'Vampire Diaries' Star Kat Graham On Her Dream Role, Advice From Prince

July 13, 2018 - 2:15 pm

After the popular CW series "Vampire Diaries" ended last year, its star Kat Graham was determined to work on projects that were powerful and broke barriers.

And her latest project, the apocalyptic action thriller Netflix film "How It Ends," in which Graham, 28, stars opposite Forest Whitaker and Theo James, fits the bill. The movie debuted on Netflix on Friday.

"Every project that I’ve wanted to do since leaving 'Vampire Diaries,' I’ve wanted to make really important decisions based on what I now knew about myself," Switzerland-born Graham told "The Trend." 

She explained, "Like I knew I wanted to tell more stories about powerful women. I knew I wanted to tell more stories where being African-American wasn't a factor necessarily in the roles I play. I was like, 'Why can't I play the lead? Why do I have to play the love interest or best friend or whatever? Why can’t I have a bigger platform for these younger girls?'"

And with "How It Ends," Graham achieves that goal. 

In the film, Graham plays a pregnant woman whose husband desperately tries to return home to her from half away across the country after a mysterious apocalyptic event turns everything to chaos. 

"It's the dream role for me," she said. "I'm really able to do some cool stuff in the movie ... I think it's so cool. It's so intense."

Another dream role? Helping out kids at refugee camps.

"In terms of humanitarian work, I haven’t even scratched the surface yet," she said. "There are so many things and so much work I have to do that I really haven’t scratched the surface yet. But I'm going to do it. I want to put music centers in refugee camps.  Because when I’ve gone, they’ve really only had like one soccer ball.  And sometimes, what people don’t realize is that when you’re in a refugee camp and you don’t have what you had at home, some of the kids get into trouble because they’re so bored … That’s something I'm desperate to do."

Whether she's acting, singing, or dancing, Graham is guided by advice she received from the late singer Prince, with whom she worked with.

"The thing I remember the most about the many conversations we had," she recalled, "was don’t compromise your energy. Don’t compromise your worth for a job, for a relationship, for a friend, to fit it. Just don’t compromise."