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Nina Dobrev doesn’t get nearly enough recognition for her impressive turns as not one, but three characters on The Vampire Diaries. The young actress has managed to create distinctive personalities and sets of mannerisms for each of these gals — even the one that didn’t stick around for very long. (R.I.P. Amara.) How does Nina do it? She weighed into ClevverTV on her process!

“I create different characteristics and I make efforts to make them different. It’s really important for me,” Nina said. “A lot of it is physically — what they’re wearing, the way their hair is styled. Amara wears very little to no makeup. Elena is natural. Katherine is very selfish and sort of dolls up and overdoes everything: heels too high, cleavage out too much …  Physically looking in the mirror and looking like a different person helps me a lot.”

But it’s more than just the physical look for Nina. She outlined the different voices she uses for the three characters: “Katherine has this husky, lower register voice and Elena talks kind of like I do ... And then Amara has a higher voice. She enunciates more.” We’re always impressed with the amount of work and thought Nina puts into these roles. It definitely shows.

Nina has come a long way since Season 1, when she mostly just playing Elena. What’s one of her stand-out memories from that time? The mall tours the TVD cast took early-on in the show’s run. Nina says it was the first time she realized how much the show meant to the fans — and just how many fans there actually are.

“We live in Atlanta, and Atlanta’s awesome, but it’s kind of a bubble in that people here kind of give us our space,” Nina said. “Which is really great for us personally, but it’s when you go outside and you go on these mall tours and you meet everybody and everybody’s so crazy and awesome and passionate and there’s thousands of people, we’re like, ‘Wow, I guess this show’s popular, huh?’ Like, we had no idea. So, that was one of those moments … This is what it must be like for Justin Bieber.”

The Vampire Diaries airs Thursday nights at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.