Supergirl stars open up about their ‘beautiful’ lesbian relationship
The actresses playing Supergirl’s lesbian couple have opened up about their ground-breaking relationship.
Chyler Leigh and Floriana Lima were speaking as they attended the GLAAD Media Awards, where Supergirl was nominated for best dramatic TV show – thanks largely to their storyline.
Leigh’s character Alex Danvers, Supergirl’s adoptive sister, came out in November, in a twist which has won hearts and critical praise, and helped young LGBT fans.
The relationship between Alex, a secret government agent, and her girlfriend, Lima’s police detective Maggie Sawyer, has since bloomed and strengthened.
Leigh said she had been taken aback by the reaction.
Speaking to People, she said: “There was no way we would have known the impact that this would have had.
“We definitely wanted it to be a strong representation, and that’s why we’ve thought so hard about it and wanted it to be beautifully done, so I’m just really happy with the writers of Supergirl, who have really brought this to life.
“We’re just really humbled by it, very proud of it.”
And Leigh added that one of the best parts of the relationship – which fans have named Sanvers – was that it was breaking new ground.
“People are so used to just the cut-and-dried comic book kind of storyline.
The great thing about Supergirl is that we’re reaching a lot of social issues [and] we’re doing it in a way that is recognised by people who love the comic book lore and that kind of stuff.
“For us to be able to take that on in that environment, and like kick people’s asses, and give a peck on the cheek and just say: ‘Hey, I’m finding out more about me because of you’ – it’s a love story, and it’s beautiful.”
Supergirl in November revealed that one of its main characters is gay, and fans praised it as one of the best coming out stories in years.
The show also went even further to address issues facing LGBT people – this time in real life… sort of. With a Supergirl Twitter account shooting down a parent who said they couldn’t explain a lesbian relationship to their child.
But Leigh said it was a complete surprise to her when the producers told her before the season started that Alex was set to come out.
“They’re like: ‘So this year Alex is going to be gay.’ I was like: ‘Wait – what?’”
She quickly threw herself into playing her part in telling “the story of somebody who later in life, finds somebody that literally just turns their life upside down, but in the most wonderful way.
“They create such a vulnerability towards each other that it’s authentic. One of the greatest compliments that we get is the fact that it’s so realistic.
“Here we are representing a healthy, growing lesbian relationship, which you just don’t get to see. Not very often, at least.”
In December, a heartwarming story circulated online about an LGBT teenager who had been helped enormously by Leigh and Lima’s characters and their relationship.
A comic book shop employee, Mary, had realised the girl was crying because she was gay and had found solace in Supergirl.
She then listened as the girl told her that “as Alex’s arc continued she started to see she could be happy and loved, and didn’t want to die anymore.
“For the first time, she didn’t want to die because she got to see Alex be amazing and be queer.”
Leigh said: “This was a girl that was in desperate, desperate need of someone to just listen for a moment.
Mary was “the real Supergirl in that moment,” Leigh continued.
“She sat with this girl, walked her around the store and said, ‘Take the first season DVD, just to watch and kind of keep your mind there.’
“And at the same time she bought her comic books that show different [gay] characters, like Batwoman, and showed her all these different stories that she could hang on to, bought her coffee, sat and just listened to this girl, and this girl just sobbed and just let it out.”
The outpouring of emotion from fans inr eaction the relationship is clear from the messages Leigh receives whenever she tweets.
— a (@hcmosanvers) 3 February 2017
— clara (@chyIersgrey) 4 February 2017
— liss (@sawyerIeigh) 3 February 2017
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Lima said that she hadn’t known her character existed before she heard about the part.
“When I read into it I was like: ‘Wow! What a cool character!’ It’s very important, this character.”
And Leigh said that the moment she saw Lima in person, she knew the relationship was meant to be.
“She walked in and I was like, ‘That’s it. That’s the girl.’”