Vampire Academy star Daniela Nieves on establishing Lissa and Rose's dynamic with Sisi Stringer

·2 min read

Warning: This post contains spoilers from the first four episodes of Vampire Academy.

Yes, Vampire Academy has plenty of romance, but the relationship at the center of the new Peacock drama is all about Rose (Sisi Stringer) and Lissa (Daniela Nieves), two best friends that society desperately wants to tear apart. The new series, based on Richelle Mead's popular book series, follows Rose and Lissa in the aftermath of a car crash that kills Lissa's family. Together, they have to figure out how to navigate life as a royal Moroi and a dhampir guardian. (Spoiler alert: It isn't easy.)

For Nieves, she knew there was a lot of pressure on the Rose-Lissa relationship going into filming. "I'll be honest, I was kind of nervous about it," Nieves tells EW, noting that she and Stringer only had one chemistry read before they were cast. "Their friendship is really the central driving force of the story."

Thankfully, Nieves quickly recognized that, "Me and Sisi both really do care about the story and bringing it to life in the best way we can."


Jose Haro/Peacock Daniela Nieves and Sisi Stringer on 'Vampire Academy'

Vampire Academy is a story Nieves admits she wasn't familiar with when she first auditioned (for both Lissa and Rose, by the way). "I feel like I was one of the few people that actually didn't know anything at all about the books," she says with a laugh. "I had never even heard of them."

But don't worry, she eventually got the memo. "I finished the first book within a day," she says. "I just started imagining this world and I was like, 'Oh, this has potential to be something really, really cool.'"

With the first four episodes of Vampire Academy out now, fans can watch as Lissa struggles to figure out her place without her family. One person she starts to go to for comfort? Social outcast Christian (André Dae Kim), a fellow royal Moroi vampire who has family issues of his own as his parents chose to turn Strigoi.

"There's this small element of rebellion within Lissa that she explores more and more," Nieves says, referencing Lissa's friendship with a dhampir. "Christian is kind of that, as well. He's an outcast. He knows that no one in the royal families approves of him. But Lissa's one of those people that if she sees you for who you really are and she sees the good sides of you, it doesn't matter what anyone else says or thinks. They both lost their parents. They're both going through these things. And they both have almost a jaded view of this society."

Vampire Academy's first four episodes are streaming now on Peacock.

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