Kat Graham is a Swiss-born American actress and singer best known for her role of ‘Bonnie Bennett’ in the popular television series ‘The Vampire Diaries’. She started her career as a dancer before moving on to acting and singing, and has also done many commercials. She featured in some music videos as a backup dancer in her early career. Making her first television debut at the tender age of 13 years, Kat has played some important roles in movies too. Her debut movie was ‘The Parent Trap.’ She then went on to feature in popular movies like ‘17 Again’ and ‘The Roommate’. Kat is a multi-talented personality—she is a dancer, singer, and actress all rolled into one! She has also done some modeling work in addition. She is a big fan of the late singer Tupac Shakur and was thrilled to be cast as Jada Pinkett Smith in the Tupac biopic ‘All Eyez On Me.’ The film was a commercial success even though it earned negative reviews from the critics.
Childhood & Early Life
Kat Graham was born in Geneva, Switzerland on September 5, 1989 to Joseph and Natasha as Katerina Alexandre Hartford Graham. When she was just five years old, her parents got divorced following which she was raised by her mother in Los Angeles, California.
She has a half-brother, Yakov, who was born in Tel Aviv, Israel. Graham’s parental grandfather was a UN Ambassador, who served for 40 years in countries like Kenya, Netherlands, Sweden, and Romania.
Her mother was Jewish and thus Kat went to a Hebrew school. While growing up, she developed an interest in dancing and music, eventually taking up classes to hone those skills.
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Kat Graham is a versatile artiste. She started her career in the entertainment industry as a six-year-old child artist. She was featured in commercials for brands such as K-Mart, Pop-Tarts, and Barbie. She also performed as a backup dancer in music videos.
While appearing in these commercials she caught the attention of popular choreographer Fatima Robinson who gave her the chance to appear at the BET Awards as a backup dancer for ‘Bow Wow’. This appearance landed her in various backup dancing acts for performers like Missy Elliott, Pharrell, Jamie Foxx as well as for choreographers like Hi-Hat and Michael Rooney.
She appeared in a national marketing campaign for the advertisement of the soft drink ‘Fanta’ from Coca-Cola. She was among the members of ‘Fantanas’.
Her television career started with a role in the Disney Sitcom ‘Lizzie McGuire’. She later appeared in various other series including ‘Strong Medicine’ (2003), ‘Malcolm in the Middle’ (2003), ‘Grounded for Life’ (2004), ‘CSI: Crime Scene Investigation’ (2006), ‘Greek’ (2007), and ‘Stalker’ (2015).
Kat Graham has featured in some films too, playing some likable roles in ‘17 Again’ (2009), ‘The Roommate’ (2011), ‘Honey 2’ (2011), ‘Addicted’ (2014) and ‘All Eyez on Me’ (2017).
She has also appeared in many popular music videos of famous singers including Justin Bieber, Usher, Akon and Christina Milian. As a singer she credits personalities and groups like Destiny's Child, The Beatles, Janet Jackson, M.I.A., Gwen Stefani, Grace Jones, Prince, Madonna and Tupac for influencing her career in music. She wrote the title song for the film ‘Derailed’ in 2002.
She was featured alongside John Legend in ‘Used to Love U’, with Akon in ‘Lonely’, with will.i.am in ‘One More Chance’, with Justin Bieber and Usher in ‘Somebody to Love (Remix)’, with Diddy & Dirty Money and Usher in ‘Looking for Love’, and with Demi Lovato and Cher Lloyd in ‘Really Don't Care’.
Kat Graham landed her first big project when she was offered the role of ‘Bonnie Bennett’ in The CW supernatural drama ‘The Vampire Diaries’ where she played the role of a teenage witch. The show started airing in 2009. This was indeed the biggest breakthrough of her career till then. The show started with a viewership of 4.91 million and later in 2012, the show was renewed for its fourth season.
In August 2010 she was picked by the Universal Pictures for the Dance-drama film ‘Honey 2’, a sequel to the 2003 film ‘Honey’. The film didn’t attract a lot of praise from the critics but Kat’s performance and dancing skills were lauded by many.
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In January 2016 she was chosen for the role of ‘Jada Pinkett Smith’ in the Tupac biopic ‘All Eyez On Me’. The film was released in 2017, featuring Demetrius Shipp Jr. as the lead character.
As a singer she has recorded a lot of singles including ‘Cold Hearted Snake’ (2010), ‘Put Your Graffiti on Me’ (2012), and ‘All Your Love’ (2016). Some of her music videos as the lead artist include ‘My Boyfriend's Back’ (2009) and ‘Sassy’ (2010).
Awards & Achievements
Kat Graham won the ‘Scene Stealer Female’ (2011) award from ‘Teen Choice Awards’ for her role in the ‘The Vampire Diaries’.
She won the ‘Creative Award’ (2014) from the ‘Black Women in Film Association’ for her contributions in the industry.
She won the ‘Choice Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actress’ (2017) award from ‘Teen Choice Awards’ for her role in the ‘The Vampire Diaries’.
Kat Graham is of Liberian and Jewish ancestry. She dated Cottrell Guidry from 2008 and eventually got engaged to him in 2012. Unfortunately, the relationship didn’t last long. The duo called it quits on December 12, 2014.
As of August 2017, Kat Graham has a net worth of US $3 million.
Kat can speak several languages including English, Spanish, and French. She can also manage some Hebrew and Portuguese.
She has a tattoo on her inner wrist with the script ‘nosce te Ipsum’, which Latin for ‘Know thyself’.
She was nominated in more than ten different categories in different awards for her role in ‘The Vampire Diaries’.