Credit: TV Line Photo: Damon Holds a Bloody Apple in Season 3 Promo Art

Ian Somerhalder, Damon Salvatore of The Vampire Diaries, is so smart, so committed to his craft, and so passionate about any number of great causes that you'd think he had a PhD. But no. Ian — or Mr. Smolderhotter, as we like to call him — did not go to college. The native of Louisiana started modeling when he was only 10 years old, working summers in New York when school was out. (He attended a private Catholic school.) He eventually traveled to Europe for modeling jobs — nice! — and at the age of 17, started to study acting. A talent manager noticed him when he was 19 and appearing as an extra in the movie Black and White. Ian has said that he might have gone into marine biology, writing, or advertising if the acting bug had not bitten. But thank god it got its fangs into him early on! 


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