Carina Mackenzie of Zap2It (@cadlymack on twitter) is best known (in my internet circle) for delivering the most in-depth and hard hitting interviews of all of our favorite Vampire Diaries stars (the girl keeps some seriously awesome company). What I want to know: What makes her so great at this?:
You obviously have a passion for TV. Where did it start?:
C: My mom didn't really let me watch TV when I was a kid, so I guess the passion started with breaking rules. I used to literally sneak down to the basement to watch "Dawson's Creek," and when I heard footsteps I'd turn off the TV and pretend to be playing foosball… alone. (I was a super cool kid, obviously.)
Really though – my whole life, I've been fascinated by stories and by the mediums through which stories are told. I love books and movies and art and I'm really into poetry. Television is just one part of a long list of storytelling formats that I'm passionate about.
Favorite non TVD television episode:
C: The series finale of "Friday Night Lights" was so brilliant it was hard to cope with. I know this sounds absolutely insane, but I feel like that show kind of changed me as a person a little bit. Someday I'll sit down and write something up about how phenomenal and stirring that show is, but for right now, it's difficult to put into words. I've never loved a show the way I love "Friday Night Lights" and I think their series finale was the best hour I've ever spent in front of my TV.
You have an indisputable love for The Vampire Diaries. What first made you fall?
C: "Lost Girls" is what first made me really love the show. Honestly, I don't particularly like the fantasy genre – I like scary movies, but once romance is introduced, I'm generally not into it. I don't like "True Blood" or "Twilight," and if Kevin Williamson's name hadn't been attached to "The Vampire Diaries" I probably never would've watched it. I'm glad I did, obviously.
Favorite TVD Character:
C: Matt. Like I said, I'm not really into the fantasy thing, so it doesn't surprise me that it's the human boy-next-door that I find most intriguing. In the first episode, Matt broke the jealous-jock-ex-boyfriend stereotype when he introduced himself to Stefan, and I really think his story is fascinating. He's been through so much and he's just powered through it without complaining or asking for sympathy or feeling the sudden urge to paint his nails black and listen to My Chemical Romance. I like that. (There's also something to be said for Matt being Switzerland. I'd imagine that being a huge Damon fan or Stefan fan would be exhausting.)
Favorite TVD Episode:
C: I love "The Return." I think that it really set the tone for Season 2 and the moment where Damon snapped Jeremy's neck was possibly the best thing that's ever happened on The CW. It was a bold move by the writers, and a reminder that no matter how much we love them, we're dealing with monsters on this show. Not every action will be forgivable and not every "good guy" can be trusted. I truly fell in love with the show all over again in that moment.
Favorite TVD Moment:
C: As Tyler is transforming into a werewolf, he's sobbing through his own pain and suddenly, he says, "I'm sorry," to Caroline. The scene was brilliantly acted by Trevino and Candice and that moment gave so much insight into his strength of character.
When did you first recognize the passion of the TVD Fandom?
C: The "passion" in the fandom has two sides for me. There's the amazing side – people who have helped Ian get his foundation off to an incredible start, people like the Vampire-Diaries.net crew who work tirelessly to bring a little order and integrity to the chaos, andpeople who have really built a supportive community out of a mutual interest. I think the first time I recognized that kind of passion was one day when I was chatting with Ian, back when the foundation was just a vague idea. We were talking about all the various charitable projects that have popped up within the Vampire Diaries community, and we sort of realized the kind of positive impact that you guys could have in a global sense.
I wish that everyone in the fandom would channel their passion into positive outlets. I see people being mean to each other too often in the name of TVD "passion," and it's disheartening.
“Shipper” Wars seem to be a plague of this fandom. How do you maintain your journalistic integrity while in the throes of battle?
C: Well, part of the benefit of my job is that I'm allowed to have an opinion. I'm a TV critic myself, so it's actually part of my job to voice my opinion on the show, which I do in my articles and recaps all the time. I really loved Tyler and Caroline's love story this year, and of course I have an opinion about who I think Elena will end up with, from a storytelling standpoint. People in "The Vampire Diaries" fandom tend to use the word "bias" a lot, which I think is unfair. Regardless of my own opinions on the show, when I conduct interviews, I try to serve all the fans. I do my best not to ask leading questions, or questions that serve any kind of "shipper" agenda. When I write reviews, that's my time to voice an opinion. I'm pretty open about my thoughts on the show, especially on my Twitter. I won't say who I think Elena will end up with because I don't care to be caught in the crossfire, but other than that, my opinions on the episodes, the actors, and the storylines are all out there in the universe. No secrets.
You’ve had the opportunity to make a few TVD set visits. Favorite on set memory:
C: I'm just always excited that they let me hang around! Getting to spend Ian's birthday with him, watching as everyone donated to the foundation, was really great. Another fun memory was hanging out with Candice at craft service while she had a giant bullet hole in her forehead… surreal. I also loved seeing Nina walk into the hair and makeup trailer as Elena and walk back out as Katherine – she's a rock star. The absolute BEST time I've had on set though was the day that I got to bring my best friend Lindsay with me for the day. I think McQueen won her over for life.
Any other show set (past or present) you’d love to visit:
C: "One Tree Hill." I've watched this show for all eight seasons and "Dawson's Creek" for six years before that, so I really hope that before "OTH" ends, I'll be able to go out to Wilmington and visit the set. I doubt it'll happen, because they're going to wrap pretty soon, but… that's the big dream. It would kind of be a childhood wish fulfillment moment, you know?I'm getting a little choked up just thinking about it.
Hopes for the future of TVD:
C: I hope that Caroline, Elena, and Bonnie continue to support each other and to generally kick ass all over the place. I adore the way they're written and the fact that the girls on this show are just as likely to save the boys' lives as vice versa. I just hope that the show lasts a while so that I can continue to have the opportunity to interact with such cool, funny, crazy, silly, dedicated people.
Message for the TVD fandom:
C: First and foremost, thank you for the support and for welcoming me into the fam. I'm so lucky.
Second: We won't find out how the story ends for another four or five years. If you're already gnashing your teeth and rending your clothes over it, you're in for a very stressful, unpleasant experience! Have fun and don't let your 'ship preferences divide you so much. Be nice to each other.