Melissa Benoist: ‘Supergirl’ star showcases courage, just like the show
On Wednesday, Nov. 27, Supergirl star Melissa Benoist displayed incredible courage. In a 14-minute video on Instagram, Benoist pulled back the curtain of her life and revealed that she is a survivor of intimate partner violence (IPV). During the course of the emotional video, Benoist shared the details of this abusive relationship with grace and dignity.
At the end of the video, Benoist declared, “I choose to love. I don’t choose to minimize my life out of fear. I choose to love myself to know that love does not include violence, and to let victims know that there is a way out in which you will be protected.“
Fans don’t know what goes on behind the closed doors of actors’ private lives. As Benoist titled her video, “Life isn’t always what it seems.”
Many fans on social media have praised Benoist’s courage in sharing her story with the hope that it can allow others in similar situations. Her Supergirl and Arrowverse co-stars have also shared their love & support on various social media platforms. Even though Benoist wears a cape on TV as Supergirl, the invisible one that she wears in real life shines even brighter.
We’re glad Benoist was able to get out of an unsafe relationship and find the strength to share her story with the world. Much like her character on Supergirl, Benoist clearly chose to face the darkest of days with grace, empathy, and love. Let’s take a moment to look at Benoist’s fictional alter ego and other characters on Supergirl.
Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist)
Over the course of Supergirl, Kara has shown bravery in the face of adversity. If we had to pick a particular moment, however, it comes in the first season. In the episode “Human for a Day”, Kara is dealing with the effects of a “solar flare” – she burned out her powers from overuse. When an earthquake hits National City, Kara tries her best to help others.
The key moment comes when Supergirl, still powerless and in costume, walks into an armed robbery. She’s not bulletproof. The guy is armed. Kara is scared. Despite all that, she offers empathy and compassion to all parties involved and is able to diffuse the situation only with words.
This bravery truly comes into the forefront in the stellar fourth season. Kara finds herself increasingly alone, battling against Lex Luthor (Jon Cryer), and feeling like the entire world is turning against her. Rather than give up in the face of overwhelming odds, Kara holds her ground and exposes Lex’s evil plan as Kara Danvers. She stops Lex from winning and harming the aliens who want a peaceful life on Earth.
Both in her civilian life and super life, Kara showcases her motto of “hope, help, and compassion for all”. By living through that creed, Kara also represents a voice finding the courage to speak against injustice and making a big impact on the world.
Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh)
If you look up the word “badass” in the dictionary, chances are you’ll find a photo of one Alex Danvers in it. Why? She may have the skills to take down powerful aliens, but Alex also possesses the courage to be herself authentically.
Ask any LGBT+ person: he/she/etc. will tell you coming out is one of the hardest things they’ll ever do in life. While Alex realizes she’s gay later in life, she’s more than ready to live her authentic life. In the episodes “Changing” and “Medusa”, Alex bravely informs her family and friends exactly who she is.
While we loved the Alex and Maggie (Floriana Lima) relationship on the series, the way that Sanvers ends also highlights Alex’s emotional courage. Alex tries to find a solution to work for everyone involved. Eventually, even though she loves Maggie, Alex has to put herself and her dreams of a child first. There’s courage in facing an unknown future without the one you love.
Being honest with yourself can be one of the scariest tasks in life. If you reach that place of internal emotional honesty, life is so much better.
Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath)
Lena may be making some bad decisions right now, but we’re sincerely hoping things work out in the end. Why? That’s where her courage lies.
It would be so easy for Lena to go the traditional path of the Luthor: world domination, hatred, subjugation. She clearly struggles with those inclinations. Sometimes, it’s hard to shake the messages we were raised with. The fact that, for most of Supergirl, Lena makes the conscious choice to “do good” for the world is admirable.
Nothing would be more powerful than for Lena Luthor to make the hard choice to forgive others so she can move on in a healthy way. There is courage in growing past your upbringing and trying to be a better person than those who came before you.
Nia Nal (Nicole Maines)
Much like Alex, Nia shows bravery for living her authentic truth every day of her life. That being said, she is an incredibly compassionate character. We’ve already shared the reasons why she is the hero that we all deserve.
Nia is someone who sticks up for those around her. She wants to help others in a truly genuine way. Why? Part of her knows how lucky she was growing up. She had a loving and supportive home life. She grew up in a town where discrimination wasn’t the norm. Nia knows that she wants to help others. The scene in “Fallout” where she stands up for Brainy, who is about to be attacked by anti-alien supporters, remains one of the strongest moments for the character.
In “American Dreamer”, Nia shares herself with the world in her superheroic identity. She tells them that she is a half-alien, trans woman. No one is going to silence her or her voice. Nia is going to fight for those who need it and provide hope along the way. She is someone who refuses to hide who she is and to fight for what she believes in.
Kelly Olsen (Azie Tesfai)
Kelly is a relatively new addition for the cast, only joining toward the end of season four. Yet in her brief tenure on the series, she’s definitely showcased how amazing she is. Kelly is a person that wants to believe the best in others. Several times in season five, she offers advice and help to those around her. While Malefic (Phil LaMarr) takes advantage of that kindness, Alex tells her girlfriend that it is what makes Kelly, well, Kelly.
It’s because of her desire to help others that Kelly wants to help the others defeat Malefic. Even though he is targeting her and she briefly goes into hiding, Kelly is ready to return to the others and help. Yes, she is scared to go up against a mind-controlling alien who wants her dead. She refuses to let him hurt those she cares about.
Back to the whole emotional honesty part of things, Kelly deals with her trauma. She’s been in the military and lost her fiancee. Due to the time she was in the military, Kelly wasn’t allowed to publicly grieve for that loss. It’s something that defines her. When the realities of Alex’s job sink in, Kelly has to be honest about her fear and trauma with this woman she loves. It’s terrifying to do. Through that, she and Alex are able to talk about their fears and build a stronger bond.
Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart)
We seriously miss Cat Grant. When is she coming back? The fan favorite former boss of Kara and the gang has been sorely missed since Flockhart’s exit from the series early in season two. Over the course of season one, however, she’s given plenty of moments of bravery.
Our personal favorite is when she allowed herself to be kidnapped back in “Worlds Finest”. Rather than seeing her employees hurt, Cat allows Livewire (Brit Morgan) and Silver Banshee (Italia Ricci) to take her. We can’t name any CEO that would do that for their employees.
When she returns in season two, during the Daxamite invasion, Cat gives Kara the advice she needs in order to face down Rhea (Teri Hatcher). At the end, we all learn that Cat knew Kara’s identity the entire time, but kept it to herself. No way will Cat Grant betray those who she has given her trust.
If you would like to learn more about how to help people who deal with IPV, Benoist suggests the non-profit Futures Without Violence. If you need help to get out of a relationship with IPV, Benoist also shared the number 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).