This genetically blessed Louisiana native started out as a model for brands such as Versace, Gucci and Calvin Klein. Although he began appearing in print ads at age 10, he took a few years off to be a normal kid before returning to the fashion world in his teens. Despite his success---he was the face of Guess? Jeans for two years running in the late 1990s---Somerhalder longed to be seen as more than a perfect face and took up acting. While appearing as an extra in the movie Black & White
(his scene wound up on the cutting-room floor),
he was spotted and signed by an agent, and in 2000 he landed a regular role on the short-lived drama Young Americans
as a moody prep-school student. After the series' cancellation, he won guest spots, a recurring role as a romantic rival of Clark Kent's on Smallville
and big-screen supporting roles, notably his turn as a bisexual college student in The Rules of Attraction
. But it wasn't until he got Lost
on an island in 2004 that Somerhalder found stardom, as he played a plane-crash survivor secretly in love with his spoiled brat of a step-sister. Although his character was killed off in the first season, the time-bending nature of the show didn't rule out appearances in future seasons. Film work followed, as well as a racy (and undressed) role on HBO's Tell Me You Love Me.
In 2009, Somerhalder once again landed steady series work, playing a not-so-nice vampire on the CW's hit The Vampire Diaries
. Off-screen, he is an animal lover and has even filmed PSAs for Louisiana's Humane Society.Ian Somerhalder Fast Facts:
- Trained horses as a kid.
- Began modeling at age 10 and had a successful international career that included work with Versace, Gucci and Calvin Klein.
- Made his television debut in CBS's Now and Again in 1999.
- Produced and starred in the 2004 short Recess.
- Appeared in the 2005 off-Broadway comedy Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead.
- Landing a role as a vampire in the CW's The Vampire Diaries in 2009, he acknowledged in an MTV News interview that the popularity of the Twilight film franchise likely led to the CW show.
- Active in animal-rights issues, and also helped efforts to clean up the 2010 oil spill in his native state of Louisiana.
- Launched The Ian Somerhalder Foundation in 2010, which focuses on environmental concerns.
- Ian Somerhalder Relationships:
- Edna Somerhalder - Mother
- Robert Somerhalder - Father
- Nina Dobrev - Ex-significant Other
- Ian Somerhalder Awards:
- 2005 Screen Actors Guild Awards: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series - Winner