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Interview: Candice King Opens Up About Vampire Diaries Ending, Being a Feminist and That Steroline June Wedding

We’re less than a month away from the season premiere of The Vampire Diaries, and it marks the beginning of the end. After getting to know an eclectic group of supernatural friends over the last eight years, it will soon be time to say goodbye. As the series gears up for its final ride, we got to speak with Candice King, who plays the overachieving human-turned-vampire-turned-mom-of-twin-witches Caroline Forbes, about the show’s imminent end. While she didn’t drop any spoilers, she did reveal her thoughts on how she wants her character’s journey to end, feminism, that Steroline June wedding, what makes her fangirl and more.

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What kind of ending do you want for Caroline?

On just a surface level, I would love to see her end on happy note. As far as when we started the show in the pilot, that was kinda my favorite moment…where she’s just sitting there crying to Bonnie about how no one ever wants her, like why don’t they ever choose me? She’s kind of drowning in her own insecurities. So for her, at the end of the series, end up happy and with somebody that she loves and who loves her back because that’s been her intention the whole series. It’s the root of who Caroline is. She just wants to be loved so if that’s what she gets at the end of it all, I would be thrilled for her.

She’s easily one of the most beloved characters on the series. What is it like to be on the receiving end of that sort of passion from the fans?

It’s wonderful to know that so many people love Caroline because I love her. It’s kind of bizarre to all of a sudden realize you’ve been with a character for eight years and the show’s coming to an end but also realize that wow, I have to say goodbye to the character who inevitably…she is me and I am her. When you go to work and you’re watching this character grow for eight years, your growing’s parallel to them in this weird way. So it’s wonderful. I love the character, I love that she has faults. I love that she’s insecure. I love that she always puts her foot in her mouth.

She may not always be right and she may not always do it with grace but she’s trying her best to save the day and that’s what I really love about her. What I’ve seen on social media are those moments where they relate to that character or the very human moments that Caroline has…watching her mother pass away of cancer and there was nothing that you could do, I think that was a really powerful time [to be] on the receiving end of, from fans of the series that have had parents pass from cancer and that they were able to relate to what Caroline was going through so much. I thought that was really moving. Really powerful.

It’s the last season and you guys know that the end is coming. How does that effect how you’re filming this season?

What’s funny is…we’re on episode seven right now and I think we’re all in denial. I don’t think any of us realize that it’s just coming to an end in a couple of months because it seems like same old, same old. You know, same long days. Same crazy weather patterns we’re having to work around. Early mornings, late nights. You know, witches and vampires…so I think that it just all feels the same. Nothing really feels that different yet. But I think it’s gonna hit us after Christmas because by that point, we’ll just have a couple weeks left and we’ll have to start packing up our offices.

Do you plan on taking anything from set?

Oh god! I want to so bad! But I don’t know what I want yet. I feel like I gotta cruise all the sets and really see what would be cool to sneak, take with me. I would love to take Caroline’s daylight ring.

The prom dress!

Oh yeah. That’s a good call, actually. I have yet to raid the wardrobe room so we’ll see what I can sneak outta there.

From Twitter fans, the number one question I received was in relation to Steroline. They wanna know will there be a June wedding?

What’s funny is that all of a sudden at [San Diego] Comic-Con, Paul and I were doing interviews together and [were asked], “Do you realize that Steroline June Wedding” is trending?” And then I realized in the pilot episode Caroline says after seeing Stefan for the first time, she’s in love and she’s gonna have a June wedding. So I don’t know if there’s necessarily going to be a June wedding and I don’t know if they’re actually going to get married, but I love that that’s out into the universe as a possibility for these characters.

This season, Caroline is moving away from Alaric romantically but still raising kids with him. What can you tease?

It’s kind of wonderful, [a] very grownup storyline of these characters having to manage a blended family but set in a supernatural world. It’s interesting having two vampires co-parent with a professor/archaeologist while they’re parenting twin witch babies. But all these characters are working together from the get go. We ended season 7 with Enzo and Damon on the run, teasing the big bad and whatever mind control they’re under. So the real goal when they come into season 8 is Stefan, Caroline, Bonnie and Alaric are all trying to figure out what happened to Damon, what happened to Enzo. And so…they’re a team.

I heard there’s a new nanny named Seline who will come into play. 

We’ve got some great new characters, Seline is one of them. She is the nanny for the two girls and it’s kind of a funny thing for Caroline to deal with, on the lighter side. It puts Caroline in an interesting position of having to relinquish a lot of control which she’s not good at, as far as raising her children. So Seline’s the new nanny and she fits into the day-to-day with Alaric and Caroline and the girls. And she’s got an interesting history that we’re gonna learn about as the season continues.

Let’s talk about your pregnancy because everyone seemed so supportive. It was even written in the show. How did it make you feel?

I am so grateful. Luckily, I’ve been working on the series for six going on seven years so I felt very comfortable coming to work and telling everyone I was pregnant. It was a little nerve-wracking because I knew that they had already been through a lot of changes. We’d lost a lot of characters and so being like, “Hey! I’m throwing you a pretty big curve-ball”…but everyone was incredibly supportive. I was shocked that they wrote it in but I’m glad that…they’d already had a storyline that they were flirting with as far as someone being pregnant. So then it just kind of merrily fell into my lap, or in my belly.

But it was pretty wild because the problem was when they did write it in, I didn’t look pregnant enough because I was supposed to be pregnant with twins. So I spent most of the season wearing a fake pregnancy belly over my real pregnant belly. And then, by the time I was big and rolly polly and out there, they were like, “Well! We’re doing a three-year jump to the future so we don’t want you to be pregnant anymore.” So then at my most pregnant, I had to hide behind things and try not to look pregnant. So it was pretty funny by the end of it. It was a wonderful thing to share with this work family we have here.

If only more women in the industry had that safety net.

Yeah! It blows my mind that that has to be…that some women are terrified of ultimately getting pregnant and being able to keep their job. And that is so unfortunate that in 2016, that that’s looked at still as a negative thing. And so I’m really lucky that there was a support system here and I got to work and I still had a maternity leave. But I also got to happily come back to my job and feel confident and safe that it was going to be there. But that’s something that I know that I’m lucky to say that I’m grateful for and it’s unfortunate that so many women don’t have that support system in the workplace at a time that it should be celebrated that women are working and still creating families. I’m very very lucky to work somewhere where I was supported and celebrated.

Do you consider yourself a feminist?

Oh my god, yeah! I’m definitely a feminist! It saddens me that that’s a scary word for some people and I don’t think being a feminist has anything to do with being anti-male. I believe in equal pay for women. I believe in equal opportunity for women. I think it’s such an easy answer. I hope that that’s not a scary word for women anymore because we should be celebrating the fact that we just…we deserve equal opportunity and equal pay. That’s so simple.

What makes you fangirl or geek out?

Right now, I’m getting into the resurgence of old, unsolved crimes with trend of Serial and Making a Murderer, and the resurgence of the JonBenét Ramsey case because of the 20 year anniversary of her death. That stuff I was getting super into to the point where I was researching stuff online and going on the blogs to get all the facts that weren’t being aired on television and debating it at work. And I also just love all these funny women on television right now. I love The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Broad City…And Difficult People, I’m super into that show right now. I’m just geeking out at all these really incredible, funny humans on TV.

You are a new mom and you’re working on this show but you have a baby to go home to. Is there pressure to be both the perfect actress and the perfect mom?

Oh my gosh, always. The fact that it’s a couple weeks post-partem…I was stressing out that I couldn’t fit into my jeans when in reality, it’s like it took you nine months to get there. And that’s a pressure I was absolutely putting on myself…That I feel becomes this expectation because of seeing other women who could just naturally have that body that just bounces back. That’s the reality and that’s the beautiful thing about women, is that we are all so different. We’re all shaped differently, we all react different, our hormones all react differently. We can all just sit in a circle and talk about the fact that even though we all go through the same things, we’re also having our own different journey through those things.

So as far as after pregnancy and getting back into work, I feel really grateful I didn’t have any postpartum depression and that I had a wonderful support system around me. I’m grateful that I’ve been at my job for seven years and I work with a lot of other parents who are really encouraging so even on my hard days and when I’m not with her or I was up and I’m on two hours of sleep and I had to bring her to a pediatrician and go straight to work…the fact that I had other dads go “you’re doing great!’ and “we get it,” I feel so grateful. And I know not everyone gets that experience so I realize how special it is that I’ve had this Vampire Diaires family.

After TVD, is there a possibility that Caroline will go to New Orleans?

I don’t think Caroline will be visiting New Orleans but you never know.

What do you hope TVD’s legacy to be?

I hope that it brought people together. I love getting into TV series with my husband and my friends and having that watercooler talk. So to be a part of a show that meant something to anybody…and maybe had their day be just a little less stressful and brought some entertainment into their lives, that’s what I hope the legacy is.

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The Vampire Diaries heads into its final season on October 21.

(image via screencap)

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