Canadian export Nina Dobrev spent her own high school years at Wexford Collegiate School for the Arts in Ontario. But the 19-year-old first caught America’s attention when she landed a leading role on “Degrassi:The Next Generation” as Mia Jones. This past August she busted onto the small screen again and showed off her dancing chops in The American Mall on MTV. In the made-for-TV movie, Nina starred as Ally, a sweet songwriter faced with some tough times but is (as she says in her big number) a survivor! DS talked to the multitalented actress to get the inside story. —Ariel White
DS: What was the training process like?
ND: It was crazy: We had four weeks of dancers’ boot camp and then rehearsal from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for three weeks.
DS: What was your favorite piece of choreography?
ND: “Survivor.” It was definitely a challenge; I had to be in really high heels! At the same time, nothing is fun for me unless it’s a challenge.
DS: Did “Survivor,” the song about overcoming obstacles, hold any special meaning for you?
ND: I’m a pretty independent person and I’ve gone through some hard things. At the end you’ve got to remember that you can get through anything.
DS: What was your dance background before The American Mall?
ND: I’ve been dancing pretty much all my life. When I was little I did ballet and jazz and competed in rhythmic gymnastics, too. Plus we took a lot of dance at Wexford Collegiate School for the Arts.
DS: Do you plan on doing other musicals, both on TV and stage?
ND: I’d love to! The whole thing was amazing, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.