Long before Vampire Diaries star Ian Somerhalder became super sexy vampire Damon Salvatore, he was using his smoulder in the world of fashion as a model. What did he have to tell Just Jared about his experience in the industry?

Ian opened up to the news outlet about his perspective on the varying degrees of creative involvement for a model versus a designer in the fashion world, saying: “In the fashion business, if you’re a creative director or you’re a designer, it’s a very creative business and you can drive it. As talent in the fashion world, it’s significantly more vapid.”

Ian has more perspective on the fashion industry and the life of a model than most. The Louisiana native started modeling when he was only a teenager, his killer combination of dark hair and smouldering blue eyes landing him campaigns with Versace, Nautica, and Guess -- amongst many others. Alloy Entertainment has a great collection of Ian’s photos.

Though Ian chose his career — both modeling and acting — over the traditional route of a college degree, he doesn’t seem to regret forgoing the collegiate path: “You don’t have to be in an institution to study. The world has been a really cool classroom that we’re all in together, sort of bouncing around, learning, failing often and passing sometimes. And just like in school, the kids who are nice make the experience a lot better. The kids who are bullies and assholes make the experience not as wonderful. The thing we’re lacking the most in the world, and yet what everyone wishes for, is compassion.” Wise words from a man who now has his own charitable foundation, more than 10 million followers on Facebook, and a killer television show.

Catch the next episode of The Vampire Diaries on Thursday, March 20 at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.

Kayti Burt is a contributing writer for Wetpaint Entertainment with a penchant for all things pop culture. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!