Katerina Alexandre Graham (born September 5, 1989) is an American actress, singer, record producer, dancer, and model. She is also the voice behind will.i.am’s single “I Got It from My Mama” as well as one of the spokesmodels (The Fantanas) for the Coca-Cola drink Fanta. Graham plays Bonnie Bennett in the The CW show The Vampire Diaries.
Born in Geneva, Switzerland, Katerina is the daughter of a Liberian father, Joseph Graham, and a Russian Jewish mother, Natasha. Graham attended Hebrew school and speaks English, Spanish, French, and some Portuguese and Hebrew. She has been exposed to different cultures and societies from an early age. She believes this is what has greatly influenced her artistically and personally and fosters her intense motivation to be a success. Katerina’s father was a music executive and also the godfather of two of Quincy Jones’ children. Her grandfather was a UN Ambassador from Liberia to Switzerland. Katerina was born in Geneva while her father was working as a journalist for the UN. Katerina was raised in Los Angeles, California.
Graham stepped into the entertainment industry at the age of six. From then until she was 14, she could be found in commercials such as Barbie, K-Mart, Pop Tart, and Edison, and television shows such as Joan of Arcadia, Like Family, Grounded For Life, and Lizzie McGuire. Her first big break came when she replaced a young Christina Milian as the host of the Disney Channel series Movie Surfers. At the age of 15 she was chosen by choreographer Fatima to perform at the BET Awards as a background dancer for Lil’ Bow Wow. That experience led to other stints as a background dancer for Missy Elliott, Pharrell, Jamie Foxx, and choreographers Hi Hat and Michael Rooney.
In addition to being a professional actress and dancer, Katerina also began to pursue a career as a musical artist. One of the first songs she wrote and sung (“Derailed”) was featured in a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie. Completing that song inspired her to purchase her own studio equipment and add producer to her list of talents. Although she had no formal production training, she soon mastered the techniques and developed her unique style.
“When I first got my equipment I had no one to guide me…I taught myself. I realized there was no other teenage, female producer in the world, so I was forced to look within myself for motivation.” she recalls.
A year later she met producer Damon Elliott (Pink, Mya, Destiny’s Child) who turned out to be an influential mentor. While the two worked on perfecting Katerina’s skills as a musician and producer, she continued to work as an actress, starring on television shows CSI: Las Vegas, The OC, Malcolm In The Middle, Joan of Arcadia, Strong Medicine and Hannah Montana. She even forayed into music videos, appearing in Akon’s “Mr. Lonely”, 112′s “What If”, John Legend’s “Used To Love You”, B2K’s “Why I Love You”, Musiq Soulchild’s “Buddy” and many others.
At 17, Katerina was selected by the Coca-Cola Company as part of an international campaign to market their soft drink Fanta. While promoting the campaign as a member of the “Fantanas” (as Capri/Strawberry), Katerina simultaneously completed her degree in recording engineering.
“My background is one that is so varied, I’ve never been one to check for what the next person is doing,” she says. “My circumstances and my mind have set me apart and I will never blend in.” It is this confidence and tenacity that continues to propel Katerina to the next level.
She continues to work in acting, music and dance: she recently finished a world tour with The Black Eyed Peas; her voice is featured on two songs on Will. I. Am ‘s latest solo release “Songs About Girls” (“I Got It From My Mama” and “The Donque Song” feat. Snoop Dogg) and she recently wrapped the film 17 Again which stars Zac Efron and Matthew Perry. Her next projects are the Hallmark Christmas film Our First Christmas, the modern day Breakfast Club remake Bleachers, and is starring as Kel Mitchell’s love interest ‘Chaka Lovebell’ in the film Chicago Pulaski Jones. The movie, which will be the directorial debut for comedian Cedric the Entertainer. She is currently filming the movie Boogie Town starring alongside Marques Houston, Brenda Song, and Vanessa Simmons as well as the thriller The Roommate with Leighton Meester.
Last updated: February 5, 2010