incredibly important that I’m trying to accomplish with her.

What kind of training and preparation do you usually do for the show?

Well, I do a lot of fighting in the show, so physical training includes stunt and dance rehearsals (for when we have our big parties). However, as far as my process is concerned, I’d  drive myself crazy trying to put it into words, and it’s so individual that I don’t really like to talk about it. That being said, I’ll tell you that my weekends consist of me reading scripts over and over again, learning lines, working on them with my coworkers, and Skyping my coach.

Left: Lace bodysuit & pants -  Fleur Du Mal  Right: Jumpsuit -  Christine Alcalay , Shoes -  SJP

Left: Lace bodysuit & pants - Fleur Du Mal Right: Jumpsuit - Christine Alcalay, Shoes - SJP


What’s the craziest or most memorable experience that you’ve had filming Legacies?

Honestly, I’ve had too many to count! Every episode is so unique and different from the other that I find myself having the most insane conversations every single day. Some of my favorite moments haven’t even aired yet, but I think two of the most insane things I’ve ever done is fight zombies in a prom dress and get covered in spider goo.


Are there any similarities between you and your character Hope?

Many, though the line between her and I becomes clearer and clearer as time goes on, which is probably much healthier for my psyche!


Left: Blouse -  Ramy Brook , Pants -  Prabal Gurung , Shoes -  SJP  Right: Blazer -  Victoria Novak , Lace bodysuit -  Fleur Du Mal

Left: Blouse - Ramy Brook, Pants - Prabal Gurung, Shoes - SJP Right: Blazer - Victoria Novak, Lace bodysuit - Fleur Du Mal

Was there a lot of pressure for you when you found out that you would become the new lead and continue the legacy of The Vampire Diaries franchise?

Yes!!! I never would’ve imagined my career taking this turn, but it’s been such a fun, wild ride that I hope to continue on for some years. I used to watch The Vampire Diaries when I was a freshman in high school, and if you told me then that I’d be the protagonist of a show in this franchise, I’d call you absolutely crazy.

Lace bodysuit:  Fleur Du Mal

Lace bodysuit: Fleur Du Mal

When it comes to acting, what’s your favorite part about playing someone else?

There are so many incredible stories to tell, and I am just a vessel that is lucky enough to tell them. I fall in love every time I get to walk in someone else’s shoes and tell their story in the best way I know how. Emoting is the most human thing we can do, and if I can do that through different characters, I am so grateful and honored.

What’s your dream role or project?

Too many to talk about, but I miss working in film. My career began there, and I’ve definitely been wanting to circle back.

Aside from acting, what else do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I love to spend time with those that I love more than anything, but I adore being in school and getting to learn more about the film industry through classes and whatnot. I love doing yoga, being with my dog, cooking, and traveling.

If you were a book, what type of book would you be?

I think I’d be a drama, mystery chapter/picture book, with a little bit of romance in there. I’d be a little confusing, but still engaging, fun, and surprising to read.

If you could help any charity or organization, which one would it be and why?

There are actually quite a few, but I don’t know which I want to start working with just yet. So, I’ll say this: any organization that empowers women and promotes positivity and love in the female community. 


See Danielle as Hope when Legacies returns on January 24th only on The CW!