Elena Salvatore (née Gilbert) is a fictional character and protagonist from the television series The Vampire Diaries. In The Vampire Diaries, set in the fictional town of Mystic Falls, she is portrayed by Nina Dobrev. In the books, Elena was blonde, popular, selfish and a "mean girl". However the show's producers, Julie Plec and Kevin Williamson, felt that it wasn't the direction they wanted to go with their heroine in The Vampire Diaries television series. Instead, she became a nicer, relatable and more of "the girl next door" type, until her life gets flipped upside down when she meets the Salvatores. In April 2015, Nina Dobrev announced that she would be departing the series after the sixth season finale.