The year 2014 was a big one for Dobrev. After spending a few years on the shelf, the TV star made a triumphant return to Hollywood, landing a starring role on the highly-anticipated second season of the new series, Cougar Town.

The former Melissa McCarthy starring vehicle became the launching pad for a media tour, with Dobrev gracing the cover of Vogue Ukraine three times in the year, attending Elle U.K. and Harper’s Bazaar U.K. celebrity styling shoots, and Marie Claire U.K. and Grazia U.S. spotlighting her in their annual trends issues.

While her schedule was hectic, the 29-year-old actress found time to reflect on her remarkable journey, acknowledging that it wasn’t always easy. She candidly spoke with OK! magazine about the influence that her grandmother Irene had on her, the challenges of being a young actress, and her unique bond with her dogs.

On Influencing Women Through Fashion

“I think it’s funny to hear people say I’ve inspired them because I think I’ve inspired women, I’ve inspired a generation of women, and it’s lovely,” Dobrev said. “Irene is the one who started it all. My grandmother would always tell me stories about how she used to dress me in matching outfits when I was a kid. When I was 15, she sent me to Paris to study fashion. I fell in love with fashion there, with the French way of dressing.”

Dressed in her Grandmere’s vintage attire, Dobrev made her grand entrance at the Met Gala in New York City, officially celebrating the museum’s Designers in Collision: Met Gala 2014 exhibition. The actress modeled Dior’s groundbreaking Celine d’Amelio collection, and wore a Rejane Dior dress to commemorate the Italian designer’s 70th birthday.

“I love Rejane Dior,” Dobrev enthused. “I grew up watching her and Giorgio Armani on Italian TV in the ‘80s, and it was such a joy to work with her. She has made such a significant impact on fashion, and I’m honored to have worn her dress.”

Dressed in Valentino’s fall 2014 collection, Dobrev was one of the glamorous faces at the Autumn Winter 2014 Met Gala. The Met Gala is an annual fashion event that celebrates modern design and artistic expression.

“I love Met Gala,” Dobrev continued. “It’s always such an amazing party, and this year it was even more special because it was the 70th anniversary of Dior. I thought it would be a fantastic opportunity to dress Dior, and it was. I have a bond with Dior, even though we’ve never worked together. I feel extremely grateful to have had a relationship with a designer like Dior. She’s allowed me to express myself and my sense of style through her clothing.”

On Challenging Herself

Dobrev is best known for her comedic timing and sassy attitude on the Friends reunion series, The Next Big Thought (2016), and Dates (2010). Yet, she has also proved that she can be quite serious when the need arises.

In The Next Big Thought, she played a supporting role as the emotionally damaged Alexandra, a strong character who eventually transforms into a maniacal Alexandra. The role required her to play a character who is both strong and fragile at the same time, which she found challenging. The actress revealed:

“I really didn’t know what to expect because the first part of the movie is a lot like Friends but with a lot more strife. So, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it ended up being a tough movie to watch.”

Dressed in a high-waisted leather jacket with a fur trim, Dobrev strolled the red carpet at the 16th World Television Festival in Beijing, China, on September 25, 2019. The World Television Festival is an annual event that takes place in Beijing, China, and is one of the biggest international news events for television journalists and producers.

A day before the premiere of The Next Big Thought, Dobrev spotted on Instagram a bio of the movie’s director, Charlie McDowell. In the bio, McDowell noted that the plot of the film revolves around the “enduring and unique bond between a mother and daughter, whose wild child returns as an adult and begins a rekindling of this special moment in their lives.”

Dobrev’s performance in The Next Big Thought was well-received by critics and audiences alike, and she scored a career-best 12% on Rotten Tomatoes.

In Dates, she starred alongside Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson as Sasha, a journalist who covers the Scottish Royal Family for a living. While Dobrev’s character is presented as somewhat of a modern woman, she draws on her own relationship with Stewart for inspiration.

“I’ve always loved Kristen and Robert,” she said of her inspirations. “I love her spark, and I loved how wacky and unique she is. It’s been an incredible journey watching her grow as a person and a star. I love having my daughters around because they’re a daily reminder of my own fierce passion for fashion. Seeing the way they dress makes me so proud because it’s a reminder of my own style, and it keeps me focused on the future.

On Her Dogs’ Influence

Dobrev is also in the midst of launching her very own dog line, Nava Dogs, named after her dogs, Nava and Rosa. The line is dedicated to creating designer dog costumes, and although Dobrev is a self-proclaimed dog lover, she recognizes that fashion and dogs can be a stranger to each other at times. Still, she loves that her dogs allow her to immerse herself in creative projects, and is excited about this new line.