"I've loved working on this show," she told Self in the mag's June issue. "It's been such a crazy, awesome adventure, and I've been surrounded by so many people who I consider family. I know this is a new exciting step in the right direction for me, but it's going to be so strange not to be with them."
Strange and different. Since the show kicked off in 2009, Nina has been spending 10 months out of the year living in Atlanta. She signed a six-year contract at the start of the show, and said she knew from the beginning that was as long as she wanted to stay on The Vampire Diaries.
"I'll be stepping outside my comfort zone," she continued, adding at the time of the interview that she wanted her on-screen exit to be "epic and powerful."
"I feel like I'm a completely different person than I was and I've grown so much," she said. "It's been a big part of my life, and I want it to be beautiful. I want it to end well." Post-Vampire Diaries, Nina said she's excited for what's next, specifically when it comes to auditioning for new roles. "I'm ready to put up that fight again," she said. "I'm excited to put up that fight."
Before she begins the audition process though, the first thing Nina wants to do is explore the country, telling the mag she's already planned a cross-country trip with six friends after her final episode wraps. So far, she plans to make stops in New Orleans, Houston, Santa Fe, Sedona, Arizona; the Grand Canon; and Las Vegas before she arrives at her new home in Los Angeles.