This week, The Vampire Diaries returns from a six-week hiatus, and during the break, the stars—and their hundreds of shrieking fans—converged in Atlanta, Georgia, for a Vampire Diaries convention.
In addition to the hundreds of shrieking fans, there were also too many martinis, hot actors, lots of Katy Perry songs, and vampire-souvenir shopping. And I was right in the middle of it all (even if I often found myself almost trampled in the crowd, since I am rather, er, vertically challenged . . . ).
I have to admit to being prone to fangirl crushes of all sorts. But while I wouldn't go to, say, a Mad Men or Gossip Girl convention (though I bet the clothes there would be awesome), I jumped at the chance to go to Vampire Diaries. I mean, hello—masquerade balls, a Mystic Falls tour, Paul Wesley, and Ian Somerhalder? I am there.
And it was three days of fabulousness, if also three days of disorganization. And if I spent most of the time squealing like a sugar-hyped eleven-year-old at a Justin Bieber concert—well, what happens in Atlanta stays in Atlanta, right?
- The people-watching. As a writer and general nosy person, this is a favorite hobby of mine and the convention did not disappoint. The sheer variety of people—and the sometimes mystifying fashion choices—was amazing. Speaking of fashion . . .
- The Saturday night masquerade ball. If you watch The Vampire Diaries, you know parties in Mystic Falls never end well, and the “Masquerade” episode was one of the most disastrous. But no one ended up dead here, and there were great (and wonderfully terrible) gowns, dance music, drinks, and Vampire Diaries hotties to ogle. What could be better?
- The Q&A panels. Yet another chance to ogle actors. Oh, and listen to people asking Very Important Questions (like “Do you think Caroline should be with Matt or Tyler?”). The actors were entertaining and personable, and I almost fell off my chair laughing sometimes.
- Spoilers. Stefan “will explore his dark side” (yay!); Tyler will return (a full moon is coming soon); Elijah isn't really dead (I was very happy to hear this! I love him, he is a bad-ass who really knows how to wear a suit. And if you don't follow actor Daniel Gillies on Twitter you definitely should—his tweets are weird and hilarious)
- Meeting other fans. This was the very best part for me. (Special shout-outs to Bruce and Pegi, the lovely couple from Kentucky who sat next to me in the Q & A sessions and went out and bought my books, so thus were awesome, and Meagan from Dallas who stood in line with me at the Ian Somerhalder photo ops and then held me up afterward)
- The Vampire Stalkers Mystic Falls tour. Covington, Georgia (aka Mystic Falls), is a gorgeous town full of antebellum homes, perfect for a history geek like me. Among other things, we got to see Elena's house (the outside), the square/courthouse, a creepy-looking fake-burned house that will be used later this season, the Gone With the Wind-looking house used in the flashback episode where Katherine talks to George Lockwood, etc. Jessica, who runs the tour, and her team are wonderful, and if you're ever in the Atlanta area, I highly recommend checking this out (or at least go see the town). Check out their website at http://mysticfallstours.com. (And if you eat at the Thai Treasure restaurant on the square, the ahi tuna with steamed veggies is amazing.)
But let's not kid ourselves here. There is one real reason we (and by that I mean I) would go to a Vampire Diaries convention—to see if the men are as outrageously handsome in real life as on the show. The answer is yes. Yes, they are. Stefan is even better-looking, and also laid-back and not all broody and worried like on the show. Tyler and Jeremy are are so young and goofy, charming, and very personable—not to mention ripped. (Jeremy should show his arms more on the show. I'm just saying). My friend and convention roomie Lana Clary is massively in love with Michael Sorvino/Tyler. “I love him to death and can't wait til he comes back to the show!” she said. “He was charming, funny, and sweet. No better way to a girl's heart!”
But my Buddhist, environmentalist, small-animal-loving heart belongs to Ian Somerhalder. (And the part of me that loves a dark, tormented, anti-hero who will rip someone's throat out with the slightest provocation belongs to Damon Salvatore, so it all works out). He does actually have Those Eyes, and is also articulate, philosophical, compassionate, and seems just plain sweet. It's totally sickening.
In conclusion—if they do another convention next year, I will totally be there. If they don't check the restraining orders too closely...
I also had the chance at the convention to learn more about The Ian Somerhalder Foundation. Confession time—I have the irrational prejudice that outrageously good-looking people don't really have to work as hard at life as the rest of us (remember that episode of 30 Rock when Tina Fey had to break up with Jon Hamm because of that??), but now I have to admit I am wrong. The IS Foundation is doing some excellent and very important work for the environment and animal rescue, and I was very impressed by what I learned, not to mention the fact that they raised over $50,000 at the convention alone. (Plus my own four rescued pets say thank you.)
The Foundation's website (http://isfoundation.com) states that their mission “aims to empower, educate, and collaborate with people and projects to positively impact the planet and its creatures,” and carries this out by (among other things):
- Distributing funds and resources towards global conservation, green energy development/deployment and educational tools.
- Creating awareness that global deforestation can be seen as a national/international and global security risk.
- Creating mobility by engaging and supporting of the most powerful, yet disregarded, disrespected and overlooked population on the planet - our youth.
- Ending animal cruelty and promoting programs such as: “species specific sterilization drugs”, transferring and re-training of abandoned animals into assistive and therapy guides.
- Supporting and creating sustainable strategies for “no-kill shelters”.
I urge everyone to check out the site (or any local organizations near you) to find out how to help in this vital work!
Also, comment here to be entered to win a DVD set of The Vampire Diaries Season One! We'll keep entries open until Monday, April 4, and announce the winner—a random commenter—in this post on Tuesday, so check back! Congratulations, Maririve! You've won the Vampire Diaries DVD. Please send your mailing address to
and we'll get that right out to you.
Masquerade ball and Paul Wesley images courtesy of Laurel McKee.
Laurel McKee writes historical romance for Grand Central Publishing, writes as Amanda McCabe for Harlequin Historical, and can be found at the Risky Regencies every Tuesday, and on Twitter as @amandalaurel1 whenever she’s procrastinating.