Nina Dobrev was born Nikolina Konstantinova Dobreva in Sofia, Bulgaria in 1989 and moved to Canada at age two. Her father is a computer scientist and her mother an artist.

She started out with gymnastics and dance but moved into acting. Dobrev left university where she was studying sociology in 2008 to pursue acting. One of her break-out roles was in the television series Degrassi: The Next Generation. The television show The Vampire Diaries and the movie The Perks of Being a Wallflower have cemented Dobrev as a go-to choice for directors.