Despite his fanged bad-boy dramatics and nonchalant disregard for human life as Damon Salvatore in the new TV show ‘THE VAMPIRE DIARIES’ – in reality – actor IAN SOMERHALDER is a heart-warming champion for animal rights and environmental issues.
Somerhalder wants: you to question how much mercury is in your sushi, an end to the slaughter of Calderon Dolphins in Denmark (specifically the Faroe Islands), some-one to invent a replacement for plastic so that marine wildlife cease mistaking it for food floating on the surface of oceans, a stop to primates being threatened by tropical forest destruction, you to be aware that 320,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity is wasted in the United States every minute from inefficient residential electricity usage, a boycott of all BP petrol stations, and a resignation from the head of the American Environmental Protection Agency in light of the horrific aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil-drilling disaster.
The thirty-one-year old has devoted his Summer break from ‘The Vampire Diaries’ production, to rolling up his sleeves and going all-in to aid efforts to clean up the Gulf region. Even en route, stopping to visit a dog adoption drive in Atlanta – crestfallen that no-one had turned up – retooling his personal Twitter profile as an animal adoption agency. When Vampire Diaries-press duty diverted Somerhalder away from Grand Isle to New York, he declared that he was: “pretending everything is okay – everything is NOT okay. Oil everywhere! Anyone have a plan? BP? Feds? Nope! This is a joke and we as a country should be sick to our stomachs. Thank you Government for allowing huge industries to regulate themselves.”
60,000 barrels of oil are still leaking into the Gulf every day, and Somerhalder is devastated: “I’m so sorry that our insatiable thirst for oil has spawned the worst disaster ever in the Gulf of Mexico, spewing hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil into the water which will hit the shores of and destroy my favourite place on the planet, the Gulf coast of Louisiana.” He summarised his anguish in the following: “We can send people to the moon, wage giant wars, and transplant human hearts, but we can’t stop a leaking oil well…”
…and when he’s not busy trying to save the world, he’s otherwise engaged interacting with his fans via Twitter, constantly thanking them for their support and adoring messages. “I sincerely thank you for them and smile to myself when [ I ] see them, so thanks for taking time out of your day to send a thought. I would be here 12 hours per day if I tried to answer them – who in the hell would play Damon Salvatore then???” But it seems like Somerhalder is a dab hand at multi-tasking, following up his rhetorical question with a promise “to make it a point to respond no less than once a day! Whether while having a coffee in the morning or hitting the sack at night.”
As if Somerhalder wasn’t already perfect enough, he likes to listen to Fleet Foxes, Neon Indian, Black Lips – and despite having formerly modelled for the likes of Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabanna, Gucci, Versace, and Guess – Somerhalder is indeed a real boy. The son of a building contractor and massage therapist, his childhood was spent in small-town Covington in Louisiana: training horses, fishing, swimming, and boating. Despite a modelling career at age ten that flew him to New York each Summer, Somerhalder decided to focus more on school and sports by the time he reached Junior High.
Fast forwarding to the present, TV aficionados will recognise Somerhalder from thirty episodes as Boone Carlyle in ‘Lost’, as well as from small story-lines as Adam Knight in ‘Smallville’ and Hamilton Fleming in the ‘Dawson’s Creek’ spin-off show ‘Young Americans’.