‘Vampire Diaries’ Star Malese Jow Reveals The Secret Behind Those Veiny, Vampire Eyes

By now, you should be used to the weekly twists on “The Vampire Diaries.” But one of the most unexpected plot surprises happened a couple of months ago when the sweet, new homeschooled girl in Mystic Falls, Anna, turned out to be a several-hundred-year-old vampire. If you were shocked at that reveal, you’re not alone — the actress who plays Anna, Malese Jow, was pretty awestruck too.

Malese recalled to Hollywood Crush that when she auditioned for the part, all she had to go on was a short description that said Anna was supposed to be a shy and geeky girl. “There was really nothing in there that made me think that she was going to be a vampire,” Malese said. “Once I got to the producer session, they said, ’Can you read it a little more menacing?’ and I was like ’Huh, ok.’ I didn’t know that she was going to be a vampire until the day I got on set they were like, ’You’re going to be fitted for contacts.'”

Speaking of those vampire contacts, Malese said they’re “very, very hard to put in because they cover your whole eye.” The fangs, which are molded to her teeth, are real too (“I’m hoping that I can get to keep them!”), but the rest of the vampire look (the creepy, veiny eyes) is a special effect. “I thought they were going to draw red eyes and put in the veins, but it’s actually little black dots, two above your eyes and two below your eyes, and then they CGI everything.”

The challenge of playing someone who is hundreds of years old is not lost on Malese, who said the concept is a little difficult to grasp. “There’s so much wisdom that comes with so many years of being alive. It was definitely hard because I’m just this 19-year-old girl. But I was born an old soul, so I think that helps a lot. I think that carried Anna along and they really liked where Anna was going. So I guess I did a good job with that!”

She also got a little guidance on playing a vampire from her costar, Ian Somerhalder. When they had to grab each other’s necks in a fight scene, “he said, ’Go for it, because you’re supposed to be so strong. So squeeze my neck, hold your arm tight,’ and it looked so real,” Malese said. “It actually looked like we were having a little battle royale. It turned out great. He’s been very helpful.”

Malese said playing a dangerous character has been fun, and she loves the fact that Anna’s wit and intelligence match Damon’s. “Don’t judge a book by its cover. Don’t assume that just because I’m five-foot-four I can’t kick some butt. It’s awesome, getting to play kind of a badass. I think that’s great. I think it’s time for the females to be a little threatening to people.”

What did you think when you found out Anna was a vampire? Are you glad she’s stuck around so long? Do you hope she stays for season 2?