words by Michelle Ganney
photos by Ted Sun


Featured in BELLO mag Beauty November 2015 issue #96 with haley Hasselhof on the cover – Download BELLO App for free

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Kendrick Sampson hails from Texas and despite the “better food” and the “warmer people” back in Houston, L.A. is Sampson’s true home now. “You can’t beat the weather out in L.A. and my work is out here and the people are beautiful”. With The Vampire Diaries and now How To Get Away With Murder on his CV, Sampson is essential to the ABC family. The Texan-born star has just been cast as ‘Caleb’ in Shonda Rhimes’ wildly popular HTGAWM. In an exclusive interview with BELLO, Sampson discussed his love for social media, his unforgettable time with everyone’s favorite vampires and his enviable bromances that have been formed thanks to HTGAWM.

He played the handsome ‘Jesse’, love interest of ‘Caroline’, on Julie Plec’s dynamo show, The Vampire Diaries. Despite being a late addition to this phenomenon, Sampson was overwhelmed by the love and support he got from this iconic cast. “I’ve literally made some life long friends and I didn’t think I would meet friends there you know? I came five seasons in so I was not expecting to be buddies with anybody. I saw Nina [Dobrev] recently, I talk to Stephen [R. McQueen] and even Julie [Plec], and I see [Michael] Trevino!”

However his relationship with ABC has not always been smooth sailing. “I was up for a huge role on Nashville and another one for Secrets and Lies, all ABC shows. Earlier that year I did the Kingmakers pilot, then there was another MTV show that I was up for so I was like ‘I have got plenty of options, they’re all going to go great it’s going to be amazing and whichever one I want to pick will be great.’ Then I lost all of those, I didn’t book one! In a perfect world, I’d hoped they would fight over me”.
However, the age-old saying applies here, everything really does happen for a reason. “I went down to my agent’s office and it seemed like they were going to give me bad news and they kind of sprung it on me [his role in HTGAWM] and I was so tired and drained from doing over a month and a half of auditions. I only auditioned once for How to Get Away with Murder and sort of forgot about it so I was really surprised when they were like, ‘You’re going to ShondaLand!’ “.

He has an adored fan-base and huge social media following but in spite of this massive endorsement, Sampson does not take this position lightly. “I’m very conscious about what I post because there are so many things and so many people you can offend. However, if I believe in something, I don’t care what people think, so I will post it if I truly believe in it. At the same time, I’m very careful about not offending people”.

He has a super tight relationship with his Vampire Diaries cast members, but nothing compares to his ultimate bromances on HTGAWM. “Oh man, Matt [McGorry]! Matt is my dude, he’s hilarious. Matt is. . . he’s Matt! He is very into philanthropy and activism and we share a lot of the same views on feminism and a lot of those movements. I’d known Matt before HTGAWM and he was already one of my favorite people on this earth!”

McGorry is not the only cast member Sampson also has a whole lot of love for. “Alfie [Enoch] has a special place in my heart. He’s just like a really cool dude and is just hilarious. He has this huge laugh that you won’t ever miss. If he’s laughing, everyone will know for miles! I just love being around him. Everybody on set is extremely intelligent and very well educated so I love talking to everyone”.

Sampson is a smooth and charasmatic individual with a long road ahead. It might be a little lonely this Christmas without HTGAWM but don’t worry, Sampson will be back in action on February 11 of next year on ABC.

photography TED SUN
groomer OLIVIA FISCHA at Celestine Agency using Kiehl’s
wardrobe assistant ILANA SUSSMAN



Kendrick Sampson by Ted Sun ( for BELLO Mag.

Kendrick Sampson by Ted Sun ( for BELLO Mag.

Kendrick Sampson by Ted Sun ( for BELLO Mag.

Kendrick Sampson by Ted Sun ( for BELLO Mag.

Kendrick Sampson by Ted Sun ( for BELLO Mag.

Kendrick Sampson by Ted Sun ( for BELLO Mag.

About The Author

Stephane Marquet
Creative Director

First of all, excuse my French! … I was born in the South of France. Lived in Paris for 10 years and travelled the world until I moved to Los Angeles in 2008, because obviously recession was a great time to move to a new country! I also arrived around Halloween and was greeted at the Social Security offices by a nurse who directed to the window Number 6 so a witch could hand me my social security number. Welcome to America. I am a painter, a photographer and the creative director of BELLO mag.

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