Nathalie Kelley Spills The Tea On ‘Vampire Diaries’, ‘UnReal’, ‘Dynasty’

Australian actress Nathalie Kelley is absolutely killing it over in Hollywood at the moment. The actress – who was born in Lima to a Peruvian mother and Argentinian father, but moved to Sydney when she was two-years-old – got her debut role in 2006’s Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift.

Since then, you might have seen her as Grace in Lifetime‘s breakout hit, UnReal, a dramatised show based on The Bachelor. Or you might have caught her as incoming villain Sybil in the final season of The Vampire Diaries. These days you can see her as the obscenely wealthy Cristal Flores in The CW‘s Dynasty.

She was in Australia over the Christmas break, and PEDESTRIAN.TV caught up with her for a tea-spilling gossip sesh mixed in with an IRL tea ceremony. (No, really – she served us tea, because that’s the kind of real life angel she is.)

Here’s what she had to say about all your fave TV shows.


NATHALIE: So filming UnReal was a really interesting experience, because obviously the show is based on The Bachelor. They kind of put us in very similar conditions to the show. So while we were filming a dramatised version of this reality show, we were all sequestered in Vancouver together, filming late nights, 14 girls and this one guy, and it started to feel like the real thing. The lines between art and reality started to get blurred. I was very much not competing for this man [Freddie Stroma, who played the ‘suitor’, Adam Cromwell] in real life, but it started to feel like, maybe, some of the girls were taking it seriously.

I was originally told that my character would go to the end, and would win. And I’m a naturally competitive person. So by the end of the show when they were like, actually, the other girl’s going to win, of course I was like [pulls face].

My ‘competitor’ on the show, a lovely, beautiful, talented actress called Johanna Braddy, she actually ended up marrying him in real life, so I wasn’t crazy! There was an element of truth to it.

We’re all going loopy. I was bummed that my character didn’t win at the end of the day, but happy that it led to Johanna’s real life wedding.


NATHALIE: Coming in on the last season of Vampire Diaries was interesting, because the show had been running for seven years. It was really popular, long-running show, and a tight-knit group. You always wonder like, what’s the dynamic going to be? I’m sure everybody was ready to finish their run.

Obviously after seven or eight years everybody has their opinions about everybody else. It’s interesting now that I’m starting my own show, it was like what not to do in a cast, to keep the dynamic even keel. Maybe… maybe no sleeping together on set. Maybe just keeping love life and work separate. [Nathalie started dating long-time Vampire Diaries star Zach Roerig, who played Matt Donovan.] All lessons I learnt.


NATHALIE: The world of Dynasty is a very glamorous, glitzy world. In some cases, the reality of filming it lives up to that. The wardrobe is like my dream wardrobe if I had an unlimited budget. Getting to wear certain designers and just touch certain fabrics and live in silks and [fake] furs. Apart from that, there’s not a lot of glamour. It’s long nights and long hours, it’s a lot of lines – it’s like shooting any job, or working any job that’s a 14 hour day. It’s intense, and it’s long. But it’s exciting to be on the first season, and we’re all just pinching ourselves that we get to make something iconic.

I think when people think about Dynasty, they imagine catfights and bitchiness, and thankfully there’s a lot of that but it’s only on the page. Off-screen, my co-star Liz [Elizabeth Gillies, who plays Fallon Carrington] and I have a really amazing dynamic. People always have that tendency to pit people against one another, but thankfully it’s the exact opposite and we totally have each other’s back. Liz is a character. When she drops a line, she’s like, “FUCK ME IN THE ****”. She’s the real deal. She’s 24, but she’s an old broad. She’s definitely the most exciting part of the show, I’m the boring one.

That’s been really hard playing a nice girl, because I came from Vampire Diaries where I was the villain, and I had so much fun, I got to be so campy, and then I moved into this role, Cristal Carrington, and it was an interesting dynamic to shift into that, and watch Liz get all the good lines as Fallon. It’s always more fun to be the bitch.


NATHALIE: The worst part about filming is getting mic’d. It’s really invasive and really tedious. I always feel like I’m getting a pap smear. They always hire a man, and they’ve always got really freezing hands. They’re like, putting a mic in all your upper bits, and hiding the battery pack in all your lower bits. And it’s constant, every day. Like, “We just need to change your battery,” or, “We just need to check the position of your mic.” It’s a necessary thing, you need the sound, but people don’t think about how annoying it is to be constantly hounded by sound men.


NATHALIE: It’s very interesting being a woman in Hollywood at this time, now that the lid has been blown off and all these actions of powerful men are being exposed. and what’s interesting to me is all the stories coming out. It’s not just women – a lot of my male actor friends have been preyed on to. It’s not just a discussion about women, it’s a discussion about the misuse of power, and how that manifests itself in a situation like Hollywood, where people go to fulfil their dreams.

When you’re sent off into the world after finishing your acting course or university, nobody sits you down and gives you a real world talk on abuses of power and boundaries with people and how to say no. We’re such a ‘polite society’ that many of us have trouble saying, “I’m actually not comfortable with that,” or, “I’m not available with that.” We’re not given those kinds of talks. If anything I hope that this encourages us to be more vocal, and how we protect our own personal space, and how we are able to communicate with others about what we’re okay with, and what we’re not okay with.

The truth is, when you’re young, and a powerful producer or someone in a position of power invites you to their hotel room to ‘discuss’ a possible role or a film… it’s very hard to say no to that because they’re literally dangling your dreams and aspirations in front of you.

Watch our interview with Nathalie below: