It’s another hot and sunny day in Southern California, making October feel like the middle of summer. Driving through a labyrinth of backstreets in beautiful Encino, I’m on my way to meet a bonafide Hollywood star. Ian Somerhalder, 41, is a model, actor, director, producer, activist, and entrepreneur.
Most would immediately recognize Somerhalder’s handsome face from hit TV shows “Lost,” and “The Vampire Diaries.” When Ian’s starring turn in Netflix’s “V Wars” recently came to a premature halt, he didn’t throw a pity party; instead he turned to filmmaking (Kiss the Ground), activism (The Ian Somerhalder Foundation), and entrepreneurism (Brother’s Bond bourbon). Above all, Somerhalder is an environmentalist and family man. But let’s start at the beginning.
The property where we were to chat and have the photo shoot is perched behind gates on a serene cul de sac, a prestigious celebrity enclave minutes from Beverly Hills, Bel Air, and Brentwood. Every great meeting requires an equally impressive environment, and this palatial mansion did not disappoint with its architectural details fit for even the most discerning taste. Draped over a sprawling 1.35 acre lot with breathtaking panoramic views, the stunning Italian inspired estate boasts 7 bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, and 14,500 sq. feet. It’s a one-of- a-kind entertainer’s dream, a private paradise, whose exterior grounds include expansive terraces, an infinity pool, tennis court, waterfalls and immaculate landscaping. And if you’re looking, will only cost you a cool $17.5M.
Being so generous of spirit, my conversation with Ian actually lasted over an hour on set. In fact, throughout the whole day, the Nobleman team was blown away by Ian’s positivity, leadership and general “up” energy. Sometimes, when a shoot runs long, the talent can turn a bit surly. This day proved to be the opposite, with Ian running around pumping everybody up, keeping spirits high. No ego detected, just a big smile. A man with a plan, who wants to change the world, one dram of Bourbon at a time.
In fact, when researching Ian Somerhalder before the interview, his lack of ego and genuine personality comes up time and time again. As executive producer of Kiss the Ground, Ian enlisted Woody Harrelson to do the voiceover work, knowing Woodys’ fame would help get the message out, even though a few journalists mistakenly called the piece “Harrelson’s film.” Somerhalder could care less, as long as people watch. “I grew up super poor on the Bayou of Louisiana,“ Ian begins our conversation. “That forces a person to keep it real.”
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Photography by ROBERT ASCROFT
Produced by DOUG McLAUGHLIN
Interview and words by JESSE STIRLING
Styling by FRANCISCO AND EDDIE BARRAGAN
Grooming by FABIOLA @TMGLA Hair by DANIEL CURET for CRITTERION-GROUP
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