Actress and Artist Kat Graham Speaks On Embracing Heartbreak, Tragedy & Turning It Into Art

It’s been four years since viewers of the hit romance-drama series The Vampire Diaries would see fan favorite Bonnie Bennett on-screen one last time.

During her Contrast interview on an audio call over Zoom, a fan, Mark T. from New Orleans, was given the chance to say ‘Hello’ to Kat. He shared how an episode in the series was an emotional moment for him, crying in the back seat of his friend’s car on a road trip. One scene in particular was in season 8, where Stefan not only ripped out Enzo’s heart, but also the hearts of fans all over. Mark asked Kat how she could cry on cue for that scene.

True, some may admit to cheating a little by using onions or pepper spray, but Kat Graham’s strategy is to think of the tough times and tragedy she’s faced in her life, and this helps bring forth the feelings.

Photography by Harold Julian
Hair by Deva Pink
Makeup by L’Oreal
Sweater by Azzedine Alaia

 

Photography by Harold Julian
Hair by Deva Pink
Makeup by L’Oreal
Sweater by Azzedine Alaia

That’s so much about what this interview is [about],” said Kat. “Kind of embracing that. That episode we shot in 2016, and a lot of people don’t know, but Prince and I were really close, and I had a hard time.” Kat takes a moment, then continues, “So I put my heartbreak into that scene.”

Mark expressed with Graham that he felt her character, Bonnie Bennett, “could never catch a break.” With wisdom and understanding, Kat replies, “Sometimes none of us can [catch a break], right? Do we all feel that life has given us a lot of breaks? I don’t know,” says Kat.

“Everyone on this call right now has felt ‘God, can I just get a break?’ And I think [that’s why] we connect with the shows or songs we connect with. And it’s for something within ourselves that we get to look at and say, ‘Wow, like, I really identify with this in a deeper way, right? So I hear you and I know.”

Earlier in the interview, she talked about how she and her family struggled and hustled for years. Her single mom especially worked hard to ensure Kat Graham had opportunities to build her skills or audition for various roles. They came here and there, but were never consistent.

Photography by Harold Julian
Hair by Deva Pink
Makeup by L’Oreal
Sweater by Azzedine Alaia

 

Photography by Harold Julian
Hair by Deva Pink
Makeup by L’Oreal
Sweater by Azzedine Alaia


“I wish I could say it wasn’t a struggle, but everything was literally a hustle until about five years ago, and that includes when I was on Vampire Diaries.”
Kat was also surprised how big a show it turned out to be, and that her role resonated with so many people globally.

“It was supposed to be a simple vampire show, but has inspired a lot of people, and [Bonnie] became this symbol of hope,” said Kat Graham. Since then, she’s had other opportunities come her way in front of and behind the camera.

Kat Graham is acting in and producing a movie called “Heat Wave,” a sexy thriller where she may or may not be a murderer. She also just completed filming on “Love in the Villa,” alongside Tom Hopper. Production her and others to Italy.

“It was such a blessing filming this,” she said. “Sometimes we all have situations where the universe conspires against us and everything goes wrong, but this was the opposite where everything came together so nicely.”

Kat shared that when she first landed the role of Bonnie Bennett, she didn’t believe she was going to actually get the job. She said, “First of all, I shot like five pilots, but none of them went through. So, I was like, ‘Oh, this is just going to be another one of those things.’ And then when it got picked up, I didn’t think that I would stay on it.”

She then shared how she began working with acting coach, Ivana Chubbuck, who is also the author of the best-selling book The Power of the Actor, published in 18 languages. Ivana has worked with the stars we all love such as Charlize Theron, James Franco, Halle Berry, Brad Pitt, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jared Leto and so many more for over 30 years.

“[Ivana] taught me to use all of these really difficult moments in my life and to put them on the screen and put them in the character,” she says. “I’ve been working with her, I feel like now 13 years. I’ve done every single scene with her, every single audition, every single episode with this woman.”

The Toro Gato visionary credits some of her favorites artist as Frida Kahlo, Helena Bonham Carter and Viola Davis “and every woman that I love and man that I love that is an artist. Even Sam Smith.”

Kat Graham is the kind of actress who’s more than just an actress, but a vessel for art to be expressed loud and proud to the world.

Visit www.katgraham.com for more details about films and other projects.

Catch the recap of Kat Graham’s cover story on Contrast News this Monday, December 20th at 12PM EST.