She plays witch Bonnie Bennett on The CW’s smash hit show “The Vampire Diaries”—a role for which Kat Graham has gained a massive following—but there’s more to the 23-year-old than a major part on a staggeringly successful series. For example, one of her main passions is music (she just released a brand-new single), and she also has a deep love of fashion. Known for taking risks on the red carpet, Graham doesn’t shy away from anything—a fact that’s pretty evident in her newly-bleached hair.
We caught up with the actress and singer, who told us why she prefers to not work with a stylist, her biggest fashion splurges since the show took off, and her favorite parts about working with “The Vampire Diaries” cast.
StyleCaster: What’s your philosophy when it comes to red carpet style?
Kat Graham: It really depends on what I’m feeling at that moment. The second that I know that I’m going to an event, I immediately figure out what the event is, and I look through my favorite designers’ collections. Right now, I’m wearing a lot of Jeremy Scott, and a lot of funky, crazy pieces, like leather pants, big tanks, and backwards hats. I’m in a very 1990s world right now, so it’s really hard to bring that into these couture gowns. I really study the designers. I’ve now decided to style myself, and I feel like I’ve got a really good hang of it. I like to overly prep. Sometimes in Hollywood, they try to make it so you can only pull a look the day before an event, but I need to know what I’m wearing at least a month in advance so no other bitches are wearing it!
What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken on the red carpet?
They’re all kind of risks. Some outfits I’ve looked at and said, “I see where I was going with that, but it wasn’t executed correctly. I think that any time I’m really comfortable showing up as myself, it’s been a huge risk because they love to eat me alive. Maybe not necessarily fashion blogs because they appreciate, but the weekly magazines don’t understand it if it’s just a little difference. They’ll rip a Valentino gown, you know what I mean? Anything different they’ll attack. I haven’t been seriously attacked yet, so I’ve been doing the right thing—I’ve wanted them to come for me!
Are there any celebrities or performers who have influenced your style?
Yeah, but I don’t know how much people know about them! There’s a Korean pop-group called “2NE1” and they’re incredible. They get a lot of their stuff from Japan. They work closely with Jeremy Scott, who’s a good friend of mine. I think that they really encompass finding pieces from high-fashion designers and mixing them with vintage, like they’ll find Chanel suspenders and pair them with high-waisted shorts. That’s definitely my style as well. I haven’t been able to find someone who completely understands the importance of bringing in high-end fashion mixed with really amazing vintage pieces. It’s so important, and that’s why I’m styling myself.
“The Vampire Diaries” seems like such a fun show to work on. What’s your favorite part of being on set?
Even though everyone’s really young, everyone is incredibly focused. We shoot an hour show and sometimes the locations, the stunts, and the special effects are just so crazy that you really have to trust the people that you’re working with—and you have to feel comfortable knowing that they have your back and they’re there to work. So even though everyone’s really fun, my favorite part of working with them is how extremely professional they are.
Once the show really took off, did you splurge on anything?
Honestly, I’d never bought a pair of shoes over $100 until this year, and I bought some Céline sandals that I was obsessed with, and I got some Prada oxfords. Other than that, no. I’ve spent more on stylists than clothes, but I think for fashion, I’m very careful because you just want pieces that you can wear over and over again, and that’ll be really cute for a long time.
Are there any items in your closet that you’ll never get rid of?
Yeah, I’ve discovered these baroque windbreaker jackets from the 1990s that I’ve been super-obsessed with. I’ve gotten them in every single color, and some of them have chains on them. I think I’ll always keep those. I used to make fun of my mom for having these big zippered puffy jackets, then she gave them away—and I wish I had them now! You never know what stuff will appreciate later in your life. I’ve kept everything that’s been a little bit odd, a little bit different. I’ll never throw away my costume once I perform in it. Once I perform in it, I have to keep it somewhere in an archive of costume pieces.
There you have it! To hear about Graham’s surprising beauty influences, head on over to our sister site Beauty High.