Melissa Benoist On Why Supergirl's Resilience Is Her Greatest Strength

Supergirl is so much more than TV's latest superhero.

When Melissa Benoist's Supergirl takes flight tonight (Oct. 26), she will become the first female superhero to lead a series in nearly 40 years. (Yes, that's since Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman went off the air.) With shows like "Arrow," "The Flash," "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D," "Gotham" and the forthcoming "Legends of Tomorrow" dominating the primetime lineup these days, frankly all we can say is, it's about damn time.

Benoist's Kara Danvers is charming, brave and fantastically super. Trust us, nothing will stop you from grinning like a goof when Kara soars into action for the very first time to fulfill her Kryptonian destiny. For 27-year-old Benoist, the opportunity to play Supergirl was more than just a role of a lifetime -- it was an opportunity to prove that superheroes can also find strength in their vulnerabilities.

"I think she's a very universal character, in the sense that she has these traits that every person wants to feel, like strength and resilience, but she has the human qualities that ground her and make someone that everyone feels like they are at any given point in her life," Benoist told MTV News.



Melissa Benoist and Chyler Leigh in CBS's "Supergirl"

Women don’t need to be able to physically crush men in order to crush the patriarchy, but it just so happens that Kara does both. Her physical strength is unparalleled -- she's even stronger than her cousin Superman -- but it's her emotional strength, her ability to rise in the face of adversity with an adorkable smile on her face, that sets her apart from her superhero counterparts.

"I think that's the beautiful thing about her," Benoist said. "We talk about that a lot on set about she chooses to handle the fact that she lost everything and the way she overcomes is really inspiring."

But Kara won't be adjusting to her newly adopted identity completely alone. Like Barry Allen before her, it won't be long until Kara assembles her own team of trustworthy allies. Right now, that squad consists of her coworker Winn (Jeremy Jordan), the guy her cousin Kal-El sent to National City to watch over her, Jimmy James Olsen (Mehcad Brooks) and her sister Alex (Chyler Leigh), who works for a secret government task force called the DEO (Department Of Extranormal Operations).

"She's definitely all about building a team and knowing when to ask for help from the people around her, and eventually, there's a squad there, and there will be people that she can fall back on."


Melissa Benoist is Supergirl

Melissa Benoist in action in "Supergirl."

...Including one Lucy Lane (Jenna Dewan-Tatum) -- yes, Lois' younger sister -- whom Kara befriends after an awkward introduction. "What's funny is that it looks like she could possibly be a nemesis-type character, but they actually really get along and like each other, which makes things really interesting," she said. "It's nice to see two people getting along and liking each other."

Therein lies "Supergirl"'s (the show and the girl) biggest strength: its bright, cheery disposition. How could anyone dislike Kara? Yes, there are some very bad people in the world, and yes, life can be hard sometimes, excruciating even, but Supergirl is the light that can get us through the darkness. She's the superhero we've been waiting for, and most importantly, the one we deserve. And young girls have already begun to take notice.

"It was not something that I was anticipating," Benoist said of the reactions she's received from young female fans. "I knew girls were going to be excited, but I didn't know what it was going to feel like, to see and hear their reactions. It's been really rewarding. Those are the people that I really want to like the show and be affected by it."