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Blake Lively shark dives in South Africa

Actress Blake Lively braved her fears and went shark diving in South Africa while on location filming new superhero film Green Lantern.

The Gossip Girl star made the most of a rare day off by taking the plunge and coming face-to-face with great white sharks, which are widely believed to be the most deadly creature in the ocean.

She says, "It's terrifying at first. They throw blood into the water and they throw fish guts. So you're standing on a boat and you're trying to lure in sharks. And then you see great whites circling your boat and that's a good thing? It's like everything you never want to happen is happening. And then you jump in the water with them. It was so amazing."

And despite their baring sharp teeth, she's developed a soft spot for the dangerous predator and urges others to protect them before they become extinct.

She adds, "It was scary but it was also a beautiful thing. They were just as afraid of us as we are them. We villainise (sic) them. Great white sharks are nearly extinct. There's less than 1,000 of them (left). They are finned. (People) cut off the fins and then they throw them back in the ocean so they just drown. It's a horrible thing that's happening."