These days, our knowledge of celebrities too often originates with paparazzi images and snarky quotes by anonymous "insiders." After a while, it's easy to forget that stars are real people. That's why HuffPost Celebrity decided to launch its all-new #nofilter quick-fire question and answer series. Because how well do you know someone until they've shared their guiltiest pleasures?
Welcome Ian Somerhalder -- or some may be more partial to refer to him as Ian Smolderhalder. The star of the hit CW series "The Vampire Diaries" and the creator of the Ian Somerhalder Foundation chatted with HuffPost Celebrity today to discuss his passion for planet Earth, his vampiric ways and his longtime status as a teen heartthrob. But what really makes this 34-year-old tick? You'll have to read on to find out.
What inspired you to start the Ian Somerhalder Foundation?
Honestly the BP oil spill. That’s it. That feeling of total helplessness. I went down there immediately and realized that what I was seeing on the news and what I heard was going on down there were two totally different things and I said, "you know what? I don’t like that," so I want to go check this out. And I realized that's exactly what was happening and that angered me. And I felt this feeling, like most people, this feeling of helplessness, you know what I mean? I don’t ever want anyone to feel that helpless again. Not myself, not my family, not my children, your family, no one. And that’s what ISF was born out of. ISF was born out of a feeling of complete helplessness and the desire and need to be able to positively impact and warn and activate people, so that’s what we’re doing.
What’s your favorite thing about playing a vampire?
What’s really cool is that those typical mortal limitations you would normally have in a human being, you don’t have. Like playing a scene from sitting up in a tree, I can’t technically do that. You get to bite a lot of hot girls. But no, there’s another really cool thing -- I can look at you and I have that eye thing where I can do compulsion work, like you do whatever I want. That’s always kind of cool.
Well you can’t compel people in real life, but do you have any pick-up lines you like to use on girls?
Pick-up lines? I haven’t used pick-up lines since, like, the ‘90s. I realized that when you’re young -- I mean really, really young -- they can kind of work because no one’s really heard them before. But now as a true adult, ha! Keep it to yourself. If you think that it’s actually going to work … but you know what’s crazy? You know when you’re walking down a New York City street and you see a girl walking by and a guy’s like, [whistles] "Yeaahh!" I always think to myself, "Why would they do that?!" I mean, there’s no way that works. Then you realize, well, it’s got to work some of the time, otherwise they wouldn’t do it. Even when you walk in a store and you’re like, "How do they sell any of this stuff?" It’s still a business. So I guess it works, part of the time.
What’s it like being a teen heartthrob for 15 years?
I don’t even know, I’m just so grateful to be doing this and had some very interesting run-ins with teens and non-teens. The first Comic Con we went to, I got held up by this 6-foot Wonder Woman who was an awesome fan and very, very excited to explain her enthusiasm for the show. But to do that, she felt the need to pin me up against the wall [laughs]. What was crazy was Paul Wesley [his “Vampire Diaries” co-star] and I had literally come from just going to the bathroom and I was in this alcove that was just around the other side, so I kind of couldn’t scream so I leveled with her and I was like, ‘Listen, you’re awesome. I really dig the costume, I dig your enthusiasm, you’re a really beautiful human being, but I got to be honest with you, you got to let me go because my security guys are right over there and if I need to tell them this is happening, they’re going to kick you out of here and I don’t want that. I want you to chill for the weekend.’ I saw her running through the motions of what it meant and she let me go, but it was intense.
You’re a nice guy.
I love the enthusiasm, it’s a cool thing to see at any age, you know?
Well speaking of enthusiasm, I’m sure you’re always bombarded with "Fifty Shades of Grey" movie rumors. What do you think of all the hype around you?
I think that there’s a lot of guys in this business right now that are up for this movie. And I think that they’re going to have a really good time finding the person that they think is going to best serve the role. I think E.L. James has done a phenomenal job of creating a really dynamic story and I dig her for that.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
You know, I guess … what is the definition of that actually?
It could be anything, a food that makes you happy, a TV show you can’t get enough of … what unexpectedly brings joy to your life, Ian?
Mine, really to be honest with you, I find myself sort of sitting in the corner by myself just consuming it … Chocolate. It makes you feel good all over. But dark, organic, the real deal that makes you high as a kite, you know? It’s loaded with antioxidants and caffeine, but it also triggers ethylethanamine production and other really cool things that happen in your body. You know, we’re electro-chemical beings so something like that is just merely a chemical reaction. It’s just something you’re consuming that triggers chemical reactions in your brain that make you feel a certain way. And I guess it’s definitely deemed as a guilty pleasure!
What shows are always on your DVR?
“Breaking Bad,” and then basically a lot of History Channel, Nat Geo and Animal Planet stuff, to be honest with you. The serialized stuff, I’m the worst, I can’t watch it because I can’t necessarily get into it right now. So I have a feeling that once I’m done with “Vampire Diaries,” I’m going to spend about three months in my hotel or apartment or loft or house or wherever I end up living, just going through copious quantities of entertainment and television shows and stuff. For me, it's “The Wire” and a lot of History and Nat Geo and Discovery stuff that I gravitate too.