Australian actress Claire Holt knew her career choice would take her to Hollywood, but the small town of Covington, Georgia, was a different story.
The 24-year-old is a cast member of The Vampire Diaries, which films in Covington, about 72 kilometres outside Atlanta, most of the year. The show premieres its fourth season in the US on The CW Television Network on Thursday.
"I didn't really think about a television show sending me somewhere else," Holt said in a recent interview."
She was hired to appear in a few episodes early in the show's third season, but the role was expanded.
Filming runs from June to April. Holt describes getting used to the area and the intense humidity in the summer as "an adjustment", though she's now feeling more comfortable.
Holt also credits the cast and crew with making her feel welcome.
"They're really my friends," she said, "and that helped me feel more settled."
The Vampire Diaries stars Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley as vampire brothers who are both in love with the same girl, played by Nina Dobrev.
Holt plays Rebekah, a member of a founding family of vampires who longs to be a real teen. She badly wants to be accepted and lashes out if she feels rejected.
"It's something she craves," Holt said. "She really just wants to be liked. She wants people to want to be around her, and then she puts up the tough act and pretends she doesn't care but she does. She's just a girl, you know?"
Critics have praised the show for its high-production values and twists-and-turns. Holt says it's a "dream job".
"It's amazing working on a show like this because it's always changing. We could do flashback episodes or huge stunt episodes. They're so ambitious and it really feels like I get to experience a lot as an actor."
Holt says her mother watches each episode online the day after it airs in the US, but her father doesn't grasp its detailed story lines.
"I don't think my dad really gets it," she joked.